12 October, 2011

Cascal Fermented Soda Revisited

Back in September, I reviewed Cascal Fermented Natural Soda - specifically, the bottled Light Red version, which I enjoyed for it's refreshing fruity dryness. Not too long ago, the folks at Cascal got in touch with me and asked if I'd like to review their new line of fermented sodas, which are being offered in slender 12-ounce cans. I agreed, and they sent along a Cascal Lunch Pack - a five-flavor sampler of Cascal sodas and a cool little lunchbag cooler - for me to try out.

Now, I never really thought I'd say this about a soda, but I admit I'm rather impressed by the depth of flavor and complexity of Cascal's offerings.  Soda pops these days are usually a blend of sticky-sweet syrup and fizzy water and there are few other options.  There are some small-batch crafted root beers out there with rich and interesting flavors, but they're still really sweet. And there are plenty of unsweetened seltzers available, but the flavors are simple and sometimes uninspired.  Cascal does a great job of putting together a soft drink with a decidedly adult appeal - a light, dry, and almost wine-like flavor developed by fermenting the fruit juice ingredients, flavorful without any added sugars, and lightly carbonated.

Here's what I thought of each of Cascal's canned flavors.  Read to the end of the post, and I'll tell you how you can win a Cascal Lunch Pack of your very own!

Crisp White (Pear/Apricot/Magnolia) - A gently floral scent with a snappy pear flavor and just a hint of apricot overtones. Fruity and dry. I found it very refreshing. This was one of three blends that strongly reminded me of wine - Crisp White is kind of like a Riesling. Cascal suggests enjoying it with Brie or strawberry ice cream. I drank it with roasted chicken and it was delicious.

Ripe Rouge (Cherry/Rose/Chocolate) - Distinctively floral nose but with just a hint of rosy flavor.  Cherry and stone fruit flavors yield to a phantom chocolate finish. The flavor profile reminded me of Merlot.  It was great with a grilled cheeseburger.

Fresh Tropical (Mango/Jasmine/Kaffir Lime) - I'd describe this as a "dry mango" soda with a pleasantly tart lime finish. The label mentions jasmine, but I just didn't taste it - perhaps it was too subtle for me. Still, it was deliciously different and it was awesome with the pork rib tips I roasted for kind of an impromptu BBQ snack.

Bright Citrus (Lemongrass/Tangerine/Pineapple) - Probably my favorite of them all.  Dry tangerine/pineapple flavor is well-balanced but leans a bit to the tangerine. Still, both flavors are distinct and distinguishable and I loves me some pineapple soda. Very crisp and quenching. Bright Citrus makes for an awesome rejuvenator after a few hours of early autumn yard work.

Berry Cassis (Black currant/Tangerine/Lemon) - Slightly citrus nose with rich black currant, cherry, and blackberry flavors. This was the third of the "winey" flavors, reminding me of Cabernet sauvignon. It held up well to a grilled steak.

It's easy for me to recommend Cascal Fermented Sodas. Despite my somewhat snarky first review of them last time, I really do think they have a good product, and one that there is a definite need for: An adult-oriented beverage that's a little more complicated than high-fructose corn syrup and water.  Cascal has done it, and done a good job of it.

You don't have to take my word for it, you know.  Cascal has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway here at the Cupboard.



Three lucky winners will each receive a Cascal insulated lunch bag and a five-can sampler of Cascal Fermented Soda.

There are two ways you can enter:

  1. Use the Contact Me tab near the top of the page and send me a message telling me you'd like to win some Cascal. 
  2. Go to Dave's Cupboard on Facebook and comment on the status update that mentions the contest.
THREE WINNERS will be selected at random on MONDAY, OCTOBER 17 2011.  Your entry must be received by 11:59 PM, Sunday October 16th 2011 in order to qualify. Don't wait for the last minute - I'm not responsible for misdirected or unreceived email.  ONE ENTRY per person, please.

Should you win, your prize will be sent to you directly from Cascal.

Dat Lunchbag

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