Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Return of an Old Friend. Mountain Dew Pitch Black is Back! (Now what to do with my other two wishes...)

I spent quite a bit of my day running those types of errands that absolutely require one to leave the house for a few hours, and my time spent outside was far from wasted.  I don't refer to social interaction with the public at large, or indeed anyone beyond my wife and the few folks who make it over to the house.  Eh, I've been to a friendly barbeque recently enough that my in person social skills haven't suffered too dramatic a degradation.  What saved a day spent in otherwise frustrating traffic and waiting in lines full of strangers was the return of something once thought lost.  I am, of course, talking about Mountain Dew Pitch Black.

I almost put an image of Vin Diesel here, but it seemed a silly joke.

I'm not much of a soda drinker, but like most gamers here in the US, I've had a special relationship over the years with Mountain Dew.  The caffeine and sugar rush from this particular soda has gotten me through more than a few marathon gaming sessions, and I've endeavored to at least taste their annual limited-edition flavor experiments with the stuff.  These have ranged from the quite good (Game Fuel red) to the positively putrid (Game Fuel blue,)  but none have ever held the crown besides Pitch Black.  Honestly, it kind of ruined me for soda, and it was discontinued over five years ago, and I'd held little hope of ever seeing it again.

I think the length of time it was completely unavailable added to the mystique surrounding this stuff, but tasting it again reminded me of why so many of us were desperate to have it back on the market.  There's a "bite" on the end of the flavor that makes it a little more than a caffeinated grape soda, and that factor was lost when they briefly brought it back as "Pitch Black II" in 2005, messing with the formula to attempt to make it more... sour.  The five bottles I purchased today are, thankfully, the original variety, and two are already gone.  Drinking this bottled nostalgia made me think about some of the other discontinued soda flavors.

Now that Pitch Black was re-released, Surge probably holds the crown for "most wanted discontinued beverage" in the soda world.  This neon green soda was released to compete with Mountain Dew, but rather than being a knock-off, I remember it having a distinct flavor all its own. It was a citrus flavored drink not completely unlike Mountain Dew, but also had a flavor similar to Green River (which is not gone, we just only see it around St. Patrick's Day in most places) in there somewhere, almost a  taste like lime Jell-O. It is apparently still available in Norway, and the closest approximation now is the Energy Drink named Vault, also  bottled by Coca-Cola.

Cans of this stuff still sell like mad on eBay, unless you live in Norway.
My personal favorite no longer available soda is the "berryclear" variety of Sprite remix.  As a "mixed berry" infusion of the popular lemon-lime brand, it was one of the few sodas to not really have anything else quite like it, without being just plain weird, like many of Pepsi's now-discontinued brands.  Anyone who's has mixed berry Skittles has a pretty good idea of the flavor behind this one, and I think the only reason why I didn't obsess over this flavor  the way I did about Pitch Black is that I didn't actually drink very much of it when it was available. I mentioned that I don't drink much of the sugary carbonated stuff as it is, but I drink virtually none of it if there's no caffeine involved.  Still, I have fond memories of having made an exception for this one.

And I never did get to mix this with anything stronger, which is now my only use for no-caffeine soda.
Plenty of articles have been written by many bloggers about Pepsi's own missteps in the goofy soda world, and their subsequent disappearances from store shelves.  Crystal Pepsi, Pepsi Fire and Ice, and many other unusual flavors available only seasonally or in countries outside the US have been part of the failed experiments, but only one that I recall  was so foul that I literally spit it out.  Pepsi Blue.  All of the color of spray window-cleaner, but somehow managing to taste worse than the average sugar-infuse cleaning product, without the accompanying sweet release of death.  Yeah, you could say I didn't care for it. For what it is worth, Pepsi Blue delivered on its promise, to combine cola with the "blue raspberry" fad so popular in children's drinks at the time.  This however, was a case of no one asking "Just because we *can* do this, *should* we?"

Not fit for human consumption.
I'm sure there are missing soft drinks worldwide that my readers outside the United States have their own fond memories of, and there's certainly a few here in the US that I didn't profile.  Did I not write about your favorite? Let me know, as I think a third bottle of Pitch Black is calling. Maybe I'll try it with Jaegermeister before it vanishes back into the mists once more. Best Blogger Tips
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12 comments:

Astronomy Pirate said...

I never cared for Mountain Dew of any flavor, but I loved Surge and will kill for some.

A Beer for the Shower said...

I was more of a Code Red kind of guy, but Pitch Black was damn tasty too. And Surge...oh, how I miss thee.

Jay said...

mmm, yum!

Alpha said...

You sir, have excellent taste.

The Angry Lurker said...

Never got to taste any of these, dammit.

Patti D. said...

I haven't tried that one yet!

You can visit my blog here.

Dave said...

Its a Pepsi for me lol.

Kelly said...

I liked Mountain Pitch Black, Surge and Pepsi Blue. You're right... Not all of those experimental Pepsi drinks were very good. I still like the Cherry flavored Dr. Pepper and Cherry Pepsi, though. I hope they keep those around forever. Nostalgic, well written post.

thunt said...

I miss Mountain Dew RED! The sweet cherry flavor seemed to enhance the caffeine! Or maybe it just seemed that way because I drank it like water. They need to bring that back! Great post! -- from one Unemployed Geek to another....

Zombie Ad said...

Will have to try and get hold of some MDPB

Conspyre said...

I saw Pitch Black yesterday at the store, and my immediate reaction was "Holy shit, I need to tell Josh!" Glad to see you found it on your own.

skipperdee said...

The original flavor of Fresca is actually very similar to my memory of the taste of Surge, though I'm not positive it's accurate.

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