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Soda Selector: June 2022

Welcome back, soda freaks. Considering how long it’s been since the last entry, I do not remember where I acquired any of these sodas.

The most difficult to track down may be the Killebrew root beer, distributed by RJM in Ramsey, Minnesota (I’m guessing it might be available at KC Soda Co. and Mass Street Soda, but you should call ahead and ask perhaps). The bottle proclaims that it has “the Hall Of Fame taste” (it’s named for famed Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew) and features a classic baseball diamond logo reminiscent of a trading card from the overproduced ‘80s and early ‘90s sets. While the drink doesn’t land in my top three (maybe top five, though) root beers, it is inarguably tastier than the average. Maybe it’s thanks to the glacial mineral water and pure Minnesota honey listed as ingredients, or maybe these things don’t have much to do with it. Either way, baseball fans should certainly celebrate the beginning of the new season with one of these bad boys.

The next two sodas should be available in most major supermarkets. Mountain Dew rolled out a pair of new flavors in the last several months, and to be frank, neither really blew me away. Thrashed Apple is by no means a terrible drink, but I can’t say it shreds. I honestly can’t think of many apple-flavored sodas I could compare it to (maybe the company sensed an untapped area of the market), but I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to manufacture a superior product. If you’ve heard me talk about different Mountain Dew flavors before, you likely know where the rest of this blurb is going. Part of what makes flavors like Code Red, Livewire, and others so classic is how they maintain the base Mountain Dew flavor perfectly while adding something new to the mix. Thrashed Apple, like some other recent Dew variants doesn’t include all that much of the trademark Dew taste. Points for the evil looking apple tree illustrations, though.

Like Thrashed Apple, Spark is a Dew variant that tastes less like Dew than most of the classics. It’s a raspberry lemonade flavor and I feel pretty much the same way about it as I did Sunkist’s raspberry lemonade flavor (as discussed on the Sippin’ On Some Soda podcast). It’d likely be a refreshing drink after coming inside on a hot summer day, but as a soda drinker’s soda, this doesn’t hit the mark.

I feel like I should eventually interview someone for this column with extensive knowledge on the Mountain Dew brand. I know there are probably only so many flavor combinations they can craft before it stops tasting like Dew, so I’m interested to see whether future variants can give the brand a much-needed boost, or whether we have moved past the era of Peak Dew. Only time will tell, I suppose.

[This article first appeared in issue 6 of Shuttlecock's free monthly print edition. Click here to order a copy online, or pick one up for free at locations around KC/Lawrence/JoCo.] 

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