Credit Where Credit is Due: Pop ‘n Sweets

I have not been know to look for nice things to say about Provo Utah. Not wanting to be a generally negative person I have often kept my mouth shout when wanting to say bad things about the place. I find myself now in a position where I have no choice… I must praise the place. Or at least I must praise one place that is in that place.

Pop ‘n Sweets.IMG_6344

They have nice story about how they came to be and who owns the place but that doesn’t mater much in this case. This candy and soda shop could have been founded by the devil and it would still be worth the visit (incidentally the devil has been outlawed in Provo so it couldn’t have been founded by him).IMG_6304

Long story short, they have soda. All kinds of soda. Soda on tap, Soda from Austria, Soda that’s funny, soda that is sophisticated, a lot of soda. I like that. They have candy too but I’m not so much into wasting calories on that when there is a red capped Blenheim ginger ale to be had.IMG_6339

Or perhaps a mate mojito? A birch beer maybe? Whatever your flavor grab one and have a seat at the counter or in a booth.IMG_6318

This place was good enough that I wanted to hang around… in Provo. I want to go again… to Provo. I can’t believe I ‘m typing this. I’m being forced to shift my fundamental belief system. My foundation is crumbling.

Crumbling into a sweet, fizzy, bubbly, wonderful pool of soda.IMG_6320

Old Town Rootbeer Company: Temecula, CA

My co workers were all happy to be spending the weekend in wine country. I was curious about his whole wine country thing, I’ve never been to there, but I wasn’t exactly excited. Words like Cabarnet Sauvignon at a dinner table normally mean I will spend the dinner not participating in conversation. It is amazing how much people talk about wine or alcohol in general.
I know nothing about such things and consequentially have little to offer such conversations. This was on my mind as I turned onto Temecula’s main street with its old timey western storefronts.
The usual suspects were all there: trading post, art gallery with pastel Indian feathers, rootbeer shop.
Wait… rootbeer shop!?


I ran an old woman off the sidewalk as I illegally parked the car and ran inside.

“Yes.” I said out loud when I stepped inside the door.

“Pardon? May I help you?” a tie dyed bearded kid asked.

“Yes. Just yes.”


Olde Philadelphia, Virgil’s, Cheerwine, Kutztown, and Blenheim.
Upon seeing that last one I may have teared up just a little.


“I’ll take six of those.” I ordered then started looking around.
They have it all and then have just a little bit more. The place isn’t huge, its a little more pricey then I would hope, but it is the best reason for a Mormon to drive to wine country I have ever seen.



Kala brand beverages are getting harder and harder to find.  Why?

Because the proprietors and craftsmen who brew these fine beverages are renaissance men on dark ages budgets.  We three explore, develop, and learn, and then have to provide.  We are not upset, it is a choice we make willingly.

Where is a Medici when you need one?

Just know that should you want some, your best bet is to find yourself at an event where Kaleo, Dalyn, or Preston are in attendance.  BE warned, these are very exclusive engagements.


Inside wall of the Brohammasmobile.

 I aspire to one day own a home, or a space, that is both comfortable and interesting.  A place that is more curated than decorated.  On occasion I will peruse import stores with all their exotic statuary or fabrics and I always leave with none of those things.  My wife, tired of accompanying me on such ventures inquired why I never procure any of these treasures. 

 “If I want a Persian rug, I want to have gotten it in Persia, not South Philly.”

One day I may get myself to Persia.  While there I will still not get that rug; I don’t like Persian rugs.  I do hope that while I am there I will obtain some little something that I could only get there, or possibly get something I should only get there.

In travels past I have gotten a beer stien in Germany, an Eifel tower in Paris (a smaller one of course), and a sunburn in Mexico.  This year has been no different.  I made acquisitions of things that would remind me of a time and place, in hopes that one day said articles will have a spot in that place; the one I hope to one day create.

The spoils of war, without all that messy fighting.

 1. Ukule from Haleiwa Hawaii.

2.  Hat from J. Press in New Haven Connecticut.

3. Logo tie from Lionel Smith Ltd. in Aiken South Carolina.

4. Vintage print from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

5. Pennant purchased in the bookstores of every Ivy League school  (can you see which one is missing without using digital assistance?).

6. Across America By Gen. James F. Rusling, printed 1875.  Its take on my native people was, shall we say, “interesting”?

7. Maple box sold to me by a young Amish boy in Nowheresville, upstate New York, while his father peered eerily through the curtains of the house.

8. “All Right!”: The Narrative of Henry Box Brown as a Test Case for the Racial Prescription of Rhetoric and Semiotics, by Marcus Wood.  Purchased at the American Antiquarian Society in Massachusetts.

9. The Wanderer the Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails, by Erik Calonius, purchased at a thrift store in Wilmington, North Carolina.

10. The American Sporting Scene, written by John Kieran, illustrated by Joseph W. Golinkin, printed 1941.  Purchased in Cambridge Mass.

11. E Pluribus Venom, the art of Shepard Fairey.  Purchased at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh,

12. Fashion 100 Years of Apparel Ads by Jim Heimann and Alison A. Nieder.  Purchased in Newport, Rhode Island.

13. Sports as reported by the New York Times 1908-1984 (reprints of sports stories from the NYT). Purchased in NYC.

Of course, not everything experienced whilst travelling can be collected.  Some things while collectible, should probably not be collected.  Somehow my collection of craft brewed soda bottles has been sent to the cellar.

Kinda makes me wonder who really is the king of my castle.


Blenheim Ginger Ale, a love story

I have a confession to make.  I had a reason to stop at the “tackiest place in the world”.  James’s comment on my last post called me out on it.  Here goes…
It was destiny.  Some loves are pure, some passionate, and some are carbonated. 
I once lived across the street from a roadside produce stand.   I’m a sucker for local or independent stuff, so I wondered in.
Blenheim's extra hot outside the place we first fell in love.

 There, in the back, behind the table of inedible fruit cakes, we found each other.  I had never heard of this brand and the bottle was kind of cool.  I had three choices: diet, regular, or extra hot.  I always choose extra hot. 

Back there, behind the fruitcake.

 I’ve never smoked before but I assume my first drink of Blenheim was something like a first puff; I started coughing uncontrollably and was forever hooked.  It cleared my sinuses caught in the back of my throat, but in between… was heaven.  It tasted like ginger!  

I have a problem with beverages, well, mostly I have a problem with anything ingestible.  I eat/drink amazingly fast and in large amounts.  I regularly amaze waitresses who find it impossible to keep my glass full.  The ones who care quickly bring me a pitcher just so they can pay attention to their other tables. 

But not with Blenheim.  The spicy kick, the kind that takes away your breath if you are drinking it from a wide-mouthed glass, makes me pause and slow down.  I love it. 

Then we moved. 

Turns out Blenheim, one of the countries oldest continually operating soft drink manufacturers, is owned by a man satisfied with its level of success and uninterested in expansion.  The consequence of the owner’s satisfaction is that it is nearly impossible to find if you are outside a 100 mile radius of its bottling plant; which is in South of  the Border, SC. 

A sign like that is just asking for it.

 I called ahead and was told they didn’t give tours or receive visitors. They didn’t realize they were talking to a guy who once attended a closed meeting of the American Philosophical Society because the subject matter (the history and politics of state and national borders) looked interesting. I found out about the meeting by walking into their library, which is closed to the public, and asking if I could please go to the meeting.  They let me. 


 The receptionist apologized because they weren’t actually bottling that day but I could still go back and look at the machine.  In the back I was greeted by two guys wearing mechanic style shirts sporting the Blenheim logo on one side and their names on the other.  The taller one, in a thick and slow southern drawl, asked if I wanted some.  Of course I did.  I was pulling out my wallet while telling him a tale of how I once paid $4 for a bottle in NYC.  He told me to put my money away, it was. “on the house.”  I thanked him, returned my wallet to my pocket, and then I almost fell over when he lifted a whole case from the pallet and asked if I wanted him to walk it out to the van. 

How can I get one of these?

I still have 3 bottles in my fridge.  I have made a rule for myself that I can’t drink it alone, otherwise I would squander a whole case in a weekend.  This stuff must be shared and enjoyed, not guzzled. 

So if you invite the Brohammas family over for dinner, or we invite you, expect me to bring a bottle or two.  After I do, you will surely be added to the list of those who call me on a regular basis asking, “when you goin’ down south again?”