jon lehman

Brood Soda: Smoky

History: Jon Lehman was a lawyer. He ended up a craft soda brewer. No objections here. Perhaps it was his background in the law industry, something that had become mundane to him, that caused Lehman’s vision for soda to be something completely new. “There’s no reason new recipes can’t be created,” he says. Lehman wanted to venture away from the “classics” and “retro” feel that many companies strive for in their look and taste. In 2012, Brood Soda was born. It’s a bit darker in its marketing than your average craft soda bottle. That little gothic-looking fella is called “Rood Boy.” He’s the face of the brand. Originally, Lehman wanted to go even darker, but scaled back because this is soda and not death metal booze. Something else that makes Brood different? The flavors. They aren’t named after ingredients. “It’s supposed to be a very generalized product that doesn’t fit within parameters.” The soda flavors are all based on an urban feel. Odd, right? In fact, the only things that Brood really does in the traditional senses are source natural ingredients and make an impact in its local Durham, North Carolina community. Today, we’ve got Smoky, a soda judging by the ingredients, that looks to be something of a citrus cola. We’ll find out.

Where to get: Brood Soda has actually been sold out for six months, and the company is working on getting it back in stock. But if you wanna get your ‘lil paws on some of this out-of-the-box soda, it is still possible. Contact Brood directly through their site. They’re pretty chill.

Nose: Mulled sangria wine; faint orange; unique.

Taste: This is one of the most unique-tasting sodas I’ve ever had. This took at least 10 minutes just to decide on what to say and it’s probably still wrong. There’s definitely some citrus going on here. The bottle lists orange, lemon and black cherry. What comes through the most initially is lemon and a honey taste (though there’s no honey actually in this). It’s almost like a carbonated tea with more sweetness and citrus. It’s very relaxing, something you wouldn’t expect from a soda with caffeine. The more you drink this, the more you get the orange and kola nut flavors, though they mostly stay in the background. Eventually it becomes a meld of unfamiliar citrus flavor with light herbal notes. It’s almost like a carbonated sangria. The carbonation is good and the sugar levels don’t distract from the flavors – I just wish the flavors were a little more distinctive. It’s just very puzzling. A mouth mystery.

Finish: Muddled orange and lemon tinged with natural herbs and kola nut.

Rating: Smoky by Brood Soda is one of the most peculiar sodas you can put in your mouth. It isn’t overly harsh or pleasant, but more of an experience. Even as someone who’s tried hundreds and hundreds of sodas, I struggle to accurately place the flavors here. Certainly you get lemon and orange, but they aren’t presented in a way you’ve ever had lemon or orange in a soda. Instead of bold, crisp citrus, it’s more of a fermented flavor like in sangria. There’s also an herbal flavor profile going on that when fused with the citrus produces a tea-like flavor. At times this tastes like carbonated tea. Don’t be misled by the ingredients. Though this has Kola nut in it, it definitely isn’t a cola. In fact, there’s nothing traditional about this, which is why you should give it a go. I probably wouldn’t call this “Smoky.” I think “Mood” or even “Calm” would be more approriate, even in spite of the fact that it has natural caffeine in it. It just puts you in a perplexed, tranquil state as your mouth tries to decode the mystery. If you figure out the flavors, you find the treasure. Nicolas Cage, we have a movie idea for you.