Ginger Ale to Black Cherry Cream: Craft Sodas of Metro D

By: Amber Ogden | March 3, 2015

This isn’t a scientific fact or anything, but I’m willing to bet about 95 percent of us Metro Detroiters use the term “pop” when referring to a carbonated beverage, not soda. Unless you were born on the west coast, those of us who grew up in Metro Detroit refer to our beloved Faygo and Vernors as pop.

That is, unless you’re talking about pop’s sophisticated cousin, craft soda, when it would seem childish to use the term pop. Craft pop doesn’t have as much of a ring to it, now does it?

You all know how many breweries there are in southeast Michigan, and several of them produce craft soda as well. A fact you may not realize because you’re often choosing to guzzle an ice-cold brew when you’re there! However, keep these places in mind and sample some craft soda in the D:

Motor City Brewing Works, 470 W. Canfield St., Detroit, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and those of you under 21 can cheers with a craft soda! While you might instantly associate MCBW with Ghettoblaster or Honey Porter, there are plenty of craft sodas to choose from.

Try a Ginger Ale, Grape Soda, Orange Cream Soda, Rock N Rye, Root Beer or Black Cherry Soda to whet your whistle. Each of the flavors is made with cane sugar and is caffeine free, so you can have as many as you’d like without fearing the aftermath of cavities or bouncing off the walls.

Mary Ann’s Soda Co., is everything craft soda should be, from the cute-as-a-button bottles to the actual product itself. Flavors include Ginger Beer, Coffee Soda and Sparkling Soda, all of which can be mixed with alcohol to create a tasty cocktail (add whiskey to the Ginger Beer and vodka to the Sparkling Soda).

In addition to the sodas, Mary Ann’s makes syrups, including a winter seasonal Cranberry Syrup, which when mixed with club soda, vodka and an orange slice, makes a great after 5 p.m. drink. Mary Ann’s Soda’s can be found at local restaurants and bars, including Our/Detroit, Rock City Eatery and Mudgie’s, as well as at Detroit’s Parker Street Market and at The Storefront Gallery in Ferndale.

Dragonmead Microbrewery, 14600 E. 11 Mile Rd., Warren, has plenty of St. Patrick’s Day bourbon barrel beers on the horizon, but you’re interested in the craft sodas for now, aren’t you? Dandy Dragon Sodas are made without corn syrup, and instead use real beet sugar, so you don’t need to feel as unhealthy slugging one down!

Black Cherry Soda or Orange Cream Soda are two of your choices at Dragonmead.

Bagger Dave’s, with several Metro Detroit locations, is known for its burgers. I visited one for the first time just recently, and was pleased to discover that they make their own sodas! Normally, when I can’t order a Coca-Cola I am the opposite of a happy camper, but the burger tavern makes some great house made sodas, so when in Rome, you go with the flow.

They’re made in small batches and come in a variety of flavors, including Black Cherry Cream, Cola, Diet Cola, Ginger Ale, Lemonade, Lemon Lime, Orange, Cream, Root Beer and Mystery. Like a beer flight, you can even try a soda sampler and test any four of the above. If you enjoy them so much that you want to take a few home, you can do that, too. Four packs are available for $8.60 and include Black Cherry Cream, Orange Cream and Root Beer flavors.

Most pop drinkers out there are faithful to his or her favorite (Coke vs. Pepsi), but when there are so many unique and locally produced choices to pick from in Metro Detroit, put down your usual can for something a little different. Enjoy sipping your soda in the D!