Fitz’s newest flavors: A taste test
Although known for its classic root beer, craft soda company Fitz’s is stepping outside the box with its newest flavors: Kaldi’s Coffee Cola and Pi Ginger Beer.
Though the flavor profiles are unexpected, Fitz’s has pulled off the combinations quite well. In doing so, Fitz’s honors two St. Louis staples, Kaldi’s Coffee and Pi Pizzeria. Through collaboration between the establishments and many iterations of each soda, Fitz’s developed the unique flavors, which came onto the market last month.
According to Michael Alter, founder and CEO of Fitz’s, the flavors are not only unique, but “off the spectrum. They’re on the fringe side of the flavor world.”
Kaldi’s Coffee Cola
A coffee-flavored craft soda was an obvious choice for a collaboration between Fitz’s and Kaldi’s Coffee.
I wasn’t really sure what I would experience when I ventured to taste it, but I’ll admit the coffee drinker in me was excited.
With the first sip, I was pleasantly struck by how sweet the drink actually was—perhaps my palate was expecting the sharpness of a cup of coffee. Though I never would have pegged it on my own, coffee and cola are made to go together.
This drink is all about proportions—there is just enough robust coffee flavor, balanced and complemented by the sweetness of Fitz’s renowned natural cane-sugar cola base. It is not simply a coffee drink with cola added, nor is it a cola drink with coffee added.
Alter said that the main challenge in developing a coffee cola was coffee’s tendency to become bitter if misused.
“It’s a really fun drink. No one really knows what a coffee cola is, which is part of the fun of making it,” Alter said.
Pi Ginger Beer
Though ginger beer is not a Fitz’s invention like the Coffee Cola, Fitz’s reinvented the beverage through its partnership with Pi Pizzeria.
Tangy notes of ginger and the sweetness of cane sugar hit you on the very first sip. Though Fitz’s sodas are traditionally low in carbonation, the ginger beer has a slightly higher level than the classic root beers. For me, one of the most pleasant sensations of Pi Ginger Beer is the aftertaste—a spicy tingling in the back of the throat while sweetness lingers on the tongue.
Fitz’s goal for the ginger-beer flavor was to produce a soda that was gingery but not overwhelmingly spicy. Throughout development, Fitz’s experimented with a variety of flavor combinations before settling on a final product.
“We were sometimes too sweet; we were sometimes way too spicy. It was really just going after it and having many, many different tastings with [Pi] until we finally settled on it,” Alter said.
To highlight the sodas, Fitz’s will be selling a St. Louis variety pack, packaging Fitz’s Root Beer, Kaldi’s Coffee Cola and Pi Ginger Beer. The sodas are also sold at all Pi Pizzeria locations, all Kaldi’s Coffee locations and Fitz’s.