Saturday, April 4, 2020

Batch Craft Soda Brown Sugar Root Beer

After my last 2 sodas were soooo bad (maybe the worst root beer I've had, and then something that tasted like perfume), I looked for something in my stash that looked promising. So I grabbed this:

Ehh... just OK.


Brand: Batch Craft Soda Brown Sugar Root Beer.

Origin: Orange County, California.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar and Caramelized Unrefined Cane Sugar.

Review: This wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing (unfortunately). The sweetness was a little odd/sharp, and there was a bit too much wintergreen for me. It sure wasn't a BAD soda, but it wasn't a great root beer. So I guess I still have to wait to break my streak of not-great sodas. I have to rank this a bit below average.

Score: 4 out of 10.
 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Love Potion #69 Soda

I opened this last night:

Love Potion #69 Soda

Love Potion #69 Soda
I had a get a better photo showing just HOW purple it was.

Love Potion #69 Soda
It claims to be a slight aphrodisiac.


Brand: Love Potion #69 Soda.

Origin: Gardena, CA.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This smelled "perfume-like" when I opened it. I had no idea what flavor it was going to be. And after drinking this bottle, I still can't tell you. It's a bit fruity, but with a weird (and again, slightly perfumey) aftertaste.

When I looked at the ingredients, that explained a little of it: there's a LOT of flavors crammed into this. There's a herbal blend that consists of "Siberian Ginseng, Jasmine, Buchu, Dillweed, Ginkgo Biloba, Clove, Echinacea, Damiana, Kola Nut, Dong Quai (Angelica), Brazilian Guarana, Gotu Kola, African Capsium, and Chamomile."

I can kinda taste the kola nut (a flavor that I've enjoyed in some interesting colas I've had), but one the the things that comes out in the aftertaste is the dillweed. Yep, dill. That's NOT really something that's tasty in a soda. When has ANYONE EVER thought "Mmmm... what this soda could use more of is dill!" Never. Three out of the 4 of us in our house did not care for it.

Score: 3 out of 10.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Single Soda Bottles for the "Stay At Home" Order

Starting tomorrow, Minnesotans are asked by Governor Walz to "stay at home" for 2 weeks. (Which is a slightly more lenient version of "shelter at home" that some states are doing.) I was out yesterday to get some groceries at Cub Foods (not our normal place, but they had a few deals), and I noticed their bottled soda selection at the back:

Cub Foods Soda Selection


What I was happiest to see was the handful of local Spring Grove Sodas on the 2nd-from-the-top shelf! Including root beer! So head to Cub and stock up for your "stay at home" (although grocery trips are OK over these next 2 weeks).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Pop vs Soda vs Coke Map

I feel like this is close...

Pop vs Soda vs Coke Map

In my experience, most of the rural Midwest says "pop," but more of the urban areas (like the Twin Cities where I live) tend to say "soda." So maybe there needs to be at least 2 counties in the Metro (Ramsey and Hennepin) that are green...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunshine Bottle Works All-Natural Root Beer

We did a lot of cooking today (while staying inside in the name of "social distancing"), and I opened this to sip on while cooking:

Sunshine Bottle Works All-Natural Root Beer
My wife and 8-year-old making bagels in the background.


Brand: Sunshine Bottle Works All-Natural Root Beer.

Origin: San Luis Obispo, CA.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This first sip of this was pretty normal, but then I was BLASTED with a heavy molasses aftertaste. Truly. I checked the ingredients, and nothing stood out there - if anything, it sounded good: "natural flavors with spices of wintergreen, anise and birch."

My wife took a sip, made a face, and said "YEP!" My 8-year-old didn't like it, and that's super rare when it comes to sodas! My 5-year-old thought it was OK. But I didn't even finish the bottle. This might go down as my first root beer that I never finished! Just too much molasses flavor.

Score: 1.5 out of 10.
 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Coronavirus Updates from Blue Sun Soda Shop

Here's an update from a few days ago from Blue Sun Soda Shop:

We are still open. The soda fountain is closed and so is the arcade. Those must stay closed until this passes.

We may be reducing hours of operation in the future as well.

We employ 12 jerks in total and would like to keep them employed. We are not Amazon and if we closed up we would not be able to keep paying our jerks so we are day-by-daying this whole thing.

None of the jerks are being forced to work if they do not want to either.

Billy is no longer giving out hugs.

If you come in the store please respect distance, wash your hands, and know that all of us will get through this sooner rather than later.

We are even discussing Whistler Case delivery to your home.

Good luck everyone. Wash your hands. Sneeze in your elbow. Stay away from crowds.

Blue Sun Soda Shop


That was from a week ago. Here's an update from yesterday: you can fill out this form totaling 24 sodas and they will have it ready at the door for you to pick up:



Good luck out there! Support local when you can!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Cherry Billy's Bubble Pop

I opened this last night:

Cherry Billy's Bubble Pop


Brand: Cherry Billy's Bubble Pop.

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: Much like my first Billy's Bubble Pop, this was quite sweet and syrupy. I'm seeing these "Billy's" sodas as being for kids, as they are pretty normal flavors, but just EXTRA sweet. (And my kids think it's hilarious that the colors don't match the flavors.) Not bad, just really sweet. Otherwise a pretty normal cherry.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Whistler Wild Cherry Soda

I haven't had a soda in a while. So I opened this earlier tonight for my boys and I to enjoy (as my wife is out of town at the moment, so we enjoyed some extra sugar in her absence):

Pretty tasty!

Whistler Wild Cherry Soda


First of all, YES, it was purple. A purple wild cherry. That IS wild. That threw me for a loop. And I didn't know I had a Whistler soda still in my stash - 75% of the time, I just reach into my soda box and take out whatever I grab. And I was shocked to find a Whistler. (I was concerned because they've had "sealing" issues [note here and here], and now I try to drink my Whistlers shortly after purchasing them.)


Brand: Whistler Wild Cherry Soda 

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: First of all, it HAD a seal. So that was good. And it ended up being a sweet and very easy-to-drink "wild cherry." The flavor seemed about spot-on. My boys loved it as well. It was on the sweeter side (so more "kid friendly" and less "fancy adult soda friendly"), but I tend to enjoy that. Good soda!

Score: 7.5 out of 10.
 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Refrescos Country Club UVA Grape Soda

I opened this as I was cooking a meat loaf yesterday:

Refrescos Country Club UVA Grape Soda


Brand: Refrescos Country Club UVA Grape Soda.

Origin: Brooklyn, NY.

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

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: I quite often say that I like (or at least"don't mind") a syrupy soda. But this was nearly too much for me. I don't know that I've EVER had a soda that was this syrupy. My wife would have called it a little "cough syrup-like" (although it didn't taste medicinal at all). The grape flavor was "expected" and OK, but it was just a bit to thick-tasting. I appreciate that it seems to be trying something new/unique, but I'll still have to rate it just below average.

Score: 4 out of 10.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Olde Brooklyn Brighton Beach Black Cherry Soda

I opened this last night and shared a few sips with my boys:

Olde Brooklyn Brighton Beach Black Cherry Soda

Olde Brooklyn Brighton Beach Black Cherry Soda



Brand: Olde Brooklyn Brighton Beach Black Cherry Soda.

Origin: Whitestone, NY.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This is really interesting because it starts VERY creamy, but then each sip ends with a bit of a "bite." It's unusual to have both those sensations in the same soda. It's just a basic (but tasty) creamy black cherry soda. I'm a bit surprised that it's not labeled as "black cherry CREAM." It's a solid soda!

Score: 8 out of 10.
 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Dead World Root Beer Zombie Soda

During the Super Bowl tonight, I just *had* to open a root beer:

Dead World Root Beer Zombie Soda


Brand: Dead World Root Beer Zombie Soda

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: Dead World was recently acquired by Blue Sun Soda here in MN, so I *think* this is different root beer than the "Dead World TWILIGHT SHUFFLE Root Beer" that I had 18 months ago, because that was still made in Michigan. (Also ironic: that last Dead World root beer was enjoyed as I was finishing up semester grading, and this Dead World root beer was enjoyed as classes start in a few days.)

Anyway, this was quite good. It was thick and creamy, and nearly syrupy. I don't recall having such a "thick" root beer anytime recently. It had little head, but was pretty smooth and rich. It almost had a floral or fruity aftertaste. Not a bad root beer!

Score: 8 out of 10.
 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

A Popular Post

I write this blog mainly for my own archive. I ALWAYS bring my blog up on my phone when I'm buying soda to see if I'm looking at a soda I've tried before. (Or to see if I'm re-purchasing a "9" or a "10!")

Still, it was fun to see recent post get a lot of hits! It was my post about visiting "Remix" candy and popcorn store that just opened 3 blocks from home. Someone shared my post the following day on a "foodie" page for the Twin Cities. Suddenly, I was on Facebook seeing random people sharing my post.  That was fun.

I glanced at my built-in page counter from Blogger, and it showed the anomaly:

My blog's stats 2 days after posting: 1100+ hits on that
post, 20x more than the next popular one for the month.


Later that month, the unusually popular posting date stands out.


I stopped in to Remix for some Christmas presents in mid-December, and I chatted with the owner the same way I have for the previous 4-5x I've been in. And that blog post came up. "Wait... are you Steve? With the 'root beer' blog?!?" she asked. Apparently, people had been coming in saying they had seen that post. I was happy to be driving business her way!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

W.T. Heck's Marshmallow Soda

After a week in Mexico, I came home and tried a strange sounding soda:

W.T. Heck's Marshmallow Soda


Brand: W.T. Heck's Marshmallow Soda

Origin: Spring Lake Park, MN.

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

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: First of all, I like the name: I'm assuming that "W.T. Heck" stands for "what the heck?" (Yes, my Mom has called me a genius.) Well what the heck? It ACTUALLY tastes like liquid marshmallow! Sort of. With a bit of a "floral" aftertaste that isn't all bad. This wasn't something I could sit and DRINK - it would have been too overwhelming. No, this was more of a "sipping" soda. It wasn't too bad. If you know someone who really has a thing for marshmallows, then this could be a fun treat for them. Odd, but fun.

Score: 5 out of 10.
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Soda Box Camera

Someone known as Magnifik 2.0 on Flickr folded parts of a Coca Cola soda box into a pinhole camera:

Coca Cola pinhole camera
Front

Coca Cola pinhole camera
Back

Here's the image source and more abut the camera:

SCM (Self-Contained Matchbox) 35mm Pinhole Camera. Idea taken and modified from my earlier matchbox pinhole camera built. Constructed with a single sheet of cardboard which folds together into a self-containing box. 10mm focal length, 0.11mm pinhole diameter.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Atomic Fizz Soda

I opened this earlier this afternoon (as I watched the Vikings lose in the playoffs... sad)...

Atomic Fizz Soda


Brand: Atomic Fizz Soda.

Origin: Louisburg, KS.

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

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: I kinda had high hopes for this. It's label made it sound really special. This soda (not the BRAND, but this particular flavor) has it's own Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook page. And it didn't have any sort of flavor listed, so I was super curious as well. It ended up being a bit of a cream soda -like soda. But it really was more than that. There's an element of cola in there, and a thick syrup-iness. If I had to describe it in one sentence, I'd say it's a blonde, creamy, syrupy, slightly fruity cola... kinda. Not bad at all. Pretty interesting, and decent.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.
 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Ketchup is a Soda?...

This is controversial... much like the "are hot dogs considered a sandwich or a taco" debate.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Fiz Roc City Root Beer

I cracked into this today:

Fiz Roc City Root Beer



Brand: Fiz Roc City Root Beer.

Origin: Rochester, NY.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: I thought I'd had this before, but as I looked back on this blog, I realized I'd only sampled it at a "root beer tasting" at Blue Sun Soda. (I actually noted that Fiz's was the only root beer at the tasting that I hadn't had before, but I didn't note if I liked it or not.)

It had a very "thick" flavor, almost molasses-like. Whenever I think of a "classic" root beer flavor, it's one of 2 things: sort of an A&W, or like this Fiz. It was pretty good. Pretty rich. And when I set it down a little hard on the counter once it made and kept a good head. Nothing great, but pretty decent.

Score: 7 out of 10.