Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dr. Pepper with Real Sugar: Limited 125th Anniversary Edition

I first read about Heritage Dr. Pepper back in January when Steve over at Bev Review reviewed it (click the link to check out his take). Sadly, that version never made its way out to my neck of the desert, because Heritage Dr. Pepper was limited to areas where Dr. Pepper is bottled under license by Pepsi.

But now, for those of us living in places where Coca-Cola manufactures Dr. Pepper, it's our turn to gloat...because just in time for the Dr. Pepper's 125th birthday, we are being treated to some old school Dr. Pepper made with -- as the packaging loudly and proudly proclaims -- real sugar instead of the dreaded HFCS. And I found twelve packs for sale at my local Vons supermarket, so of course I had to pick one up.

The exterior packing is all the same, but inside you have the chance at getting one of six different vintage Dr. Pepper can designs (check out Steve's latest post here to see them all).

Unlike Coke and Pepsi, which were staples in my house as a kid, neither of my parents were Dr. Pepper fans, so we seldom had it at home. In fact, if I ever even had a Dr. Pepper back in its pre-HFCS days, I have no memory of it. Even as an adult I rarely drink it. And when I do drink soda for non-review purposes, I drink diet. My brother, on the other hand, loves Dr. Pepper and always has some in his fridge -- so I snagged one of his, solely so that I would have something to compare the "Real Sugar" version to. (I would normally never dream of snatching one of my brother's cold sodas. No, not me. Seriously.)

So how is it?

Well, just as with standard Dr. Pepper, the flavor is almost undefinable. It's something like cherry cola -- but not, as there are also some root beer notes. I also noticed that without the syrupy sting the HFCS gives to the "normal" version, more of the fruit notes come out. Berries in particular...but what berry? Is it raspberry? Blackberry? Maybe even strawberry? Beyond simply "berry," I don't know what to tell you, but it's there. Along with maybe a hint of vanilla and possibly even chocolate.

It's not that it tastes radically different from its "normal" counterpart. It just tastes...well, I guess cleaner is a good word. It is also much less strongly carbonated; and I think the fact that it's flatter lets you get more flavor out of it, as well.

This is, not surprisingly, a limited edition product. So if you're a fan and you see it somewhere, buy it and stock up now. I can't say I'll be hoarding this the way I hoard the Kosher for Passover Coke (aka Coke made with real sugar), because I am just not that big of a Dr. Pepper fan -- but I did vastly prefer this version to the normal one.

And this leads me to leave a parting plea to Coca-Cola: PLEASE, how about a real sugar version of Coke Classic? How many times do you have to let Pepsi pants you guys on this issue? Now if you'll excuse me, I have talked about this so much that I have to go hunt down down a bottle of Mexican Coke...which is rather conveniently, but sadly not cheaply, available at my local WalMart, to get a fix. (Yes, Coke made in Mexico still has sugar in it.)

Vons Supermarket


$5.99 for a package of 12 cans.


150 calories per can.


Each can contains 41 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.



cinabar said...

I love Dr Pepper - and if I buy a bottle it remains safely mine as certain other people say it tastes of "shampoo"! lol
UK Dr Pepper is made with sugar what's this HFCS business?

Dai said...

cinabar - I'm not sure if your question was serious or not, but HFCS is High Fructose Corn Syrup. It was introduced into the US food supply in the late 1970s, and has been linked to America's rampant obesity issue. It's used as a replacement for sugar (obviously), but is so cheap that some suggest HFCS is overused in food and beverages. It makes up 40% of all sweeteners used in the US. It's found in a vast majority of commercial foods and beverages available in our grocery stores. It's almost impossible to avoid the stuff.

I am sharing this blog entry on FB. I wish they'd go back to real sugar fulltime. This Dr. Pepper is better than ever before. I only purchase pure cane sugar pops. Stopped purchasing HFCS sodas about a year ago.

Louis said...

I picked up two cases of this the other day and took note of your comment that it is much less carbonated than the regular version.

I found this to be partially true. If you pour the pop in a glass then drink it, I found that it lost a lot of carbonation. However, drinking it straight from the can, it's fizz was fairly strong! A friend agreed with my conclusion... perhaps you reviewed it out of a glass?

Whatever the case, I can't stand flat pop so it's out of the can on this one for me.

Oh, and by the way, I hope they expand it passed a limited edition, because I'm lovin' it!

Justine said...

the bottled version, is completely flat.. It doesnt even say carbonated water on the ingredients, just simply "water" its horrid! maybe the cans will be better.. Although we have throwback mountian dew right now and im hoarding it!

Tony77019 said...

I don't know about flatness. I pop open an ice cold can of this totally wonderful, addictive, sweet, berriful real sugar Dr. Pepper and I'm in soda heaven. Listen - I never ever buy Dr. Pepper except the diet version. I have gone to Sam's and stocked up on this stuff. It's the best soda I've had in a long, long time. I mean it has replaced Mexican Pepsi (which recently beat out Mexican Coke in my taste tests) as just the best dog gone soda ever made.