Fentimans Cherry Tree Grows Tall

Cherry Tree Cola

Available at: The Root Cellar

Ed — What can be found in a champagne fountain but a round of bubbly? I’d have to say Fentimans Cherry Tree Cola does. It can flow like a round of sparkly wine to be enjoyed during a social event, if I had my choice. The drink offers more than just a simple excitement in my mouth: it’s a gingerly kiss of additional flavours that puts other cherry sodas to shame.

Quite simply, there is a hint of fermented ginger which helps enhance the other tastes. I discovered this drink at The Root Cellar. A day later, I’m sipping this lightly alcoholic drink and enjoying every drop.

According to the label, the Fentimans company has a plant in Burnaby, B.C. and that’s good news for soda lovers. The nearby brewery will mean wider distribution for this region, and I’m hoping more grocery stores will carry this product in the same shelf space where Coca Cola or Pepsi products reside. That may seem like sacrilege, but that’s the only way Fentimans will catch on.

According to their website, they have distribution all over North America, but not all stores carry it. I’m hoping that changes. And I’ll certainly be back to my store of choice to buy a pack of Curiousity Cola and Rose Lemonade. In the heart of the summer season, both drinks will no doubt hit the spot. More than likely, I may just stick to Cherry Tree.

I’m a sucker for a good berry, and not many colas seem to fit the bill. The USA manufactured Cherry Coke tastes like water; the UK run is starting to settle (i.e. you don’t taste the cherries unless the can is poured out onto a glass cup to allow the contents to remix), and Dr. Pepper’s red-coloured prescription is running out. I do like what the Doctor offers, but when not many stores sell singles, finding my preferred drink of choice means buying a 12 pack.

I’m hoping the Root Cellar doesn’t run out of Fentimans anytime soon, because I’ll be wanting to try their product line. I can savour the drink straight out of the bottle, but better yet, I can giggle and cuddle these cold bottles while the summer heat wave continues well into the Fall.

Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer
Available at: The Market on Millstream

James — I’m a lover of root beer. I’ve tried A&W, Dad’s, Hires, and the Pop Shoppe among multitudes of others. But I’ve never touched ginger beer. I’ve heard that it is a favourite in the UK but in North America, I believe it has yet to catch fire.

There’s always a first time for everything and I thought I would give the honour of my first taste to Fentimans, a soda pop company from Newcastle Upon Tyne. They’ve been brewing this stuff “botanically” since 1905. As a pop company, that’s pretty old. But when compared to other businesses in the UK, they’re still one of the younger ones on the block. This bottle, however, is a USA product and is manufactured out of Burnaby, British Columbia.

What this means is that the pop may not be as good a product as its UK counterpart. I know the difference through taste tests. On the first pour into a nice glass (I prefer not to drink my soda from a can) it gives the look of a murky 7-up. I can see bits of ginger floating around. And, according to the label, speedwell, juniper, yarrow and pear juice concentrate are used. The pear juice must be there to sweeten the ginger and that makes for an easier drink for wimps like myself.

It’s not that I hate ginger, I just dislike it. Unless it comes in vitamin form or is a required recipe ingredient, I’m making wide tracks. On the first sip of this beer, I did not find it unpleasant. On the second sip, I thought this drink isn’t so bad. By the third and fourth, I can see why the British are so fond of it.

It doesn’t take much convincing for me to try something new. Without it, I would’ve never enjoyed the salted moose meat that I used to purchase in Victoria’s Chinatown. And if I never tried sushi I would’ve never found my love for Japanese cuisine. Everything has its influence. Now ask me if I’m ready to try jarred beets and I’ll retort, “Go to Hell!”


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