The craft beer phenomenon keeps on spreading its wings, growing beyond just beer itself. Hop candies, beer-infused ice creams, beer soap, and spent grain energy bars and dog treats are just a few of the random craft beer-themed items that have been popping up to fill the insatiable desire of craft beer drinkers. Now, you can add hop-infused soda to that list.
Proper Soda, out of Grand Rapids, is filling the void of beer-flavored beverages that you can drink at any time of the day. The first release in their line of handcrafted, gourmet (if you will), sodas is Hop Soda. Naturally flavored with real hops and sugar, this carbonated beverage tastes of a lemon-lime based soda with the hoppy characteristic you look for in your favorite IPA or pale ale.
Their goal was to provide an option for situations like when you’re on a lunch break from work and you really want that beer flavor to complement your food, but don’t want to risk the chance of returning to work after drinking a real beer or just don’t want that sleep coma that a single beer tends to induce. Drinking a hoppy-flavored soda is intended to fill the craving, while leaving you without a buzz and ready to continue to accomplish things.
The idea for Proper Soda came when founder Stephen Curtis was working in the coffee industry. One of his favorite drinks to make was a coffee soda. He would mix a shot of espresso and some simple syrup with club soda and it was a popular beverage. It was so loved, that he was looking for ways to produce it on a large scale and bring it to a more vast audience. While on a trip to Portland, OR, he was in a coffee competition and decided to compete with a coffee and hop soda. He didn’t do very well, as the drink didn’t turn out ideal, but it showed signs of potential. Living in Grand Rapids, one of the great beer cities, it seemed more realistic to launch his soda line with a hop-flavored soda (minus the coffee, of course). He found a partner to help produce the soda in large quantities and Proper Soda was formed.
Stephen plans on launching a number of other flavors in the coming year, all focused on using untraditional soda ingredients that add an interesting aspect to the boring Coca-Cola and Pepsi dominated soda market. Currently, the Hop Soda is only available on retail shelves in Western Michigan, but you can order cans of the soda at propersoda.com.