Thursday, November 02, 2006

POP OF THE DAY: Virgil's Cream Soda

Category: Cream Soda
Ratings (out of 5)
Taste: 2
Fizziness Factor: 3
Bottle/Can Design: 4
Availability: 2

Tasting Notes: Like a 36-year-old man meeting his 18-year-old girlfriend's parents for the first time, the Virgil's Cream Soda bottle says all the right things: "microbrewed with real vanilla beans," "made naturally for the cream soda conoisseur," and a list of ingredients that are "unbleached," and "purified." But the bottle also features a picture of that man in all his faux-gentle creepiness: black-eyed, bearded, and wearing a camoflage jacket, he serves a tray of what appears to be Bud Light to two kids seated on top of a mountain. I guess this is supposed to tie in with the devastatingly catchy slogan, "Using Natural Ingredients, We Brew a Cream Soda So Pure, So Rich and Creamy, You'll Swear It's Made in Heaven," but in retrospect I should have know that something was askew with Virgil's.

My first whiff of it, though, was awesome. It smelled like rich molasses and vanilla, and the first sip had a creamy, caramelly taste that actually made me say, "Wow," out loud. As I progressed through the bottle, however, the richness faded and was replaced by an overpowering, almost fruity sweetness that I finally recognized as the taste of sugarcane—too sweet even for me, a guy who considers "sugar shots" a viable part of the restaurant experience. My advice to Virgil? Change that slogan to "Using Natural Ingredients And a Dash of Red Food Coloring Left Over From Valentine's Day, We've Made The First Soda for Hummingbirds." (Total Score 11/20)

Suggested Food Pairings: Barbecued beef brisket, Altoids

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