Ever wonder why most soda is obnoxiously sweet when it could just taste like fruit with carbonation? Thanks to the food blog Becks & Posh, we found out about an actually delicious naturally-fermented soda being sold at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It’s called Drinkwell, and is made with seasonal fruits, sugar, and whey (yes, the stuff from milk.) It’s pumped from 5-gallon kegs into reusable metal canteens. To get its bubbles, it’s exposed to the air, where naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria ferment the beverage. The day I visited, lemon verbena, cucumber mint, and strawberry flavors were on offer. Lorraine Ottens, the sodamaker, says a sweet potato flavor is in the works for fall.

There are restaurants making seasonal, natural sodas too: Hotlips Pizza, in Portland, OR does blackberry soda on tap, which has real pulp in it; you can also buy it in bottles. Tilth restaurant in Seattle does cranberry mint soda, among others, and Duckfat, in Portland, ME is famous for its sodas, such as strawberry and hyssop.

You can also make your own: CHOW’s rootbeer recipe uses yeast, and our ginger beer recipe relies on yeasts and bacteria in the air.

Or, if you are in the Los Angeles area, stop by this guy’s soda shop to pick up all sorts of small-batch sodas (including bottles of the aforementioned blackberry from Hotlips Pizza):

Photo by Sam Breach, of Becks & Posh.

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