Guest reviewer and vintage soda enthusiast George Tsakiridis returns with another review.
After exploring Almdudler Limonade, we continue our journey through vintage glass bottled beverages by taking a look at Spring Grove Black Cherry Soda Pop, made possible by our friends at Old 52 General Store.
Spring Grove Pop, which is how it is referred to sometimes on their website, has been around since 1895. It is located in Spring Grove, MN and presents eight flavors of classic sodas including black cherry. There are some fun facts and other miscellany on the website, and I would recommend checking it out for a little entertainment. They specifically mention using the black cherry flavor as a mixer with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, for those interested.
The bottle is clear with a clear label stuck on, presenting sort of a "woodsy" feel, perhaps like, say, a grove. It is aesthetically solid and does parallel the classic feel of the drink. Of course it is a glass bottle as all of the Old 52 drinks I have reviewed have been.
The ingredient list reads as follows: "Carbonated Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Artificial Flavoring and Artificial Color, Yellow No. 5, Red No. 40, Caramel Color, Citric Acid. Preserved with Less than .1% Sodium Benzoate." Each bottle is 12 ounces, and contains 170 calories and 42 grams of sugar.
So on to the drink itself. I was looking forward to this drink as I love black cherry sodas. The color is a dark red, almost cough syrup like, and holding it up to the light confirms that even more. Good so far.
After opening the drink, I find there are threads on the bottle, so I assume it is a screw-off top, but the way the cap clung to the bottle suggested I use an opener. The aroma is that of sweet, candied cherries, the kind you find on an ice cream sundae. Also good so far.
The taste is quite sugary and "cherryish." It does sort of taste like a candied cherry, and there is a fairly definitive sweet aftertaste. The carbonation is not overly heavy and I would say not a factor one way or the other. I feel like I am tasting a cherry phosphate from the fountain, but with extra sugar. I like it a lot, but I do feel like it is a bit too sweet and maybe a bit artificial. Looking at the ingredient list this is very possible.
Overall, I like it a good deal, but it isn't the best black cherry soda I've ever had. I would recommend it, but it doesn't have me doing handstands. It does state on the label that it is a "Classic Fountain Flavor," which seems to mesh with my initial reaction of it tasting like a cherry phosphate. In the end, I like it, but wish it tasted a bit more natural. Still, I'd be happy to drink it, and perhaps it will have a nostalgic dimension for those looking to capture a cherry fountain drink in a bottle.
Full Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of Old 52 General Store