Faygo Rock & Rye

Been in Indiana recently. Home of blah, blah and blah, whatever it says on Wikipedia today, but most importantly: the home of Faygo. Well not home of, I guess, but they have it there. Close enough.

I mainly avoid the stuff, no offense to my homies in the ICP who are seriously going to get their GEDs some day. But I saw Faygo Rock & Rye recently and was intrigued. The only Rock & Rye I ever knew was the alcoholic kind. Back when we were tapping the cab in high school my dad’s bottle of Mr Boston’s Rock & Rye was the ultra high class stuff. It had slices of orange in it! Even as teenagers we recognized that this was not a booze to be idiots with. Just a sip to help the jungle juice go down, and then off to the local mall to shop for new patches for our denim jackets. Perhaps Overkill or Death Angel today? Who knows where the day will take us.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell Faygo Rock & Rye has naught to do with the alcoholic stuff, so I’m not sure what the deal is there. On their 1999 website, they suggest it as an ingredient in something called Burger Bean Pie, so apparently they are not sure what the deal is either.

So OK already, did drinking this take me to a land of magic and wonder? Depends. Do you consider my cubicle a land of magic and wonder. Some may– it is a lion’s den of a cube, with the Christmas lights, the latest Transformers all on display, and a couple of pretty excellent Star Trek Successories pinned up on the walls.

If you Google around you can find some people debating what exactly the flavor is; many suggest it’s like a cream soda mixed with a cherry cola. I’ll say: cherry vanilla cream, and let all debate cease there. I liked it, but not as much as Mr Boston’s. Man when I was 16, I thought I had everything figured out, but then time passed and I recognized that mindset as the solipsistic folly of youth. But now a few more years have passed and I find myself re-reconsidering everything. Look: at 16 I was drinking high class booze on my parent’s nickel, but now as an adult I’m spending the hard-earned on a just-OK soda sort of named after it but not really. What if I really did have it all figured out at 16, and have only been kidding myself ever since? I mean I am not about to bust out the denim jacket, but maybe I will find my old cassettes and see if I can listen to Overkill without having to lie down, and then just go from there.

Pig Iron Cola

Josh this morning I was trying to figure out what is my favorite Tears For Fears song. I was listening to “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” at the time, which, hello has that song even aged one day? I don’t think so. And then I was remembering how in the band I was in in college, the drummer, every rehearsal, would INSIST that we should do a rockin’ version of that song. And we’d be like Yeah totally, good idea, but no one would ever get around to actually orchestrating it. And I guess, knowing what I know now and wishing I had known it then, if I ever have a time machine (someday!) the one thing I would want to do is go back in time to that crummy-ass basement and darn it we will play that cover version of EWTRTW. Although I would lobby quite strongly that we perform it as a sincere tribute, not an irony-clad rockin’ out cover version. Because god damn. That song.

What does Tears For Fears have to do with Pig Iron Cola, you’re wondering. No idea. Probably nothing! But Pig Iron Cola doesn’t have any kind of website that I can find, and there seems to be absolutely zero information about this product anywhere on the planet aside from that it’s somehow associated with a Seattle BBQ place. And I really liked it, found it totally excellent (real sugar + Pepsi-level sweetness + complete mouth-bite of Coke = best of all 3 worlds), but since they don’t care about marketing or getting information about this product out into the world, I figure we might as well use this space to discuss something that we’re passionate about. ARE YOU WITH ME JOSH ALLEN WATER DRINKER OF AMERICA.

So anyways. I’m sure your favorite T4F song is going to be some deep cut I’m not super familar with, but lay it on me. Everyone else reading this who is down with Orzabal & Co., chime in. Do you know what my favorite one in high school was? You’ll laugh, but it was Badman’s Song. Which also still completely holds up. We used to crank that in Jamie Candiloro’s basement. I love that “Faith can move mountains” part. It’s like spiritual, you know? Which we need more of these days. Well, I do.


OK. No more lies. No more sassafras. No more jingo-jango. If you sat me down, right here right now, lay an avuncular hand on my shoulder, leaned in and quietly asked, “If you could only drink one beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

I mean, this is the question. This is what we’re here for. And although my thumbs tremble as I punch these words into my jerry-rigged Merlin, I feel that – right here right now – I have a very real answer: SmartWater.

But first I feel I must approach this with the cold, clinical logic that we apply to all of our beviews. I can’t let raw emotion affect this decision. I’ll be using our standard SAD/RAD binary schema.


  1. It’s called SmartWater. Awful. Throw in the interCaps and you’ve got a real bad case of 1998. And if you put “smart” in the name, you better be delivering Smatthew-level results.
  2. It’s bottled water. Dude they just take your local tap and mark it up like infinity percent. You are an A-1 chump if you shell out your hard-earned for that.
  3. What are you, some kind of bicyclist? Do you wear four-way seamless stretch microsensor moisture-wicking 3D chamois shorts that leave nothing to the imagination? Do you try to intentionally get your heart-rate up? No. No.
  4. Plus I guess you hate the environment!
  5. Yet another Glaceau product, which already had the whiff of smug exploitation about them even before Coke swooped in and bought the company. Now Jennifer Aniston’s doing TV spots. Is this where your allegiances lie.


  1. Holy fuck this is good.
  3. Dearest Jesus in deep space this is the purest, cleanest, most perfect water in the history of water.
  4. Fuck you they make this in a lab. You think natural water tastes good? Pulled out of some dirty spring, choked with fish poo and chemical runoff? These Glaceau punks built a little chamber where they manufacture beautiful white clouds, unsullied by real-world pollutants, and then they make these clouds rain ever so gently right into SmartWater bottles for you to enjoy.
  5. It was really hot over the weekend and I seriously, hand raised, had a like five-minute reverie where I envisioned a walk-in refrigerator filled stem-to-stern with liter bottles of SmartWater, perfectly chilled, gleaming, and lit from within. There was a mist.
  6. It hydrates the shit out of anything it touches.
  7. gotta stockpile man coke’s going to change the formula i just know it
  8. so clean, so so clean
  9. oh god unnnhh

Italian Volcano Blood Orange Juice

Italian Volcano Blood Orange Juice. Orange juice made from Italian Volcano Blood. Mount Etna, dude. Pompeii. Complete carnage. A city frozen and buried in time, its treasures lost for eons. This is not some shit to be trifled with. This is fucking lava juice. This is a juice that many men died to bring you. Many burly, muscular men. Men who do not speak so much as grunt. Men who do not ask politely but simply brush you aside and take what they want. Men with sweaty foreheads and a lot of chest hair. Like, A LOT a lot of chest hair. So much chest hair that at first you think “Wow that is gross!” but then you find that you keep thinking about it, and you’re unable to stop yourself from imagining what it would feel like, to lie on it and run your fingers through it, all tufted and pillowy, such a soft and delicate counterpoint to this absolute musky brute of a man, until finally you think “Wow I think I would like to be intimate with a man that hairy!” I mean am I right or am I right? That is the emotion behind this juice. Taste-wise it’s still right in line with regular old orange juice, but STILL. It is a Juice of Men. Drink this juice and then get your comb, because it will be a LONG night. And then tomorrow you will have to hand-vac all in and around the bed, probably. There will be hair everywhere. Actually I bet it’s kind of a gross situation in the shower drain, too. But still. Drink deep of the Lava juice, my friend. You now have within you the fiery blood and aged spirit of Italian volcanoes, and they will fortify you for the task at hand. Also: check your MySpace, I sent you a picture of me with my shirt off. Tell me what you think, and be honest. I know I need to lift weights more.

Pepsi Summer Mix

I know, I know. My special lady friend saw me walking out of the gas station carrying two of these, and she rolled her eyes with a force that just about flipped the car over. Why do you even buy those when you know you’re not going to like them. OK point taken, but still: whatever happened to a little thing called science? I’m sure Marie Curie didn’t want to die of radiation poisoning, but here we all are, totally happy that she did.

I didn’t really know what to make of this one at first. “A mix of tropical fruit flavors.” Oh really? Cool, which ones? No idea. Obviously the list of ingredients is no help. I was vaguely intrigued by the lure of pineapple cola, which if you recall (you don’t) is within the ballpark of the drink I mentioned back here. But the actual flavors are too mushy to pick apart, so what is it I’m supposed to be tasting here? Dragonfruit? Durian? Dengar and Zuckuss? Other?

So fine, another half-assed rebranding effort, give it one star and let’s get back to creaming over Bolthouse Farms or whatever it is we do here.

EXCEPT. Pepsi Summer Mix tastes, as near as I can recall, very much like the late lamented Pepsi Blue. So now I don’t know what to believe. Am I outraged that yet again they’ve blindly thrown a handful of miscellaneous flavors into a cola in an effort to generate buzz? Or am I surprised and delighted that they’re figured out an inventive way to bring back a forgotten favorite– something for the fans and true believers? And I didn’t really love this all that much, so why do I think I miss Pepsi Blue so dearly? Was I just swept up in the craziness of the time, caught unawares by the paradigm shifting insanity of an azure cola? Or, like River Phoenix and Eddie & The Cruisers, did its sudden disappearance cast it prematurely into the pantheon of greatness?

Either way, my world is in disarray. So I guess my advice is: drink this, but only if you want to have your mind blown, but only in a way that you are not sure you totally enjoyed. Like listening to Led Zeppelin backwards, and you hear a CSS work-around for the IE box model bug.

7UP with Cane Sugar

When I first tore open your box of rad sodas from Homer, I have to admit my “thirst boner” took a small dive when I saw the bottle of 7UP. I was all: Why did that dude send me this pedestrian swill. I guess having it in a glass bottle is pretty novel, but whatev. In the junk drawer my brain has become, I file 7UP alongside The Eagles’ Greatest Hits – not really doing any actual harm, but not anything anyone really needs to experience again in their lifetime.

But then I took a closer look at the ingredients and my heart skipped a beat and my left arm got a little numb. This baby had straight-up sugar in it. Not a drop of high-fructose corn syrup. Is this from Mexico? Do I have to go to jail y/n.

(This was the formula 7UP should’ve rocked when they tried to pull the 100% Natural shenanigans [now sheepishly rescinded]. Keep me on speed-dial, Cadbury-Schweppes. I bring the big ideas.)

Anyway, you know how I roll, I did not hesitate to pop the cap and get up close and personal, really dig in and start a relationship.
I was surprised at how different it tasted from regular 7UP. And then I was surprised by how much I wanted to immediately stop drinking it and just have regular old 7UP. It was kind of yuck-mouth. Maybe the HFCS has been covering up the bleccchy flavor all these years and doing us a favor? Perhaps gently masking the Lemon Pledge-esque aftertaste? Maybe a lemon-lime soda was never that good an idea to begin with? I dunno, chum. The world today is not what it was yesterday.

Jones 24c Peach Mango

Josh I don’t know if you’re like me, talking to other people, having conversations and so forth. I sense not. But lately in my being social I have been meeting a growing number of people who cannot stand to drink plain water. They’re all: “Water? No thanks!” I guess they only drink juice and soda, so in some ways I think: Oh man, if I was like that, I could probably update this site at least once a week. But in more ways, I am fairly creeped out and wonder what their deal is, and if they have trouble going to the bathroom, and what their chances look like from an evolutionary standpoint.

But it does seem like this is a growing demographic: The Water Haters. People who, when given a choice between water and anything else, will choose anything else. Hopefully we’ll get some of those charming freaks chiming in with their comments on this post. Maybe you and I are like gods to them.

Anyways, this Jones 24c Peach Mango drink didn’t even register with me. I generally demand boldness and character from a beverage, and the enhanced water slash juice drinks are just wimpy as a full-time blogger. But for those water haters, shunning societal conventions and living in the subways or whatever, maybe they would like this. Maybe for them, this is water, this tasteless juice drink the baseline against which other beverages are measured.

Let them have it. Good luck to them as they ignore science and pee all the colors of Nagel’s palette.

Dang! Root Beer

Fanning, I know you apologized via email for all the terrible things you did to me, and I definitely printed them all out (preserving your distinctive formatting, incl. the center-aligned text and purple Comic Sans) and put them in my “Precious Sentiments” file folder, but I don’t think I really believed you were sorry until I got all those rare and awsum sodas you scored from the Homer Soda Company.

(Frankly I thought you’d made that place up. It seemed like kind of a cheesy fantasy. Remember when you’d talk about getting out of your little podunk town and moving to a place where vegan cookies were readily available and Kylie played an all-ages show every Saturday night for half-price and Veronica Mars wasn’t canceled and people did not constantly judge you? Like that.)

Anyway on Memorial Day I was enjoying an all-filler all-killer non-vegan hot dog fresh off the grill, and I hit the fridge and saw all the gleaming chilled Homer contraband sitting there. I wanted to savor each one, give each its proper due, but whatever dude I was parched and needed something posthaste. I grabbed a little something called Dang! Root Beer (full name: Dang! That’s Good Root Beer), popped the cap, and downed half the bottle in one swallow.

It tasted like rusty grease. I was all: Way to memorialize our valiant soldiers, Dang. Nice work.

Then I took a paper towel and wiped off the rim and saw I’d removed a good amount of rusty grease. Then I took another, more tentative, sip and I was like: Dang! A nice sweet taste that’s in the ballpark of the undefeatable Weinhard’s, but not nearly as thick and rich so it’s a better companion to an elegant repast of grilled wieners. (Henry’s is really a meal in itself, and does not play well w/others.)

Now, what did I learn from this experience? I learned that if we’re serious about getting a piece of that Web 2.0 money, we need to not drop the ball on our reviewing methodology. Google frowns on that shit. We need to get the beverage at the proper temperature and pour it into a neutral container that will not affect the flavor or composition of the beverage (maybe Sharper Image has something affordable??). And the Tasting Session must take place in a controlled environment with minimal distractions — don’t you seal off your kids’ room with tinfoil to keep it pitch-black all day long? That might work.

And finally we need to develop a standards-based analysis system so we can be consistent in our reviews. Readers need to know what to expect when we describe something as “piquant” or “hella yum” or “ball-ticklingly effervescent.” I’m sorry to suck the fun out of this whole project but we’re providing a valuable service to a lucrative demographic here, and we can’t have johnny-come-latelies like “Drinkr [Beta]” or “I Like Soda LOL” eating our lunch.

Synergy Gingerberry Kombucha

Synergy Gingerberry Kombucha was about as fun to drink as you’d expect, for a beverage that lists “100% pure love!!!” as one of the ingredients. And then: “lactobacillus bacterium: 1 billion* organisms.” And also, this: “Each batch is gently placed in a warm and spiritual environment where the walls are painted purple and spiritual music is played. Though it may sound silly, the most important thing that we do when making our batches is to give them LOTS of love.”

Fine, whatever, I’m not the target demo for this. Supposedly the guy who started this brand was inspired because drinking kombucha cured his mom’s cancer. I am totally down with that, we’ve got heck of cancer in my family and I’m sure that if I ever get it you will find me buying this by the caseload. In the meantime though: eh. It’s just not how I want to spend my time, sucking this down and hoping I don’t get cancer. What kind of life is that. I drink my beverages to forget about the pain of life, not remind me of it. I have you and Coke Zero for that.

*Does that sound rounded-off or what.