The temperature is starting to heat up and, as tailgating season at the NASCAR track, baseball park and other outdoor venues kicks into gear, chances are you’re going to get a wee bit thirsty. While a case of beer or, for the more sophisticated members of our tailgate party, a bottle of white wine are sure to find space in your cooler, soft drinks are a must. Since you’re already spending time searching for the coolest craft brewski, why not try out these craft sodas from around the country.
Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale
Buffalo Rock Bottling, Birmingham Alabama
First bottled in 1901 as a remedy for stomach ailments, this Birmingham, Alabama tradition isn’t your average ginger ale. Much darker in color, Buffalo Rock packs a spicy, powerful punch that’ll put some hair on your chest. Many Buffalo Rock drinkers call it a “ginger cola”, while others claim to the drink does help alleviate some stomach problems like motion sickness. Buffalo Rock is delicious when poured over vanilla ice cream or straight when the occasion calls for something less syrupy and sweet than conventional soft drinks. Buffalo Rock does have one fatal flaw – it’s only sold in 12-ounce cans. C’mon guys bring back the glass bottle!
Jackson Hole Soda High Mountain Huckleberry
Jackson Hole Soda, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Made with the juice of sun-ripened huckleberries, High Mountain Huckleberry has a light, sweet and juicy flavor that sits somewhere between the berry’s cousins, raspberries, and blackberries. It’s also brewed like a real American soda forgoing corn syrup for pure cane sugar. The company’s website suggests paring High Mountain Huckleberry with lighter foods like rainbow trout or grilled chicken but is also a great refresher during those long, hot days of late-summer tailgating.
Abita Root Beer Abita Brewing Company,
Abita Springs, Louisiana
A familiar name among discriminating beer drinkers throughout the Southeast, the good folks at Abita Brewing have put their skills to work creating a truly unique root beer. Made with pure Louisiana cane sugar, Abita Root Beer is brewed using a hot mix process of spring water, herbs, vanilla and yucca, a plant used to give the beverage its foam. Refreshing over ice cream, Abita Root Beer is also a great ingredient for glazes and sauces adding some depth to your grilled and smoked meats.
Boylan Bottling Black Cherry Soda
Boylan’s Bottling, Teterboro, New Jersey
The shape of the glass bottles and the minimalist, retro look make Boylan’s Black Cherry worthy of putting a six pack on ice for your next tailgate. That’s before you ever pop the top and take a swig of their black cherry soda. Like many boutique soft drinks, Boylan’s Black Cherry is made with cane sugar, however, its rich and deep flavor comes from its blend of several varieties of cherries, cherry bark, and extracts of bourbon vanilla. The company’s website suggests pairing its black cherry soda with gourmet cheeses or a nice steak.
Thomas Kemper Root Beer
Thomas Kemper, Portland Oregon
Introduced a little over 20 years ago, Thomas Kemper Root Beer is a favorite of aficionados in the Pacific Northwest. Another great soda using cane sugar, Thomas Kemper Root Beer features some interesting ingredients, such as Madagascar vanilla and pure honey. Brewed in small batches, Thomas Kemper Root Beer has a rich, smooth, and creamy taste.