The Popcast1


Galco’s as seen on York Blvd (Dbl Click to enlarge)

When I was child growing up in  Highland Park, California I would always see this little old Grocery Store that was down the street from my cousins house. I remember going into it time to time with my cousin Mike, it wasn’t anything special just a neighborhood grocery store. I do remember the name sticking out though, it had a name that sounded more like a restaurant to me  than a grocers. Its name was Galco’s Old World Grocery. Anyway, like I said nothing of any consequence to me and I later moved out of Highland Park and forgot all about the store.

Years later a friend of mine named Jesse tells me that he and his buddy Mario got some “Bubble Up” soda over the weekend and how wonderful it was since they havent tasted it since they were children.
“BUBBLE UP” I said. “Wow, now THATS a name I haven’t heard since I was a kid…where did you get that stuff?”

Jesse had told me that there was this amazing shop  that sold NOTHING but hard to find sodas and some pretty good beers from all over the world. He said the place was called Galco’s. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. In once conversation I had heard two names that I haven’t though about since I was a kid. It turns out that Galco’s had left its more traditional Grocery store/Deli model and switched over to a more niche market of hard to get beverages and crafted beers. Jesse went on to tell me that it was in a small city next to South Pasadena name…

“Highland Park…and its on York Blvd across the street from the McDonalds that has been there for over 40 yrs.” is said, finishing off his senctence.

“Oh, you know the place huh?” Jesse said with some surprise in his voice.

I told him that I knew the place and had been in it a few times but that was back in the late 70′s early 80′s. To which he replied “Damn, homie…you’re OLD!”

I told him that I hadnt been there in years and would love to see this place now and wondered how a store could stay open with just selling soda.

Anyway, it was YEARS after that conversation happened that I found myself moving from the West Side back to my old East Side neighborhood of the Highland Park/Eagle Rock area. What was even more strange is that I end up moving only 2 blocks away from Galco’s and I heard that they served a mean deli sandwich. The idea piqued my intrest and I decided to walk down to the old store and give it a peek…I had no idea what was in store.

But to find that out you’ll have to check out “The POPcast” episode 2.

TODAY I walked in there with my Partner in Crime, Peter Tullio to have a sandwich and review some Soda Pop! This is what we came up with!

Here are the first four sodas that we tried and reviewed.

“Highland Park…and its on York Blvd across the street from the McDonalds that has been there for over 40 yrs.” is said, finishing off his senctence.

“Oh, you know the place huh?” Jesse said with some surprise in his voice.

I told him that I knew the place and had been in it a few times but that was back in the late 70′s early 80′s. To which he replied “Damn, homie…you’re OLD!”

I told him that I hadnt been there in years and would love to see this place now and wondered how a store could stay open with just selling soda.

Anyway, it was YEARS after that conversation happened that I found myself moving from the West Side back to my old East Side neighborhood of the Highland Park/Eagle Rock area. What was even more strange is that I end up moving only 2 blocks away from Galco’s and I heard that they served a mean deli sandwich. The idea piqued my intrest and I decided to walk down to the old store and give it a peek…I had no idea what was in store.

But to find that out you’ll have to check out “The POPcast” episode 2.

Listen to “the POPcast” audio:

Here are the first four sodas that we reviewed :

Not so much a soda as it is a bottled juice!

Name: Hot Lips Strawberry Soda
Flavor: Strawberry
Rating: Half a star for soda but 5 stars for a Juice *see Review
Ingredients: Sparkling water, strawberries grown in the Pacific Northwest, Cane sugar and Organic lemon juice.
Fizz: Hardly detectable
Nutrition Facts:Each bottle contains:Calories 140, 0 Fat; 55mg Sodium; 55mg Carbohydrates; 0g Protein; Sugar 33g. And Percent Daily Values of: 40% Vitamin C; 2% Calcium; 4% Iron. Contains strawberry pulp.
Produced in: Portland OR.
As per the label: 23% fruit lightly carbonated, tip to blend pulp.
Label art: Simple, nothing too exciting.
Website: http://hotlipssoda.com

Review: As sodas go this isn’t a very good soda…in the traditional sense. It hardly has ANY fizz and if you ask me THAT is what really makes a soda…well, a soda! Having said that, it isn’t a BAD beverage at all! There are only four ingredients list and one of them is Organic! It really is closer to a Juice drink than it is a Soda. At the end of the day, I don’t care how good the ingredients are …if it barely has any fizz than it really cant be called a soda!

Soda with a light after taste of Celery…I think its great to drink after having sex with a Vegan. ~Peter

Name: Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray
Flavor: Celery
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Fizz: Nose Tickler
Label art: Black and White Picture of the Brooklyn Bridge in the center
As per the label: Caffeine Free, ,Since 1869, “The Original Flavor Favorite for generations.”
Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Extract Of Celery Seed, With Other Natural Flavors(?), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)And Caramel Color.
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 140, Fat: 0g, Carbs: 34g, Protein: 0g
Produced by: Canada Dry Bottling Co. of New York
Website: www.canadadry.ca

Review: Very interesting flavor, unique tasting, light, not too sweet and refreshing. Its like ginger ale with a slight after taste of celery. Different for sure but surprisingly good!
Fun False Fact: Dr Brown started making soda after he disbarred in 1869 due to tons of malpractice and sexual harassment suits.

Sprecher is German for “Middle of the Road”

Name: Sprecher
Flavor: Root Beer
Rating: 3 stars
Fizz: Meh!
Label art: Griffen like character holding a frothy mug of Root Beer. Hmm.
As per the label: Rated: #1 by the NY Times, Fire Brewed, Gourmet Soda, Caffine free and Gluten Free. This truly old fashioned soda has the rich, creamy flavor that only comes from using pure Wisconsin honey direct from the combs. Our extracts are prepared at the brewery in a hand-made, gas-fired brew kettle, by combining honey, pure vanilla and a host of aromatic botanicals. The dark, honeyed brew will build a delicious, frothy head when properly poured into a frosted mug.
Ingredients: Carbonated water, fructose corn syrup, malto dextrin, raw Wisconsin honey, natural and artificial flavors, vanilla, phosphoric acid(?), sodium benzoate (a preservative)
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 8 fl oz ,Calories: 110, Fat: 0g, Carbs: 27g, Protein: 0g
Produced by: Sprecher Brewing Co., Inc. Glendale, WI

Website: http://www.sprecherbrewery.com

Review:  Despite it being a Gourmet Root Beer, despite using pure Wisconsin honey direct from the combs, despite all the blah-blah-blah that the label says, …this Root Beer is just “Middle of the Road”. Its is very mild and tastes more like a crafted type of Root Beer and has a classic root beer taste. It didn’t really have any bite and was just sort of nondescript. By the time I put the my glass down I had already forgotten what it tasted like…it wasn’t BAD, it just a wasn’t Great. Still it rates a 3 out of 5 stars and thats safe and good. Probably would be GREAT in a Root Beer Float due to its mildness.
Fun False Fact: This product contains phosphoric acid  which we all know is used to dissolve bodies in T.V murder mysteries!

One honey of a Ginger Ale!

Name: Thomas Kemper
Flavor:  Ginger Ale
Rating: After much after thought we bumped it up to 2.5 stars
Fizz: Lots of bubbles but not harsh on the nose, mild Fizz
Label art: Hunter Green and Muster with a Honey Bee. Clean Design
As per the label: Crafted Brew, Cane Sugar Soda,This delightful ginger ale has sparkling personality, with a little nip of ginger and the perfect kiss of honey, everyone should be so lucky. One honey of a Ginger Ale!
Ingredients: carbonated water, cane sugar, honey, citric acid, sodium benzoate (for freshness), natural flavor, and caramel color.
Nutrition Facts: Calories 150 Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0.0g Sodium 45mg Total Carbohydrates 36.0g Sugars 35.0g Protein 0.0g
Bottled in: Portland, OR

Website: www.tksoda.com

Review: Clean, crisp, mild with a light  taste. Not too defined, not too sweet, easy to drink. This is very mild and far from the Canada Dry Variety that slaps you in the face with Ginger. More like a Lemon-lime with a hint of ginger.  This Thomas Kemper Ginger Ale Would be VERY good with your favorite Vodka or Gin. Gin my be a good to mix with this Ginger Ale due to the  juniper and other botanicals that Gin has in it.
Fun False Facts: 1) Only 2% of the worlds population are “Gingers” and only 2% of that 2% are attractive!
2) Peter keeps all his botanicals in his ass!

Cya Next Week…follow us here or on Facebook!

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