Wednesday, March 30, 2011

hillbilly brew, fudgy chocolate, it's peachy, try it!

Day three of Crownvention coverage commences now!

Hillbilly Brew (a poor-man's Mountain Dew), Fudgy Chocolate, and It's Peachy, Try It! are three caps found, much to my excitement, at Crownvention. They were purchased solely for their looks. I know, I know, how superficial of me. I've never had any of these beverages and it's difficult to find info online (so, as always, any info my faithful readers can provide is welcome), but their retro styles are very pleasing to the eye.

Hillbilly Brew and It's Peachy are both cork-lined caps, which makes me think they are pretty old crowns. Fudgy chocolate, however, is plastic-lined and has pretty clean lines, which makes me wonder where on earth it's from and what time period. Google, the ultimate finder of everything these days, comes up only with recipes for chocolate brownies when I do a search for fudgy chocolate, fudgy chocolate beverage, soda, etc. Google, you have failed me! I asked the Internet: It. Did. Not. Know. On the bright side, I know what I'm baking this weekend.

In any case, it's a really fun bottle cap, with a totally ridiculous font and girl wearing a crown licking her lips. Definitely makes me want to drink one! I just hope it's not secretly a Yoo-hoo!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

appalachian brewing company

Welcome to entry 2 in my week-long look at Crownvention.

Of the many things to do in Harrisburg, PA and the surrounding areas, taking a trip to the Appalachian Brewing Company is a must. Great food, loads of brew on tap, and, of course, beer and root beer brewed right on premises.

When Michael and I arrived for dinner after a full day of conventions and sight-seeing, we stumbled upon a restaurant full of people excited for some food, some drink, and apparently a concert by a band called The Clarks. (Michael and I had never heard of them but everyone was wearing t-shirts and seemed stoked for the show to begin. They're a band hailing from Pittsburgh, so the home-town feel was definitely in the air.)

While we were waiting (it ended up being about a 45 minute wait), we hung out at the bar, watched the end of a NCAA basketball game, and drank some beer. When we finally sat down for dinner, we each ordered a diet Root beer. My Tree-Hugger veggie burger was HUGE -- I definitely couldn't finish it -- and Michael ordered the Drunken Shepherd's Pie, which he was very pleased with. The diet Root Beer also hit the spot, so much so that we purchased a bottle of regular root beer for the road. The regular root beer has more spice to it, as well as a stronger after taste.  I prefer the regular, but I think Michael liked the diet. We should have gotten a bottle of that, too!

The bottle cap is also noteworthy -- a bear claw (or some sort of animal claw) with a seal of excellence and a nice, clean design.  It also fulfills an important requirement for me -- the name of the brewery, so that I know what it is after it has been sitting in my collection for a while.

Speaking of which, in the coming weeks I will have a few "mystery caps" that I hope my loyal readers can help me decipher. When your bottle cap has only a bird on it, or a star  --- well, it makes it hard to remember what it is. Keep that in mind, bottling companies!

Monday, March 28, 2011

cherry coke, clearly canadian, dr. pepper

Crownvention has come and gone. Rooms and rooms of cans, crowns, and other drinking goodies are behind us. I feel like I made out like a bandit. A few bottle caps I was specifically looking for were easily found and procured. The weekend in PA was well worth the trip.

Cherry Coke has always been a favorite drink of mine but I don't think I have ever seen it in a glass bottle, so it was definitely on the list of caps that I wanted to try to get this past weekend. I was in luck!  One of the first vendors I came across had an array of Coke caps -- both old and new, and many, many varieties. This particular Cherry Coke cap also has an actual cherry on it, only adding to the fabulousness. The best Cherry Coke I think I've ever had is at this great old-fashioned diner on the Upper East Side that makes Coke with Syrup (if you click on the link be sure to turn up your volume!). You can get a fountain soda with vanilla, lemon, or cherry.

Dr. Pepper is also a classic.  Again, not as easy to find in bottles in my 'hood as one might think (plenty in plastic, but we all know that it is just not the same.)  I went with a more contemporary cap for Dr. Pepper. I'm not such a fan of all of the new flavors of Dr. Pepper out there -- how do you feel about them?  Dr. Pepper has such a distinctive taste that only the classic hits the spot. I drink Diet Dr. Pepper but it is the ONLY diet soda that I think actually tastes like the original.

The last cap I'll discuss tonight from Crownvention is Clearly Canadian,  a delicious flavored sparkling water. This is a drink that I used to covet growing up.  It was abundant, many flavors to choose from, and was always satisfying. As I got older, it became more and more scarce, and now it is at the point where I can't find it anywhere. I think the last time I found Clearly Canadian anywhere in NY was about five or six years ago, and that was a fluke! Before that, I saved one bottle (but not the cap, alas) that is currently residing at my parent's house. I think it is now a candle holder -- such a sad fate. Clearly Canadian wasn't even something on my list of hopeful caps for this trip, so when I saw one, I had to pounce on it!

Faithful readers, did you find any amazing bottle caps this weekend?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Phew! It was an absolutely crazy weekend! After a full week of work, Michael and I hopped in our car and drove 3 1/2 hours to Harrisburg, PA to attend the Spring Thaw/Crownvention.  Even though it was a three-day affair, Michael and I could only make it for Saturday. Rooms and rooms of bottle caps, cans, and other drinking paraphanalia. It was amazing! I found a bunch of caps that I had been looking for (stay tuned for upcoming posts on all sorts of interesting crowns). You could spend as much or as little on caps as you wanted--I dug through a cardboard box that had 10 caps for a dollar, and Michael was very generous and bought me a few cork-lined caps as gifts!  It was win-win, with Michael even finding a beer can for his father.

Michael and I also took the opportunity to explore Harrisburg, Lancaster County, and Hershey PA as well.  Lancaster County was great--with handmade Amish pretzles, all-you-can-eat buffets, horse and buggies, and lots of antiques, quilts, and ceramics. We had fun having a car (in NYC the subway is our car), driving around and having a weekend in "the country."

This post will be sans-cap photo, but don't worry--this week will be full of new caps and new stories. And if you were at Crownvention, feel free to share your stories, too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

brazilia guarana - guest post by Michael Lober

Guest post by Michael Lober:

If you're going to hang around with Lauren Walles, you have to be prepared to enter every bodega on every block. What's worse, you have to be prepared to not buy anything in these bodegas. I never feel bad when I walk out of a 7-11 empty-handed; the chain is doing just fine, and most of the time the hired help doesn't notice. But walking out of a narrow NYC bodega empty-handed is awkward and semi-shameful. The owner always asks if he can help us find whatever we're looking for, and it's best not to say anything than to say that we were actually hoping that he carried imported bottles of soda that are most likely terrible. 
We've learned to spot a good bodega (meaning a bodega that carries imported bottled sodas). First, if the bodega claims a nationality -- the Mexican mini-market, or the Brazilian bodega -- then you can expect bottles caps. Second, if the bodega is one of those fancily lit health food markets, then you might happen upon some sort of bottled green tea ginger ale thingie, or any other sort of designer soda. Finally, if you're in Williamsburg or pretty much any neighborhood in the western portion of Brooklyn, expect a few bottle caps. It's easier to find a microbrewed root beer from Oregon than a Coca Cola in some of the bodegas there.

Anyway, this is all to say that there's a Brazilian mini-market near Lauren's apartment, and we came across a bottled guarana soda there. Guarana, apparently, is a type of Amazonian tree that produces a small fruit that's high in caffeine. It tasted kind of like apple to me, not terrible or overly sweet, but unmemorable nonetheless. The soda is the color of that tan M&M that has since been discontinued, although the bottle boasts that it's caramel tinted. Nope, tan M&M, that's what color it is.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The International Grocery Store in my neighborhood will definitely be getting more of my business in the future.  One of the first beers I purchased there was Yarpivo, a Russian lager (note, the website is in Russian.)  Not only was this beer 99 cents, it was tasty, and has a cool cap (there is even a bear!).

We drank our Yarpivo while watching the movie The Hangover. Between the two of us, we polished off this beer and marveled at the fact that it didn't just taste like another Budweiser.  It had a slightly tangy flavor, and Michael thought it was kind of like a Blue Moon (if only we had some oranges!) We didn't drink enough to have a night like the guys in the movie, but I could have drank another one, if we had only brought more home.  But we like to limit ourselves to taste testing only one or two beverages per evening so as not to get too out of hand (or in my case, too behind in my reviews for this blog!). But all in all, it's a beer that, if given the chance, we would certainly buy again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

d&g, ting, squirt

Michael has a theory about international sodas. Their makers all love Coca Cola (or at least, they love the success of Coca Cola), so the challenge for them is to make an equally successful yet tastier product. Pretty much every international soda that we've tasted thus far has decided to do so by dumping double the amount of sugar into whatever concoction they come up with. They seem to have concluded that everyone loves Coca Cola because it's sweet, so people will love their sodas twice as much if they were simply twice as sweet. In reality, the opposite effect takes place.

An excellent example is D&G  Pineapple Soda. At first, I had high hopes for this soda. It was purchased at a deli in the West Village, the bottle has a cartoon cat wearing shades (similar to MC Skat Kat from Paula Abdul's Opposites Attract video) and sipping his "Original Jamaican Flavor" soda through a straw.  The bottle also told me to "Stay Kool."  How could this be bad?

Alas,  D&G Pineapple Soda tasted like a liquid pineapple Starburst. I took only a few sips before I had to dump the rest of it. My teeth started to hurt from the sugar. And, D&G, you need to work on your bottle cap. If you had MC Skat Kat on your cap, I would have liked the soda a lot better! Just a tip.

Ting is another beverage from D&G -   and I just happened to have a bottle cap.  I don't remember when I got this, or what Ting tastes like, but according to the website, it is a grapefruit soda. Clearly D&G can know how to make a fun/interesting cap.  They should really think about the cat idea. The grapefruit aspect, however,  leads nicely into Squirt.....

Another very sweet, but surprisingly American soda is Squirt.  My bottle came from a local bodega, and I believe that it was actually from Mexico, not the US.  It had a refreshing citrus flavor, but unfortunately was way too sugary for my taste (I'm a Fresca girl, personally). This bottle was shared with Michael, who liked it more than me. He drank Squirt growing up and was more familiar with the taste.  He finished off the bottle. The cap, however, is great!  I wish that we had found one that wasn't so banged up, but the bodega didn't have much to chose from.

Monday, March 21, 2011

tiger beer

Well, my bottle cap loving friends, I believe we have a new entry into the Super Cool Bottle Cap Hall Of Fame.  Tiger Beer.

A few nights ago, Michael and I went to catch a movie in the West Village. Beforehand, we went to a Thai noodle bar for dinner, and decided to split a beer.  I chose a beer I had never heard of, Tiger Beer, and asked if the waitress would also bring us the bottle cap.  She smiled, and said, "Of course!" I love a waitress that doesn't look at me like I have two heads when I ask for these things.  Along with our delicious beer came an awesome bottle cap:

This has all of the qualifications for a HOF entry: 1) there is an animal on it; 2) it is in color with a bright, strong design; and 3) even though it doesn't carry the name of the beverage, the cap itself makes it sort of hard to forget.

Post-dinner, we proceeded to our movie, which also included a post-screening Q&A with the director.  Unfortunately the Q&A proved once again that it's better if some people didn't ask questions, or at least put a little more thought into formulating their questions. The movie was about Chile, the Pinochet dictatorship, astronomy, memory, and the Atacama Desert. One of the questions, which wasn't even really a question was "There are geysers in the Atacama desert. Why didn't you show those? And why didn't you show the Andes?"  Clearly this person was misinformed about that this movie was about. It was not a travelogue about the desert; it was about the aforementioned topics. Another question was "Where is memory?" Now, that's a difficult question for anyone to answer, let alone the director of a movie about a specific sort of historical memory. Anyway, the movie itself was pretty good, and brought back memories of my trip to South America (see the blog post about international beers!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

sprecher root beer & cream soda

Well, how about that! I thought Sprecher made only root beer. How wrong I was. I first had Sprecher's tasty root beer in Chicago at Second City.  We took in a hilarious improv show over the holidays and what was on the menu? Sprecher Root Beer in a bottle. The waitress kindly gave me the bottle cap, and the root beer was so creamy and flavorful, we ordered another one.

Just this past weekend I had some meetings in Brooklyn. Perusing the soda/beer selection over lunch, I came upon Sprecher's cream soda. My excitement, however, quickly turned to disappointment after the first swallow. You see, Sprecher puts honey in their cream soda, and I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to cream soda. I want it vanilla all around. They also make their bottles 16 oz., which made it difficult to finish with my lunch.

However, the caps of both are fantastic.  Brightly colored, striking design and twist off. While doing some research for this blog post, I found that Sprecher also makes a Cherry Cola** and a Puma Kola. I want them! I will scour the city, but if anyone has leads, let me know! Or if you have extra caps and you want to donate them to the cause I will GLADLY accept them.
** It turns out I DO have a Cherry Cola cap and didn't even realize it! But I would still love to try the actual soda. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011


You knew it was coming. Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! In honor of this wonderful day devoted to dying rivers and beer green and getting drunk beyond belief, I decided to spring for an Irish beer. Hmmm, I wonder if you can guess which one I chose....

There is a fantastic Irish pub down the street from me. It has an old-school jukebox, darts, Buck Hunter, and fresh-off-the-boat Irish bartenders. I should go there more often but I've been recently obsessed with a Mexican restaurant that has about 40 beers on tap and delicious french fries and fried ice cream. The Irish pub doesn't serve food. You can see where the problem is.

Anyway, in honor of my non-Irish heritage, I present a Guinness bottle cap. Classic, with the signature harp.

Guinness out of the bottle does not taste as good as Guinness out of the tap. And Guinness cans have those cool nitrogen widgets. It just doesn't compete. I know this is sacrilegious to say this on March 17th, but Guinness is not a favorite of mine. I have had many a friend explain the error of my ways, arguing that Guinness is the be-all-end-all when it comes to eating your beer like a meal. I hear you. Sorry. I just don't feel it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

heineken, heineken light, smirnoff

In a lead up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to include some green bottle caps in this blog.  What better way to do so than through Heineken.  But Lauren,  you are thinking, Heineken is not an Irish beer!  I know! I know. But I don't have a lot of Irish beer in the repertoire yet, so this will have to do.  And I'm thinking that maybe I'll drink a Guinness in honor of St. Patrick's Day and post the bottle cap here later this week. I'm crazy like that.

The Heineken and Heineken Light bottle caps were procured through nefarious means.  I will say no more than that.

I will admit I've had more than my fair share of Heineken in my day, and I would prefer to leave that all behind me in the hopes that I will drink many delicious microbrews and more flavorful beers.  But Heineken serves its purpose. I will not deny that sometimes on a hot day, in the middle of a relentless NYC summer, a Heineken really can hit the spot.

But I will say that light beers in general are not very good. They lose any taste that was once in the original, and usually just taste gross.  I can live without them.

Smirnoff is another beverage that I will admit I don't drink much of.  And to be honest, I can't remember the last time I actually had one.  Maybe college. The bottle caps are cool though, and I know it's worth getting the whole set. So, maybe I'll have to swallow my pride -- and a few Smirnoffs -- and try out their line of beverages.  Anyone buying?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

izze and fizzy lizzy

There is nothing that I like more than a good sparkling juice.  Sometimes you just want something refreshing and fizzy, and you don't want a caffeine buzz or plain ol' seltzer (although I do love seltzer!)

Izze and Fizzy Lizzy are two such sparking juices that can be found in many delis, restaurants and lunch joints around NYC.

The Izze was purchased at a specialty grocery store just off of Washington Square Park and was of the Rasberry variety. It was quite refreshing, and really hit the spot.

The Fizzy Lizzy, which I just learned is local to New York, was purchased with my lunch a few months back at a great sandwich shop on Hudson Street in the West Village.

I'm not sure I can tell you which one I like more as they are both what I look for in a sparkling juice: refreshing, not too sweet, strong carbonation and of course.... awesome bottle caps. If I had to choose, however, I think I would base it on the bottle caps and go with Izze. The clean, simple design of the silver flower on white is perfect.

Monday, March 14, 2011

river horse oatmeal stout

A few weeks ago, at a friend's birthday party I was tasked with buying the birthday girl a drink.  She has traveled the world (Ireland, Scotland, Germany, just to name a few) and she likes her stouts.  We were at a bar known for its beers on tap and knowledgeable bartenders.  I went up and asked for something "dark and delicious."  I was given a River Horse Stout. I can say that one taste of the stout caused a chain reaction at our table and there were at least four more ordered within quick succession.

When walking home from dinner the other night, I stopped in the local international supermarket where, to my great delight, I found out that I can buy one bottle of beer at a time. What was the first purchase? A River Horse Stout.  I know, I know. Not international. But pay that no mind. I also purchased some other amazing beers from across the world, and I have a feeling the people at that grocery store will soon know me by name.

Anyway, back to River Horse.  This bottle cap meets many criteria for me. The beer is good. There is an animal on it. The only drawback I can think of is that it WAS rather difficult to get off of the bottle.  Beer companies be warned: I need to be able to remove the cap to drink the beer!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

coke, diet coke and sprite

I figure you can't have a blog about bottle caps and not have a post on one of the most universally recognized brands in the world: Coca-Cola. There have been literally thousands of different types of Coke bottle caps over the years. Since I have only just started collecting, I'm well aware that I don't have the knowledge that my dedicated readers might have. This sampling is simply from around my neighborhood, which has a nice variety nonetheless.

It's been a while since I've actually had a Coke or a Diet Coke, and it's been even longer since I've had one out of a glass bottle.  I recall a few years ago when I took a trip to Israel, my sister and I, after a long day of walking around in the heat, took a break and had Diet Cokes in a plaza. There might even be photo documentation, but I'm not sure where it is!  Another memory was from a much earlier trip to Israel, when my whole family was sitting in a rug shop.  The owner of the shop was a friend of the family, and the boy who worked for him brought us four bottles of Coca Cola on a beautiful copper tray.  I think I was more excited about the tray at the time. Now I would have been excited about the Israeli bottle cap.

It is funny.  I recently listened to an episode of This American Life about the (possible) discovery of the original recipe for Coca Cola. One of the topics discussed was how taste-tests of Coke brings back so many childhood memories.  My experience is no different.  People really do associate Coca Cola with childhood....

These older Coke and Sprite caps were purchased in bulk via ebay. Always a good place to help further your collection.  My one complaint was that there were quite a few duplicates in the lot, so I didn't get as many originals as I would have liked.  It just means I'll have to keep scouring for additional caps!

International versions (from Chile!):

I would like to make a side note about bodegas today.  It has been brought to my attention that NYC bodegas are a dying breed. Many of my more unusual bottle caps (as well as your standard Cokes and Sprites) are purchased in bodegas across the city. Please support your local bodega!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


You will not believe the things you'll find in your local grocery store.  If you look beyond the coke, pepsi and sprite in the regular beverage aisle, you'll discover some hidden gems. OK, and maybe some really off-the-wall stuff.

Case in point: Cockta Soda. Hailing from Slovenia, this "refreshing drink" made from "natural ingredients" including dog rose berries is quite the find at my local grocery store.  I found it in the international section of the grocery store, but seriously? Slovenia? I'm impressed with the international-ness of this particular find.  I can't think of a single Slovenian restaurant in my neighborhood. Maybe I haven't been looking hard enough.

Before I get to the review, I want to strongly encourage you to visit the Cockta website (well, read the rest of my post first, and THEN go visit Cockta!).  It has some great animation -- and be sure to turn up your volume. It also tells the history of Cockta better than I could and offers original print ads, TV advertising and all sorts of other fun stuff.  It makes me want some of the other flavors of Cockta. Who knew?

Upon opening my 8.45 fl oz of Cockta and smelling it, I detected a faint hint of vanilla, which already reassured me that this was not going to be another Malta experience.  It's mildly carbonated, and definitely does not taste like a traditional cola. There is a caramel-like taste, but I can't really put my finger on the exact flavor.  All in all, its not a bad soda, which is high praise indeed. Slovenia, I commend you. You have made a pretty tasty international soda!

Oh! And I would like to thank both Eric and Elaine for letting me know that the mystery Pacific Northwest bottle cap from the last post was, in fact, Pyramid Brew.  Thank you!!!  And I think that I have also fixed the comment problem.  Let me know if you still have issues. laurenwalles [at]

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

northwest microbrews

In January, I had an opportunity to take an extremely short trip to Seattle.  I was there for roughly 24 hours to take in a few meetings and then hopped on a red-eye back to New York City. It wasn't my first time to the West Coast, but it was my first time to the Pacific Northwest, and despite the shortness of the trip, I had a blast and can't wait to go back there for a longer stretch to explore the city.

I did manage to snag three amazing bottle caps to add to my repertoire. Across the street from my hotel was an amazing deli that had a wide variety of sandwiches, breakfast options, beers, sodas and micro-brews.  I was in heaven!  It was a little overwhelming with so many selections, though I'm not ashamed to admit that I purchased my beverages based SOLELY on the bottle caps.

Alas, I do not know the name of one!  Bottle cap designers be forewarned -- if you do not put the name of your company/beverage on your bottle cap, people like me wills not remember you in the long run.  Anyone with insight into the names of these companies so that they can get their proper due, do not hesitate to reach out! 

Let's start with what we do know.  Cricket Cola is described as an alternative to Coke & Pepsi.  I believe it includes green tea (or at least my bottle did!).  I think it is an acquired taste, but I definitely liked it.  I enjoyed the bottle cap even more. I mean, come on, it says "Twist for happiness." I'm a softie for things like that. You'll notice that it's in this blog's hall of fame. Obviously.

Next on the list from Seattle are two root beers.  This one:
Is apparently Henry Weinhard's Soda -- and there are quite a variety of caps within the company.  There is "Can't Top This," "Mmm, My Favorite," "Flip My Lid," "Roll Out the Barrel," and "Heads Up!" (Thanks,!)  I desperately wanted to get a bunch of caps, but with limited time and limited funds available, I could only get one (and I also didn't want to look like a complete lunatic to the woman at the checkout counter.)  It makes me always want to travel with friends in order to get the most out of deli outings. Where were you, Michael Lober?

The other root beer I purchased has a beautiful design with snow-capped mountains/pyramids:
If anyone knows what this brand is, let me know!  I do remember that it was a root beer, and that it was quite tasty. Not like some of the fruit-flavored sodas I've been taste testing recently.  And 100% better than a Malta.  In fact, I wish I had one of these to chase the next Malta I have to drink! Oh, Goya Malta, why do you haunt my dreams?....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

original sin, woodchuck and mystery cap!

A few weekends ago,  a friend of mine came to visit NYC from Massachusetts. It was wonderful to see her, and we managed to take in a concert of a folk musician known for his humorous lyrics. It was a great night - the food was great, the music was great and the company was great. On the walk home, we stopped in a local deli to check out the beer selection. We decided to switch things up a bit and go totally domestic in our selection, since we'd been a bit disappointed with all the international beverages we've been sampling.

An old standby in my house is Woodchuck Cider.  Always delicious and refreshing in a pinch, Woodchuck Hard Cider comes in many flavors.  Going with what seems to be a theme in this blog, we went for the Granny Smith Apple variety.  And it didn't disappoint!  Woodchuck hails from Vermont. Any cider (or beer ... or beverage in general, for that matter) that has an animal as its mascot is OK by me.

A new cider for me, however, is Original Sin.  It was crisp, refreshing and the bottle cap is awesome.  (and isn't that what it is all about, people?) You gotta love a devil tail incorporated into the design.   It looks like OS and is even made in and distributed out of New York City.

The last beverage procured on that fine evening in February is this IPA from Green Flash Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA:

If I had not taken a picture of the bottle, I promise you I never would have remembered what it was called.  My friend drank the whole bottle, and didn't even let me taste-test. I guess that means it was good and therefore gets the super cool bottle cap seal of approval.

Monday, March 7, 2011

manzanita sol - guest post by michael lober

Lauren asked me to do a guest post this week. We both live in an ethnically diverse neighborhood of New York City, and one of the things we enjoy doing occasionally is strolling through grocery stores and mini-marts and taking stock of the packaged food imported from all corners of the globe--powdered milk from Greece, mate from Brazil and, of course, sodas from everywhere. If Lauren weren't interested in the design and packaging of these products, we'd probably stick with plastic bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite like most everyone else; instead, we search for bottles stacked somewhere near the back in their own section of overlooked drinks that look like they've been gathering dust for years. On a recent trip we found bottled sodas from Slovenia, Jordan, and Peru all in the same store!

Yet, as we've learned, searching for these bottled sodas is often more fun than consuming them. In my admittedly limited experience, too many international sodas are overly sweet and leave an aftertaste that coats your entire mouth. Case in point: Manzanita Sol. We found this sparkling apple drink from Mexico in the back freezer of a neighborhood convenience store, and were mildly optimistic, since fruit flavored international sodas usually go down better than colas and, especially, malt sodas. The bottle cap is rather plain--bright red and perhaps reflective of a tropical landscape. But the soda is a sugar overload--a carbonated apple juice concoction with three scoops of sugar mixed in. The experience is akin to drinking an apple-flavored lollipop. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that if you ever see a bottle of this soda sitting forlornly on a rack in the back freezer of your convenience store, well, stick with what you know.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

china cola, marathon & more malta

You would think that a product with a name like "china cola" would a) be from china and b) maybe have a panda on it or even some bamboo. But no. It's actually an American soda, with some natural herbs (the company claims the herbs are imported in from China).  Anyway, China Cola isn't too bad. At first sip it tastes somewhat like Coca Cola, but with a funny, lime-like aftertaste.  If it was the only cola left on the planet, and I really had a craving, I would probably go ahead and have another one. But with real Coca Cola still around, I think that I'll pass if ever offered China Cola again.
Next on the agenda is Marathon Beer. Procured at a local Greek grocery store, Marathon has an excellent bottle cap with a crown and some runners.  It invokes not only an actual marathon, but Greece as well!  Good job, Marathon Beer. I approve of your bottle cap!  The beer, well, it tastes like Budweiser. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I was hoping for something a little more, I don't know.... Greek. In a pinch, I'd drink it again.  There is nothing inherently unpleasant about it!

Last on the list today is... another Malta.  Malta Vitarroz.  I enlisted my sister to try this one, because I'm done with maltas. The last one did me in. Once opened, the aroma is very off-putting.  But it doesn't taste as badly as it smells.  The taste might best be described as halva-ish with a vaguely rice-y aftertaste. The only other Malta I've noticed in the neighborhood is Goya Malta.  That is for another day....and I may have to find someone else to taste test Goya!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

mirianda and sidral mundet

I think I'm going to go with some fruity (tasting) sodas with this update.   Mirianda is a soda made by Pepsi.  It is billed as an "orange drink".  The carbonation left much to be desired, and after a few sips,  I concluded that  really tasted more like an expired orange popsicle. The bottle cap isn't very exciting to look at, and according to the bottle, it's from Honduras. 
The second bottle cap is much more exciting.  Sidral Mundet is an apple flavored soda from Mexico.  It tastes a lot like sparking cider, but a bit sweeter.  And you cannot beat the cap!  With a big apple and a pleasing font, it is most certainly eye catching.
I have a lot of fun beers and sodas coming up, so stay tuned!