Monday, November 28, 2011

fox barrel cider co.

Oh. My. God. People. There is a beer/liquor distributor in St. Louis that puts every distributor in NYC to shame (we honestly don't have that many, so it's not hard to beat us. Sadly.) Have you ever heard of Randall's Wine and Spirits? They have a huge selection of not just beer, but ever kind of liquor you have ever heard of (and then some), as well as a beer selection that puts my corner deli to shame. It was a little overwhelming.

Ultimately, Michael and I decided on Fox Barrel Cider, a delicious pear soda, for our first purchase. Their bottle cap pretty much gives you what they advertise: a fox in front of a barrel. Cool! I would love a little more color on the cap, but they have the two-tone thing going on.

Next time I'm in STL, there will definitely be another run to Randall's. I only wish that I coud mix-and-match a six pack. There is so much to choose from, and usually my trips to the Midwest are too short to drink that much, so I always end up having to be very choosy. In fact, score points for NYC, where New Beer Distributor DOES allow for mixed six packs. But I'll still go back to Randall's.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Michael and I recently had to take an unexpected trip back to his hometown, a place we affectionately call "The Patch." One of our favorite pastimes in The Patch is going to Walmart. If you can believe it, we don't have a Walmart in NYC, so this is like a safari for me: wide aisles, one-stop shopping -- seriously, you can get a t-shirt, sneakers, AND carrots in the same store (and guns, if you really want them -- but I find that weird). Amazing!

We were in The Patch smack dab in the middle of the World Series, and if you recall, Michael has a bit of a superstition with Schweppes, so we had to make a Walmart run to get him his soda. What am I thinking about this whole time? What OTHER sodas do they have at Walmart that I might not be able to get in NY? And I was not disappointed.

Ski has been around since the '50s, and is your traditional lemon-lime soda. I had heard of it, and even seen it available online, but never had I seen Ski "in the flesh," if you will. Walmart stepped up with a four-pack, and along with our Schweppes, we were all set for soda.

I am sure this is not the only incarnation of Ski: and sadly, it has that little black marking across the main part -- I couldn't find any without that stamp, but it does have a nice bold appeal. I also like that it's a local Illinois soda: Ski is made in Breese, Illinois. Next time we're in town, Michael and I will have to see if there are tours available.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Now I'm officially getting into beers that I can't pronounce. Is this a good thing? We're really expanding the borders here at Super Cool Bottle Caps. It is like going to a new beer garden and pointing to the weirdest beer on tap, only to find that the bartender gives you a glass with a weird wooden handle. (This happened last weekend! I swear! What is this contraption? I know, it has nothing to do with the beer I'm talking about, but this beer glass disturbed me. I understand how different types of wine glasses open up certain wines, so I guess this is similar for beers. But what happened to a good old fashioned pint glass? Even the cool Delirium Tremens glass looks like something that you could conceivably find in a bar. But this thing? That is just way too much storage space for a NYC apartment to commit to.)

Anywhooooo....This bottle cap is another one from @Vadrach that was sent to me a few weeks ago. It seems I can't go long before I need to blog about another bottle cap that has some sort of animal on it; Koningshoeven fits the bill. It's a beer from the Netherlands, has a horned animal (a ram? a deer?) and bright, bold colors.  Animal. Check. Colorful. Check.  Perfect for SCBC!

P.S. I know it's not out of it's protective plastic case! I have such a nice collection of caps from @Vadrach I didn't want to mess it up yet! 

P.P. S  OOps!!! I made a mistake!  The brewery is actually called Koningshoeven. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Červená Selka

How excited was I when I came home about two weeks ago to find a huge package full of bottle caps waiting for me? Well, as @Vadrach knows, very excited. Thanks to him, I have a whole slew of international bottle caps and plenty to blog about for weeks to come. There are quite a few that I definitely want to discuss, but first and foremost, I must blog about this bottle cap:

Doesn't it remind you of the Disney movie Pocahontas? When I saw it, that was the first thing I thought of.  Check it out: 

OK, maybe our bottle cap girl has red hair and isn't a Native American who "falls in love" with John Smith. But there is something about the flowing hair, the almond shaped eyes, the barely-there nose... the whole thing! Either way, it's a pretty awesome bottle cap, and based on the other bottle caps I've seen that have women on them, this one is doing pretty well, considering the ratio of naked ladies to clothed.

So, thanks @Vadrach! I'll blog more about the caps you sent and make sure to tag it in the labels.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Carolina Blonde

As mentioned yesterday, Michael and I had some tasty BBQ in the Charlotte Airport, of all places. I'll admit it: my favorite is from Kansas City. (And I can say I've had Texas, Kansas City, Southern Illinois and Carolina BBQ, so I'm pretty well versed, if I do say so myself. And this is from a mostly-practicing vegetarian, so that's saying something. Seriously, people, I eat pulled pork. I don't eat chicken or beef. Deal with it.)

Carolina Blonde is proving to be a curious beer, though. It looks like it started in the Carolinas, but has been sold at least a few times. I can't even find a dedicated website for it! When looking over the bottle (and bottle cap), we noticed that the beer is actually brewed in Pennsylvania. So, we have a bit of a schizophrenic beer on our hands. Sure it tastes good with BBQ, but where are you from? PA? NC?  Long Island (see: lighthouses)? Somewhere else?

I will say that I think this bottle cap is lovely. Bold letters. Bright picture. And if I were a betting woman, I'd say that my dad would also like this bottle cap (hi dad!). He has a bit of a lighthouse theme in the house that my sister and I encourage with small lighthouse knickknacks, paintings, and lamps. It's like me with sheep and, um, bottle caps. It gives you character. Just keep telling yourself that, Lauren!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

coco fizz

Michael and I are usually lucky enough to get direct flights from NYC to St. Louis. This past trip, however, was last minute, and we had to fly through Charlotte. Our layover was a few hours, so in between checking email, reading my book, and staring aimlessly out the window, Michael and I had a chance to explore the airport and--what else?--look for bottle caps. Even the Charlotte airport proved to be fertile grounds for new crowns.

We flew in just in time for lunch, and found a delicious Carolina BBQ joint, complete with Carolina Beer (this will be tomorrow's post!). We also found a crazy chocolate store, complete with: Chocolate Soda. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Coco Fizz tastes like a carbonated tootsie roll. Super sweet and weirdly carbonated, it was a soda that I could take only one sip of before I handed the rest over to Michael. We couldn't even drink half of it between the two of us. Some foods simply should not come in soda form.

The bottle cap? Well, it advertises exactly what it is. Coco, little bubbles, and a retro font. I think it's worth trying it once, so that you can say you lived through the experience. Chocolate soda. Is there nothing they haven't thought of?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

schlafly brewery tour

Michael and I had to take an unexpected trip to St. Louis a few weeks ago, and while we were there, we took the opportunity to go on the Schlafly Brewery Tour. I've talked so much about St. Louis & Schlafly on this blog that it seemed only right that I go with a nice big group of people (there were 6 of us!) and sample the beers in their Tap Room before our tour started. While are the different brews were tasty, I have to admit that one of the best discoveries was the root beer that Schlafly bottles: Lewis Osterweis & Sons. And do they have a bottle cap?! Of course they do!

I mainly want to talk about the brewery tour, though. As much as I love Schlafly, I hate to say that I was not overly impressed by the tour. First of all, they start you off in a room that seems to be their museum, but there's a video playing in the background on a loop, which makes it VERY difficult to hear the guy (in our case) trying to tell you all about brewing beer. Our brewery guide, whose name I can't remember, was also not the best at enunciating or projecting his voice at any rate. It got even worse once we left the museum area and went into the actual brewery, where there was your typical clanging, whirring, and other loud sounds that breweries make. Unless you were standing right up next to him, it was pretty tough to get a good idea of what we were learning about. Also, our guide kept wanting to quiz us. He didn't quite understand his audience: we weren't experts in the process of brewing beer, yet he kept asking us elaborate questions about ratios of sugar, how head is made and, the best kind of yeast for beer. We clearly didn't know the answers, but instead of just telling us, he just sort of made fun of us and made us feel dumb. It was a bit disconcerting. There were even a few people who claimed to brew their own beer, and when they couldn't answer the questions, he reprimanded them and told them their beer probably wasn't very good!

Schlafly! I don't want to tell you not to employ these people--clearly they know a lot about beer and are probably otherwise excellent staffers. But maybe don't have the know-it-alls guide the brewery tours. Most people on those tours just like your beer and want to learn a little something about the process. Just because I've been on tours before doesn't mean I remember what wort is or how you need to boil the water and use a centrifuge to get the floaty bits out of the mixture in big stainless steel drums. I just want to enjoy the beer!

Anyway, it IS Schlafly's 20th anniversary -- next year you're legal! I hope that if I go back to STL and take the tour again, maybe I'll get a free t-shirt or something. Think about it, Schlafly. St. Louis is like my 2nd home. I want to love you guys!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

big sky brewing

I'm very lucky to be receiving loads of bottle caps in the mail these days. It gives me lots of opportunities to blog about crowns that I wouldn't normally have a chance to talk about, and also just lets me know about all kinds of breweries and sodas from across the country that I might not otherwise know about!

Big Sky Brewing is the perfect example. Michael's mom sent us a package a few weeks ago that included some delicious sweet potatoes from their fabulous garden, some recipes, and also, of course, some bottle caps. Among the Schlafly and Fitz's crowns, there was a new bottle cap -- one that I hadn't seen before: Big Sky Brewing.

Big Sky isn't even close to being available on the east coast. But with brew names like Moose Drool, Slow Elk and others, it is definitely something that I'd buy a bottle (or 6!) of if I saw it in the store. I'm guessing that their bottle cap doesn't vary based on the brew, but I might want to make a case for them to change that. They would definitely be contenters for the HOF if they used images even remotely similar to what they have on this page (and I'm guessing is what is on their labels).

Big Sky's bottle cap is blue, with gold lettering and a gold outline of Montana. They also have some phrases under the cap similar to Magic Hat. Mine says "Set Beer Goggles To Stun." I think they can do better than more about the Moose Drool! C'mon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

flathead lake monster soda

Well, I learn something new every day, and this blog is a great way to do it.

Did you know that the U.S. has its very own Loch Ness Monster? It's called the Flathead Lake Monster, and it apparently lives in Flathead Lake in Montana.

And how would I know about this amazing monster? Well, faithful readers, if you can believe it, there is a soda made in Montana called Flathead Lake Monster Soda, which has a bottle cap with a flathead monster on it (even though the monster looks vaguely like a crocodile). This soda company doesn't seem to have its own website, or even its own facebook page, so I can't really find out that much about it, other than via Bevnet claims that Sour Cherry is the best of the flavors, and that (luckily) was the only one available when I got my four-pack. My mom was so excited to find this in the grocery store -- it had basically all of the criteria that I look for: it was on the bottom shelf, had lots of dust on it, and looked way weirder than the other beverage options available. (Wait, is there something wrong with me?!)

And for the actual bottle cap: Honestly, it leaves much to be desired. The black overpowers the green -- you can tell that the Lake Monster is trying to be detailed, but really, it just muddies the image. It's hard to see what the monster really looks like. Also, although I'm always a fan of an animal on a bottle cap, this one doesn't actually say that it is a Flathead Lake Monster, and can easily be confused for a dragon or other lizard creature. And since you can't tell what it is anyway, having some verification might actually improve the bottle cap. They use way too much of their precious bottle cap space with the twist off and arrow instructions. A disappointment, Flathead Lake Monster. You're no Nessie.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

loco blackberry

Man! I wish I had been around for the Loco Soda line. This was a bottle cap that my mom (Hi Mom!) found in my sister's room when they were redecorating a few months ago.

How cool is this? It's wacky, has some great color, and could potentially have been a mystery cap contender. It looks like there were four flavors to choose from (blackberry, lime, mango, and raspberry), and the label looks sort of like a four-year-old designed it. It begs the questions: 1) how did this beverage get made? 2) why was it discontinued? Based on my preliminary googling of LOCO, people seemed to have liked it, and are sad about its disappearance. Even APM's The Splendid Table talked about Loco Soda. (And the Splendid Table is of course, how we got the wonderful Schweddy BallsYUM. How did LOCO not last?)

Is it still possible to get LOCO? I know some random, hard to find sodas can be procured in limited distribution areas. It's not looking good for LOCO, but if anyone has leads -- let me know! It just seems so delicious with its fresh fruit juice AND chili peppers! And since it's a NYC soda I will certainly keep my eyes open.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

various sodas

As I mentioned before, I had a pretty amazing time this year at the barn sale in "upstate" NY. Tons of soda caps for $.25 or $.50 a pop, and I tried to snatch as many of the cool ones as I could.

Two particularly fun ones that I found are these Raspberry and Cherry Soda caps.

Part of the reason I like them is because they aren't trying to hide the fact that they're imitation and artificial sodas. With today's foodies focused so much on artisan, local, and all natural, I find it amusing to see the blatant indication of fake food colors/flavors/etc on bottle caps. It was a simpler time back then, wasn't it?

I also love the blatant use of a Native American on the Pequot bottle cap -- and it really does beg the question: what on earth does a Native American have to do with an imitation black raspberry soda?

The Wild Cherry Soda? Well, I just like the font -- what is up with that Y? It doesn't even look like a letter! Or a Cherry! But it does make the artificial-ness of the soda seem just a little fancier.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

sioux city

It's taken me a little while to collect even part of the bottle caps from Sioux City bottle caps, the soda company that hails from Wisconsin.

Clearly I don't have all of the bottle caps to make a set, but I do have enough for a blog post!

I've had the privilege of trying the Root Beer, Cream Soda (yum!) and Sarsaparilla varieties, all at unique places around the US. The root beer I got from a Cracker Barrel in Pennsylvania -- I actually think it may have been the first time I ever ate there (Michael and his family were shocked -- SHOCKED -- that I had never been to one before). The cream soda was procured at none other than Oklahoma Joe's in, of all places, a gas station in Kansas City, Kansas. And the sarsaparilla was found, of all places, at a local pizza joint that also has the most amazing Four Cheese gnocchi I've ever had.

These are pretty standard-looking bottle caps. It's nice that they switch up the colors and names for each of the different types of drinks, and the sodas are pretty tasty, too. When drinking the sarsaparilla, Michael and I got into a discussion about the difference between root beer and sarsaparilla (other than the fact that sarsaparilla is spelled funny -- OR we just pronounce it funny.) Any thoughts, readers? Enlighten me.