New Pepsi Next!

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Are you guys ready for the 2012 Summer Season? I think its time that we start cranking out articles while the weather is still nice and before we hit those long, hot July days. The ones filled with thunderstorms at night and overran with insects during the day. I hate that time of year. Sitting here at the end of an exceptionally warm March and heading into what looks to be a beautiful April... well it seems like as good of time as any to try and enjoy all the little things that make summer an interesting season.

Such as all of the strange new flavors of soda that get unleashed right around this time of year. I am not quite sure what it is about the summer months but it makes all the beverage companies lose there shit and start releasing weird limited edition flavors of everyone's favorite drinks. These here-today-gone-tomorrow flavors rarely last more than a couple of months so it is best to enjoy them while you can.

2011 kicked off with the glorious return of Mountain Dew: Pitch Black. A drink that was less about the flavor and more so the idea that it was originally sort of the unofficial soft drink of Halloween. It is going to be hard to top the re-release of the cult classic Pitch Black so this year Pepsi has decided to go in an entirely different direction. A new flavor of an old classic, Pepsi Next!

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It might not be quite as earth-shattering awesome as Pitch Black's surprise appearance early last summer but as you will soon see, Pepsi Next is a strong contender for sticking around all year and falling into a regular drinking rotation. I sound like an alcoholic when I say it like that.

First things first, however. Let's talk a little bit about the bottle. I promise not to spend four thousand paragraphs detailing my love for the thing. Maybe. The first point of interest that I would like to bring up is how stupid it sounds when I say that something as simple as a new flavor of soda can convey feelings that summer time is officially right around the corner. But I dare you to look at that photo of Pepsi Next sitting outside amongst those freshly sprouted plants and tell me otherwise. It looks like summer!

The most obvious thing that stands out on this bottle is the aqua blue theme that scales from light to dark. Pepsi is always sold in blue cans or bottles but this is somehow different. Its deeper and richer than the normal Pepsi blue. That white swish mark that transcends the length of the bottle is a nice finishing touch that helps tie everything together and make for one nifty looking design. Bonus points for re-using the black twist cap from last years Pitch Black release.

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Now onto the important part of Pepsi Next. The taste.  Pepsi sums it up in one important phrase, "Real Cola Taste" ... and just to make sure you understand what that means they've underlined it in yellow. To quote Bad Boys II, shit just got real.

When it comes to soft drinks I have to make a bit of an admission, I am strictly a Coke kind of guy. Sure I enjoy Mountain Dew as much as the next but I would much rather pick up a classic can of Coca Cola. As far as Pepsi goes, I generally avoid it like the plague. It has far to much of a sugary / syrup taste to it. I will pick up an RC Cola long before I will even think of grabbing a Pepsi. RC Cola!

Pepsi Next lacks that sugary rush that I typically associate with the brand and replaces it with a toned down flavor that packs more of a cola "bite" to it. In essence, it tastes like Pepsi's version of Coca Cola. I love it. Nothing will ever drive me away from drinking Coke but Pepsi Next makes for for a really strong case to occasionally switch to it.

I am sure that some will try to claim that Pepsi is attempting to copy Coca Cola with this flavor and some will even go so far as to say the design of the bottle, with that white swoosh mark closely resembles the look of a Coke can. But that is sort of what Pepsi has been all along, a Coke alternative. And this alternative just so happens to taste a bit more like the soda that inspired it in the first place. As for the bottles looking close to one another, last time I checked Coke was red and Pepsi is blue and nobody owns a trademark on curved white lines.

Next time you are at the store, be sure to pick up a can of Pepsi Next and give it a shot. It really is a well flavored and well designed soda. Besides, who knows if this stuff will be around by this time next year. This might be your only opportunity to drink Pepsi that kind of sort of tastes like Coca Cola.... but in a good way!