The Bubbleverse is currently summering in the Midwest. While it might sound like we’re in pursuit of some pure, idyllic Americana fireworks-and-hot-dogs summer, in reality we’re recovering from relentless west coast wildfire seasons and droughts, prepping in the woods in search of off-grid living and fresh water supply. Welcome to the Anthopocene!
But while we’re out here shopping at Meijer amongst the locals, we delight each and every time we discover a new sparkling water brand. Surprisingly, the middle of nowhere can really come through with sparkling water offerings. (We’ve even come across some Aura Bora at several local establishments, which basically constitutes civilization in our books.)
Basically, it appears the Midwest knows what’s up.
In this case, our sparkling water Gem of the Day is the Luxembourgishly-named charmer “Klarbrunn” (KLAR-broon).
Apparently it’s what early 1800’s “European Settlers” cried out when they discovered clear, pure artesian springs bubbling up from deep underground. Klarbrunn! Not “maybe settler colonialism is a bad idea!”
We take it that the “Klarbrunn”-yelling settlers were the proto-hipsters of the millennial sparkling water zeitgeist and captured the marketing-minded side of settler colonialism. We’ll sip on that.
A little more about this brand we’ve never heard of until now: They’re from…Wisconsin. Considering LaCroix and Untitled Art also both hail from Wisconsin, we’re starting to think the Cheesehead state is one big Sparkling Water Exclusive, and the Bubbleverse Headquarters should be relocated to, like, Racine, stat. Too bad we can’t get Frank Lloyd Wright to design our research tower.
Anyway, while we’ve only stumbled across some of the flavor classics (Lime, Lemon, Raspberry and Black Cherry) on the shelves, apparently Klarbrunn has a depth chart that goes from the sublime to the tropical and we’re salivating over their website. A Coconut Pineapple? Yes, please.
We particularly enjoy pondering what their “Pomelo Grapefruit” could be, which surely answers the question, what happens when two Citroid Heavyweights enter the ring together? And yet, how does this differ from their Citrus Blend??
They even have a “Wisconsin Exclusive” called “Bucky’s Cherry Berry”. Who is Bucky and why is his Cherry Berry only for special Wisconsin people??
Klarbrunn launched their effervescent nectar into the world back in 1987, the same decade that that spawned its Wisconsin competitor LaCroix, so clearly there was something in the 1980’s Wisconsin water, so to speak. But why did LaCroix become the Mount Olympus of sparkling water beverages, while Klarbrunn remained a local nymph, barely known among Waterloo titans and Nixie goddesses? We don’t know.
Klarbrunn only begets more questions than answers, so for today, let’s just stick with exploring the Raspberry.
The nose on this is plump and juicy. As if the nose has the equivalent of a mouthfeel. It’s still delicate though. Not overwhelming, just right.
If the ill-advised ‘90s fruit candy Gushers gushed into a sparkling water, this would be it.
A torrent of lush raspberries flood your mouth. And while revisiting the thought of those candies right now makes us shudder (how were those real?), we’re using this reference as a compliment. There’s something rich and juicy about this that evokes candy and decadence, while remaining a straight up quality sparkling water.
We’re now hollering “Klarbrunn!” too, as our discovery of a fresh, clean sparkling water bubbles up from the shelves of Meijer, a plump summer raspberry dancing atop the gurgling geyser of our effervescent dream. This is more Waterloo than Bubly. No citric acid dregs here, just a thoughtful single note exploration of the delicate fruit and solo flavor offering.
Their can and their website claim that the water is “naturally sourced”, which is pretty vague, but they’re also from “Watertown” Wisconsin, so maybe their entire town is just one big Natural Source. Like the Venice of the Midwest. They use a reverse osmosis filtration process which adds to the overall clean, crisp effect of this water, which honestly is as strong of a tasting note as the flavor itself.
Basically, we want to try all of the Klarbrunns.
We’re such Klarbrunn fans now that we’re low key considering ordering one of their sweatshirts. It features their original logo (which we kind of love), a 19th century dowser in search of freshwater, and the American dream.
Same, dowser dude. Same.
Carbonated Water, Natural Raspberry Flavor
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