This week i got to catch up with Aaron, who along with Mike, Twitch and recently added video blogger, The Soda Hunter run TheSodaJerks.net. From their base in Texas, The Soda Jerks has been reviewing over 600 sodas since 2008. These guys know their stuff!
When did you start?
We started March 25th, 2008
What made you want to run a soda review blog?
Virgil’s Root Beer actually. I had gone shopping and saw an $8 four pack of root beer. I laughed at the idea that anyone would pay that much for a soda. Well that night Mike and I were getting together for our monthly pizza/anime night and I told him about it. Immediately he suggested we go buy it… which we did. After chilling it we each took a swig and were blown away. This was the most amazing root beer I’d had to date and I almost didn’t buy it because it was a somewhat expensive uncertainty. I needed to tell people about this root beer and all sodas that they may be passing up. So I asked Mike if he wanted to start a soda review blog. He said sure and that night I wrote our first review on our old Livejournal page, thus birthing the Jerks.
Best thing about running TheSodaJerks?
Learning about sodas around the country. I love stumbling upon a smaller manufacturer that truly puts love an ingenuity into each of their sodas. Even speaking with them over e-mail you can see the passion they have for their craft.
It’s a soda you can only buy in New Zealand called Sodafruit – Strawberry. A local man makes it there as a side business and it’s pretty fantastic. If I had to pick a favorite stateside soda that someone could obtain it would be Pure Sodaworks – Apple Pie.
Most unusual drink you have ever tried?
Empire Bottling Works Spruce Beer is up there. It smells like pine trees and Vicks VapoRub and the taste mirrors the aroma. Lester’s Fixins – Sweet Corn Soda is another one that’s pretty strange. Picture opening a can of corn and straining out the corn juice. Then you carbonate the corn juice, and now you have Sweet Corn Soda. Super odd.
Having personally reviewed probably 300 or 400 of 600 sodas we’ve done I’ve had several terrible ones. Since that’s the case I’ll pick the first soda I couldn’t finish, Malta Hatuey. Malta Hatuey is a malted soda that uses hops but no alcohol. It was like drinking cheerios soda if the milk was a little bad.
Drink you most want to try?
There’s not a particular drink I’d like to review, but I wish I could more easily obtain sodas from Japan. There’s such a flavor difference in what is available in Japan and what we have here. It’d be super interesting to give a few of those a try.
Plans for future ?
Well, we just added one more member to the Soda Jerks team. Our Soda Hunter drives around the country and does video reviews for us. We hadn’t been big into video reviews, so it seemed natural to add him to the team. I’d also like to get back into the Popcast with Mike, but it’s a matter of scheduling time together to do so. All in all I just want the site to grow and become your go to place for soda reviews. Sponsorship and monetary gain would be great, but it’s never been the goal. The goal is to produce reviews written in a way that relate to, but don’t insult the reader.
Soda, pop or fizzy drink?
Being from Texas every soda used be a “Coke”, but since we are The Soda Jerks it kind of naturally fell into being called “soda”.
Flavour of drink you would most like to see made?
Chocolate Cola. I’ve had chocolate soda and I’ve had cola, but a chocolate cola would be pretty dang good if done correctly.
What is the story with Twist? (The Lizard in all the photos)
Twist was a happy accident. When I started off the site I used to just look for a logo of the soda we were reviewing on the web. Then I started snapping my own pictures at my desk and doing a tight crop to leave out desk clutter. Well one day my desk was a bit too cluttered to I had to find a place to take the soda pic. Sitting on top of my DVD case (remember it’s 2008) was my recently returned plastic iguana.
A friend had borrowed him for nearly 5 years or so and I’d completely forgotten that I owned him, so I just kind of put him there. After each soda was consumed I’d put the bottle cap on his head like a little hat and trail the rest down his back. There was a little extra space in front of him and he was already soda themed so I figured why not incorporate him into the picture.
Fun fact, his name is Twist not because that’s how you open a soda, but because he has twist ties around each of his front “wrists”. I’m not sure how the twist ties got there, but that’s what caused his name. Fortunately my subconscious also realized the name Twist had soda connotations and went along with it.
For the first several years of the site people thought he was real… heck some still might.