Besides being the smallest state in the union, Rhode Island is also known for seafood, crazy accents, being the birthplace of yours truly, and the originators of the ever popular “HOPE” slogan (sorry Obama). While these assumptions may seem a bit vague and outdated, this is coming from someone living in the Pacific Northwest where it’s generally assumed that we all listen to
Nirvana Death Cab for Cutie, wear flannel on a semi-regular basis are pale yet sparkly vampires, and the majority of us have an IV drip of Starbucks mainlining into our veins (don’t get me wrong, all of these are still pretty much true. Especially the vampire part).
While here in the Northwest, our bottled soda of choice is the ever popular Jones Soda (how could I hate a brand that makes Sweat and Fruitcake flavored sodas?), we decided to pick up a bottle of bubbly beverage which hails from Bristol, RI. A little bit of online research determines they’re a smaller producer, but nice enough to put their phone number right on the label (we spared them any prank phone calls). One of the reviews I found bluntly stated, “The label looks a bit like the product was made in a garage“.
Despite its humble background, I’m always up for a good ginger ale, even when I’m not cruising at 40,000 feet or keeled over with nausea. If anything, ginger ale needs more exposure since personally, I think it’s way better than root beer (yeah, you heard me) and to quote the late Richard Nixon, “You can’t turn on the TV without seeing Polar Bears drinking Coca-Cola or some Spanish lady with breast implants drinking Pepsi. But what about Ginger Ale? Why the hell doesn’t anybody like Ginger Ale?“
I was eager to try this since I usually like to keep it real with good ol’ Kroger Diet Ginger Ale. After wrenching open the cap (then I noticed the “Twist Off Cap” twist), I was surprised by a quite sweet, non-hyper carbonated drink that lingered in my mouth for a bit. As another reviewer mentioned, the taste is less “ginger” and more “generic sweet soda”, though the hint of ginger sneaks up on you at the end. While this soda opts to use “100% cane sugar” instead of the standard/evil High Fructose Corn Syrup, I would say it’s probably equally sweet compared to a mainstream counterpart like Canada Dry, but without that syrupy feeling coating your teeth.
Empire Bottling Works also has a bunch of other varieties that I wouldn’t be opposed to trying, including a cola. I would advise the ginger ale is a decent replacement for your standard Schweppes and we got it for a pretty good price. Plus the retro-vintage style glass bottle makes me feel like a kid pretending to enjoy a beer.