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Friday, November 6, 2009

Flathead Lake Monster Sour Cherry

Upon walking into my old local grocery store in Pittsburgh when I visited the other weekend, I was excited to pick up one of my favorite sodas in the world--only to find that the price of it had gone through the roof. I debated picking up some Sprecher's Ravin' Red anyway, but reconsidered with my utter lack of employment and spending money, and went for a bargain buy: Flathead Lake Monster's Sour Cherry. And not a bad replacement it proved to be. Not bad at all.

A cherry-flavored beverage, like the drink I was originally planning on buying (and will, to review, someday), it is a definite step up from my most recently reviewed soda, Olde Philadelphia Black Cherry. I'm not exactly sure what the difference between "sour cherry" and "black cherry" is, but that's why I'm listing all of the different varieties as simply "cherry" anyway. Suffice it to say, the two flavors are very similar. However, Olde Philadelphia's and Flathead Lake Monster's approaches are vastly different. That is to say, Flathead's cherry-flavored bev is actually pretty damn good. It's got a real tang to it, not too sweet but also not lip-puckeringly sour. The taste is memorable, which might be a weird thing to say about a soda. But as I sit here sipping on it, mulling it over in my mind, I can still feel it on my tongue. Where O.P.'s cherry concoction was bland at best, Flathead brings a punch to the flavor, making me want to crack open another one as soon as this bottle is empty.

And really, let's discuss this bottle itself. A serpentine lake monster wearing sporty sunglasses, his tongue trailing back in the wind? You're damn right. It might not be an extremely classy logo, but we're making soda here, not champagne. Just like the flavor, it is memorable. It's just a shame that they ruin it with the "Sour Cherry" sticker on the neck. It's unneeded, in my opinion, and the realistic artwork of the cherry is at odds with the graffiti-style monster and waves. Furthermore, the sticker is peeling off, which gives the entire bottle a sense of cheapness to me. As for the "Montana's Legendary Soda" emblazoned across the top of the main label... who knows? Flathead Lake Monster Gourmet Soda is bottled by North American Beverage Company in Ocean City, New Jersey. I suppose it could have been bought out, or maybe the recipes still come from Montana, or something. Or maybe it's some kind of reference that I just don't get because I come from a part of America where people actually live. Still, I can't hate on it. This stuff is pretty damn good. Chalk one up to a surprise win for the Monster.

TASTE: 8/10
LOOK: 6/10
OVERALL: B+

PRICE: $4.39/4-12oz. btls ($.09/oz)
BUY IT: Giant Eagle Market District, Pittsburgh PA