REVIEW: Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop Black Cherry and Cream Soda Colas

Pepsi Cola Soda Shop Bottles

PepsiCo has introduced the Pepsi Soda Shop cola line with two limited edition flavors — Black Cherry and Cream Soda. Made with real sugar, Pepsi promises a modern take on some classics. Drug store soda shops have become harder and harder to find. Yet, the concept remains a touchstone in America thanks to pop culture icons like Grease. Will these sodas have me doing the jitterbug on the way to the store for more?

I pour out samples of each. The bottle describes these as colas, so I was expecting them to be standard cola-brown. I’m pleased when the cream soda is a light caramel color and the black cherry is tinted red.

Pepsi Cola Soda Shop Side by Side

I take a sip of the cream soda one and taste plenty of vanilla, though little cola flavor. There’s not much of a modern twist either. According to Pepsi, its soda has added agave for complexity, but I’m reminded of every other cream soda I’ve tasted. I sample again and perhaps detect a honeyed aspect to the sweetness. Then again, I mostly drink diet soda and could just as easily be tasting plain sugar.

On the other hand, there’s something immediately twisty about the black cherry. Its scent is like cough syrup. It has herbal notes, says Pepsi, which helps make sense of what I’m tasting. It reminds me of herbal craft colas I’ve had. Those colas have interesting flavors not seen in mass-market soft drinks and are bold about not being for everyone. This black cherry soda doesn’t have enough herbal notes to be as interesting as those, but has just enough to make it off-putting.

The one area that stands out with these sodas is the label design. It’s simple, comforting, and the classic Pepsi-Cola font is evocative of the era. It’s a shame the actual product doesn’t live up to it. I briefly considered getting a black leather jacket, slicking my hair back with pomade, and driving to the local drive-in movie theater to more fully embody the time. But no. The lesson here is that a cool design can’t make up for a mediocre product, not that I should buy a very, very cool leather jacket.

Good branding can’t save a mediocre product. The Cream Soda one is too mundane to set itself apart from similar soft drinks. The herbal twist with the Black Cherry is enough to make it unpalatable. Skip these sodas and seek out CVS or Walgreens instead. It won’t have a soda counter, but it’ll have plenty of other sodas worth drinking.

Purchased Price: $1.89 each
Size: 20 fl oz bottles
Purchased at: Piggly Wiggly
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 65 grams of sugar (including 65 grams added sugar), and 0 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple

Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple Bottle

What is Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple?

It’s a Dew charged with natural and artificial crisp apple flavor. Like Mtn Dew Maui Burst and Spark, it’s a store exclusive flavor. To get it, you have to visit a Kroger or Kroger-owned store, like Dillon’s, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Gerbes, Rupert’s, Harris Teeter, King Soopers, Ralphs, Jay C Food Store, and Smith’s. (Note: One of the stores listed is fake. Have fun guessing which one!)

How is it?

Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple Glass

The beverage’s pale Hulk color that’s a few shades lighter than regular Dew and the anthropomorphic apples with better hair than mine definitely hints that this will have a Granny Smith apple flavor. Oh, there are also another 100 or so hints in the form of two rows of tiny green apples that circle its label.

Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple Tiny Apples

Its pleasant tart apple flavor with a hint of citrus is DEWlicious. The sour fruity flavor is so dominant that if I gave you an unlabeled bottle of this, you probably wouldn’t think it’s a Mountain Dew variety. Think of its flavor as like a slightly less sour green apple Jolly Rancher. Or, let me put it in a way that’s reflective of the Dew’s name. It’s not heavy like Thrash Metal. Instead, it’s tame like Hair Metal.

Anything else you need to know?

Because I just happen to have a box of Apple Pie Toast Crunch, I decided to combine it and this soda. The Dew’s tart apple overwhelms the sweet apple in the cereal. It’s a little odd, but not as much as combining cereal and soda.

Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple Green Label

Also, it wouldn’t be a green apple Dew review if I didn’t mention the previous green apple Dews — Mtn Dew Green Label and Electric Apple. The former was a Dew “with crafted green apple kiwi.” But it mostly tasted like green apple. The latter was “Mtn Dew charged with Electric Apple.” I didn’t have it because it was a more exclusive flavor than Thrashed Apple. It was available at an Italian chain I’ve never heard of.

Conclusion:

Mtn Dew Thrashed Apple is easily one of my top seven or so Dew flavors. If you love the flavor of sour apple and have a Kroger or Kroger-owned store near you, it’s definitely worth hunting for.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 20 fl oz bottle
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 270 calories, 0 grams of fat, 85 milligrams of sodium, 73 grams of carbohydrates, 72 grams of sugar, 72 grams of added sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 91 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Flamin’ Hot Mtn Dew

Flamin Hot Mtn Dew Can

Flamin’ Hot Mtn Dew is not very spicy, which I don’t know if I should be disappointed about or thankful for.

When it was first announced, I had images of a hellish dark red beverage with a flavor and heat similar to Flamin’ Hot Limon Doritos. I thought it would be more of a gag drink, like Jones Soda Company’s Thanksgiving dinner-flavored sodas, most Lester’s Fixins varieties, or any Zevia soda. But it’s not a jokey drink. It’s surprisingly a drinkable drink.

Flamin Hot Mtn Dew Warning

Despite what the can says, it’s nowhere near what would be considered Flamin’ Hot in terms of flavor or spiciness. So caution is not necessary. You won’t need milk or a regular Mountain Dew to douse the fire in your mouth caused by this Dew. There’s a slight heat, but most of it is in the form of a back of the throat burn. There’s also some tingling in my mouth long after the red carbonated liquid has gone down my esophagus, but overall I’d consider it a low-level spiciness.

Flamin Hot Mtn Dew Red

As for the non-Flamin’ Hot flavor, it’s a slightly toned down regular Mountain Dew with a little something else. At times, I taste citrus, but Mtn Dew Code Red comes to mind with other sips. With its fruity flavor and mild spiciness, Flamin’ Hot Mtn Dew is, um, okay tasting and better than I thought it would be, but not I’m yearning for more. So if you send me a Flamin’ Hot Mtn Dew tasting party invitation because you were able to buy a pack online, I’d politely decline.

Oh, about purchasing this, if you’re so inclined to do so. It was available on the Mtn Dew website in limited quantities in 6-packs which sold out within several hours. Mtn Dew may sell it again. It may not. But if you don’t want to wait around to find out, you can get cans via eBay, which is where I got this one. Although, expect to pay a premium for them. I paid $14 with free shipping for a can, which is more than the price of a 6-pack ($12) when one could purchase it from the Mtn Dew online store.

I wouldn’t drink Flamin’ Hot Mtn Dew again. But it’s unique and drinkable enough that it’s something any Dew fan should try once.

Purchased Price: More than one should pay on eBay
Size: 16 fl oz bottle
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 70 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 58 grams of sugar, 58 grams of added sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 72 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Fantastic Chocolate Dr Pepper

Limited Edition Fantastic Chocolate Dr Pepper

Most of us know about Dr Pepper’s blend of 23 flavors. But we don’t know what those 23 flavors are, which I imagine are behind 23 doors and locks. It could be molasses. It could be moles (animal, skin blemish, or both). So when the brand comes out with a new variety, like this Limited Edition Fantastic Chocolate Dr Pepper, we don’t know if the chocolate is a 24th flavor or one of the 23, but with a lot more of it.

While you ponder that for the rest of your life, I should let you know that this isn’t the first time chocolate has been added (or enhanced?) in a Dr Pepper variety. In 2008, there was Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper, which had an unusual chocolate flavor that made it hard for me to drink in one sitting.

However, this Limited Edition Fantastic Chocolate Dr Pepper is (yes, I’m going to use it) fantastic. It somewhat tastes like someone added a little Hershey’s syrup to Dr Pepper. Besides the chocolate, there’s also a noticeable marshmallow or vanilla taste that goes along with it. I know it makes absolutely no sense that the addition of chocolate would do that, but that’s what my taste buds noticed.

I don’t know if this is a sign of how much I enjoyed this, but I drank both cans I received from Dr Pepper without remembering to take a photo of the beverage in a glass for this review. “So good that it makes you forget to take pictures of it” is probably something Dr Pepper should print on the can.

But here’s the deal with obtaining this soda, you can only get it by signing up for Pepper Perks, buying a bunch of Dr Pepper products for points, and then redeeming those points for the limited edition soda. If you’re a regular Pepper drinker, I think it’s worth the effort.

Although it’s not better than getting it from a brick-and-mortar store, I like this idea. Because, as the internet has shown us, if you put up something for sale online in limited quantities for everyone with very little friction, it’ll sell out faster than $99 50-inch HDTVs on Black Friday at Walmart.

With the football on the can, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to drink this while watching a game. But I drank both while watching our solar system’s favorite ball, the sun, as it went down on the biggest and highest definition screen, the sky, during the biggest game, life.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product samples. Thanks, Dr Pepper! Doing so did not influence my review. Although I can see how some might think so.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 12 oz cans
Purchased at: Received from Dr Pepper
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 39 grams of sugar, 39 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW Limited Edition 2021 Mtn Dew VooDEW

Limited Edition 2021 Mtn Dew VooDEW Cam

“This is, as you may recognize, a review for a mystery flavor beverage. That means the author will most likely try to explain what flavor they experienced and it might influence you to taste that flavor. If you don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now. Consider this your spoiler alert warning. Otherwise, proceed with caution or you might just be the next person in The Impulsive Buy Zone.”

-Rod Sterling (probably)

Normally when I write reviews, I will do extensive history searches for the item(s), but I wanted to go in absolutely blind with this. Googling anything risked me being spoiled.

Limited Edition 2021 Mtn Dew VooDEW Grim

The first thing that caught my eye was the can’s design. Despite being a Halloween item, the cool blues and yellow accent felt oddly out of place. The art with the grim reaper looks very cool with lots of little easter eggs of the number 3 all over. Mtn Dew has nailed a really cool and cohesive brand design these past few years.

Opening it and taking a sniff, I was slapped with (what my brain perceived to be) fruit punch smell. Taking a sip, however, yielded a whole other experience. The initial sip was a sugar shock. I don’t drink a ton of sugary beverages, so when I do it takes my taste buds a few seconds to move past the first sugar rush. After a moment, I was able to start working through the flavor. It was so familiar and at the tip of my tongue.

I poured the rest into a cup with ice and sipped it while trying to distract myself. It was here that I noticed its cloudy white color. The lack of color made my brain even more confused as to what it was tasting. I figured if I wasn’t actively TRYING to figure it out, it would come to me. Then, as if I discovered a new element, I exclaimed, “BLUE RASPBERRY!”

After being more or less sure of this, I sought out some history on the previous versions of this mystery beverage. The first release in 2019 was revealed to be candy corn and 2020 was fruit candy explosion (Skittles). It was also then that I learned the packaging had given hints in previous years as to what the flavor was with its color scheme.

Limited Edition 2021 Mtn Dew VooDEW Glass

Once again, I had an epiphany: the flavor is blue raspberry taffy. Three reasons I believe this to be right: The pattern of the flavors seem to be candy, the can itself is supposed to give a hint (and it’s blue raspberry blue), and going with the theme of three’s the name Blue Raspberry Taffy is three words. Okay, the last reason might be a little odd but I’m sticking with the pattern of threes here.

My only real complaint is that initial overpowering sweetness, but that’s totally a me thing. Putting it over ice allowed me to really taste the flavor, not just the sugar. I’m so excited to see more people try and share what they taste because I just know that it’s probably going to be all over the board. However, we’ll find out on October 31st what the flavor is from Mtn Dew. I will save a can to (hopefully) cheers my being right.

Purchased Price: $4.98 (12-pack)
Size: 12 oz can
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 44 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.