NEW IN TOWN: Rocket Fizz

Gummy rats, bacon soda, and a five-foot-tall Spider-Man offering candy ropes are just some of the goodies encountered when entering Monument Circle newcomer Rocket Fizz (52 Monument Circle, 317-822-3499). The shop, a chain with most of its locations in California, is stocked wall to wall with glass-bottled sodas, colorful candies, and even childhood pranks, like mustachioed disguises and plastic vomit.

With its still-smelling-of-cedar wood floors and aluminum sliding walls covered in faux-vintage tin signs, the shop is a throwback to the era of penny candy and bottled Coke. While the store offers copious amounts of candy (including old-school classics like Mallo Cup and Charleston Chew and a wall of bag-your-own taffy), the endless variety of sodas is the real reason to visit. Bottles can be purchased separately or in a make-your-own pack, and a fridge in the back stocks cold ones for immediate refreshment.

The variety of soda can be overwhelming. Usual suspects from Jones Soda Co. and Sprecher Brewing Company are available, along with several more obscure brands. Rocket Fizz’s own line of Lester’s Fixins flavors addresses savory cravings for, say, bacon and Buffalo wings. Lester’s counterpart, Melba’s Fixins, takes the more appetizing approach, offering pie-flavored drinks. A line of gross-out sodas from Avery’s Beverages looks gag-worthy, with names like “Kitty Piddle,” “Dog Drool,” and “Bug Barf,” but they have normal fruit flavors lurking underneath the nasty names.

We tasted some of them.

Rocket Fizz Limited Edition Snooki Wild Cherry: Tastes a lot like a cherry snow cone, instead of (thankfully) self-tanner and shame.

Avery’s Beverages Kitty Piddle: If you can get past the yellow coloring, the orange/pineapple flavor is quite tasty.

Rocket Fizz Green Apple Jalapeño: On first gulp, you get the taste of plastic. On the second gulp, the spice hits the back of your throat, making it all the more awful. Some beverages can pull off the spice factor, but not this one.

Lester’s Fixins Buffalo Wing: Tastes like Chef Boyardee ravioli sauce–if it were made of carbonated water.

Rocket Fizz Martian Poop: It’s hard to describe the flavor of this pink concoction. The best we could do is “sweet cardboard.”

Reed’s Inc. Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer: This Harry Potter-inspired brew was a staff favorite, tasting like a rich cream soda. Our suggestion? Turn it into a float with vanilla ice cream, or spike it with vanilla vodka.

Lester’s Fixins Peanut Butter and Jelly: The perfect lunchtime snack? Not quite. This soda smells like a PB&J but tastes oddly like plants.

Rocket Fizz Nuclear Orange Bomb (featuring Kim Jong-il): From a line of “dictator sodas” that also features Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gaddafi, this drink promises an orange-soda taste but unfortunately, tastes as toxic as it advertises. One taste-tester compared it to baby Tylenol.