Friday, May 17, 2013

Blue Sky

The Pooj never saw the sun shining so bright.
(The Milkman at Granville Island, Vancouver – June 2012)

Until recently I had only seen Blue Sky Free, Blue Sky’s sugar-free soda line, available at US stores. Consequently, I hauled this can all the way back from Vancouver, only to discover less than 2 weeks later that a natural foods store within walking distance of work also carried the non-sugar-free line. Oh well…

Blue Sky originally started in 1980 in Santa Fe, NM as a juice company. Founders Robert Black and Marla Becker later moved into the “natural beverage” business, eventually making sodas. After being purchased by Hansen’s in 2000 and moving production to Corona, CA, Blue Sky got into a little trouble for continuing to market as a home-grown New Mexico product (source). Good thing for them that we don’t judge – we just drink root beer (and then judge...), and drink it we will (well, at least I will…).

The Hansen's site says that there are cloves and nutmeg in the mix, which initially makes me think that it might taste like Christmas. I am happy to report, however, that it doesn’t taste like pie; it actually tastes like root beer, with some birch mixed into the smell and aftertaste. Mostly it tastes sweet, so that fights a little with some of the more subtle flavors floating around the brew, though it does finish off the aftertaste nicely. Although everything might be “all natural,” at 42g of sugar per can, it’s still a sugar bomb, so don’t expect this to be any healthier (or less unhealthy, as it were) than any other sugar-sweetened root beer. Perhaps the “natural” sugar is what makes the sweetness slightly caramel-y (though that "caramel-y" flavor also makes it taste a little like that Extra gum I tried a little while back, which I realize doesn't really make this sound very tasty...).

As for head, there’s only a little foam, and a little more that lingers around the edge of the glass. The carbonation remains pretty hard (not too unusual for a canned root beer) and it has fairly large bubbles, though it does flatten faster than I would have expected. Over all it’s better than I expected – not so much that I’ll be drinking nothing but Blue Sky from now on, but there’s a good chance that I’ll drink this again. I’d say that’s enough for a low 3.5.