Saturday, January 28, 2006

Boylan's Creamy Red Birch Beer

Boylan's Creamy Red Birch Beer
"Philly Style"

Carbonated water
Cane Sugar
Pure Birch Oils
Natural Flavors
Natural Yucca Extract
Citric Acid
Caramel Color
Red 40
Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness)

Some people might say that this particular review belongs over at The Root Beer Blog. Many Root Beer fans class the Birch Beers right alongside Root Beers, due to their similarity in tastesI assume. I'm not one of these folks, while Birch Beer is reminiscent of some Root Beers, and Birch even appears as an ingredient in some Root Beers and Root Beer recipes, I cannot class it as a Root Beer. It is, to me a Soda that tastes similar to a Root Beer but stands on its own as a robust Soda. That's doubly so with Boylan's.

Boylan's Creamy Red Birch Beer is a first for me. This is the first Birch Beer Soda which I have had that I have really enjoyed. It is a tasty beverage. The colour is a bit strange to me but not something that puts me off and it is totally offset by the taste. The taste of the cane comes straight out at you with this soda. And the birch flavour is great, it meshes very well with the vanilla, which is not at all overpowering. This is just a good Soda to kick back with and enjoy. With a formula that's over 100 years old and having the history that it does this is one good Soda!

It's a winner in my book. And, according to the folks at Boylan's Bottle Works the one beverage that kept their company going since the 1930's was their Birch Beer. This makes it a double winner in my book. This kind of longevity bespeaks a fine beverage and good quality. The CEO of Boylan Bottle Works, Mr. Ron Fiorina , who took over his grandfathers business and expanded it to include all of its present lines and has turned the brand from a Northern New Jersey staple into a nationwide premium beverage, has done a superior job of growing their family's product while maintaining premium beverage quality. Too many companies mess that up. The Fiorina's don't. My hat's off to them!

Boylan's Brand, and their Creamy Red Birch Beer are premium brand soda and get a bubbling 8.5/10

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bubbling Up From The Past

I honestly cannot remember a time when there was not a soda in my life. My dad has been an inveterate Coke drinker since well before I was born, so there were always Cokes at hand. Soda ha scarred me. At the age of 2 or 3 I grabbed a pair of empty Dr. Pepper bottles from a case on my grandfathers porch and whacked them together (to hear the pretty noise I reckon) and managed to step on a shard that almost separated my left heel from my foot. My grandfathers neighbour, Hot Cumberland, who was amazingly enough a deliveryman for 7-Up was the person who drove us to Dr. Rayners office and held me while they sewed me back together. All these decades later I still have the scar to remind me of Dr. Pepper. I will always have the memory of Hot Cumberland dressed in his uniform with the distinctive hat that marked him as a 7-Up Man.

Small Coke bottles always dredge up the memory of a time when littering was not a capital offence. On those memorable long drive we took from whichever base we lived on to whatever destination we had chosen to go to, stopping was a luxury. When, as a young boy, I had to go to the bathroom I was handed a Coke bottle. A bottle which not too long ago had held bubbly, sweet goodness met a new fate. God's help you if you had more than that bottle held in you. Shortly, a window would be rolled down a little farther and that once proud Soda Soldier would join the ranks of future archaeological items along the periphery of the highway. I often wonder if some person ever reclaimed those bottles for the deposit? One thing I did learn from that was that a pitstop was worth considerably more than the deposit on a bottle to my dad, (if it had one).

Mountain Dew, the way it used to me not the swill they pass off as Mountain Dew today was a staple in Eastern Kentucky when we went to visit my grandmother and my dad's relatives. The bottles were green and had the names of the folks who were supposed to have made it embossed on the bottle, along with the great pictures that were so amusing. It was here that I learned that there were people who called Coke and almost any other soda "pop". In the Deep South of Meridian, Mississippi it was always a Coke, or a Co'Cola. Not a "pop". Very disconcerting to run across regional dialects when you're young, eh? I count it as having learned another language.

During my first job Soda was a lifesaver. That first job was hot, wet, dirty, tiring work and it made me want to be a chef. That's right, gentle reader my first real job, while in high school was as a Dish Washer. More professional Chefs started out at a dishtable than vice versa. And I was fortunate to work at an establishment that valued my sanity and health. A night quaffing 2 or 3 pitchers of Coke or Root Beer was not odd for us. To the folks at Sir Walter Raleigh Inn, in Alexandria, thanks!

Later in life I would continue to run across Sodas in odd places. Miles out in the desert in Egypt you'd run across a boy with a bucket of ice and Sodas, usually 7-Up and Coke. How they knew is beyond me. Doing business with merchants on days when hot tea wasn't in the books...a 7-Up was the deal clincher.

From beginning to the present...Sodas of one sort or another have been there and I see no reason they won't be there far into the future. My future. And yours.

Welcome to the Soda Pop Blog.

I hope you like what you see and read here. If you know of or have a Soda you'd like to see me review let me know! If you disagree with something, let me know! And if you have some vintage digital Soda pictures, send them to me with a history and I'll see about getting them up for ya! I love vintage pictures.

Regardless, drop me line and thanks for dropping in!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Coming Really Soon!

For the fans of the Root Beer Blog...The Soda Pop Blog.
A place for my to post my take on carbonated drinks other than Root Beers, tell a few stories and maybe even vent.
Please stay tuned!