History: Some of the best craft soda in the world comes from the state of Wisconsin, so there was no hesitation when we learned about Stevens Point Brewery. Branded after the Wisconsin city of the same name and founded in 1857 by German immigrants, Frank Wahle and George Ruder, this brewery pumps out six different flavors of craft soda from its signature Point Premium Root Beer to the more mysterious Kitty Cocktail. If you’re a little iffy on your dates, this is a brewery that lasted through the Civil War, prohibition, The Great Depression, WWI, and WWII. We haven’t tried it, but we’re guessing the beer isn’t too bad. They’ve got some hardware to back it up too. Stevens Point Brewery’s Point Special Lager won the Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2004. But according to Stevens Point Brewery’s Director of Marketing, Julie Birrenkott, it was two years earlier in 2002 when the brewery introduced root beer. Like their beer, it too, was a hit. Says Birrenkott, “Our wholesalers and customers continued to ask us to make Root Beer. The rest of the soft drinks were a natural progression.” In 2005, three more flavors were introduced: diet root beer, vanilla cream, and black cherry cream. The latter of which is too intriguing not to review. It’s made with “all-natural vanilla and savory black cherry sweetness” in addition to pure cane sugar. Several flavors of Stevens Point Brewery Soda also use real Wisconsin honey. Alas, Black Cherry Cream does not. Beyond those facts, Stevens Point didn’t provide us with much more information about the flavor. Time to do a little first-hand research.
Where to get: Stevens Point Brewery Soda is not sold online. It’s mostly distributed throughout Wisconsin and is available in select areas in the states of: Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Jersey. If you can’t find their soda near you, the company suggests calling them at 1-800-369-4911 or shooting them an email to place an order.
Nose: Rich black cherry. Kind of reminds me of old-timey black cherry rock candy.
Taste: Black cherry; soft vanilla. Rich black cherry flavor without tasting medicinal. Trust me, that’s an accomplishment. The vanilla notes come in near the end of each sip and as you continue to drink the soda, open up more and more. The carbonation is soft and works well not to amplify the black cherry flavor too much. This is a softer soda in terms of mouth feel with deep black cherry flavor and smooth notes of vanilla. Not necessarily creamy, but the vanilla is present enough to make a lasting impact.
Finish: Candy Bing Cherries with long-lasting notes of vanilla. A very long finish. Completely pleasant.
Rating: This is comfort soda. The tastes are familiar. The black cherry flavor is kind of a hybrid between a fresh Bing cherries and classic black cherry hard candies. The vanilla is soft and soothing, entering during the second half of the sip and lasting throughout the finish. The flavors work well together. It’s just a really nice take on traditional black cherry soda with an infusion of vanilla. I wouldn’t consider the flavor particularly creamy, but the vanilla is soothing on the palate and makes the soda that much easier to take down. It’s a great partner flavor considering how rich the black cherry body tastes. Point Premium Black Cherry Cream’s best feature is undoubtedly its finish with long, drawn out notes of vanilla. I just wish those vanilla notes came in a little bit earlier to leave no doubt this was a black cherry cream soda as opposed to a black cherry soda with some added vanilla. That’s my only criticism. I’d go out with this soda. And I’d call it back. I suggest you do the same and track down a bottle of Point Premium Black Cherry Cream.