Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sioux City Sarsaparilla

Fifth in my Vegas sodas was Sioux City Sarsaparilla:

Sioux City Sarsaparilla
Image source.

Rocket Fizz Sodas.
All my Vegas Sodas: Bulldog Root Beer, Dad's Root Beer, Faygo Root Beer, Sioux City Sarsaparilla,
Lester's Fixins Bacon Soda, and Snooki's Wild Cherry.

Brand: Sioux City Sarsaparilla.

Origin: Whitestone, NY.  (Then WHY is it called "Sioux City?")

Purchase Place: Rocket Fizz, Las Vegas, NV.

Sweetener: Pure cane sugar.

Review: Really smooth, and really caramely. I'm not into that much caramel flavor, but the smoothness was nice. Good amount of head.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lester's Fixins Bacon Soda. Yes, BACON Soda.

Alright... It was our last day in Vegas, and it was time to get adventurous.  I busted out the Bacon Soda.

Lester's Fixins Bacon Soda
Image source.

The label.

Brand: Lester's Fixins Bacon Soda.

Origin: Camarillo, CA.

Purchase Place: Rocket Fizz, Las Vegas, NV.

Sweetener: Cane sugar.

Review: It didn't taste like bacon. It tasted like Bac-Os or Bacon Bits... only in liquid form... with carbonation. That's all a nasty combination. It was salty and smoky, much like bacon (or a hairy, sweaty, Russian man). But in soda form, this is just disgusting. I took 2 tiny sips and had to dump the rest. Lester's Fixins Sweet Corn Soda had slightly more (better) flavor, but I could not stomach this.

Score: 1 out of 10.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mom and Pop's Ice Cream

I'm taking a quick break from my handful of posts about the sodas I drank in Vegas.  Today, I want to give a quick "shout out" to a great new ice cream shop on Riverfront Drive in "Old Town" Mankato, MN.

Two freezers of homemade ice cream.  And fudge.  And coffee.

1919 Root Beer on tap.  (Their keg is refrigerated, whereas Lyndens has their line come through a cold plate in
their soda fountain.  I don't know if that makes a difference to any hardcore enthusiasts.  It didn't matter to me.)

Small root beer and small cup of ice cream.  Life is good!

"Mom" and "Pop" both came over to chat with my family for a moment.  They've been open about a month.  Look them up and stop by to check them out!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Faygo Root Beer

Onto my 3rd soda purchased in Vegas... Faygo Root Beer.

Faygo Root Beer
My Faygo and another soda on ice in our Vegas hotel room.

I really like Grape Faygo, but I'd never had their root beer. Time to try it out.

Brand: Faygo Original Root Beer.

Origin: Detroit, MI.

Purchase Place: Rocket Fizz, Las Vegas, NV.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: The first taste is perfect. PERFECT! (It reminds me a bit of Root Beer Barrels - the candy.) But then it has a strange aftertaste that I can't put my finger on. My wife completely agrees with this assessment: great at first, and then not quite right 2 seconds later. Still, pretty damn good overall.  So far, my favorite of my 3 "Vegas" sodas.

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Snooki Wild Cherry

My second soda from Rocket Fizz while I was in Vegas was Snooki's Wild Cherry soda:

Snooki's Wild Cherry Soda
Snooki in the bathroom of our Vegas hotel room.

Yeah, I can't believe I bought it either. I do NOT like Snooki (or Jersey Shore), but based on the sheer randomness that Snooki has her own soda led me to try it. I'm not proud of it. But that's what I did.

Brand: Snooki Wild Cherry (by Rocket Fizz).

Origin: Camarillo, CA (I think... it's not well labeled).

Purchase Place: Rocket Fizz, Las Vegas, NV.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: The cherry flavor was too "fake," but it had a nice amount of fizz. Just a little too "fake" tasting overall, probably a lot like Snooki...

Score: 4 out of 10.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bulldog Root Beer

The first soda I opened in Vegas was this Bulldog Root Beer:

Bulldog Root Beer
Bulldog in the bathroom of our Bellagio hotel room.

Brand: Bulldog Handcrafted Root Beer.

Origin: Mukilteo, Washington.

Purchase Place: Rocket Fizz, Las Vegas, NV.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: REALLY creamy. Nice vanilla flavor. It's not perfect, but if you like "creamy," then you'll like this!

Score: 8 out of 10.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vegas Trip!!

My wife and I just got back from 4 days in Vegas. Our trip included a stop at Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop.

Rocket Fizz Root Beer
This is ALL Root Beer!!

Rocket Fizz Soda Selection.
All of their individual kinds of soda on the wall.

Rocket Fizz
They had 3 carts of soda like this!

Rocket Fizz Orange
Here's a selection of 15 different kinds of orange soda (under some taffy).

Rocket Fizz Lemon Lime
Over 20 kinds of Lemon Lime soda.  At my count, I've had 6 of these.

Rocket Fizz Coolers
Lots of bottles in the coolers in the back.

Unfortunately, I couldn't purchase a case or 2 of soda and have them mail it home to me - I was hoping they could do that. So I had to only purchase what I was going to drink in the next 24 hours before we left for home. I limited myself to 6 bottles:

Rocket Fizz Sodas.
Bulldog Root Beer, Dad's Root Beer, Faygo Root Beer, Sioux City Sarsaparilla,
Lester's Fixins Bacon Soda, and Snooki's Wild Cherry.

My 6 sodas sitting in our hotel room over-looking The Bellagio's fountain.

So I'll be posting my reviews of all of these over the next week or 2.  Stop by to see what I thought of my Vegas sodas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Second Trip to Lynden's Soda Fountain (for Root Beer and Sarsaparilla)

Last week, I posted about my first stop to Lynden's Soda Fountain right here in St. Paul.  The owner, John Lynden, saw my post and invited me back.  Apparently, my root beer was not supposed to be served with ice, and his "jerk" screwed up.  (A jerk is someone who operates a soda fountain).  Here's part of his note to me:
Thanks for stopping by the fountain and writing the review. I am sorry you got a Root Beer with ice in it. I will send out a memo to all of our jerks to remind them that you never put ice in the Root Beer.

Our root beer actually is not mixed it comes straight from a keg through the cold plate in the fountain. I always recommend enjoying it in a glass rather than a plastic cup.

I would like to invite you back for another root beer on the house and I would also like you to try our Sarsaparilla. 
So my whole family stopped back yesterday.

Lynden's 1919.

Lynden's Root Beer and Henry!
My son's first 1919 Root Beer - he couldn't stop drinking it!

Sarsaparilla and Root Beer and Lynden's.
The Sarsaparilla and (partially drank) Root Beer.

The Root Beer WAS better in the glass and withOUT ice.  John told me that he doesn't like ice in his drinks, and I told him I'm the same way.  He especially doesn't like ice in his Root Beer.  John and I will get along juuuuust fine.

The Sarsaparilla was very "herby" and spicy.  I thought it had a lot of wintergreen, and my wife thought it tasted a bit of cinnamon.  John said it had a lot of Sarsaparilla root in it, and that was probably the flavor.  It was unlike any Sarsaparilla I've had from a bottle.  Lynden's Sarsaparilla is from a small company in Brooklyn - they provide the syrup and Lynden's adds the carbonated water.

Sarsaparilla and Root Beer and Lynden's.
This didn't take long...

Henry at Lynden's.
Henry loved to spin the stools (once he was "sugared up" on lots of root beer)!

Lynden's Soda Fountain.
The signs above Lynden's Soda Fountain

Brand: Lynden's Sarsaparilla and Root Beer.

Origin: St. Paul, MN.  (The Sarsaparilla syrup is from Brooklyn, NY.)

Purchase Place: Lynden's Soda Fountain, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Unknown.

Review: I originally gave the Root Beer a 7.5 out of 10 in my post last week, but I'm bumping that up a point because it IS better in a mug and without ice.  The Sarsaparilla is very herby, spicy, and "sharp."   I need to drink more from a soda fountain, because everything seems to taste "crisper."  I sort of wish it were smoother, but I did like the sharpness.

Root Beer: 8.5 out of 10.
Sarsaparilla: 7.5 out of 10.

p.s.  I STILL need to head back to Lynden's for a Lime Rickey.  And some more candy.  I'll be writing about them again within the next few months for sure.....  And a BIG THANKS to John Lynden for inviting me back!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Filbert's Old Time Quality Draft Root Beer

I grabbed this one from my stash because the label looked promising:

Filbert's Old Time Quality Draft Root Beer
Yes, that's a Journey record in the background.  Don't judge.

Brand: Filbert's Old Time Quality Draft Root Beer.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

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

Sweetener: Sugar and/or corn sweetener.

Review: Classic taste. Not much of a bite, but nice and smooth. Very little anise flavor (just the way I like it!). The ONLY downside is there's a slightly strange aftertaste. Otherwise, this is pretty great!

Score: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Squamscot Sarsaparilla

I was in the mood for some sassy sarsaparilla.

Squamscot Sarsaparilla

I liked the logo on the bottle cap:

Squamscot Sarsaparilla

Brand: Squamscot Sarsaparilla.

Origin: Newfields, New Hampshire.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This first had a slightly strange taste that I wasn't sure I liked. But it quickly grew on me. I realized that it tasted slightly like "herby" cola, and not quite as much like sarsaparilla as I'd like. But it wasn't a bad flavor. I ended up enjoying the rest of the bottle, but I DO wish it tasted a little more like sarsaparilla.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lynden's Soda Fountain's Root Beer

This past weekend, my wife and I thought we'd check out a local candy store / soda fountain that we'd just heard about.  So we headed to the corner of Hamline and Randolph here in St. Paul to go to Lynden's Soda Fountain:

Lynden's Soda Fountain

I HAD to get a root beer from their soda fountain.  They make their sodas "fresh" with soda syrup (some of the syrup is even homemade) and carbonated water.  The root beer is from a 1919 syrup:

Lynden's Root Beer

It was GOOD!  But it got a little weaker as I went (partially due to the ice, but I think mostly because I'd sucked up most of the syrup in the first half).

Lynden's is a pretty small place, but they have a lot of "classic" candy.  Here are a few photos I took:

You grab a tiny little paper bag (hand-stamped with "Lynden's Soda Fountain") and throw in whatever mix of candy you want.  My wife and I got 3 small bags with cola gummies, sour cola gummies, "lipstick" candy (my wife used to love that, but I'd never heard of it), and some chocolate covered expresso beans.

Our 3 little bags at home.

We liked that we could pick as little as we like, because we both just like a "little" treat now and then.  We spent just over a dollar on that candy.

When we go back to Lynden's, I need to try a "Lime Rickey" made with fresh lime juice.  Or maybe a Raspberry Lime Rickey - that was recommended by the high-school or college-aged girl working behind the counter.  They also have ice cream, egg creams, phosphates, coffee, etc, etc.

Brand: Lynden's root beer soda syrup and carbonated water.

Origin: St. Paul, MN.

Purchase Place: Lyndens's Soda Fountain, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Their Facebook page notes their homemade syrups are made with cane sugar, but I'm not sure about this root beer syrup.

Review: Sharp.  "Fresh."  It was "strongly" carbonated because it was just made from the soda fountain (which is an antique!).  It wasn't the BEST ever, but it was good.  And it's quite a great little store.  My wife and I WILL be back to try some of their other concoctions.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.

p.s.  I heard about this place for the first time because they were on the news for "illegally" selling candy cigarettes - something you apparently can't do in St. Paul.  I asked the young woman working behind the counter if people have been coming in and saying "I never knew you were here until I saw you on the news!"  She smiled and said something like "No one has come right out and said that, but I'm pretty sure we've had people in because of that!"  The video on their website shows a quick glimpse of the candy cigarettes, but now they're no longer in the store.  Dang.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Natural Brew Draft Root Beer

We do a gift exchange at Christmas with all of the siblings in my wife's family. We draw names, and we also list a small item we'd like as a gift under our name. All I asked for was "root beer." Really. So I got a 4 pack of Natural Brew Draft Root Beer along with a $25 Visa Card (that I'll ONLY be spending on root beer or other sugary items).

Sitting on the counter at my parents house on Christmas.

The bottle says "A complex flavor of bourbon vanilla extract, anise, sarsaparilla, licorice root, birch oil, wintergreen oil and other natural flavors."  And as that statement would imply, there's just too much going on with this root beer.

Brand: Natural Brew Draft Root Beer

Origin: Chico, California.

Purchase Place: Hy-Vee Grocery Store.

Sweetener: Evaporated Cane Juice.

Review: Too much wintergreen. And too much anise. Too much of a lot of stuff. There's just too much going on. Dislike.

Score: 3 out of 10.