Happy Thanksgiving Day!
At the Weird Soda Review Lab, we are thankful for many things. We have several loyal readers, for whom we are thankful. We get to play around with blogs, for which we are thankful. We have the opportunity to explore a fascinating and diverse world of bubbly beverages, experiencing scents and tastes which expand our sensory horizons. We are pioneers, explorers, voyagers into every unknown corner of the soda universe, shining the light of knowledge and experience into the dark corners of quaffdom. For all of that, we are thankful.
And there are several of those corners which we will NEVER HAVE TO VISIT AGAIN. And for that, we are profoundly thankful.
Of course, these two gratitude-inducing qualities are somewhat incompatible, especially when those dark corners hold new examples of Weirdness. When such conflicts arise, what choice have we but to continue to quaff all that can be quaffed?
It seemd appropriate to try and find something Thanksgiving-related. We have no meat-flavored sodas, and no more of the Tofurky and Gravy, so it'll have to be vegetable-based. And there's a vegetable based soda from one of the darkest of those dark corners which has been waiting, patient, biding its time in the Lab vaults...
Biotta Beet Juice
This is, of course, made by the same company which produced Biotta Digestive Drink, one of the least palatable concoctions we at the Lab have ever attempted to consume. The scars of that encounter, like the rings left by the tooth-rimmed suckers of giant squid on the heads of sperm whales, still mark the olfactory and gustatory centers of my brain. Its foulness was of a magnitude sufficient to--had the bottle been a bit smaller--have collapsed the fabric of taste-time (which is always looking a bit tattered around the Lab) and resulted in a naked sodularity. Such are the hazards of our calling, but rest assured, loyal readers, we have learned from the experience and enhanced our safety protocols. Emergency bottles of high-quality vanilla and cherry cream sodas have been placed around the lab to stabilize the yummion fields. I believe that we are now properly equipped to sample another Biotta product with only minimal risk of catastrophe.
Er...hold on a moment. A closer look at the label reveals that this is classified by Biotta as a "cleansing and fasting drink".
Maybe I'll have the staff reinforce those cream soda compensators with a few well-placed root beer stabilizers.
Where: purchased at Frazier Farms, Vista, CA
Color: Wow. I had assumed the glass of the bottle was opaque. It turns out (now that I've poured some into a cup) that it wasn't--the stuff is just a red-purple so dark as to be nearly black. I can tell it's red-purple because the inside of the bottle is coated with a thin layer. It doesn't bead up like a watery liquid; it seems to spread out, coating the interior of the bottle like some sort of obscene beet amoeba searching for prey. It's my understanding that wine connoisseurs will swirl wine around the glass to observe its "legs", the way in which it clings to the side. Doing so with this produces a transparent film of Biotta which clings...and clings...and clings. It very slowly slides off in a uniform mass, reluctantly, as if filled with the lost hopes of escape from its confinement and subsequent ravaging of the human world.
Scent: Beety. The scent doesn't get far, I had to get my nose close enough that I was worried about attack, but it's strong when it's there. A powerful, concentrated distillment of beet.
K-i-C: *rendered absolutely speechless for a moment, sniffs again*
K-i-C: *sits in contemplation for a while*
K-i-C: "Ugh. Smells like...onions and pomegranate. OLD onions and pomegranate. You should smell it, LAT."
LAT: "I'd rather not."
Recently, the K-i-C read a web site which translated the Chinese curses uttered on the magnificent cancelled-by-Fox-may-they-suffer-a-plague-of-aroused-hamsters science fiction show Firefly. One of them represents my thoughts on the taste nicely.
"Holy mother of God and all her wacky nephews!"
The initial taste, in the first second or so, is sort of like a thick grape punch with lots of citrus. And I do mean thick--it's roughly the consistency of cough syrup. However, the tastes which follow in the next few seconds escalate from worrisome to hideous. I actually found myself paralyzed, literally paralyzed, with growing despair and a sense of impending doom.
It began with the citrus, which transformed from chorus of sprightly, laughing citrusy children into a horde of cackling, cavorting lecherous imps of tartness as it moved over the back of the roof of my mouth. That tartness transformed from fruity to acid/sweatlike. It was accompanied by a moderate vegetable bitterness, trampling over the tender meadows at the base of my tongue, leaving them a blasted wasteland of mud and broken dandelion stalks.
Little bursts of sweetness could be seen, strongly in the initial taste and gradually fading thereafter. Aside from those, though, this was almost entirely unpleasant for me.
Interestingly, the K-i-C (who, after a prolonged struggle, managed to sip a bit) found the initial taste the worst by far, and felt that it got better over time. On the other hand, she said, after tasting it, that it would "go better with cabbage". I have two responses to that:
1) NOTHING goes better with cabbage.
2) That is a bit like saying "Death by cheese grater is awful. It would be better if you added a firing squad."
Quaff rating: 1.5. Parts of it could almost be good. Those parts are the first to die.
Cough rating: 3.5. I didn't puke, and didn't have to fight all that hard not to.
Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer
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