Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"State Fair" Soda Tasting at Blue Sun Soda

Saturday, the boys and I stopped by Blue Sun Soda Shop for a little tasting event they had advertised on Facebook. I knew it would be small (nothing like the big outdoor tasting event last year), but it was an excuse to get to the soda shop.

Blue Sun seems to be changing/expanding every time we stop. Last time we were there, this was where all the pinball machines were, and now it's an "old fashioned" soda shop:


Lots of flavors of soda, and also ice cream floats! (And hot dogs and chips.)


We found the soda tasting at the back of the store, which was just some open bottles and tiny plastic "sipping cups:"

"State Fair" sodas in front of John Wayne.


We all had tiny pours of all 5 kinds of soda. I looked on the labels and saw that the State Fair sodas were made right there at Blue Sun Soda. Here was my ranking from favorite (on the left) to least favorite (on the right):

"Cotton Candy" was like liquid cotton candy! Sweet and tasty! "Kettle Corn" was pretty decent,
tasting like sweet popcorn. "Rocket Bomb Pop" was just OK, "Mini Donut" was cinnamon-y
and alright, and I didn't care for "Chocolate Chip Cookie" that much.

Henry's ranking: he like Rocket Bomb Pop and Cotton Candy a lot.
Neither of my boys cared for Kettle Corn (ranked last).

New sodas: the boys met Billy last year, and they liked his goofy sodas here. The colors
don't match the flavors. (I bought a grape Billy's Bubble Pop, and that was the yellow one.)

A previously closed space in the back is now the arcade!

The other side of the arcade on the other side of the air hockey table.

The boys using their last quarters, with 2 other kids at the air hockey table.


In that first soda of the arcade, you can see my basket of sodas in the foreground. I walked out with 8 bottles, making it one of my smallest trips to Blue Sun. Thanks for the fun tasting event! We'll be back!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fluids Soda Green Cooler

Yesterday, I started a quick 3-day project in our basement and up the basement steps. I opened this while working:

Fluids Soda Green Cooler
After a few hours of scraping and caulking, before getting a coat of primer on last night.


Brand: Fluids Soda Co. Green Cooler.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: Much like my first "Fluids" soda earlier this summer, I didn't know what flavor this was when I opened it. I guess I wasn't too surprised with this neon green turned out to be "green apple" flavored. It was OK. It was a little harsh, and it had that slight "wet cardboard" taste. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. I'm ranking this just below average.

Score: 4.5 out of 10.


Sidenote: here's my "before" shot of scraping from yesterday, and my "during" shot from right now after caulking and a few coats of primer on the bare spots:



Time to paint tomorrow! (Just got back with paint from Menards - all ready to go!)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Jarritos Mandarin

The boys and I stopped at Cub Foods 2 days ago (we rarely do because we are more of an "Aldi" family) for some ingredients for some Thai chicken, and we found a Jarritos that we hadn't tried yet:

Jarritos Mandarin


Brand: Jarritos Mandarin.

Origin: El Paso, TX.

Purchase Place: Cub Foods, Minneapolis, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This had a true "kick" of mandarin orange - it was not just a regular orange soda. And I don't know that I cared for it that much. You know the difference between an "orange" and an "orange cream" soda? Well, take that difference and make an orange soda with more of a bite than creaminess, and you'd have this soda. True that it has an appropriate mandarin kick, but it's just not something that I liked all that much. I'll rate this just below average.

Score: 4 out of 10.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

MN State Fair Sodas

Last Friday, my boys and I went to the MN State Fair. One of our first stops was a root beer barrel for a root beer:

MN State Fair Root Beer
My 8-year-old did the ordering.

A small is $2, and the "Blue Ribbon Bargain Book" had a $1 off coupon. So this $1 IBC root beer might have been our deal of the day.

We also had to stop at the Spring Grove Soda stand by the DNR building. I let the boys pick the flavor, and they picked orange. We had a $1 off coupon for this too, so it was only $2 after the coupon:

Orange Spring Grove Soda
My 5-year-old hogging the orange soda.

Orange Spring Grove Soda
This was just after a burp, so he looks quite drunk off soda.  ;)

Check out the State Fair before it closes on Monday!

And in related posts, click the "Minnesota State Fair" tag at the bottom of this post to go back year-after-year. Or click directly on my 2 favorite State Fair posts: rating lots of fair food 3 years ago, and having treats and Spring Grove Soda 5 years ago.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cock Cola

I opened this last night:

Cock Cola


Brand: Cock Cola.

Origin: Incline Village, NV.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: In case you're wondering (like I was), they give no indication as to why they call it "cock" cola. Nothing. So that's still a mystery. But the line at the bottom of the label saying "strong cola taste" is pretty right on: it's a strong-tasting but pretty normal cola. Nothing stands out about it, but it was fine. I'm giving it a pretty average score.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Towne Club Lemonade

I opened this the other day with my boys:

Towne Club Lemonade


Brand: Towne Club Lemonade

Origin: Detroit, MI.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: It was just slightly carbonated, and it was good. It wasn't too sweet - almost a little tart. That made my wife and I like it quite a bit, but my boys say they wished it was sweeter. So it was an "adult" lemonade. Pretty good!

Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Grand Teton Brewing "Old Faithful" Root Beer

Some "internet friends" recently had a tasty root beer, and they thought of me! (I'm honored!) So they tracked down another can (which wasn't easy - they had it in Yellowstone and then had to find another can for me later at an ice cream shop) and spent $10 to mail a can first class to me. Thanks Brandon and Theresa!

They mailed it a few weeks ago when we were out of town. I got it and put it in the fridge right away, and I was saving it for a special occasion. Yesterday, I spent some time outside working on the foundation of our house, and then my boys and I ate supper outside because it was so beautiful. PERFECT time to crack out a good root beer.

Grand Teton Brewing "Old Faithful" Root Beer
In the backyard.

Grand Teton Brewing "Old Faithful" Root Beer

Grand Teton Brewing "Old Faithful" Root Beer
The boys getting a few ounces of my root beer after supper in the backyard.


Brand: Grand Teton Brewing "Old Faithful" Root Beer.

Origin: Victor, ID.

Purchase Place: Genuine Ice Cream Co, Bozeman, MT.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was very creamy. But more importantly, it was VERY "herby." If you like a "rooty" and herb-filled root beer, then try this. It might be the most herby I've ever had. But it wasn't overpowering. And then there was a fruity sweetness at the end. Theresa noted that it had a good head, but mine was a bit flatter (could have been from being in the mail for a few days?), but it wasn't a problem. Unique and tasty!

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Lift Bridge Black Cherry Soda

We grabbed this from Lund's in Minneapolis last night:

Lift Bridge Black Cherry Soda


Brand: Lift Bridge Black Cherry Soda

Origin: Stillwater, MN.

Purchase Place: Lund's, Minneapolis, MN (St. Anthony Main area).

Sweetener: Natural Sugar.

Review: I've generally enjoyed Lift Bridge sodas in their extra large cans (and I like that they are made just outside of the Twin Cities here in MN), so I was excited to try this. And it lived up to my expectations. I had to re-look at the label 2 times to make sure it didn't say "Black Cherry CREAM" because it had a very creamy flavor. Trying to remove the "creamy" flavor from my mind while tasting, the black cherry is pretty average, but that's not a bad thing. It's a tasty, creamy black cherry soda.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Barq's Frozen Root Beer and Vanilla Ice Cream Float

So I just found out that THIS exists this summer:

Barq's Frozen Root Beer and Vanilla Ice Cream Float


I need to find these. Although, there are 24 in there, and I *could* go a bit overboard and have... I dunno... like 24 of these at a time. So I'll need to watch myself.

Right now, I can only find them on Instacart.

Friday, July 19, 2019

IBC Root Beer

The boys and I cracked into this yesterday:

IBC Root Beer


Brand: IBC Root Beer.

Origin: Plano, TX.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This is a root beer that I've had a dozen times. It's maybe the first "glass bottle" root beer I remember having as a kid - my Mom would buy a 4-pack during the summer as a treat after hot July hay baling. This had a real deep flavor. It had a nice balance of "smooth" and "bite." The sweetness had a slightly off taste at the end of each sip, but that was the only (minor) issue. It went down easy and was quite tasty!

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cherry Vanilla Blue Sky Soda

I stopped by Mississippi Market on West 7th in St. Paul because we were driving by and I needed 1 thing for tacos later that day (a can of black beans), and this caught my eye:

Cherry Vanilla Blue Sky Soda


Brand: Cherry Vanilla Blue Sky Soda.

Origin: Tustin, CA.

Purchase Place: Mississippi Market, St. Paul, MN. (The one on West 7th.)

Sweetener: Invert Cane Sugar.

Review: I'm always in for a surprise when I try a "hippie" soda - I never know what to expect. This one was quite good though! The vanilla was nice and sweet and smooth, and the cherry was good too. It didn't have the depth of a "cola" (and wasn't labeled as such), but it didn't skimp on flavor and went down well. Quite good!

Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A&W Root Beer

I went camping with my boys over the weekend. I brought this bottle of A&W to share around the campfire as I haven't reviewed that yet here on this blog:

A&W Root Beer
On our picnic table with our tent peeking out back there. More photos from our trip here.


Brand: A&W Root Beer.

Origin: Plano, TX.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: I kinda went into this with high hopes. In my mind, A&W has been a decent root beer that I sort of compared all other root beers against. I recalled it was much smoother and tastier (to me) than Barq's ("Barq's has bite!"). But it ended up being just OK. It went down well, but I had hyped it up too much in my mind. I'll call it pretty average. It was smooth, but the sweetness wasn't all that great. It was just OK. (At least I had good company around the campfire...)

Score: 5.5 out of 10.


After our supper and root beer.

Playing in the creek before bed.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Polly's Pop Black Cherry

Last night, I opened this while cleaning the kitchen:

Polly's Pop Black Cherry



Brand: Polly's Pop Black Cherry.

Origin: Independence, MO.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This sure wasn't a black cherry "cola" - this was just a black cherry "pop" as the brand name implies. It was pretty smooth and just a bit creamy. Nothing remarkable, but pretty tasty. It went down easy.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

RC Royal Crown Cola

I had a lot of these as a kid at my grandparent's house, but I haven't had one in years...

RC Cola


Brand: RC Royal Crown Cola.

Origin: Plano, TX.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was a decent cola. It had the normal cola flavor, with a slight fruity sweetness at the end. Nothing remarkable, but still good.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Fluids Soda 10-30

I opened this a few hours ago:

Fluid Soda 10-30


Brand: Fluids Soda 10-30.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: First of all, I did NOT know what this flavor was. There was nothing on the bottle saying what this would taste like. I figured it might be a cola, but it didn't smell like that. And it was quite dark - darker than a cola it would seem. When I took a sip, it was sweet and anise-like. (But I don't really like anise, and this wasn't horrible.) I then saw someone online (in its ONE Amazon review) say it kind of tasted like black jelly beans, and I could see where they were coming from. Unique and OK.

Score: 5.5 out of 10.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Melba's Fixins Key Lime Pie Soda

I opened this on a hot afternoon yesterday:

Melba's Fixins Key Lime Pie Soda


Brand: Melba's Fixins Key Lime Pie Soda

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This is quite smooth and tasty! I expected this to be (AT BEST) a soda that I sip and didn't enjoy much. But it ended up being very drinkable. My oldest son likes key lime greek yogurt, and it reminds me of a liquid version of that. It was good!

Score: 8 out of 10.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Crush Grape

I was surprised to realize that I'd never reviewed any "Crush" sodas! So here's grape:

Crush Grape
On the deck of a little cabin I'm staying in right along Trade River in WI.


Brand: Crush Grape.

Origin: Plano, TX.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: I think most grape sodas can win me over pretty easily. This is one of them. It's sugary, sweet, and heavy on the grape. It tastes like being a kid. Tasty!

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Spring Grove Soda Recipes

Spring Grove Soda posted this on their Facebook page earlier today:


Some of these I want to try! I'm not real big on alcohol, but my Mom likes RumChata, so that last one could sound good to the both of us! And "cinnamon roll" sounds good to me as well. As does "cream puff."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beer

Sorry! It's been nearly a month since my last review! We just got through finals, and grades got submitted last night. So now I'm taking a breather with a root beer I've had in the fridge for the last 4 weeks...

Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beer


Brand: Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beer.

Origin: Redding, California.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This was good! I'm glad I had a good root beer waiting for me after a month of inactivity on this blog. It was really deep and herby. There was a lot of flavor, with just a hint of anise and really no wintergreen. It went down pretty easy! I call this one quite a bit more than the "blonde" Oak Creek root beer. Tasty!

Score: 9 out of 10.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Timeline of Cherry Coke

Cherry Coke History
Cherry Coke over the years.

And Cherry Coke Zero recently got a makeover as well:

Cherry Coke Zero New Can
Old and new cans.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

J. Gasco's Elderflower Fizzy Italian Soda

Last night, I tried this TINY 6.75 oz bottle of Italian Soda:

J. Gasco's Elderflower Fizzy Italian Soda
I didn't get a photo in comparison to something else - this is TINY!


Brand: J. Gasco's Elderflower Fizzy Italian Soda.

Origin: Torino, Italy.

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

Sweetener: Sugar and "Burnt Sugar."

Review: This had a nice "adult" flavor - it was sweet, but it was a dry sweetness that wasn't too over-the-top. My wife and I enjoyed it. It would be great in a mixed drink, but it was just fine on it's own as well. I had to google "burnt sugar" to see what that was, as it's listed as the last ingredient on the list. This was unique and tasty! Worth a try!

Score: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kickin' Cow Cola

The boys and I cracked into this earlier today:

Kickin' Cow Cola


I had no idea what the flavor was, but my boys were excited to try it anyway:

Charlie trying his first sip...

... and his reaction.

My older son said it tasted like "soap mixed with mouthwash" and he didn't finish his sip. My younger son (pictured) loved it.


Brand: Kickin' Cow Cola.

Origin: Poultney, VT.

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

Sweetener: Evaporated Cane Juice.

Review: I had to go online to see what the flavor actually was. All I found was "like natural Pepsi," which I thought was way off. This was hardly "cola-like" at all. I'd describe it as a "gentle" ginger ale. It was nearly clear, with just a slight tan color. It wasn't bad (SURELY not as bad as "soap mixed with mouthwash), but it wasn't totally amazing either. I'll rank it just above average.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Jackson Hole South Fork Strawberry Rhubarb Soda

I opened this last night:

Jackson Hole South Fork Strawberry Rhubarb Soda


Brand: Jackson Hole South Fork Strawberry Rhubarb Soda.

Origin: Jackson, WY.

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

Sweetener: Cane sugar.

Review: This tasted like a pretty honest-to-goodness "strawberry rhubarb." The problem with that is I've never been a huge fan of strawberry rhubarb flavored anything. So the short version is the flavor is right on, but I didn't care for the flavor a ton. It has the sweetness of strawberry with a little bitter bite of rhubarb. It's not "bad," but it's just not a taste I prefer.

Score: 4 out of 10.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Soda Pun

Blue Sun Soda Shop recently posted this "dad joke" on Instagram:



Monday, March 25, 2019

Coca Cola California Raspberry

I stopped at Cub Foods in Midway (St. Paul) this past week to get a few things with my boys. We walked past the sodas, and I found this single bottle (they sell a lot of 4- or 6-packs, so it's nice to find some individual bottles for sale):

Coca Cola California Raspberry


Brand: Coca Cola California Raspberry.

Origin: Anywhere?

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This had that oh-so-recognizable Coca Cola flavor, but then there was a berry "tartness" to it as well. I can't call that tartness good or bad - it was just tart. I don't know that I could have labeled it as "raspberry" had I not know what I was drinking, but it was pretty good. So I guess I'm saying the "raspberry" flavor isn't 100% right, but the raspberry "tartness" was about right. Overall, it was a nice version of Coke!

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Gross Gus's Dinosaur Dung Chocolate Soda

I was feeling adventurous and opened this soda this afternoon:

Gross Gus's Dinosaur Dung Chocolate Soda


Brand: Gross Gus's Dinosaur Dung Chocolate Soda.

Origin: Inyokern, CA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: It smelled like chocolate. And it TASTED like chocolate. This was much better than the first chocolate soda I had a few years ago, although some of the same things can be said about it: it tasted a bit like a liquid Tootsie Rolls, and it's mainly "sip-able" (not really "drinkable"). But the flavor was much better in this one. It still wasn't GREAT, but I'll give this an average score. If you like chocolate and are intrigued, check this one out.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bawls Guarana Cherry

We stopped at "Fresh Thyme" grocery store over the weekend, and my wife asked "hey, have you had all of these?" as we walked through the soda section. I found a Bawls Cherry that I hadn't tried before:

Bawls Guarana Cherry
Hard to photograph - had to hold it in the right spot to make out the label.


Brand: Bawls Guarana Cherry.

Origin: Twinsburg, OH.

Purchase Place: Fresh Thyme Grocery Store, Minneapolis, MN.

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: My first Bawls soda / energy drink was a bit of a let down. They made sodas with a super high caffeine content - one of the ingredients is guarana extract which is about twice as potent as coffee beans. This bottle had 64 mg of caffeine. But I still wanted to try this. It wasn't great. The cherry flavor was OK the moment it touched my tongue, but then it immediately became very "chemically" tasting. And it was weak/thin tasting. Both of those things I ended up saying about my first Bawls soda as well. Not a fan of Bawls.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Freaky Dog Soda Rooffbeer

I did some cooking this afternoon, and I opened this to enjoy while cutting up veggies:

Freaky Dog Soda Rooffbeer


Brand: Freaky Dog Soda Rooffbeer.

Origin: Ipswich, MA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was pretty heavy on the wintergreen, and also pretty smooth. It went down easily, but make sure you like wintergreen, or you'll think this is a bit too much. I'll give it a better-than-average score.

Score: 7 out of 10.