History: Avery’s Beverages is a stalwart in the craft soda community. These dudes have been making the stuff for over 100 years out of New Britain, CT. They’re known for variety. They produce almost 50 different flavors from root beer to mint seltzer to black raspberry. They also utilize artisan well water in their sodas. I see you nodding your head in approval, even though you don’t really know what it means. Avery’s credits a “great local following” and the resurgence of craft soda to their maintained success. But there’s also another reason. A more disgusting reason. In fact, it’s why we’re here today. But first a lesson: Avery’s runs a “Make Your Own Soda” program on Saturdays where kids, by appointment, are allowed to create sodas based on six stock flavors. As you can probably guess, with a child’s excitement and mind running 1,000 mph, a lot of the early versions came out sludge brown. The kicker was… some of them tasted good. Eventually they worked with the kids to perfect a flavor called “Swamp Juice.” Out of this, Avery’s “Totally Gross Soda” line was born, featuring names like “Zombie Brain Juice,” “Kitty Piddle,” and today’s soda for review, “Toxic Slime.” As Avery’s Beverages General Manager, Rob Metz say, “They appeal to the 10 year-old in all of us.” Ah, nostalgia. According to Metz, 80% of the soda Avery’s ships is this weird stuff. Be on the look out for future flavors like “Alien Snot” and “Worm Slime.” You hungry? Or is it just me?
Where to get: Avery’s ships all over the country. You can probably find it at your nearest retro soda shop or at RocketFizz outlets. Some of their biggest distributors include Homer Soda in the midwest, Bay’s Best Beverages on the east coast, and Real Soda (don’t mind the Web site; he’s legit) on the west coast. Or you can always contact Avery’s directly and they’d be happy to make an order for you.
Nose: That blue sunny delight you sometimes drank as a kid; dull citrus cleaning fluid.
Taste: Artificial blue raspberry that crawls up the back of your sinuses. This tastes like something to which you’d have an allergic reaction. As with most craft sodas, Toxic Slime only contains a handful of ingredients, including pure cane sugar, but it reeks and tastes of chemicals. With a name like Toxic Slime, maybe Avery’s accomplished what they wanted. It’s supposed to be blue raspberry-orange, but it comes off more like sweetened Windex. The orange doesn’t really come through and the blue raspberry isn’t crisp or palatable enough to make you want to drink this repeatedly. Nothing complicated here, just the taste of sugary, watery, artificial flavorings.
Finish: Sugary; fake blue raspberry that leaves you feeling unsure about yourself.
Rating: This soda will turn your tongue blue and your organs into sadness. The color is fun. The name is fun. The flavor combo in theory is even fun, but this doesn’t work. This is a novelty soda along the lines of Lester’s Fixins, though admittedly, it’s better than most of those. Parents, pick up a bottle of this for your kids. Let them turn their tongues blue. If you’re into novelty soda, give it a go. If you’re in it for the flavor, pass on it. If you’re in it for a go round at the hospital, get a six-pack. I fear what color my insides are now.