Tuesday was just another day for Lockhart Smokehouse's manager Trish Fong. Then two dudes walked in wearing Meat Mania t-shirts and holding bottles of bacon-flavored soda. Fong twisted the red cap from the bottle to a vaporous burst. She liked it.
Minutes later, owner Jeff Bergus took a sip and bought a single case of the soda. When pit-master Will Fleischman took a pull and squealed like a pig, they upped the order to two. The next day, when Nick and I saw Lockhart Smokehouse's tweet announcing the arrival of the bacon flavored soda, we shamelessly took the bait.
Back at the Observer, what was initially intended to be a tasting party of two (we chilled the beverage to 37 degrees and paired it with jalepeno potato chips) quickly turned into a whole office affair as we passed around two bottles of the fizzy, red liquid.
"It's kinda good," said one staff writer, but her tone was inquisitive. "I don't know if I'd order it, though."
"It tastes like liquid Bac~Os!"
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"Did you say baking soda?"
The office vegetarian, who noted there were no animal products listed in the ingredients, took a sip and made a liquified mumbling sound as she ran away. I haven't seen her the rest of the day.
Our Arts Editor regurgitated the soda four to five seconds after taking a sip. Then our Music Editor began brainstorming spirits that would mix well with the soda. Bourbon and sour cream-flavored vodka were our top two choices.
The soda really does taste like liquid, synthetic bacon, the same flavor you get from the amber sprinkles at the end of the salad bar, and it has a sweet taste and a creamy mouthfeel. But regardless of my absurd attempts to attach flavor notes to the gimmicky beverage, it's impossible to deny the best part of the Meat Maniac experience: bacon burps.