There’s a change brewing in the alcohol industry. Poor puns aside, it does seem to be the case that there are more and more alcoholic drinks attempting to spoof soda. It sure felt as though Not Your Father’s Root Beer rolled onto the scene, had huge success, and adults everywhere were like, “Wow, I don’t really like alcohol. I just like soda but also getting drunk.”
As a result, the market has been somewhat flooded with a slew of faux root beers. Everyone is raving about how you can get the effects of beer with the flavor of a classic soda pop. Beer titan MillerCoor, in charge of distribution of both Miller and Coors brands, saw the magnificent value in this whole thing — and so Henry’s Hard Soda was born.
Henry’s Hard Soda is really a bit of genius on MillerCoor’s part. It looks and feels like a small-time product. It’s technically brewed by Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co., but has the national support of a huge company and as a result is heavily advertised and readily available in most places.
Henry’s Hard Soda doesn’t bring much originality to the table, but they do what they do well. They have two flavors: ginger ale, which has already been done by others (including Small Town Brewery, the folks behind Not Your Father’s), and orange. As a huge fan of fruity alcohol, I felt that orange would be in line with my natural inclinations.
Their hard orange soda is nearly an exact replica of any other brand of regular, non-alcoholic orange soda. If it were in a different bottle, I’m not sure I could tell the difference. For whatever reason, the alcohol brings with it a slightly creamy flavor, not all that dissimilar from those cream filled orange popsicles children regularly gnaw on.
Even if this didn’t have any alcohol in it, it would still be worth a try for anyone who likes orange soda. It has its own unique flavor, and maybe the cane sugar is just a marketing tool that I’ve foolishly bought into, but it actually tastes sort of natural in comparison to other orange sodas I’ve had.
Henry’s Hard Orange comes in at a measly 4.2 percent ABV, and putting down more than one or two of them seems like a serious struggle for anyone who isn’t absolutely in love with soda. It doesn’t come without its perks though — drinking one with lunch was nice and relaxing, and it pairs well with food the same way any other orange soda does.
You can get Henry’s Hard Soda for around $10 per six pack and for soda aficionados it’s worth a regular purchase. For regular folk who can’t stomach tons of sugary sweetness, though, it may be best to stick to traditional brews.