As I get older, I have to get my kicks wherever I can.  Back in the 90s, Dan Cortese would have called it a rush, and I would’ve gotten said rush by jumping off things on my Rollerblades with my friend Patrick.  That was back when the Extreme Games had a purple street course, and when Rollerblading was a thing.  If you’re familiar with the name Chris Edwards, you know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, as I transition into oldmanhood, I get a rush from say, looking forward to a nap after work.  Or getting some Pinkberry with the wife.  Or just being left alone by everybody.  I still Rollerblade, but now it’s for cardio and rarely do I go careening off a stairwell (I could still totally do it).

One thing I particularly enjoy is this blog.  I know I don’t post as frequently as I used to, but I still love it.  One thing I quite like is the satisfaction of getting my hands on a new product and racing my colleagues to be the first to put up a review.  It’s fun.

But lately this joy has been taken from me.

This is a limited edition bottle of malt-flavored Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold.

Yes, you would be correct if you said this has already been reviewed on the interwebs.  I did my best, but try as I may to get a bottle, I was scooped once again by a couple of the larger review websites.  They know who they are.

How did they get their reviews up so quickly?  Did they come across their bottles honestly?  Camping out the night before in the few cities that will be carrying this variety?  Readers, no they did not.  They received samples in the mail free of charge from PepsiCo.  Free.  Samples.

I will be the first to tell you that I cannot compete with that.  I run a small blog.  Let’s say it’s somewhere in the 99% of blogs.  I simply don’t have the resources to compete with the one-percenters.  I try for you, dear reader, but sometimes passion and enthusiasm just aren’t enough.  It’s just the world we live in.

Do you know how I got my bottle of Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold?  The old fashioned way.  By paying an exorbitant price for it on eBay.  Just like our forefathers did.

So that’s why I’ll be damned if I stand here and let Big Food Blog destroy the very foundations of everything this great country of ours holds dear.  It’s about time we hold these elitist bastards accountable for their nondescript sample can reviews.  Do you know where they sell soda in plain silver cans?  That’s right.  Communist Russia.  And the last time I checked this is America.  The U.S. of A.  The land of the free and the home of The Braves.  These colors don’t run from my cold dead hands.  And if you’re not with us, you’re against us.  And Lee Greenwood.  And auto racing.  And country music.

I refuse to be intimidated by these review thugs.  So that is why I am publishing my review of this already reviewed bottle of soda.  Because I owe it to the greatest country on Earth.

(Ok, so the Republican National Convention is happening just up the road.  The hazy fog of obnoxious patriotism hanging over Tampa Bay may be affecting me.)

I feel that on some level, this Mountain Dew may be my birthright.  My grandfather is from Johnson City Tennessee, the birthplace of Mountain Dew.  I have walked its main street.  I have met its people.  I have even stayed at a horrifyingly creepy farmhouse owned by distant relatives.

So if sleeping in an ancient creaky bed, beneath the ghoulish eyes of long dead people immortalized in terrifying paintings, in a farmhouse with no TV or radio, in the middle of a cow field, where no one could possibly hear me scream if I was being savagely murdered by hill people, doesn’t give me the right to review this soda, then I don’t know what the hell does.

As stated earlier this is a malt-flavored, non-alcoholic mutation of Mountain Dew.   It’s in limited release right now in some of the states that are sort of in the middle right part of the country.  Next year, it’s getting a national release.  I think they might be doing a label design contest or something, too.

I like the design of the bottle.  The green, gold, and red color scheme along with the prominent “Gold” definitely call to mind the aesthetics of a beer bottle.  Sure this is a one liter plastic bottle, but still.  The cans look even better.  I’m not sure about that mountain man though.  Seems a little lumberjackish for Tennessee.  And I don’t get the “vintage” at all.  But what do I know.

The nosegrope is definitely very bright and beery with some lemony citrus (or dewy) undertones.  It drinks in three stages.  The first wave of flavor is definitely malt, reminiscent of the lightest of beers.  That gives way to some straight up Mountain Dew-ness.  And the whole things ends with a slightly bitter beer aftertaste that lingers for quite a while, albeit very lightly.  It won’t pucker you like some skunk beer or anything.  And obviously since this is Mountain Dew, all three flavor phases are coated in the usual level of sweetness.

This is an interesting beverage.  It’s not as freakish or jarring as I was expecting it to be.  The flavors work fairly well together and aren’t all up in your face.  I like the level of malt flavor.  A little more and this whole thing could’ve come off the rails.  It’s very drinkable.

The thing that really excites me about this is that a major soda player released a pretty unusual variation on one of their staples.  Japan does this all the time, which I frequently lament with great wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I’m not sure how Johnson City Gold is going to do in a wider market.  Judging from some of the successful cough syrup variations Dew has released in the past, it wouldn’t seem that Dew addicts (I’m recovering) are very interested in flavor complexity.  But the fact that Johnson City Gold exists at all is a step in the right direction.

If you see a bottle, grab it.  In my heart, I don’t think it will be around for long.

And if I had one ounce of working knowledge about politics, I’d wrap this up with something really topical and scathing.

But I don’t.