Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sioux City Ginger Beer

I opened this in my office between classes today:

Sioux City Ginger Beer


The odd thing is that the label contained hardly any more info than what's pictured above: just a barcode to the left (barely visible near the bottom of the label in that pic), and which states you can get a refund for the bottle on the right. No other info. Strange. So I got the rest of the info from Beverages Direct.


Brand: Sioux City Ginger Beer.

Origin: Whitestone, NY.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was pretty decent (and this coming from someone who doesn't care for ginger things). It had a good, natural bite of ginger (the kind that nearly stings the back of your throat), but then it almost finished smooth. That combo I like (a bite, but then smooth), so this was better than I figured it would be. It was like a ginger ale mixed with a slightly "thin" cola (but not in a bad way). If you are a ginger fan, check this out.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hosmer Mountain Beverages Diet Root Beer

I opened this just before class this afternoon:

Hosmer Mountain Beverages Diet Root Beer


Brand: Hosmer Mountain Beverages Diet Root Beer.

Origin: Willimantic, CT.

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

Sweetener: Fructose and Aspartame.

Review: This wasn't that great. First of all, it had that "thin" flavor that many diet sodas have. Secondly, it had a burnt caramel flavor to it that was not appealing at all. Luckily, that flavor wasn't too bad because it didn't have much flavor. This was not very drinkable and well below average.

Score: 2.5 out of 10.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Route 66 Cream Soda

In my office yesterday, I opened this between classes:

Route 66 Cream Soda


Brand: Route 66 Cream Soda.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

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

Sweetener: Real Cane Sugar.

Review: This was nice and smooth the way a cream soda should be. There's nothing incredibly unique about this, but it's a solid/decent cream soda. It has a BIT of a sharper flavor at the end of each sip which is SLIGHTLY different, but otherwise, just a normal cream soda. I'll rank this just above average.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

O-So Strawberry Soda

I picked this up at Lund's last month, and it was time to try it out:

O-So Strawberry Soda


Brand: O-So Strawberry Soda.

Origin: Mukilteo, WA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This wasn't an overly sweet soda. It tasted a bit "adult." In fact, I'd NEARLY call it a "strawberry rhubarb" soda because of it's flavor and lack of super sweetness. I'm not complaining - I'm just noting that if you like a syrupy sweet soda, then this isn't for you. If you like more depth of flavor, then give this a try. I'll rate this just a bit above average.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Vanilla Hi Ball Energy

I did a triathlon 2 weeks ago, and these were being handed out at the finish:

Vanilla Hi Ball Energy


Brand: Vanilla Hi Ball Energy.

Origin: San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Place: Maple Grove Triathlon.

Sweetener: None.

Review: I saw a woman at the race dumping hers on the ground, so I didn't have high hopes. Turns out, she was 100% justified. This was horrible. It tasted like the worst possible version of La Croix water. The vanilla flavor was OK, but NOT in an unsweetened carbonated water drink. Gah. It needed about 50 grams of sugar to be drinkable. Disgusting. I only could manage a few sips of this.

Score: 1 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Lift Bridge Root Beer Pork Roast

Over the weekend, I made a pork roast in the crock pot. And I sweetened it up with root beer:

Pork roast with root beer.
A roast split in half, with an onion and season on top. Ready for some root beer!

Pork roast with root beer.
With most of that can of root beer added.

After 4 hours on high, it was tender and pulled apart well. I saved the onions and juice, shredded the meat, put the meat back in the crock, and added back about half the liquid until it was moist enough. Tasty and sweet!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Lift Bridge Mini Donut Cream Soda

In the name of having just been to the State Fair, it was time to try this glorious can:

Lift Bridge Mini Donut Cream Soda


Brand: Lift Bridge Mini Donut Cream Soda

Origin: Stillwater, MN.

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

Sweetener: Natural Sugar.

Review: This was odd... but pretty good. It was cinnamon and sugar flavored, much like mini donuts. And it had the creaminess of a cream soda. I was trying to put my finger on the flavor, and I realized it's a bit like a snickerdoodle cookie... which is a bit cinnamony and sugary as well. It's a pretty decent flavor, and QUITE sweet. So you have to like sweet sodas to like this.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Lunds Soda Selection

I was at Lunds in St. Paul yesterday, and I noticed they had really added to their individual bottle soda selection:

Lunds Soda Selection

In the past, they had maybe a few bottles, and then a few options of 4-packs or 6-packs (as you see on the right in this photo). But this was a LOT more individual bottles than I'd seen before. I picked up 2 to try at home (an "O-So" and a "Route 66"). Thanks Lunds!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Judge For Yourself! Root Beer

I opened this up tonight:

Judge For Yourself! Root Beer


Brand: Judge For Yourself! Root Beer

Origin: Gardena, CA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: The side of this bottle said "So good it should be banned." And "Judgement day cometh to those who have lost their fizz." Good stuff. The taste? Well, it was OK. It was a bit heavy on the anise for me, but had a nice frothy head. It was just OK - nothing great, but still drinkable. So I'll give it an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Blueberry Whistler Soda

I've had some issues with Whistler sodas not holding on to their seal. So this soda is one that I picked up earlier this summer before it had time to really lose its carbonation:

Blueberry Whistler Soda


Well, the amount that was lost in this bottle wasn't a good sign from the start. And guess what? It was TOTALLY FLAT. Blue Sun Soda really needs to check something on their Whistler bottling machine because they are NOT holding seals!


Brand: Blueberry Whistler Soda.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: The flavor was good, but it was dead flat, and that's just so annoying. From now on, I'll get Whistler sodas and drink then within the week. Heck, I might open one at Blue Sun Soda to make sure it's actually NOT flat right off the bat. Again, the flavor was nice - it reminded me of the blueberry "chips" that are in blueberry muffin mixes. But it was hard to get past the flat-ness.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Photos from the First "Minnesota Soda Festival"

Yesterday morning, my boys and I stopped by the Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda. It was raining when we got there as it started at 10 a.m., so it was pretty quiet at that time:

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
Soda sampling on 3 sides of the back of the building.

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
The Whistler Soda bottling machine inside.

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
Bottles and flavoring (to the right).

My boys playing some pinball inside.

Again, very quiet at 10 a.m. when it was raining.
There's Charlie in the orange, and Henry in the green playing Skee Ball.

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
The rain had stopped out back, so we headed out again! (They had food trucks there too.)

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
Of COURSE the boys wanted to try the "gross" sounding sodas (that are actually quite tasty).

For the soda tastings, you purchase tickets for 25 cents each, and then get a tiny shot of each kid of soda that you request. (I believe there were better prices if you wanted to try/drink a LOT.) Here's my boys getting their first sips of "Zombie Brain Juice:"

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
I tried the purple "Unicorn Yack" which showed a barfing unicorn. Tasty!

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
Charlie asking for more at the Whistler stand.

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
More people and families showing up.

I bought $3 worth of tickets (so 12 sips). I really only had 1 all to myself (the Unicorn Yack), and the boys had the rest as I tried tiny sips of theirs. We had 2 kinds of Dad's, a few kinds of Spring Grove, some Frostie root beer, the "gross" flavors above, Whistler above, and we ended by sharing some Virgil's.

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
They had a few different bouncy things there, and even though they were wet, lots of kids were in them.

Minnesota Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda
More and more people showing up around 11:30.

It was a fun time, and luckily the weather turned around quickly enough to not ruin the whole day for the event. And Charlie had a great time with their famous Soda Jerk Billy who was ALL personality - he got his finger "stuck" trying to clean out an empty soda bottle, and Henry (my older son) yanked and yanked and couldn't pull it off for him. But Charlie zipped it off with one easy try, and felt like a stud. Then Billy did it again. It was cute.

Thanks Blue Sun Soda!

Friday, August 3, 2018

New Superheroes at "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store"

Last weekend, we stopped by Minnesota's Largest Candy Store. When we were there last (in Sept of 2017), there was a round room addition that wasn't quite finished. And we saw a life-sized Hulk that my boys loved (see link to see photo).

This time, my Iron Man loving 4-year-old LOVED bumping into the Hulkbuster armor:

Superheroes at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store
Life-sized (11' high) with light up repulsor beams, arc reactor, and eyes.

Superheroes at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store
Batman characters and the Silver Surfer. 

Superheroes at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store
Thor, Spiderman (hanging upside down), and DC characters (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash).

Superheroes at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store
In the new "round" room, the Millennium Falcon was hanging from the ceiling.
And Star Lord, Groot, and Baby Groot were above the door.

Candy in the new round room, with part of the Starship Enterprise on the far left.

Back in the "old" part by the checkouts. This is 4 aisles of soda, or about 1/2 their selection.

I didn't get any soda, but I hope to be back later this month NOT on a weekend to stock up - it was BUSY when we were there!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

This Weekend is the "Minneosta Soda Festival"

Blue Sun Soda Shop in the north metro has been mentioning this a lot on their Facebook page lately.

Minneosta Soda Festival

Here are some photos they posted as they get prepped for the big event:

Minneosta Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda

Minneosta Soda Festival at Blue Sun Soda

They were promoting that $20 would get you all the soda sampling you could want as part of a VIP experience. Now they've mentioned that you can taste-test sodas for $0.25 each. Here's the link to the official "Minnesota Soda Festival" website for more info.

Here are 2 links to local stories about this upcoming event: an article in the Star Trib, and a video from Fox 9.

Here's part of what they say will be there:

  • Over 100 Sodas to Try
  • Over 1300 Sodas to Buy
  • Bouncy Castles
  • Face-Painters
  • Street Performers & Characters
  • Children's Activities
  • Food Trucks
  • Ride a 1950's Vintage Bus
  • Whistler Soda Factory Tour Info
  • Meet the Owners
  • Meet the Soda Brewers
  • And Much More!

I might be able to stop by with my boys. We'll see. Sounds fun!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Jones Grape Soda

The grocery store in Alexandria (Elden's) had a sale on Jones soda on an end-cap:

Jones Soda in Alexandria

So I grabbed two. The first one I opened was grape at the cabin:

Jones Grape Soda


Brand: Jones Grape Soda

Origin: Made in Canada.

Purchase Place: Elden's Grocery Store, Alexandria, MN.

Sweetener: Inverted Cane Sugar. 

Review: This was OK. It was a little “sharper” than I’d prefer, when I hoped it was smoother. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have the best flavor. Overall, just a bit lower than average.

Score: 4 out of 10.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tower Root Beer

Sorry for the big break between posts! We had a 6-day trip to 11 state parks earlier this month (see photos in THIS POST and in THIS POST). But now I'm back, and I cracked into some root beer last night:

Tower Root Beer



Brand: Tower Root Beer.

Origin: North Reading, MA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This wasn't anything too unique, but it was good. It was a nice balance of "smooth" and "bite," and there was just a hint of anise for a little kick. Nothing fancy, but it was good.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Yacht Club Black Cherry

I opened this tonight while I was gathering some files at work:

Yacht Club Black Cherry


Brand: Yacht Club Black Cherry.

Origin: Centredale, Rhode Island.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This had a lot of KICK for a black cherry soda. It wasn't necessarily a fantastic flavor, but it was a lot of it - it COMMITTED to a flavor, which I can respect. A little odd chemically taste at the end, so it wasn't the best. Still, not horrible. I'll rate it just below average.

Score: 4.5 out of 10.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Filbert's Diet Cola

This afternoon, I opened this diet cola:

Filbert's Diet Cola


Brand: Filbert's Diet Cola.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

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

Sweetener: Sodium Saccharin.

Review: This was REALLY flavorful with the initial sip, but then it tasted (typically) weak right away as most diet sodas do. This offers nothing new or special to the world of diet colas, but it's still pretty good. Nice subtle fruity flavor as well.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Farmer's Brew Butterscotch Root Beer

Sorry, I haven't posted this month yet! I've had this soda sitting in the fridge for the past 4-5 weeks, and I finally opened it up today:

Farmer's Brew Butterscotch Root Beer


Brand: Farmer's Brew Butterscotch Root Beer

Origin: Shawano, WI.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: I like butterscotch. And I like root beer. But often, the 2 flavors don't mix that well. I could really only taste the butterscotch here, as it tasted like a "butterscotch soda" (or maybe a "butterscotch cola"). It just wasn't something I enjoyed. I feel bad, because there wasn't something I HATED about it. I just didn't like it.

Score: 3.5 out of 10.

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!