peach soda

Hippo Size: Prodigious Peach

History: I was watching No Country for Old Men the other night. Great movie, one that really gives you a chilling glimpse into the Texas-Mexico marriage to outlaw life. But even Anton Chigurh couldn’t have gotten his evil, clever hands on a bottle of San Antonio’s favorite past time soda brand. Hippo Soda was gone by 1980. Sorry Anton; you lost the coin toss on that one too. You see, the Hippo Soda we’re reviewing today isn’t how the beverage started. That distinction belonged to The Alamo Bottling Company, which founded Hippo in 1926. The company used the name “Hippo” because their bottles (13 oz., 15 oz., 16 oz.) were all bigger than the competition’s. Hippo used to come in numerous flavors, but all of them vanished for 30 years after the company closed its doors. Enter Orca Beverage, the Mukilteo, Washington-based craft soda bottler and distributor that has made its name on reviving previously extinct soda brands. Orca is known for buying up sodas no longer in production, reintroducing their vintage labels, but remodeling their recipes. You’ll see the same roaring Hippo on Orca’s short, stubby bottles that were used on Alamo Bottling Company’s former longnecks. But there are also differences: the recipes, the names, the flavors. The new Hippo flavors are all named with a masculine feel, from Burly Birch Beer to Prodigious Peach. We’ve had the latter requested to be reviewed too many times now to ignore. So here we are. We’re not sure what movie analogy to use for today’s new-look Hippo Peach Soda; we just hope it’s worth the price of admission.

Where to get: You can buy Hippo Prodigious Peach and other Hippo flavors online via both Amazon and Orca Beverage. Single bottles are available for purchase from Soda Emporium.

Nose: This definitely doesn’t smell like peach, but the scent is really hard to place. I don’t think anyone on our staff can quite place it. It smells kind of like dull fruit. Rustic. Maybe the best descriptor would be that it smells like walking into an orchard and getting a whiff of all those pre-ripe fruits. Prodigious Peach confuses your nose.

Taste: Authentic peach; candy peach; artificial flavor. This is interesting. I think there’s really three main components to the flavor: Real peach, fake peach, and an odd accompanying artificial taste. Unfortunately, those tastes comes in reverse order. You’re hit with an overbearing chemical flavor at first that masks the tastier peach elements. It takes several seconds for this to fade before the more redeeming flavors come in. The peach flavor itself is kind of a hybrid between natural peach juice and like a candy peach gummy flavor. It’s really nice, but you only taste it for probably 1/3 of each sip. It’d be much easier to drink if that peach flavor was more pronounced and the artificial taste was less intense.

Finish: Sliced peaches with sugar that permeate several seconds before fading. The second half of each sip is what you’ll be looking forward to with Prodigious Peach.

Rating: Hippo Size Prodigious Peach reminds me of a lot of Hollywood movies: great script, but a miscast lead actor. Peach is such a wonderful flavor in soda. Luscious, refreshing, and flavorful. Prodigous Peach misses the mark on all three because the main tasting notes in this soda are noticeably artificial in nature. The lead actor in this movie is wrong for it. That artificial flavor mars the drinking experience. What’s most frustrating about this soda is that there are really good peach flavors within this bottle, but they’re masked by an initial chemical taste that is so strong it dilutes the peach notes. But when the peach is there, it’s great. Fruity, sweet, and juicy in nature. A mix of natural and candy peach tastes. But again, they’re fleeting and pushed to the back half of each sip. Luckily they remain in tact for the soda’s finish, undoubtedly the best part of the drink. However, the overwhelming take away from Prodigious Peach is that it tastes fake without having a noticeable peach punch. We’d heard good things about this soda, so it definitely has its supporters, but we can’t recommend it. This is a movie I wouldn’t see again.

Two Stars

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Bundaberg Peachee Soda

History: Bundaberg is one of the biggest craft soda companies in the world. It is quite possibly the most widely distributed international craft soda brand on earth. We can’t confirm that, but let’s be honest; we know you don’t really care. The point is, they’re big. But if you know anything about the care they put into their products, then you’re aware there’s no cutting corners for this Australian craft soda powerhouse. Every brand has a “thing” that makes them unique. Bundaberg’s thing? They brew their soft drinks. They literally use yeast and ferment their sodas in tanks, like you’d brew a beer. You might be thinking, “Wait, fermenting? Doesn’t that mean there’s alcohol involved??” Yes, yes there is. Or at least, there was at one point. Bundaberg removes the booziness from their beverages before moving on to other parts of production, like carbonating the soda with water. There’s still trace amounts leftover that contribute to the soda’s flavor profile. If you can actually taste the residual amount of alcohol in it, then I’d contact your local medical laboratory because you may have special powers. You probably know Bundaberg for its ginger beer, but this process goes for all of their sodas, including Peachee, the one we’re reviewing today. Peach juice and Queensland cane sugar supplement the brewing process in this fruity elixir from down under.

Where to get: Bundaberg is one of the largest international craft soda distributors in the world. Their products are sold throughout the United States and the world. To find the neatest location near you, use the company’s online locator. You can also buy it online from Galco’s or Soda Emporium. We’d be shocked if it wasn’t located somewhere near you. And if it isn’t, contact your country’s international distributor. They’re all nice people and willing to help out.

Nose: Peach skin, scratch and sniff peach; Peach-O’s .

Taste: Ground sugar; earthy peach flavor, sharp carbonation. For a soda with such a vibrant peach-esque color, you’d expect a signature sweet peach flavor, but on the first few sips, the sugar is what’s most evident. It’s a little jarring at first, but mellows with time. The peach flavor comes in next, but it isn’t exactly like biting into a fresh peach with sugar on it. The sugar and the peach flavors really act separately here. The peach taste has a little more of an earthy bite to it as opposed to a crisp, fresh punch. It’s different, but easy drinking on the palate. Part of that comes from the soda’s carbonation, which really bounces off the taste buds, but does little in the way of distracting from flavor. This is pleasant, even for a noticeably sweet fruit soda.

Finish: Faint candy peach flavor that lasts just seconds. Very little in the way of lingering flavor, that for some, could lead to multiple bottles in one setting.

Rating: With fresh fruit sodas being all the rage right now, the current soda enthusiast may be a little spoiled. Upon looking at the bright peach color in this bottle, most will expect a very fresh peach taste. Instead, this is a little more of a candy peach flavor with some distinctive, natural earthy tones. It does maintain a little bit of that fresh taste you’re seeking. The sugar is pretty potent at first, but over time you wouldn’t want less of it. The sweetness actually aids the earthy peach flavor here, but pushes the limits for us in terms of what’s palatable for repeat bottle-popping. What we’re saying is you probably wouldn’t do more than two or three of these at a time. Newer companies like Brooklyn Soda Works and Cannonborough Beverage are simply changing the game on what “real fruit sodas” mean, using intense amounts of real fruit juices and produce. That said, this is totally drinkable and has good qualities. I want to be friends with benefits with this soda. I just don’t want to date it, at least yet. But that could change. I’m still newly single. On a hot day by the pool, yeah, drink this until your insides turn orange. I might even suggest a little booze to cut the sugar. As it is, Peachee is kind of like a fuzzy navel without alcohol. It’s definitely worth a shot and we could see it being a very divisive soda in terms of audience reception. Bundaberg Peachee, I’ll call you back, girl.