Review: Pumpkin Pie Soda tastes like a cold latte


Sweet flavour without pumpkin overload makes it more palatable than previous stunt products.

jones soda, pumpkin pie soda

THE GOOD: Sweet flavour without pumpkin spice overload.
THE BAD: Tastes like coffee or bad root beer.

It wasn’t so long ago that bacon was the hot trend in food. Now, it’s undeniably pumpkin spice. For the past few years, it’s been popping up in everything just as soon as Labour Day hits. Coffee, muffins, cookies… even pie. It’s a seasonal taste that is quickly becoming yet another reminder that fall is almost (officially) here.

Jones Soda is getting in on the action. The Seattle-based company, originally founded in Vancouver, has released a new Pumpkin Pie Soda in conjunction with Smoke’s Poutinerie, because of course, nothing goes better with poutine than pop… that tastes like pumpkin?

Starting today, you can get Pumpkin Pie Soda at one of Smoke’s 100-plus locations across Canada as part of a Thanksgiving combo.

Jones is rather understated in pumping up the new product. “Pumpkin is the flavour of fall,” said director of marketing Andrew Baumann in a release.

The company has a history of stunt flavours. There was the atrocious-tasting Poutine Soda two years ago, and turkey-and-gravy soda before that.

Pumpkin Pie Soda is less audacious in comparison, especially considering that it’s following a trend rather than trying to shock. That might be because Jones is actually looking to sell some units through its partnership with Toronto-based Smoke’s, rather than just get attention.

In that vein, Pumpkin Pie Soda isn’t bad. I managed to drink a whole bottle, which is more than I can say for the Poutine flavour two years back.

For starters, it’s sweet, unlike the muddy nastiness of its predecessors. The pumpkin taste is also unmistakable, although to Jones’ credit, it’s not overdone. There is such a thing as too pumpkin-y.

If you’ve had a pumpkin spice latte, though, it’s hard not to taste the similarity. I actually wish I’d come at it never having had one because then I’d have had an unbiased palette. As it is, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I was drinking a cold coffee.

I tried to place the odd taste into a different context and the only thing I could come up with was perhaps root beer that had gone bad. Such a thing is impossible, of course, and root beer is generally good no matter what the situation.

Maybe it’s the fact that pumpkin and sassafras, the plant on which root beer is based, have a similar zingy taste, even if it is chemically replicated.

Nevertheless, Pumpkin Spice Soda is a palatable step away from Jones’ usual shock flavour. It wouldn’t be my first choice of pop to wash down a carton of poutine, but if you’re feeling like something different it’s not something you’re going to immediately regret.

Jones Soda supplied a sample for the purposes of this review.

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