Perfect Duluth Soda?

So, I make Fizzy Waters a regular stop while I am in Canal Park, but it’s not the only place I get tasty sodas.

My increasing taste for soda started with the public resistance to high fructose corn syrup. I started swapping out Coke for Mexican Coke, Mountain Dew for Mountain Dew Throwback, all of which are made with “real” sugar. It started to bug me when I saw allegedly “gourmet” sodas made with HFCs, even my bread made with HFCs.

So a joint like Fizzy gives me some real options. But it’s not the only such location. Ganucci’s Italian Market sells very affordable Italian sodas — including sodas in 3 oz. bottles. When I was younger, I would have called a soda in a three ounce bottle a ripoff. Now, I recognize that, properly formulated, a 3 oz. soda packs all the flavor in the soda experience that I need.

Of course, all of this stems from a childhood love of soda that (at that point) was only available straight from the source: A&W root beer was a special treat, only available if we were willing to eat from our car the six months a year where it was warm enough to do that. (I worry now that A&W at the drive-ins is no different from the fountain stuff available in other restaurants.)

Why is this on my mind? One of those three-ounce soda-type creations was provided by Canal Park Brewery for Ottertoberfest at the Aquarium, a tasty rootbeer that resists the desire to chug because it is so awesome. (It’s also on my mind because I still miss the 1919 root beer stand at the State Fair.)

Where do you get your sodas?



about 11 years ago

Many of our local breweries craft a homemade root beer that matches their barley energy drinks in quality! I think. I don't enjoy liquid sugar as I did in my youth.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

It has always surprised me that no one in Duluth has gotten seriously into the soda-making business -- not to mention Lake Superior bottled water.

We've got a half-dozen coffee companies and beer breweries, and a bourbon and gin distillery set to open soon, but no soda other than Brewhouse Root Beer and A & Dubs' batches of A&W Root Beer. (Anything I'm missing?)

Of course, there was the couple in Ely who made Blueberry soda until people found out they were funneling their profits into devil worship.

I should also mention Duluth's best-kept beverage secret: Cosmic Ginger, "a lightly-carbonated, handcrafted lemon and ginger elixir" made on the east side of town and available at Zeitgeist Arts Cafe.


about 11 years ago

Bent Paddle had a brewed root beer on tap when I was there last.

Special K

about 11 years ago

I believe the root beer at Bent Paddle is actually from Lake Superior Brewing.  I wouldn't mind some more local fancy rootbeers from our brewers; Schell's makes 1919 after all.  Is there such thing as artisan or craft root beer?


about 11 years ago

It's quite easy to make your own soda, which also give you the option of using whatever sweetener you'd like.  There are small bottles of soda extract at Last Chance in the brewing section, one will make four gallons with the addition of 8 cups of sugar.  I usually have at least one variety of soda on tap in my kegerator in the basement, tho I've often made smaller batches using a bit of champagne yeast and two liter bottles.  Add the extract, sugar, a touch of yeast and leave it on the counter with a cap on it until the bottle is hard.  Then toss it into the fridge and drink when its cold.  Easy!

Niff Bimrod

about 11 years ago

I'd be wary. Most places add extract to water, carbonate it and call it good.

Niff Bimrod

about 11 years ago

Would like to hear one of the local brewers weigh in on root beer.

[email protected]

about 11 years ago

I do have mixed feelings about the root beer that is "local" but formulated a few hundred miles away, too.


about 11 years ago

Why have I not been made aware of this??? I know that the smoked meat restaurant in Soupy has a locally made cola that's just plain awesome.


about 11 years ago

You cannot buy any soda in Duluth ... only pop.

The Pop vs. Soda Map

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