Doggone Good Soda: Irish Cream Coffee

History: In 2008, Bill King and his son opened a sandwich shop in Orange, California. They wanted something unique to pair their grub with, so they decided to sell vintage soda from all over the country. They got such great feedback that in 2012, they decided to start making it themselves. King searched and searched for the right production equipment, but wasn’t getting the results he wanted. So, Bill King built the damn thing himself and eventually got his apparatus approved for use. He literally built a one-of-a-kind soda machine over a year-and-a-half that goes through the entire production process of making and bottling the soda. Eventually, he wants to franchise the concept of this machine out and sell it to other bottlers who can then create their own flavors and sell them in their local area. As for his own soda business, King wanted Doggone Good Soda to be about creativity and having a good time. “You can experiment. It’s a fun business,” he says. The company is known for its wide variety of both classic and artisan-inspired flavors, as well as its unique swing top, wax-coated bottles. King produces over 30 flavors from root beer and vanilla cream to rose dew and red currant soda. They can also do custom labeling for things like weddings, events, gifts, etc. What’s particularly interesting about Doggone Good Soda is that if you’re willing to place a large order of 200-300 bottles, they’ll work with you on creating a flavor. So look alive, soda jerks! Your wildest dreams could become a reality! As King says, “We’re taking soda to a different level.”

Where to get: Doggone Good Soda is sold locally in Orange, California, but King and his son are working on making it available through their Web site for national sales. Until then, King encourages customers who want to try their stuff to call the company directly to place orders over the phone at (714) 865-1848.

Nose: Melted butterscotch chips; fresh sugar cookies.

Taste: This is wild. Tastes absolutely nothing like it smells. You start with a lightly roasted coffee-cream soda flavor that winds and sloooooowly turns into more of a burned caramel taste. As noted on the label, the company uses coffee beans from a local roaster called HapiBean. The coffee really does come through on the tongue. The carbonation is subtle and doesn’t distract from the flavor. The amount of sugar used here is noticeable and does distract from all the subtleties you could probably get in addition to what’s already there. Coffee is such a nuanced flavor and the sugar here masks that a little bit. That said, there’s no syrupy aftertaste and Doggone Good Soda should be commended for making such a complicated soda that isn’t overwhelming. The caffeine on this puppy isn’t a pulse-spiker, but whoa, it comes in quickly.

Finish: Bailey’s irish cream that slowly turns into vanilla-infused, dark-roasted coffee beans. It’s a long finish for a soda. The flavors dance around and change much more like a scotch or fine bourbon than a craft soda. Complicated and distinct.

Rating: Doggone Good Soda’s Irish Coffee Cream Soda is a must-try for the craft soda connoisseur simply because it’s different than anything you’ve ever put in your mouth. Coffee drinkers will likely love this stuff. We did feel that the amount of sugar used in the soda’s syrup hid some of the extra flavor opportunities that may have been possible. Still, there’s so much going on here (in a good way), that we urge you to contact the company and place an order. Also, the bottles are dope and reusable. This is exactly what it says it is: coffee cream soda. What isn’t advertised: it’s a flavor roller coaster.