Chunky Aloe Beverage Produces Surprises

ALO

ALO

I Paid: $1.49 for a 16.9-ounce bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 2 stars

If you were to say to me, "I have an idea for a new beverage," I'd counter with, "OK, tell me that idea." And if you said, "My idea involves taking aloe vera pulp and mixing it with a bunch of other stuff and giving every drink a vague, adjective-driven name," I'd say, "Please tell me the best way to avoid investing in your new company."

And yet, that's the ALO game plan: chunky, chewy, drinkable aloe beverages. Very strange. Stranger still: They're damned tasty.

The basic flavor, Exposed, contains water, aloe vera pulp, aloe vera juice, aloe vera pulp, cane sugar, honey, citric acid, vitamin C, and natural grape flavor. It's refreshing, mild, light, cooling, and, well, kind of chunky. It's a little like drinking the world's most sophisticated and understated green gummy bear. Overall, though, not a bad experience.

Enliven (aloe plus 12 fruits and vegetables) is a bit more radical. It's got the same soft, chunky aloe texture as Exposed, but something of a spinach-pineapple–orange juice flavor up front and a celery aftertaste. This sounds horrible—and it is, in fact, a little off-putting at first—but the taste gets more pleasant and approachable as you drink more, and it's ultimately quite refreshing.

Elated may be my favorite of the three varieties. It contains aloe, green tea, and olive leaf tea, and the cane-sugar-sweetened green tea flavor is both the front and back of the experience. I'm not sure what olive leaf tea tastes like particularly, as no jarring or novel flavor notes really come through. The texture on the aloe is a little less pronounced, and overall the drink is a zingy, refreshing flavor rocket.

Americans feel ambivalent about chewable beverages. On the one hand there's Orbitz (RIP), and on the other there's the ever-popular bubble tea. It remains to be seen whether this chunky quaff will make the cut. Just in case, I'm stocking up the fridge.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.