Soda Reviews

Shasta Orange

Orange you glad you didn't buy banana?

Oh, the dollar store.  How kind of you to sell me four cans of Shasta Orange for $1.  This could be acid, but I only paid 25 cents for it… so who cares?!  The bright orange can tells me that Shasta Orange also has Vitamin C in it.  I’d pay 25 cents for some Vitamin C in my life, who wouldn’t?  People with scurvy that’s who.

Shasta Orange is chock full of chemicals and (as mentioned prior) has 15% of the Vitamin C you need in it.  Who cares? I cost me a quarter!

You know how when you open a can you hear the “hiss” of the carbonation escaping the can?  That didn’t happen when I opened it.  That’s a little concerning for me, but the best buy date says I’ve got 8 more months before my concerns should become reality.

The scent of generic orange soda punches me in the nose.  It’s one of the few times I actually like to be punched in the nose.  I’ve said it before, but when it comes to Orange or Grape sodas I like the absolute cheapest variety around.  I want an overly flavored can of sugary nonsense that burns going down.  Let’s see if I got my wish.

Darn tootin’.  

Shasta Orange has a burning mouthfeel throughout the entirety of each sip.  From lips to tongue to uvula to throat there’s some sizzle in this soda.  Flavor wise the orange is actually closer to a natural orange taste than I expected it to be.  I wouldn’t ever get this confused with a real orange, but I felt that worth mentioning.

Looking at the nutrition label this only has 33 grams of sugar in it.  While that’s plenty to qualify it as a dessert, it’s still less than your normal colas and root beer.  This “lack” of sugar probably helps in Shasta’s creation of a somewhat realistic orange.  

The downside to Shasta Orange is that it seems a bit watery at times.  While this keeps the beverage from being overly syrupy it also detracts from the experience.  Kind of a danged if you do, danged if you don’t.  

Well there you have it, I was pleasantly surprised by my dollar store find of Shasta Orange.  Considering everything about it I can certainly suggest that you should buy multiples of it.  So go out to your local Dollar Tree and give it a go.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


This was purchased at Dollar Tree


Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla Root Beer

For the love of Soda, someone tell me where to get a tiny iguana so I can get ride of the overly cheerful hippo.

You know what makes me excited?  If you said “soda” then you took the easy way out.  If you said “alternate sweeteners” then you’re in my mind right now.  What the fine folks at Hosmer Mountain have done in their Root Beer is use brown sugar in the formula.  That’s pretty dang exciting in my book.  They also use HFCS, but just the fact that brown sugar is incorporated makes me excited to taste it.



Good smelling root beer.  I can also easily identify the sarsaparilla in there as well.  Nothing else really to say so here’s a filler sentence.

Wow, I can actually taste the brown sugar.  I was hopeful that I’d be able to while being simultaneously doubtful.  Each swig starts off like a creamy sarsaparilla.  There’s a little bit of a rooty taste, but it smooths out in the long run.  

After the rootiness (totally not a word) subsides the brown sugar starts to slowly take over.  At first it seems like your brain is playing a trick on you, but gradually you realize you’re tasting brown sugar.  How come you taste so good, baby?

Haha, I just burped and it tasted like a tiny puff of brown sugar came out of my face.  It really is kind of fun to drink this.

On the negative side there isn’t a lot to talk about.  There’s a slight off taste on occasion that seems a little metallic.  It’s not that big of a deal though.   Pretend you’re talking to someone at the bank about your mortgage.  While you’re talking to him you notice he has a tiny hat on… and I mean tiny.  The hat is maybe the size  of a dime so the importance of the conversation keeps you from staring at it constantly.  

That’s what the off taste is like in Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla Root Beer.  It’s only there if you’re looking for it, which now you may be because of me.  If you find yourself looking for it just picture the man in the tiny hat and you’ll smile.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


This soda was purchased at the Shell Gas Station mapped out below.


III Dachshunds Old Fashioned Root Beer

Staring contest... GO!

This bottle of root beer features a dachshund standing proud.

Verdict - Buy Stock in the Company


Ok, maybe I got ahead of myself there.  I’m about to review a bottle of III Dachshunds Old Fashioned Root Beer… which will may be shortened to 3DRB when I don’t feel like typing out the name.  As you can see above, the label has already won me over.  The use of Roman numerals, the dachshund standing proudly, and the fact that the bottle tells me it’s “Time for a Treat”.  Label wise we’ve got a homerun hitter here.

Aside from it’s amazing label 3DRB is sweetened with cane sugar and its water has been triple filtered… so the makers show some care in their creation.  Oh!  There’s a story on the label!  Story time!

“Badger Hound”
Hunting small game is what the now popular lap dog was originally bred for.  The III Dachshunds Beer Company was founded by the proud owners of three dachshunds in Milwaukee, WI.  Our goal is to carry on the bold nature of the breed and provide quality hand-crafted beverages including beers, hard ciders, and sodas.  We hope you enjoy our root beer and please visit our website to learn more about our products.

So add a nifty background story to the sweet label art and they are on a good path.  Anywho, let’s give this a taste.

OK, so smell wise I think this is going to be closer to Barq’s than A&W to use variables most are familiar with.  I can tell it has a little bit of vanilla in it too, but overall it’ll be on the licorice side of things.  Enough chatter, let’s give it a go.

That is really the best of both worlds.  It’s frothy, licoricey (not a word), and vanilla-y (also not a word).  I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think it would taste this good.  There’s even a nice burn that lives throughout each sip.  Impressed.  

III Dachshunds Root Beer (I enjoy it enough to type out their full name) really is a great combination of flavors and mouth-feel.  The aftertaste is on the licorice side, so while I enjoy it this may be a downside for some.  Look at that dachshund though!  He has to have a name, right?  

Sigh, I couldn’t find a name.

Anywho, this was a really good root beer.  There’s nothing in my opinion that pushes this to the highest of tiers, but I definitely recommend buying multiples.

Verdict - Buy a Pack




The Hippo figured out it was a ginger ale before me.

Ever meet someone that shared an interest you had?  It’s a really good feeling.  You may have nothing else in common, but if you both share a passion the world seems a little better.  

I frequent a gas station that has always had a nice amount of sodas.  Not just mainstream stuff either, lots of thing I’ve only seen at that location.  Eventually I drank and reviewed every one they had.  I ran in there today to buy a banana and saw they had a bottle of Ale-8-One in their soda section.

I’ve never reviewed Ale-8-One or seen it in my area for that matter.  I’ve looked for it for a while now too.  So when I approached the familiar soda cooler I was greeted with numerous new sodas I’d yet to try.  The owner (I think he was the owner) came up and asked me if I needed any help picking one out.  I explained what I was doing and handed him a business card.  Yes, I have a Soda Jerks business card for such rare occasions.  

We spoke briefly, but the pride he had in the number of sodas he sold was easily visible.  He didn’t have to sell random sodas that most people hadn’t heard of, but he did.  It seemed to be something he enjoyed.  That said, I have a pretty good group of sodas I can buy from there to review now.  The rain is falling and the well is filling back up.

Speaking of sodas… the bottle I have today is labeled Ale-8-One (A Late One, GET IT?!).  I’m not sure what it tastes like, but the green bottle and retro label make me happy without even trying it.  That’s not why we’re here though, so let’s get to it.

Ale-8-One smells kind of citrusy if I had to put a word to it.  Not completely lemon lime, but enough of those aromas exist to make me think this will be at least a little like 7up.

Well put some in the right column and put some in the wrong.  While there is a citrusy taste, that does include lemon and lime, I wouldn't compare this to 7up at all.  I’ve got it!  You know what this tastes like?  I would suppose that answer is “no” as you’re reading a review of it.  Anyway, this tastes like a ginger ale with a citrus burst.

Why didn’t I think a soda with the word “ale” in it wouldn’t be a ginger ale?  I’m not sure what my brain was doing there.

Anyway, it’s a pretty good soda in all.  It’s not overly sweet, which is nice, and the fizz level is right around where you want it to be.  As far as an experience this is the “found a new snack food cravings” of sodas.  The beginning is quite nice and I feel like I could drink several bottles.  Meanwhile on the back end the journey falls a little flat for me.  It’s a little watery, but not to the point where it’s bad… just not what I want a soda to finish like.

So if you see Ale-8-One in your local soda shoppe (with two p’s only if you please) pick one up and give it a go.  Heck, even if you hate it you’ll end up with a good lookin’ bottle.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


This was purchased at the Shell Station below.



HEB Watermelon Slice

Hippos love watermelon.

Nothing says January like a juicy slice of watermelon.  Ok, so maybe that’s only true in New Zealand where they’re in the midst of Summer.  I’m not even sure if watermelon is a big thing down there… I’ll have to check later.  Honestly I just needed an intro.  

Now that I've accomplished writing an intro I can tell you that today’s soda is HEB Watermelon Slice which is sweetened with Pure Cane Sugar.  For those not in the know, HEB is a popular grocery store chain here in Texas.  In my opinion it’s probably the best grocery store chain around in terms of items, friendliness, and soda selection.  Not sure why I decided to include my thoughts on HEB, but there ya go.


HEB makes their owns sodas as well.  We’ve reviewed a good chunk of them and haven’t been disappointed once.  In the case of Watermelon Slice it required the purchase of a 12 pack to try.  To avoid buying 12 of something I asked a citizen of the CarboNation for some help.

Thanks to Wrastlin’ Jawhit supplying me with a can this review is a thing that exists now in Space and Time.  Thanks to the ever descending timer on my cell phone I need to get to the meat of it quickly.

HEB Watermelon Slice has a faint watermelon aroma and from the looks of it the pink coloring as well.  I thought it would have a stronger scent as most watermelon sodas are flavor heavy, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Color me intrigued.

I’m good with this.  Fun fact.  Did you know that the first sentence of the “taste paragraph” is usually what I say outloud out of instinct when I first take a sip?  Anywho, this is quite good.

HEB Watermelon Slice has a fantastic burn that lasts the entirety of each swig.  It’s almost electric in nature, a 9 volt batteries worth of flavor.  If you’ve read any amount of reviews you know I like a good burn.  I like to feel alive when drinking a soda.  I don’t want a passive relationship with my beverages.  I get that enough from my therapist.  I don’t have a therapist I just wanted to make a joke.

Flavor wise I can’t see someone thinking this is any other flavor than watermelon.  It’s hidden a little bit behind the burn, but it’s strong enough to be enjoyed.  I often compare fruit flavored sodas to their candy counterparts though in this case honestly can’t.  

While sweet HEB Watermelon Slice isn’t overly so.  This allows me to taste more of the watermelon.  While sugary nonsense drinks have their place I’m quite happy that HEB Watermelon is sweetened as it is.  There’s not a lot negative to say about the beverage, but there’s not a lot more positive to list either.  What we’ve got here is a good watermelon soda that I would suggest anyone try… if they like watermelon flavored things of course.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


You can purchase this soda from your local (if you live in my region) HEB Grocer