Reverend and the cola makers

It’s a well-known fact that beer was originally brewed by monks, presumably because getting squiffy took their minds off the fact they lived on a diet of fish and beans and got up at 4am to pray.

Well, turns out them Middle Ages monks didn’t corner the market on potent concoctions (try saying that after a Trappist ale). In the deepest darkest corner of Cornwall (well, St Ives), lives the Reverend John Berriman. An enlightened soul, he has decided a little heat is not a sign of approaching damnation (not for everyone anyway) and has produced…chilli-infused pop.

I know what you’re thinking, a cold glass of fizz is usually a way to take away the head of chilli, what happens when you bring them together like some freakish experiment at the Large Hadron Collider?

The Holy Trinity

Well, it turns out that it works – sort of. I and Lucy, one of my usual guinea pigs, tried them during the tedium of an evening shift. We tested the cola and the fizzy apple, and there is also a diet cola. We both agreed the apple won.

If you are expecting a “hit” of chilli heat, you’ll be disappointed. What you get is a slightly flat-tasting cola with a not unpleasant afterglow of chilli heat at the back of your mouth and down your throat after you swallow. As Lucy put it: “It’s weird but not entirely unpleasant.”

The apple worked better, I think, because it was a little sharper to start with that the slightly flat cola, and the chilli afterburn was more pronounced.

In short, a decent little drink, but I’m unsure whether I would want a lot of it. Though I could see it working well perhaps as a mixer, which may not be what the good Reverend intended – profits generated by sales are going to help alcohol and drug rehabilitation projects across Cornwall. You have to give him kudos however, just for coming up with the idea, after having a surfeit of chillis he grew at home.

Rev Berriman, who is now based in Launceston, has set up a company, 3 Sixteen UK, to make the drinks. And anyone starting a small business down here gets a plus for that as well.


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