Who knows food and all around great flavors more than a food critic? Well one Chris Onstad decided to take his talents as a food critic and put them into making the “‘Belgian beer’ of craft sodas – something with complexity, a nose, a lingering finish.”
Onstad got the idea to create Portland Soda Works in 2012 when he was a restaurant critic for the Portland Mercury. “I realized that there weren’t any sophisticated beverages for non-alcoholic drinkers. . .”
When trying to make the “‘Belgian beer’ of craft sodas”, Chris Onstad has done anything but cut corners. “Take fresh ginger, for example. . .we brew with whole fresh hands of ginger, never extracts or frozen material.” Onstad went on to say, “we boil our batches from whole, crushed and toasted spices. We extract our own vanilla from whole beans. Our sugar blends (whole cane, never corn syrup) are expensive, and worth it.”
Now Portland; for those of you that don’t know, is a diverse city with a huge following in things such as coffee and craft beer. Portland Soda Works seems to fit perfectly in this style of town, and the people in the community have embraced it completely. “Our tastings and demos bring uniform delight from people – especially when we drop a little vanilla ice cream in the root beer. Not far off is a demo where we spike the root beer and ginger beer with good local bourbon.”
If you are thinking that these sodas are too ‘gourmet’ for children, then think again. “We’ve sampled the soda to hundreds of children, including my own. Children’s palates don’t crave poor quality or simplicity. They go nuts for the rich, full, real flavors of our root beer. One of my favorite memories is packing fresh Portland snow into cups for the kids and giving it a snow cone drizzle of our root beer syrup.”
Want to get your hands on these delicious syrups? Well if you are in the Portland area you are in luck! As well as in five New Seasons stores, Portland Soda Works syrups are in a list of retail and restaurant locations around the Portland area. Looking for other flavors? Well you are in luck! They have flavors such as Hoprose (a delicious combination of hops and rose hips) and Crimson Turk (a ruby colored, Mediterranean spice inspired soda) in the pipeline that will be sure to tickle your tastebuds and make you think of what soda truly can be, and aught to be.