During my pilgrimage to Galco's, I overheard the store manager expounding enthusiastically to a group of customers about a certain Weird Soda. I didn't catch the specifics--alas, I arrived too late--but I do know that it involved the original formula for Coke supposedly belonging to a different company. The hint of intrigue in the soda world piqued my curiosity, and I made sure to pick up a sample of the soda which was the subject of his exposition.
It's something called Pennsylvania Punch. Apparently, it's related to another soda called Delaware Punch. According to Galco's web site, this is the original 1924 version of the Delaware Punch formula, re-bottled. Delaware punch is apparently no longer available, at least not made with real sugar. The phrasing on Galco's site implies a sense of deep betrayal at the fact that Delaware punch no longer uses real sugar. There is the further implication that Delaware Punch was purchased by Coke; this, perhaps, led to the Corn Syrup Sullying of 1924, and the subsequent Pennsylvania Rebellion, the fruits of which I am about to quaff.
The label has a picture of grapes, and the soda does have a faint purple tinge to the brown, so I don't know about the Coke connection. Ah well; let's do this thing.
Where and when: purchased in April 2009 at Galco's, Los Angeles
Color: medium clear brown with a hint of purple. Neat label, looks homemade.
Scent: Hey, this is a real bottle cap; I can't twist it off!
The scent is grape, with a hint of iciness, maybe a touch of cream. Intriguing and pleasant. Quite sweet.
Taste: Ooh, that's neat. Grape, but complicated. The grape is pretty much like the grape of a Popsicle (not a bad thing), with a strong sweet fading into tart. There's something else, though--some sort of volatility, something which gives it some headiness. It's almost like a bit of cream soda, but not really. There's complexity in the grape. It's a bit too sweet for my tastes--almost painfully so--but I like the taste aside from that.
Kibbitzer-in-Chief: "Tastes like snow cone. Old snow cone--not like the kind you get from a cart, but like a raspada, a shaved ice. But it tastes defective because it's liquid. This snow cone is defective!"
So a pleasant defective grape sno-cone. There we have it.
Nothing whatsoever like Coke. I don't know what Coke did with this--do they even make a grape soda?--but this is pretty nice. This, for what it's worth, is bottled by the Natrona company.
Quaff rating: 3.5. A bit cloying, but nice.
Cough rating: 0.5. Just the excessive sweetness.
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