Last weekend I was looking to order from americansoda.co.uk because I had a hankering for some Mountain Dew after trying some whilst over in Germany earlier in the year. Just before checkout though I noticed the store was in Manchester, not too far away… and so a plan was hatched, to visit on a Saturday and today was that day. And it was glorious!
I knew I was going to run up quite a bill as I wanted quite a lot of things just from browsing the website! My wife and I arrived at the store mid morning, not too long after breakfast because shopping whilst hungry isn’t a smart thing to do! I immediately homed in on the cans that I wanted and ended up with a selection more besides, some bottles of Stewart’s drinks, a couple of bottle of Bawls, a selection of chocolates and candies too. The total bill ended up more than our usual weekly shop! but it is stuff you just can’t find and it would cost a heck of a lot more to go get it from source
I’ll create and extend the list as I go, trying and giving a very uninitiated opinion of the things I try. I mostly got things that sounded like I’d like them so don’t expect too much variation, this is more about explaining what those “familiar” brands are that we as UK people hear so much about on US shows or news or word of mouth etc.
First up was Stewart’s Orange and Cream.
I loved the sound of this when I was perusing the shelves and it was the first one I stuck in the chiller when I got home.
The name sums it up perfectly, both flavours come through well and it may well be my new favourite orange drink. Much more palatable than Tango or Fanta, quite noticeably softer somehow. UK drinks makers take note, its not necessarily the tangiest drink we want.
I’d no knowledge of this brand before my visit but I’m happy to make its acquaintance. My wife picked up their “Black Cherry Wishniak” so we will hear a little more later on.
Next item: Pepsi Wild Cherry.
I’m a big fan of Cherry Coke so this was a no brainer. Although a mainstream well known UK brand I thought it worth mentioning as it is a The cherry is nice and subtle, not overpowering but because Pepsi is mainly sweetness it lacks the body of Cherry Coke, I like Coke’s caramel and cherry mix personally. Pepsi Wild Cherry is a nice alternative though, sweeter than coke and not overtly cherried. Give it a try, it might be right up your street. Especially if in the cola wars, your allegiances lie with Pepsico.
Note: Personally I’m cola agnostic, I’ll drink (almost) anything, but I do have a hatred of the diet and zero varieties so you won’t be seeing any of them in this list.
Bawls to it all… Bawls, caffeinated drink
Apart from this drink having the coolest bottle I’ve seen, I quite like high caffeine drinks.
After a long Monday at work I’d got the idea in my head to give this drink a try as I needed a pick-me-up. Just what the doctor ordered!
The taste is quite mellow, most energy drinks seem to taste like I’d imagine distilled camel piss might taste like in my humble opinion, mainly the taurine ones. Bawls is subtle and enjoyable, easy to down quite quickly if you aren’t careful! It almost tastes like a diet soda with the tingly absence of a strong flavour (in this case, that is a good thing!)
I picked up two bottles and I’m glad I did, I have an inkling the next one will mix well with some Kraken Rum But alas, that is for another time.
WTF is…..Stewart’s Black Cherry Wishniak
So far from my experiences in browsing American goods, they don’t make chocolate without peanut butter and they barely make drinks without cherry. Not that I’m complaining, I happen to be quite partial to cherry drinks!
We browsed the website and saw this product and thought what the hell is a wishniak?! Well it turns out Wisnia is polish for cherry, the name is commonly used for liquers but is used for sodas too. As one website termed it, “a linguistic redundancy”
Anyway, that’s the name out of the way. The soda itself is a nice and mild cherry drink, not too sweet, not too fizzy, just right as goldilocks said. I’m rapidly becoming a fan of Stewart’s brand, I foresee some more bottles in our future
him it Mello Yello
This was billed as CocaCola’s answer to Mountain Dew, and seeing as MD was my main reason for discovering americansoda.co.uk I thought I had to try this one. This is a citrus drink with a real bite to it, if you like your flavours overt and tangy then this is your drink.
It’s like a mixed lemonade with potent flavours, thoroughly enjoyable but not sure it would make my top 10 as yet. I’ve still got the MD range to review though.
I’m sure most will have heard of… Milk Duds
But like me, few will have any idea what they are. In a nutshell, they are small caramel pebbles coated in Hersheys chocolate. This is my first food item from my spending spree and I’ve heard some brits complain about hersheys chocolate so I wasn’t too sure when first tasting but I have to say my concerns were unfounded!
They are awesome, perhaps one of my new favourite chocolates, I love caramel and this is nice and chewy, galaxy released something similar recently but the caramel is too soft and runny, this is my ideal. not quite as dense and resistive as the caramel in Cadburys Roses as that is a little too hard I find. Definitely on my repeat buy list!
A familiar flavour, lost to us. Vanilla Coke
I LOVED vanilla coke when they released it over in the UK a couple of years ago, but since then it has disappeared from sale. I couldn’t resist when I saw this, definitely a familiar taste. I can’t elaborate much on the taste as it is just vanilla and coca cola for anyone that didn’t try it over here. I still stand by my adage of “vanilla makes everything better”
This isn’t however identical to the vanilla coca cola that was released over here, it has the American sweetener “high fructose corn syrup” also found in coca cola classic. I still like it but it does taste more “artificial” than I remember it and I only have the sweetener to blame. Nice to bring back the memories though.
I’m sure I remember these, Nerds
I opted for the Wild Cherry and Watermelon combination of these granular candies. I’m 90% sure these were released in the UK but the ones I remember were chewy, these are crunchy and tangy. Not quite what I was expecting but still tasty. Really well flavoured too, can’t accuse these of being mild!
Another brand I’d heard of…Lifesaver gummies
I’m quite partial to gummies so thought these would be an ideal foray into the US world of them. As soon as I opened the pack I knew these were going to be potent! Not too sweet, nice and chewy and flavour packed! 5 different flavours in this pack, there are other varieties but this seemed the most general one. Cherry, green apple, watermelon, blackberry’s and raspberry’s I think they are (the label is obscured, I’m not completely simple)
OK, it’s time… Mountain Dew!
I’d been holding off on this one, I’m just on my 4th can now. I didn’t want to rush into giving an opinion that then changes over the course of more cans. Most of the other items on here I’d only got 1 of, but I knew I liked Mountain Dew already so went all in. I had to get my Mountain Dew original from another supplier as americansoda don’t seem to carry it. As usual the interwebs are awash with contradicting reasons why, ranging from its not legal to sell it in the UK to only approved dealers etc or even shortages in the US. Whatever the reason, I managed to procure some to go with my code red and voltage varieties that americansoda DO stock. I felt reviewing those flavours without the comparison of the original wouldn’t be true somehow, missing a key reference point.
MD Original is a carbonated citrus drink, but a finely blended one, no one flavour overpowers the rest (a la mello yello) its so smooth, like a lemonade but with other flavours to take the edge off the lemon bite. I’d had a can of each of the other flavours before my original arrived, I was pleased to find that the original didn’t seem to be lacking anything, just had its own flavour. Some products that get other versions or flavours seem to lose their original identity somehow as the others are more popular or are the original with extras.
I think I’m going to struggle to pick a favourite flavour between these three, there are also a host more flavours I’ve yet to get my hands on, I’m most keen to try the LiveWire version which is orange flavoured, given my penchant for orangeyness! (Maybe its a ginger thing!)
And now for something…. fruity! Fanta Grape
I haven’t had time to embrace many new soda tastes recently so I’d decided to make the effort tonight.
Fanta orange that I’m familiar with is always very fizzy and tangy, the grape is nicely mellowed. Not too sweet and not too fizzy. I’m not a huge grape fan as there aren’t really many grape soda drinks but I wanted to try this and I’m glad I did.
I’ll definitely be picking up some more of this. Much nicer than the Orange variety I think, which is odd as I really like Orange
Another familiar but lost….Tab Cola
I remember Tab clear making its way to the UK, a clear cola. I remember it being interesting but not as nice as coca cola. I assumed the subbrand died a death but then I saw this and it piqued my interest.
First off, this isn’t clear (I wasn’t quite sure with the background I knew) I’m not quite sure why it exists in all honesty as it is pretty much UK diet coke I think, I tried it without checking ingredients and was hit by the taste of aspartame. I’m not keen on that at the best of times, this doesn’t seem to have any redeeming features for me though. I’m sure there are a band of people out there who swear loyalty to this above all others and I don’t mean to offend anyone who has tried and liked it. It just isn’t for me.
Pushing the envelope…. A&W Root Beer
This is one drink I bought with no idea if I was going to like it, most of the others were familiar but with a twist so a pretty safe bet. I must point out I got the root beet as it was on clearance so I can’t honestly say if that was the cause of my disappointment in the taste but unlike the Tab Cola I couldn’t finish the whole can. The overpowering flavour wasn’t to my taste and the main thought coming to mind from the taste was germolene! I cannot get away from that fact and this has now become etched in my psyche as “GermoleneSoda” (for the record fizzy germolene is NOT a nice concoction!) I’d probably still be tempted to try some again if someone can vouch for it being a problem with an old tin rather than the actual intended taste!
A throwback from a bygone era… Mountain Dew Throwback
I had high expectations of this from the start, being a definite fan of original MD and the two flavours I’ve managed to get my hands on (Voltage and Code Red) I expected the throwback version which is made with real sugar to be above and beyond the others but somehow it feels a tad lacklustre, I’m not sure if this was my unreasonable expectations or if my tastebuds are so used to High Fructose Corn Syrup and the like that real sugar just seems “alien”. A nice enough drink but I think I prefer Original MD I’m afraid.
What’s the worst that could happen? Cherry Dr Pepper
I don’t drink Dr Pepper currently so my view on this may be a little uninformed as I don’t have an “original” flavour to compare it to etc. but here goes:
Another bit of a risk with this one as it was unknown to me but I liked the cherry angle so went with it, I rather like it, sort of like a fuller bodied cherry coke. There is more underlying flavour with this, the cherry is obvious and familiar but what I assume is the the Dr Pepper flavour is interesting. This turned out to be just what this little experiment was about, finding new variations of drink that I’d like and this hits the spot perfectly. Compliments my mountain Dew flavours perfectly. Definitely on my repeat buy list!
gotta try em all: Diet Pepsi with lime
I’m now on my third visit to American Soda and what started off as an interest has evolved into a challenge, to try as many canned sodas (and some bottled) as I can get my hands on. with that in mind, this time I broke my previous rule of not trying diet sodas on principle.
That said, the diet Pepsi with lime was quite nice, I struggled to taste the lime as it was overpowered by the sweetener for me but for those that drink diet most of the time will really like the addition. Compliments the original drink well.
looks interesting: IBC Cream Soda
For some reason I’d shied away from cream soda, perhaps imagining I’d tried it before and didn’t like it. I opted for a couple of bottles of this and after trying it wished I’d got more! Such a soft creamy taste, delicate vanilla and less bubbles than some sodas make this a very refreshing and smooth drink!
Will have to try the Stewart’s variety for comparison I think.