Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Root Beer Display in Grocery Store from 1960

I belong to a Facebook group called "Old St. Paul" about St. Paul's history. Someone named Jean posted this of a root beer display from St. Clair and Syndicate Ave in St. Paul in 1960:

Root Beer Display, St. Paul, 1960


Her caption:

"Root beer has been a long standing tradition in our family. On both sides of my parents.

Our go to was Dad’s Root Beer on occasion, but most times probably cause of 7 kids and it being far cheaper than single servings...our dad drove out Rice Street to the A & W stand just past Little Canada Road and brought the refillable gallon glass jug with him. Hauled home that ice cold frosty jug with its rivulets of water running down its sides and we’d enjoy Root Beer Floats.

For years, my widowed maternal grandfather would come to dinner every other week after my dad passed away. He’d either request my mom finish the meal with Root Beer Floats or Strawberry Shortcake made with those molded cakes one got at the store. (I got so I could not eat the later ever again).

But after dad died, my brother’s got inventive as mom did not continue most of our dad’s fun times. They started making their own root beer in the basement in a kind of still type contraption. Calling it 1919 Sewer Water. It had the strongest flavor of yeast. After it was made, it needed a dark shelf time. So, they put it into the cabinets that had previously been our kitchen in our basement home. My mother still did the wash down there, and was none to happy to find a number of the bottles had exploded and poured syrupy goo down the cabinets, to the counter and then the floor. Dark BROWN goo. That ended that.

But my first time ever eating pizza at Mama’s Pizza while still in High School, I ordered a root beer with it. Now, I seldom drink any pop, but if I’m going to have pizza, I yearn for Root Beer, and if its available- it becomes a throw back memory meal. 

May your Memorial Day 2018 weekend be one of joy and memories of OSP."

I wanted to share that here.  :)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hosmer Cola-Blue

I cracked into this while cooking recently:

Hosmer Cola-Blue


Brand: Hosmer Cola-Blue.

Origin: Willimantic, CT.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was a typical "good" cola. It had a deep flavor with a strong slightly fruity aftertaste. It was pretty good, but pretty much like other decent colas.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Root Beer Tasting at Blue Sun Soda

On Saturday morning, my boys had a cross country race at Como Park. After that, we headed north to Blue Sun Soda for their free root beer tasting party.

Root Beer Tasting at Blue Sun Soda Shop
The 10 sodas (and tiny sipping cups on either end) ready for sampling.

I had previously had all but "Fiz Roc City" root beer. Left to right in that photo above was Red Arrow, Dorothy's, Always Ask for Avery's, Bedford's, Death Valley, Squamscot, Fiz, Zuberfizz, Dang!, and Cool Mountain.

Root Beer Tasting at Blue Sun Soda Shop
My 1st grader got in on the action. We tried all of them and kept track of what one we liked best.

Root Beer Tasting at Blue Sun Soda Shop
You were supposed to grab a bottle cap and vote for your favorite by putting it in the corresponding bucket.

Root Beer Tasting at Blue Sun Soda Shop
Henry liked Dang! the best.

Root Beer Tasting at Blue Sun Soda Shop
Dorothy won for me. Dang! and Zuberfizz weren't far behind.

Dorothy was my 2nd ever review on this blog nearly 6 years ago. I gave it an 8. Dang! actually got a 9 from me when I reviewed it, so I guess my tastes were a little different this past weekend. Blue Sun Soda noted on Facebook that Zuberfizz was the overall winner.


Blue Sun Soda Shop
Their selection of their made-in-house Whistler soda.

Pinball at Blue Sun Soda Shop
My pre-schooler played some pinball.

Blue Sun Soda Shop
Playing an old bowling game.

Sodas at Blue Sun Soda Shop
"Springtime Sodas."

Blue Sun Soda Shop
The boys on a noisy elephant with games and the root beer tasting in the background.

Sweet treats from Blue Sun Soda Shop
Enjoying some small sugary treats on the way home.

 I left with 10 bottles of new soda. I had just a few more from my old stash to drink first, but then I'll start in on these new sodas. I bought 2 Whistler sodas that I'll need to have soon because as I've noted recently, their caps don't seem to hold their seal for very long.

UPDATE: Blue Sun Soda added on Facebook the ranking of the top 4 of the taste test: "#1 Zuberfizz, #2 Dang, #3 Red Arrow, #4 Dorothy's." So Henry's and my picks were #2 and #4 out of 10. They also noted that they go through about a case of each soda at these "tasting" events, so they went through about 240 bottles total!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Dead World Twilight Shuffler Root Beer Zombie Soda

I'm done with finals! **Yay!** Earlier today, I sat in my classroom and graded while drinking this:

Dead World Twilight Shuffler Root Beer Zombie Soda



Brand: Dead World Twilight Shuffler Root Beer Zombie Soda

Origin: Detroit, MI.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: Ever since this tasting of "Dead World" sodas at Blue Sun Soda, I've been relatively impressed with this "novelty" brand. I was hoping this wouldn't let me down. And it was pretty good! It was quite smooth and relatively creamy. It maybe had a slightly "off" aftertaste which knocked this down a point, but it wasn't horrible. I need to keep trying Dead World Sodas!

Score: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Fireman's Brew Black Cherry Soda

This was my 2nd "Fireman's Brew" soda in a month. (I'd picked up a few the last time I was at the Blue Sun Soda Shop)

Fireman's Brew Black Cherry Soda


Brand: Fireman's Brew Black Cherry Soda.

Origin: Inyokern, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was pretty smooth - almost TOO smooth. I would have called this a "black cherry CREME soda" if it were up to me. The black cherry was strong and about spot-on. Not a bad soda, just quite smooth.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jones Birthday Cake Soda

I'm sipping on this during class right now:

Sweet and very cake-like.


Brand: Jones Birthday Cake Soda

Origin: Made in Canada.

Purchase Place: Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market, Minneapolis, MN.

Sweetener: Inverted Cane Sugar.

Review: Oh my God. It tastes like a sugary fun-fetti birthday cake. For real. I *like* sweet sodas, but this is too sweet to drink. It's a sipping soda for sure. If you like sweet cake/frosting like at a kids birthday party, you'll be happy with this. If you sometimes think some sodas are too sweet, this might be one of them. Good flavor, but a bit too sweet.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fireman's Brew Cream Soda

I have this in class with me right now:

Fireman's Brew Cream Soda


Brand: Fireman's Brew Cream Soda

Origin: Inyokern, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was just OK. The cream had a bit of a bite that I didn't care for. Not bad, but nothing fancy.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dead World Royal Rotter Soda

I'm grading projects right now, and I just cracked into this:

Dead World Royal Rotter Soda


Brand: Dead World Royal Rotter (Black Cherry) Soda

Origin: Detroit, MI.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was pretty good from the start. Surprisingly good. The black cherry flavor was deep and smooth. This went down fast. No big complaints about this - it was good!

Score: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Soda Jerk Joke

Blue Sun Soda recently posted this on Instagram:

Blue Sun Soda on Instagram


If you're younger than me, you might not get the joke.  :)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Fitz's Strawberry Pop

I've had pretty good reactions to Fitz's Pop, and it was time to try another one in my classroom yesterday:

Fitz's Strawberry Pop


Brand: Fitz's Strawberry Pop.

Origin: St. Louis, MO.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: The smell was unmistakeable when I popped the top, and the taste backed it up: it tasted like like my mother-in-law's strawberry pie. So that means it was very sweet, and almost tasted like rich strawberry Jell-O (which is used as the "binder" in her pie). It was sugary and pretty good. I MIGHT have actually been TOO sugary (which I RARELY say), but it was quite enjoyable. This final score might artificially be 1 point high because it reminds me of that great pie...

Score: 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Oak Creek Blonde Barrel Aged Root Beer

I've been excited to try this, but it's been sitting in my fridge for 2 weeks. I finally opened it today:

Oak Creek Blonde Barrel Aged Root Beer


Brand: Oak Creek Blonde Barrel Aged Root Beer.

Origin: Redding, California.

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

Sweetener: "25% brown sugar, 75% real sugar."

Review: This starts out tasting like a "blonde" root beer: it's a little weak at first. Almost like a cream soda (and I'm not just saying that based on the color). But it ends a bit more like a root beer with a fuller, more molasses flavor. It's very creamy, smooth, and totally unique. Has a bit of a funny taste when going down, but still a decent soda.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Weird Soda Can Art

I'd say "these people need a hobby," but it appears they already have one...

Soda Can Art

Soda Can Art

Soda Can Art

Soda Can Art

Soda Can Art

Soda Can Art
It make me nervous having a conductive outlet cover...

Soda Can Art
Coasters.

Soda Can Art


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Twig's Lime Soda

Jeez, it's been nearly 3 weeks since I've posted! Sorry! I've had this in my fridge about that long, and maybe I've been scared to try it because of it's almost radioactive color:

Smooth. Pretty good.


Brand: Twig's Lime Soda.

Origin: Shawano, WI.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was pretty "thick" (not in a bad way) and smooth. One of the ingredients is the controversial "brominated vegetable oil," and that maybe that lent itself to the "thick" feeling. It was good and went down easy. If things can be TOO sweet for you, this might be a little too much. But I thought its sweetness was good.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Fireman's Brew Cream Soda

I took this to class with me last week:

Firemans Brew Cream Soda


Brand: Firemans Brew Cream Soda.

Origin: Inyokern, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was decent, but a really nice vanilla flavor made this better. It was a solid smooth and creamy cream soda, but it had a nice extra kick of vanilla. Nothing too fancy, but a bit better than average.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Postobon Kola Flavored Soda

This is Colombian, so I didn't know what to expect:

Postobon Kola Flavored Soda


Brand: Postobon Kola Flavored Soda.

Origin: Colombia, South America.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: It was very berry-like, but I couldn't name the exact flavor. It had the strangest chocolate aftertaste! Really. It was odd and nearly completely destroyed the soda for me. Otherwise, it was pretty smooth and shippable. (Just get rid of that chocolate flavor!)

Score: 4 out of 10.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dad's Red Cream Soda

Earlier this week, I stopped by Frattallone's Ace on Grand Ave (the one near Macalester College, not near Ramsey Hill), and I looked through their soda selection:

Frattallone's Ace Hardware Sodas


I walked out with a Dad's soda I'd never tried before:

Dad's Red Cream Soda


Brand: Dad's Red Cream Soda.

Origin: Jasper, IN.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was OK. As with my only other "red cream soda" that I've tried, I don't know what flavor "red" is. Cherry-like? This one was a little better than that one. It was pretty smooth, but a little "artificial" tasting at the end. Not bad, but not great.

Score: 5.5 out of 10.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hansen's Natural Creamy Root Beer

I was at Kowalski's earlier this week picking up some last minute Valentine's treats, and I grabbed this. I didn't realize that I'd never tried anything of Hansen's before!

Hansen's Natural Creamy Root Beer
In my classroom before class today.


Brand: Hansen's Natural Creamy Root Beer.

Origin: Tustin, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: Being this is a "natural" brand, I figured there would be some extra ingredients in here (and not just HFCS and flavoring). I was right: it had wintergreen, birch, anise, sassafras, and Tahitian vanilla extract listed among the ingredients. It sounded good.

The first sip was nice and creamy and smooth, but then there was this sharp aftertaste that really just sucked. (I mean, there's a hint of anise in that aftertaste, but also a hint of burnt garbage water.) So in rating this root beer, I had to go between "nice starter flavor" and "strange ending flavor." I ended up going right down the middle and calling this an average 5 (although it starts much stronger and ends much weaker).

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Whistler Vanilla Root Beer

I opened this yesterday afternoon:

Whistler Vanilla Root Beer

Whistler Vanilla Root Beer


Brand: Whistler Vanilla Root Beer.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: Like my last 2 Whistler sodas (this one and this one), this one was completely flat. I have a few more Whistlers in the basement, and I think I need to dump them down the drain - I don't think they hold their seal for very long. I may have to stop back to Blue Sun Soda and pick up a few more, but ONLY ones that I can drink over a month. Because this sucks.

That being said, the flavor was good. Nice vanilla flavor, and a deep root beer flavor. I'll give it a 7, but it could have been an 8 or 9 had their been any sign of carbonation. Like I said, I'll have to try a "fresh" one of these and pick up a few more Whistler sodas sometime.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Soda Can Bracelets

Some fun "jewelry" if you're REALLY into soda...




This seems dangerous; wouldn't there be a lot of sharp edges here?


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dad-Gum-It! Root Beer Butterscotch

I opened this last night, and my wife and I both had similar (undesirable) reactions:

Dad-Gum-It! Root Beer Butterscotch


Brand: Dad-Gum-It! Root Beer Butterscotch

Origin: Camarillo, CA

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This tasted a bit like rancid root beer. It's so sweet that there's almost a bite from over-sweetness. I don't taste much of the butterscotch. I have another Dad-Gum-It soda in the basement, and this makes me not excited to try it.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

IBC Black Cherry

I opened this earlier today:

IBC Black Cherry

IBC Black Cherry


Brand: IBC Black Cherry.

Origin: Plano, TX.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was good! It was pretty sweet, but not TOO sweet. The black cherry flavor was quite deep and full, and it had a nice extra bite at the start of each sip. Good soda!

Score: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Lolli's Cherry Pop Energy Drink

I needed a pick-me-up this afternoon, so I cracked into this:



Brand: Lolli's Cherry Pop Energy Drink.

Origin: Los Angeles, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This is odd, but not bad. The cherry flavor is nearly a "vanilla" cherry, and it's quite smooth and syrupy. It didn't taste "artificial" at all, and maybe that's because it had some real ingredients like ginseng, bitter orange, and grape skin extract. Different, odd, but not bad. Especially for an energy drink.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork with Coke

We got an Instant Pot for Christmas, and I've used it 4 times so far. The first thing I did was use it as a slow cooker when I made some BBQ pulled pork. Their recipe for it was simple: just a roast, some BBQ sauce, and a can of Coke:

BBQ Pork with Coca Cola
Looks gross now: just pork, Coke, and BBQ sauce.

BBQ Pork with Coca Cola
Shredded 8 hours later, with about half the juice/sauce added back in.

I should have used a few herbs and some onions like I usually use in roasts, but the Coke added some nice sweetness. Not too bad. Now I'll be trying a Pad Thai recipe in the Instant Pot tonight!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Penny Frosted Root Beer

I opened this an hour ago:

Penny Froster Root Beer



Brand: Penny Frosted Root Beer.

Origin: Los Angeles, CA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was a bit odd from the first sip. There's a strange weakness/smokiness to this. Once I got past that flavor, it was good, but I'm still not sure what to think of this. I'll give it an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Unknown Dred Formula No 53 Road Rage Red

I needed a pick-me-up this morning, so I opened this "all purpose energy drink" with the weirdest label:

Unknown Dred Formula No 53 Road Rage Red

Unknown Dred Formula No 53 Road Rage Red
It *might* just be a random scuff, but one of the ingredients seems to be perfectly crossed out. Suspicious.


Brand: Unknown Dred Formula No 53 Road Rage Red.

Origin: Unknown.  Possibly Seattle, WA.

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

Sweetener: "Cane sugar and/or fructose."

Review: I knew nothing about the flavor other than "road rage red." And at the top of the bottle it was called an "all purpose energy drink with a good taste and mellow finish."

But it did not have a good taste. Or a mellow finish.

It was Red Bull-like, but less sweet and not as good. It had that "red" flavor of red bull that I can't quite nail down. I couldn't drink more than a few sips of that. Stay away.

Score: 1.5 out of 10.