I’m not a pumpkin spice person. I think it’s mainly because I’m not a pumpkin person. For most of my life I avoided pumpkin pie but over time I acclimated myself to it and even convinced myself that it was something I enjoyed. A few years ago it dawned on me that I don’t have to like it. No one is forcing me, and as an adult I can eat whatever type of pie I want and leave the rest alone. It’s not that I hate pumpkin pie, but if the option is there for me to have two slices of apple pie instead of an apple and a pumpkin, I’m going 2X apple every day.
Hank’s sent me a case of sodas in the hope that I would review their seasonal offerings. The Caramel Apple Cream soda was outstanding, but I knew that I’d need to keep an open mind for the Pumpkin Spice. I chilled the bottles, poured a small glass, and was really struck by how powerful the aroma of warm spices were coming off the effervescent orange tinted beverage. Cinnamon and clove tickle your nose several inches before the glass comes to your lips. The flavor is obviously pumpkin spice, but it reminded me of some strong small batch root beers I’ve tried in the past, or an aggressive gingerbread/molasses cookie. However, a strong root beer usually starts sweet and finishes with a strong spice. This soda starts with the strong spice notes and then finishes smoothly with a subtle pumpkin body. Nothing about this is cloying or fake. It works, and it works well. I had my first bottle on its own, and I drank the second bottle with some good pizza. I wouldn’t discourage either approach.
Bottom line, I liked it, but between this and the Caramel Apple Cream, I’ll stick with the Caramel Apple Cream. However, if you’re a fan of pumpkin spice (in general), then you’ll probably really enjoy this. Be warned that this soda is sweet. Not too sweet, but the cane sugar and premium ingredients give it a nice smooth body and texture. I’m really impressed with the Hank’s Gourmet Beverages brand. Super cool of them to provide me with the samples, but also very encouraging to see them taking a lot of care in putting out a great product.