Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rocket Fizz Peanut Butter Old Fashioned Soda

I brought this "fun" soda home to my parents to share during Christmas:

Rocket Fizz Peanut Butter Old Fashioned Soda
Lots of food (and my parents) in the background.


Brand: Rocket Fizz Peanut Butter Old Fashioned Soda.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This didn't had a strong flavor, but it didn't taste much like peanut butter. It sort of tasted like wet cardboard. It wasn't a STRONG flavor, and that's the only redeeming quality of this drink. I just bought this 5 months ago and it's been stored in our cool basement, but I feel like it was old and had gone bad. If not, this is a pretty bad soda. I guess I'm ending the year on this nasty note.

Score: 2 out of 10.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Nehi Grape

A soda-drinking friend told me I needed to drink Nehi while watching M*A*S*H because they reference it a lot. So I did:

Nehi Grape and M*A*S*H

Nehi Grape


Brand: Nehi Grape Soda.

Origin: Plano, TX.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was a classic, sugary grape soda. It had a bit of a kick, but otherwise it was almost thick and "syrupy," which is the way I like it. No complaints about this! It was GOOD. I'm tempted to have this be my last soda of 2016 so I end on a high note!

Score: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Red Ribbon Home Brewed Style Root Beer

This is my final soda from my classroom this semester - I cracked into this as I was doing some final grading Sunday afternoon:

Red Ribbon Home Brewed Style Root Beer



Brand: Red Ribbon Home Brewed Style Root Beer.

Origin: Natrona, PA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This had a pretty deep, rich, classic flavor, and it was pretty smooth. But it had a decently strong beer-like aftertaste. I'm not a fan of beer, so I didn't care for that. If you LIKE beer (as most human males do), then try this, but I wasn't a huge fan, so I ranked it a bit lower than average.

Score: 4 out of 10.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Taylor's Tonics Candy Cane Shake Soda

During our final work day in class, I cracked into this in my office:

Taylor's Tonics Candy Cane Shake Soda

The back of the label.


Brand: Taylor's Tonics Candy Cane Shake Soda.

Origin: Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Evaporated Cane Juice.

Review: I was ready for this to be "not great." And it was just that. It DID initially taste like a liquid candy cane, but there was a pretty horrible chemically aftertaste. It had peppermint and vanilla in it which was fine, but it also had coconut water which didn't add the appropriate flavor. (And the last ingredient on the ingredients list is "creativity." Hardy har har.) It tasted like Christmas morning, but the kind of Christmas morning where Dad got drunk with his brothers and they all vomited around the tree.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Filbert's Banana Soda

This looked... interesting... sort of...

Filbert's Banana Soda



Brand: Filbert's Banana Soda.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was odd. I mean, I EXPECTED it to be odd, but it was odder than I thought. It didn't taste like "fresh" bananas, but it tasted a bit like "dried" banana chips. Only a bit "sharper" and harsher. It wasn't good. I didn't expect a whole lot, but this still let me down.


Score: 3 out of 10.
 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Whistler Root Beer

I cracked into my first bottle from my trip to Blue Sun Soda earlier this week. I just HAD to start with this one - my first Whistler soda:

Whistler Root Beer


Brand: Whistler Root Beer

Origin: Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda Shop, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: The first thing I liked was the unique bottle, and that it was only 8 oz. When I purchased this, they were sightly cheaper than most of the other sodas, but then they added on a $0.50 bottle deposit because Whistler reuses their bottles. In fact, there were some scuffs over the top of the neck of the bottle that weirded me out at first.

When I tasted it, it was unlike any root beer I've ever had. It had a STRONG brown sugar flavor, and not a lot of the "herbiness" that most root beers have. My initial thought was that it wasn't necessarily good or bad - just REALLY different. Sip after sip had me liking it more and more. That unique flavor isn't what I expected, and if I was in the mood for a traditional root beer, this might not cut it. But in the end, I really quite liked this soda. It gets a better-than-average score for sure.

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Another Trip to Blue Sun Soda Shop (to see their new addition)

My wife and my youngest son are gone for a few days, so I took my 5-year-old to Blue Sun Soda Shop with me after school yesterday. We hadn't been there since they added on:

Blue Sun Soda Shop
Looking in to Blue Sun's NEW ADDITION!

 At the end of the carpet in that photo above (under the blue trim), there used to be a wall. Now it looks into 3 other rooms: the first is an odd transitional room with a few soda shelves, the second has some pinball machines and an old truck, and the third is the biggest and is full of candy!

Blue Sun Soda Shop - pinball machines.
My son played a dozen games of FREE pinball (3 free machines, and 1 that's a quarter).

Self-explanatory.

The new candy room addition.

More of the candy room from the back corner.

We love Cow Tails in this household! Happy to see this.

Back in the "soda" part of the store, they had an end cap with all "Christmas-related" sodas.
I grabbed a bottle of the white "Candy Cane Shake." Will probably be gross. But that's OK.

ALL root beer. After picking this over yesterday, I *think* I've had (or just purchased) all of these. Really.

Henry by the old truck loaded with soda. There's a room behind the truck that still needs to be finished.

"Fancy" sodas that cost a bit more. I grabbed a red one on the left which was made in Germany.

Some of their Minnesota-made "Whistler" bottles.

Henry thought all the orange sodas looked tasty!

They had an artist painting parts of the new addition outside.

Henry eating a marshmallow treat, with "mini sodas" in his lap.
(And yes, I pulled his buckle up before we drove off.)

My receipt. The $4.29 bottle was the German soda. With the case discount, it was
about $2/bottle on average (under $2/bottle ave without the German soda).

My 26 sodas at home. Almost half are root beer or sarsaparilla, and the rest are random.

Alright, time for some sugary deliciousness!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

CideRoad Organic Blueberry Switchel

I was walking through Lunds earlier today, and I saw these:

CideRoad Organic Switchels

CideRoad Organic Blueberry Switchel
So I grabbed the blueberry one.

First of all, what is this? I had to look up "Switchel." Apparently, it's this:
Switchel, also switzel, swizzle, ginger-water, haymaker's punch or switchy, is a drink made of water mixed with vinegar, and often seasoned with ginger. Honey, sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup were sometimes used to sweeten the drink instead of molasses.
This one has water, sugar, vinegar, maple syrup, and some fruit juices (including some ginger). It's not a soda, but it's not a traditional "healthy" drink because it only has 2% of your daily allowance of Vitamin C and Calcium. It is labeled as 14% juice. So what the heck is it? Well... it's switchel, I guess.


Brand: CideRoad Organic Blueberry Switchel.

Origin: Mendham, NJ.

Purchase Place: Lunds Grocery Store, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Syrup and Maple Syrup.

Review: I don't think I've mentioned this here before, but I'm not a fan of kombucha. I can't stand it. My wife loves it, so it's around a lot. Well, this is a bit like a "tame" kombucha. The "tang" that this CideRoad drink has is kombucha-like, but not as overly harsh. I can taste the ginger, but it's not overwhelming. The blueberry is nice. If a "tame" kombucha sounds good to you, give this a try. It would be refreshing for the right person. I just thought it was OK.

Score: 5 out of 10.
 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kutztown Root Beer

Being it's nearing the end of the semester, my students have a lot of work time on their final 2 projects. That (usually) means I bring a soda to class to sip on if helping my students gets a little slow. This week, it was this root beer:

Kutztown Root Beer

Kutztown Root Beer
A close-up of the label being it's so dark and hard to see in the top photo.


Brand: Kutztown Root Beer.

Origin: Kutztown, PA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This was OK. Just OK. Nothing fancy. It had a SLIGHTLY burnt taste, but it wasn't overpowering. Otherwise, it's relatively smooth with just a slight anise flavor and really no head. It went down pretty easy. I'll give this a slightly above average score based on that last point.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

North Star Craft Soda Black Cherry

I did lots of cooking recently, and I enjoyed this as I worked:

North Star Craft Soda Black Cherry


Brand: North Star Craft Soda Black Cherry.

Origin: Forest Lake, MN.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was pretty good! It had a very deep black cherry flavor that I liked very much. It was quite sweet and sugary (maybe too much for some people). No major complaints from me.

Score: 8 out of 10.
 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving!  I thought I'd try an appropriately seasonal soda today:

Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda

I let my son try a sip.
He thought it was good. (But he never gets soda, so that's not worth much.)

Brand: Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda.

Origin: Portland, Maine.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Fair Trade Certified organic cane juice (sheesh).

Review: I was ready to not like this. I mean, it sounds kinda gross. But I was intrigued because it only had 3 ingredients: carbonated water, Fair Trade Certified organic cane juice, and spices. Turns out, it was OK. It didn't REALLY taste like pumpkin pie, but it was herby and spicy like a real flavorful pumpkin pie is. It SMELLED really like pumpkin pie. It wasn't bad. I mean, it wasn't GREAT either, but it was one of the better "novelty" sodas that I've had. And, as seen above, my 5-year-old liked it.

Score: 6 out of 10.
 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Stewart's Root Beer

I cracked this open at the end of long Saturday night:

Stewart's Root Beer



Brand: Stewart's Root Beer.

Origin: Plano, Texas.

Purchase Place: Kowalski's, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This had a deep flavor that was quite good. It's smooth with a bit of vanilla and just a hint of anise. Rich, tasty, and pretty darn good. No big complaints!

Score: 9 out of 10.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Virgil's Zero Root Beer

I opened this up with lunch today:

Virgil's Zero Root Beer


Brand: Virgil's Zero Root Beer

Origin: Los Angeles, CA.

Purchase Place: Kowalski's, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Stevia.

Review: This had a deep flavor, but slightly too much anise (which is what I thought of their regular root beer too). I wasn't a fan. Even though it had a deep flavor, it was still weak. There was an odd berry flavor in there that was OK (and unexpected - maybe the Stevia?), but that the was most this had to offer. Giving it an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fitz's Orange Pop

I opened this up with supper tonight:

Fitz's Orange Pop


Brand: Fitz's Orange Pop.

Origin: St. Louis, MO.

Purchase Place: Frattallone's Ace Hardware, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: Ehhh, this was OK. Nothing special. It had a bit more of a "bite" than I expected from an orange soda, and that was about it. Otherwise, it was "orangey."

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Filbert's Black Cherry

After a 6K Cross Country race this past weekend, I cracked into this:

Filbert's Black Cherry


Brand: Filbert's Black Cherry.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was decent, but nothing special. It had a "tang" to it that was a bit unexpected. I prefer a "smoother" black cherry, but this was OK. I'll give it an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Foxon Park Diet White Birch Soda

I cracked into this last night after a big week of class:

Foxon Park Diet White Birch Soda


Brand: Foxon Park Diet White Birch Soda.

Origin: East Haven, Connecticut.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Aspartame.

Review: This smelled a lot like root beer. It tasted like a creamy, weak root beer with lots of carbonation. It had the typical diet soda issue: the flavor was weak. It wasn't bad, but it was nothing special. I'll give this an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

365 Lemon Lime

The boys and I swung by Whole Foods for a snack this past weekend, and I grabbed a lemon lime soda:

365 Lemon Lime
At a table at Whole Foods, with dark Selby Ave in the background.


Brand: 365 Lemon Lime.

Origin: Austin, TX.

Purchase Place: Whole Foods, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: There was nothing special about this, but it was good. It wasn't as sugary and sweet as "name brand" lemon lime sodas - it was a bit more crisp and subtle. Maybe it was because I was at Whole Foods, but I felt like this wasn't AS bad for me as normal sodas. (Yeah, that was all in my head.) Pretty good, and not overly sweet.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Three Stooges Wise Guy Root Beer

Yesterday, I cracked into my final soda (of the 3 I got from our quick trip to Blue Sun Soda recently) while at class:

The Three Stooges Wise Guy Root Beer
In front of the large printer in our classroom.

Brand: The Three Stooges Wise Guy Root Beer.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: Being this was a semi-novelty "Rocket Fizz" soda, I was ready for this to be bad (or simply "not good" as the best case scenario). BUT IT *WAS* GOOD. Quite good. It had a bit of an herby bite to it, and then a lot of creaminess at the end of each sip. Getting BOTH of those sensations in a root beer can be rare. The root beer flavor was deep and solid. This was QUITE good and may just be in my top-10 of root beers. I'm shocked.

Score: 9.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Boots Lemon Meringue Soda

After an afternoon of cooking in the kitchen, I cleaned up the mess as I opened this (my 2nd of 3 bottles from my recent Blue Sun Soda stop):

Boots Lemon Meringue Soda


Brand: Boots Lemon Meringue Soda.

Origin: Bryan, Texas.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: I had Boots Sarsaparilla this past summer, and it was a real let down, so I was hoping this would be good. When I first popped the bottle cap, it smelled a LOT like lemon meringue pie. Really. It had a lemon smell, but an extra sugary creaminess of the meringue too.

It didn't TASTE as much like lemon meringue pie though. I was curious how they would mix the "lemon" and the "meringue" flavors together in a soda, and (not surprisingly) it didn't work. It tastes like some sort of lemon candy, not necessarily lemon meringue pie. I'm an endurance athlete, and it coated my throat the way a super thick, sweet GU energy gel would. That part was a little gross (fine for a GU, but weird in a soda), but overall, it wasn't bad. Not horrible, but not great.

Score: 4.5 out of 10.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Zevia Black Cherry

I grabbed this while out shopping recently:

Zevia Black Cherry


Brand: Zevia Black Cherry.

Origin: Culver City, California.

Purchase Place: Whole Foods, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Erythritol and Stevia.

Review: First things first: I had to Google what "Erythritol" was. It turns out it's a calorie-free sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. Here was an interesting note found on Wikipedia: "When compared with other sugar alcohols, it is also much more difficult for intestinal bacteria to digest, so it is less likely to cause gas or bloating than other polyols, such as maltitol, sorbitol, or lactitol."

Anyway, on to the review. This was a clear "soda," and it tasted like a flavored carbonated water. I think I just assumed "black cherry COLA," but it was just like a black cherry water. The sweetness was a little sharp, but the black cherry taste was pretty good. Nothing special.

Score: 5.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dead World Slow Decay Vanilla Root Beer

I just cracked into my first soda from my stop at the "soda tasting" at Blue Sun Soda this past weekend:

Dead World Slow Decay Vanilla Root Beer

Dead World Slow Decay Vanilla Root Beer
Makes sense to me.


Brand: Dead World Slow Decay Vanilla Root Beer.

Origin: Detroit, MI.

Purchase Place: Blue Sun Soda, Spring Lake Park, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This was strong on the vanilla, but pretty good overall. The root beer flavor was on the sweeter side, but not so much that it was offensive. Pretty good for a "novelty" soda!

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Zombie" Soda Tasting at Blue Sun Soda

My boys and I headed to Blue Sun Soda in the north metro earlier today because I saw they advertised a "free taste testing" of "Dead World" sodas on Facebook. I figured we'd swing by.


Sodas made in Minnesota (a lot here, but mainly Joia, North Star, and Spring Grove).

The 3 free pinball machines are ALWAYS popular.

My 2 boys on the far left waiting their turns.  Last time when we were there, I pulled down a soda box
for Charlie to stand on.  I see that Blue Sun realized that was an issue and made little steps.  Sweet.

There were a LOT of people in there.

My boys got their turn after a few minutes.

The "Dead World" soda tasting at the front of the store.

All of these gross-sounding flavors (like "rot berry") are all "normal" flavored sodas.  Nothing gross.

I tried all of these. The "Slow Decay" was a decent root beer on the left! "Zeek Cocktail" was a sugary
cotton candy, "Coon Bitters" was an OK cherry cola (without much cherry flavor), and the Orange
was quite smooth and tasty. The grape was good too.  I was rather impressed overall!

The "Dead World" display on an end cap in the store.

They added a big loose candy dispenser since I was there last.

Charlie got a rock candy sucker.

I just grabbed 3 sodas: a novelty root beer, the "Slow Decay" root beer I tried,
and a Lemon Meringue soda.  Reviews coming shortly.

Henry wanted a sucker with a REAL scorpion inside.  He hasn't tried this yet...

Here's a link to my post when my boys and I went to Blue Sun Soda for the first time 6 months ago. There are lots of photos of their soda selection in that post.

So check out Blue Sun Soda on Facebook, or in person in Spring Lake Park, MN. And check back soon for some new reviews.