Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bad Day...



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ramblin' Butterscotch Root Beer

I opened this during my boys' nap time today:

Ramblin' Butterscotch Root Beer


Brand: Ramblin' Butterscotch Root Beer.

Origin: Atlanta, GA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This wasn't great. It was OK, but a bit "chemically." The butterscotch was overpowering and a bit too much. It just didn't impress me and wasn't that good. You MIGHT like it if you REALLY like butterscotch, but that's about the only good thing I can say about this.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Whistler Black Cherry Soda

I enjoyed this while in a hotel room in Winona last night:

Whistler Black Cherry Soda
Watching NCAA track and field in the background.


Brand: Whistler Black Cherry Soda.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: I haven't had great luck with Whistler sodas in the last few weeks, so I didn't have high expectations going into this. But it was pretty good. It was very smooth, and had a deep black cherry flavor. There was a slightly weird "bite" in the aftertaste, but it was subtle and it didn't ruin the experience. I liked this.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Big Ben's Root Beer

I opened this last night as the boys played in the yard:

Big Ben's Root Beer


Brand: Big Ben's Root Beer.

Origin: Catawissa, PA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was pretty rich. It had a deep caramel flavor on top of a relatively vanilla classic root beer flavor. The caramel flavor was just a little too much for me, but not horrible. I'll give this a pretty average score.

Score: 5.5 out of 10.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Celsius Cola

This seemed interesting. I was scared...

Celsius Cola


Brand: Celsius Cola.

Origin: Boynton Beach, Florida.

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

Sweetener: Sucralose.

Review: The first thing I did was look online to check the caffeine content because it wasn't listed on the bottle. Amazon.com tells me there's 200 mg of caffeine per serving! (A can of Coke has around 30 mg, and a cup of coffee is around 90 mg. "Diet Pepsi Max" which totes about having a lot of caffeine has 69 mg in a can.) There's a warning that reads "Not recommended for people who are caffeine sensitive, children under 18 or women pregnant or nursing."

But how'd it taste? It was like a weak, fruity cola. It had the "thinness" of a diet, but it wasn't bad. The weak flavor that was there was pretty good. It was a unique cola. I drank it at 2 sittings because of the high caffeine, but this surprised me! I may have to try this again when I need a pick-me-up.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Whistler Cookie Dough Soda

I cracked into this while my boys were napping this afternoon:

Whistler Cookie Dough Soda

Whistler Cookie Dough Soda



Brand: Whistler Cookie Dough Soda.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: The first thing I noticed is there was no carbonated "SSsssss" when I popped the top, so this wasn't seal properly. It didn't taste like it had "gone bad," it just tasted like it lost it's carbonation. The flavor was weird: like a mild cola with a LOT of caramel. I see what they were going for, but it was odd. Maybe it was because it was no longer carbonated, so I think I might have to try this soda again to be fair. For right now, it was weird...

Score: 3.5 out of 10.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fritz-Kola Fritz-Limo Apfel-Kirsch-Holunder-Limonade

This was a german soda that I picked up, and I didn't know what I was about to drink:

Fritz-Limo Apfel-Kirsch-Holunder-Limonade
Probably the last "classroom" photo of the spring
as I'm grading final projects right now as I drink this.


After I took my first sip, I found an added-on English sticker on the back. It said it was "Natural Cherry Soda" of Germany. On their website, they called it "fritz-limo apple, cherry and elderberry." It had a lot of apple juice and a little sour cherry juice (both listed before sugar), and then a bit of elderberry juice as well. They appear to sort of be marketing it as a juice drink, and not as a soda.


Brand: Fritz-Kola Fritz-Limo Apfel-Kirsch-Holunder-Limonade

Origin: Hamburg-Othmarschen, Germany.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: It was not "cherry" at all. It was very much like chilled, carbonated hot apple cider that makes me think of Christmas. It wasn't bad - it just wasn't what I expected in a "cherry" soda. I really thought about it as I sipped it, and I could NOT taste ANY cherry flavor. It was all apple to me. It had a bit of a bite at the end of each sip that wasn't super desirable, but overall, it was pretty good. Sweet, but not too sweet. I'll give it an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Whistler Cherry Vanilla Cola

I opened this earlier today and thought it could be weird:

Whistler Cherry Vanilla Cola

Whistler Cherry Vanilla Cola


Brand: Whistler Cherry Vanilla Cola.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: I thought this sounded weird. So I was ready for weird. But it was actually pretty good. It's a very smooth cola with a nice vanilla undertone. The cherry is a BIT fake-tasting, but it's not bad. In the end, this went down pretty easy.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Claeys Root Beer Old Fashioned Hard Candies

I've had this bag of Root Beer Candies that I've been working on for many years:

Claeys Root Beer Old Fashioned Hard Candies
I picked these up over 3 years ago as seen in this post!


My wife was about to throw it away because I was eating them very slowly, but I'm not a huge "hard candy" guy. But then she tried one and was NOT going to throw them away. They are good! When I first started to write this, they had 21 ratings on Amazon, and 17 are a full 5 stars. (There were two 4 star, a 3 star, and a 1 star rating, but the 1 star rating is someone saying they LOVE them, so I don't think they know how to work the "star system.") Now there are many more reviews, so I think they're catching on!


Brand: Claeys Root Beer Old Fashioned Hard Candies.

Origin: South Bend, Indiana.

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

Sweetener: Sugar and Corn Syrup.

Review: These have a very "true" Root Beer flavor. They taste like a better "adult" version of the root beer barrels we all had at parades as kids. I don't often rate candies here, but if I were to give this a score like I do sodas, I'd have to say it was a better-than-average 8.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Saranac Root Beer

After a long weekend, I cracked into this tonight:

Saranac Root Beer


Brand: Saranac Root Beer.

Origin: Utica, NY.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This tasted pretty "classic," which is a good thing. Quite smooth with no bite. There was a fair amount of a caramel aftertaste which I wasn't a huge fan of, but it was still quite good. I'll rank it a bit above average.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Grove Limited Edition Rhu-berry

It was Spring Grove soda that made me want to start this blog. Now, they have a "new limited edition" flavor, and even though it sounded strange, I had to try it.

Spring Grove Limited Edition Rhu-berry
In my beautiful basement classroom where I teach.

Brand: Spring Grove Limited Edition Rhu-berry.

Origin: Spring Grove, MN

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar and Corn Syrup.

Review: It had "natural rhubarb flavor" listed as an ingredient, and I wasn't sure what that would taste like. (You know how cherry soda is a very different cherry flavor than ACTUAL cherries, but we're all cool with that?) Turns out, it's kind of disgusting. It has a berry sweetness, followed by a strong, sharp rhubarb kick that is very unpleasant. I could only tolerate a few sips. Good thing this is a "limited edition" - hopefully it goes away ASAP.

Score: 1 out of 10.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Whistler Grape Soda

I enjoyed this earlier today:

Whistler Grape Soda

Whistler Grape Soda



Brand: Whistler Grape Soda.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was good, but not outstanding. It was a good grape flavor, without "trying" too hard or being too "out there." Nothing fancy, but went down well.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Norma Sparkling Beverages Root Beer

I enjoyed this over the weekend as one of my last sodas from my last stop at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store:

Norma Sparkling Beverages Root Beer


Brand: Norma Sparkling Beverages Root Beer.

Origin: Akron, Ohio.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: There wasn't much special about this, but it was pretty good. There was just a nice hint of wintergreen, and otherwise it was pretty smooth. (My wife didn't care for it much, but I thought it was pretty good.) I'll rank it just a bit above average.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wild Spur Sarsaparilla

I visited my folks this weekend, and I brought this to enjoy with pork chops for lunch:

Wild Spur Sarsaparilla


Brand: Wild Spur Sarsaparilla.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This was a good one. It had a hint of vanilla, and was pretty smooth/creamy. There's really nothing fancy about this, but it was very tasty.

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Whistler Lime Soda

I cracked into my first bottle from last Friday's trip to Blue Sun Soda:

Whistler Lime Soda



Brand: Whistler Lime Soda.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This had a nice lime flavor that was pretty smooth. However, it was a little weak, and it was like I could taste the glass bottle a bit (if that makes any sense). It wasn't bad, but it needed a bit more. It's getting a pretty average score.

Score: 5.5 out of 10.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Another Trip to Blue Sun Soda

Yesterday, my kindergartener had a half-day of school, and my youngest son was at Grandma's house, so I asked Henry what he wanted to do with his afternoon with me. He wanted to go play pinball at Blue Sun Soda. So I complied a list of sodas I've had, and we stopped by.

Blue Sun Soda Shop
There was a "shooting game" on top of their toilet.  I think they were asking us to "aim."

Blue Sun Soda Shop
"Sodas of the World" section.  I grabbed a few of these.

Pinball machines at Blue Sun Soda Shop
My son just played pinball the whole time.  They have 6 machines,
and 3 or 4 are free.  I was told they're getting another machine shortly!

Blue Sun Soda Shop
"Springtime Sodas."

Blue Sun Soda Shop
The guy working there asked if I had Virgil's with NUTMEG.  I've had Virgil's, but not this special blend.
He said they liked this so much, that they bought a palette because they only release it once a year.

Whistler sodas at Blue Sun Soda Shop
Made in-house "Whistler" soda.  Blue Sun purchased this from the north metro a few months back.

Whistler bottling at Blue Sun Soda Shop
You can peak through a hole in the wall to see Whistler being made on this awesomely-colored old bottling machine!

My haul from Blue Sun Soda Shop
This was my haul yesterday.  An assorted case, a big bottle of Virgil's with nutmeg, and an 8-pack of Whistler.

Whistler Sodas
The Whistler sodas I bought.

The guy working there laughed when he walked past me at one time and remarked on the list in my hand: "I like a guy who knows what he's after!"  I told him I have a soda/root beer blog, and that I'm referencing what I've already had (I reference my blog here on my phone, and I also had a sheet of paper which listed what I had stored in my basement that I haven't drank/reviewed yet).

I told him that after this trip, I'll have had EVERY ROOT BEER THEY HAVE TO OFFER.  That made me a little sad.  But he noted that they're hoping to expand their root beer selection by 50% shortly.  (I had noticed a few brands there yesterday that weren't there the last time I stopped in.)

Alright, I think I have my soda selection for most of the summer!  I bought these 33 bottles yesterday, and I still had most of a case from the last time I was in.  Time to get drinking!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Original New York Seltzer Black Cherry Soda

I brought this to my class yesterday:

Original New York Seltzer Black Cherry Soda


Brand: Original New York Seltzer Black Cherry Soda.

Origin: Walnut, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: So don't think that this is "soda" - it's really more of a flavored water. With 90 calories. But this was pretty good. The root beer version of this was OK, but this was a bit better. (Less weird than the root beer version.) It has a smooth black cherry flavor, and then a bit of "crispness" from the carbonated water. Not bad.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jones Root Beer

After a race yesterday, I cracked into this:

Jones Root Beer


Brand: Jones Root Beer.

Origin: Seattle, WA.

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

Sweetener: Inverted Cane Sugar.

Review: The first thing that hit me was the caramel flavor - it was a very "caramel-y" root beer. It wasn't too bad. It was pretty smooth with just a little bit of a foamy head. I thought it was OK. If you really like a bit of caramel flavor, then try this for sure. But I'll give it a slightly-above-average score of 6.5.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Carousel Orange Soda

My kindergartener is home with some spots on his back (waiting on test results to see if it's chickenpox), so he played Legos as I enjoyed this:

Carousel Orange Soda
Legos alllll over our table. 


Brand: Carousel Orange Soda.

Origin: Arlington Heights, IL.

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

Sweetener: Sugar and/or Corn Sweetener.

Review: This had a soft, subtle flavor. It was OK, but just a little weak. And it's hard to rank on the "sharp" to "smooth" scale because each sip starts a little sharper and ends a little creamier. Not bad. Not great either. Nothing fancy. Cool label though.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

1893 Citrus Cola (by Pepsi)

I grabbed this from Target this weekend:

1893 Citrus Cola (by Pepsi)


Brand: 1893 Citrus Cola (by Pepsi).

Origin: unknown.

Purchase Place: Target, Minneapolis, MN.

Sweetener: Fair trade certified sugar.

Review: I was ready for an "orange" punch, but after a sip, it was clearly a "grapefruit" flavor. And then, sure enough, I noticed that it said it was infused with "grapefruit essence." If you like grapefruit, then give this a try - the grapefruit flavor was pretty spot on. It was OK, but their plain 1893 Cola was much better.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Soda Can Portrait

Here's a portrait of Michael Jackson done by Seaton Brown that was made out of 1,680 recycled soda cans:

Michael Jackson soda can portrait by Seaton Brown

Michael Jackson soda can portrait by Seaton Brown
Close up.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hosmer Mountain Black Cherry Soda

I opened this yesterday on my birthday:

Hosmer Mountain Black Cherry Soda


Brand: Hosmer Mountain Black Cherry Soda.

Origin: Willimantic, CT.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was OK, but not amazing. It had a decent flavor, and ALMOST verged on "black cherry CREAM." Nothing exciting, but was decent. I'll rate it just barely above average.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer

I cracked into this yesterday:

Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer


Brand: Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer

Origin: Pennsauken, NJ.

Purchase Place: .

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: I'm never quite sure how to describe a birch beer. Maybe like a "cleaner" or crisper root beer? I dunno. This one is easier to describe. First of all, it's good. Secondly, I'd describe the flavor as a mix between a deep cola mixed with a light root beer. This was REALLY good. It had some fruity undertones (like a good cola would have), but then a slight herbiness like a root beer. I enjoyed this a lot. This one gets a pretty high score.

Score: 9 out of 10.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Frostie Orange Soda

I was getting some "specialty" ingredients for a recipe at Lunds last week, and I walked down the soda aisle and grabbed this:

Frostie Orange Soda


Brand: Frostie Orange Soda

Origin: Detroit, MI.

Purchase Place: Lund's Grocery Store, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: "High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or cane sugar."

Review: The first sip was good, but then there was a "sharpness" that didn't belong in an orange soda. I didn't expect it to be "smooth," I just didn't expect it to have that strange bite. It wasn't TOO bad, but it wasn't that desirable. I'll give it a middle-of-the-road score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Final 3 Hard Sodas: Jack Daniel's Black Jack Cola, Best Damn Cherry Cola, and Not Your Father's Hard Root Beer

I recently finished my final 3 hard sodas from Total Wine:

Jack Daniel's Black Jack Cola, Best Damn Cherry Cola, and Not Your Father's Hard Root Beer
Jack Daniel's Black Jack Cola, Best Damn Cherry Cola, and Not Your Father's Hard Root Beer.

Jack Daniel's Black Jack Cola: this was a nice mix of booze and soda for me. I like the flavor of hard liquor, but (almost every time) it's a bit much. This is a WAY toned-down version of Jack Daniel's that has a little carbonation and a cherry kick. This fella thinks thinks that's a great combo. Score: 8 out of 10.

Not Your Father's Hard Root Beer: I still don't like hard root beers. I just don't think that beer and root beer flavors go well together. It tastes like burnt root beer. I thought it was a bit better than Best Damn Hard Root Beer and that I'd give this like a 3 out of 10. Sure enough, I went back and looked at my review of Best Damn Root Beer, and I gave that a 2.5. So Not Your Father's is better, but I'm still FAR from being a fan of either. Score: 3 out of 10.

Best Damn Cherry Cola: this was the surprise of the group. I really REALLY didn't like Best Damn Root Beer when I tried that last year, and I expected this to yield similar results. But the slight beer-y flavor works much better with the cherry cola. It's a very "black cherry" cherry flavor that is really deep. And then the beer-y kick in the end isn't bad. If you like beer and cherry cola, then for sure give this a try! Score: 7 out of 10.


Sidenote: here's my review of my first 3 hard sodas from Total Wine.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cheerwine

I had the diet version of this 4 years ago, so it was about time to try the regular version (this was the 2nd soda my wife bought for me at Cub recently):

Cheerwine


Brand: Cheerwine.

Origin: Salisbury, NC.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was good. It's some sort of cherry cola (one place on the bottle it says "wild cherry"). It's pretty sweet, but the carbonation gives it just a little kick. This is a keeper! Bonus: try Cheerwine this year because it's 100 years old in 2017.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tree Fort Classic Cola

My wife was at Cub Foods in St. Paul over the weekend, and she sent me this picture and asked what I wanted:

Cub Food Sodas

I had her grab a Tree Fort Cola and a Cheerwine. I started with the Tree Fort Cola:

Tree Fort Classic Cola


Brand: Tree Fort Classic Cola.

Origin: Minneapolis, MN.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: I wasn't sure what to think after the first sip. This had a very deep almost "brown sugar"-like sweetness. After a few more sips, I realized it was a sweetness that was a bit like very almond-flavored frosting. It was a VERY unique cola, and I ended up liking it in the end. But it was so different, that it took me a bit to warm up to it. I'll rate is just above average.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Friday, February 17, 2017

O-Zell Vanilla Dream

I tried this recently:

O-Zell Vanilla Dream


Brand: O-Zell Vanilla Dream.

Origin: Silver Lake, CA.

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

Sweetener: Hawaiian Cane Sugar Blend.

Review: This smelled good. But tasted like piss with a hint of vanilla. Currently, O-Zell is 0-2 in my book. I didn't come close to finishing this. Most of it got dumped. It had a very "chemically" sharpness to it that was a huge turn off. It just did not taste good at all. No thanks.

Score: 2 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

North Star Pineapple Orange Soda

I brought this to class with me today:

North Star Pineapple Orange Soda
With a board full of notes in the background. Busy day.


Brand: North Star Pineapple Orange Soda.

Origin: Forest Lake, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: OK, "pineapple orange" doesn't sound that good to me. I mean, let's be honest. But I just thought I'd give this a try. The flavor is subtle and "soft," and it was surprisingly good. The pineapple isn't harsh or too sharp, and it tastes like a true mix of pineapple and orange. Sure, I had low expectations for this, but it flew past them. Not too shabby.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ramblin' Maple Root Beer

I tried this yesterday afternoon:

Ramblin' Maple Root Beer


Brand: Ramblin' Maple Root Beer.

Origin: Atlanta, GA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This smelled STRONGLY of maple syrup when I popped the cap. It tasted like it too, but it was a strong "burnt" flavor - I feel like something about the way carbonation works with that flavor makes it very harsh and horrible. The maple flavor isn't bad, it just BECOMES bad (I think). If you REALLY like maple flavored things, then try this. Otherwise, stay away. I only mustered a handful of sips.

Score: 2 out of 10.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Northwoods Soda Locator

I wanted to try a Northwoods Soda, so I looked them up online. They had a locator that was really helpful. This is the closest place where I can purchase it:



Yeah, I don't think that's quite worth it for a soda...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Lake Tahoe Blue Cream Soda

Now that class has started at Hamline, I thought I'd bring a soda to celebrate:

Lake Tahoe Blue Cream Soda
Sitting on top of the printer in my Digital Media Arts / Digital Photography classroom.

Brand: Lake Tahoe Blue Cream Soda.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This had a decent initial flavor. It was quite creamy and smooth, and it had the standard "blue" flavor of blue cream sodas. (Is that actually a favor, or is that perceived because it's blue?) It was good, but didn't stand out as anything fantastic. I'll rank it just above average.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Kutztown Sarsaparilla

I was looking for a root beer in my stash yesterday, but I first grabbed this and thought I'd give it a try:

Kutztown Sarsaparilla


Brand: Kutztown Sarsaparilla.

Origin: Kutztown, PA.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This smelled great as soon as I popped the top. It tasted good too: it had average depth, and a nice bite at the end of each sip. It was a bit herby without being too much. It almost had a bit of a fruity taste, but again, that wasn't too much. Quite a decent soda!

Score: 8 out of 10.


p.s. I didn't realize until after I had written this all up that I had tried this last month, only it had a different label. I thought this one was better (last month's was rated a "5"), but it could be that this is a newer bottle and the other one was getting a bit old. Note to self: finish up the few sodas left from MN Largest Candy Store from last year before continuing on to my Blue Sun Soda stash.