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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Back in November, I wrote a short post about Vernor's ginger ale, one of the oldest soft drinks in the country (if not the the oldest). It's a great, golden-style ginger ale with some nice vanilla-cream flavors and a reasonably punch of spicy ginger. Tasty, for sure, but there are times when what you really want is a blow-your-head-off, destroy-your-nose, no-question-this-is-curing-my-cold ginger ale. Fortunately, Serious Eater Pavlov let me know about one such ginger ale in the comments:

@J. Kenji... If you are a fan of Vernors, Buffalo Rock—Southern Spice out of Birmingham, AL will knock your....uh...nose in the dirt! You can order some online and I highly recommend you make it several 12 packs. It will make you smarter, more handsome and I believe bulletproof. You'll never look at ginger ale the same again...I guarantee it!

A week later, two unmarked packages of bubble wrapped 12-packs of Buffalo Rock ginger ale arrived at our door. We promptly tossed a pack in the fridge and cracked one open as soon as it was cold.

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The stuff pours out deep amber and very bubbly—much darker than any ginger ale I've had before. Like Vernor's, it's a golden-style ginger ale, an old fashioned beverage with a darker color and stronger flavor than more modern (and popular) dry-style ginger ales, which feature only a mildly gingery flavor.

I thought being a Vernor's fan had prepared me for the kick in this beast, but man, that Michigan soda has nothing on this beast from Birmingham. Buffalo Rock is the soft drink from the school of hard knocks. It starts off deceptively mild, almost like a Canada Dry, but it finishes with a shock of spice that goes straight up the sinuses and leaves you feeling like you've just stepped out of the matrix and are smelling the real world for the first time.

Am I, as Pavlov suggested, smarter and more handsome for having drank it? My wife, the unflattering but generally fair arbiter when it comes to issues of my intelligence and physical design, says no. Seeing as that's already two out of three strikes, I'd rather not take the risk of discovering if my skin will actually deflect bullets. I'm happy enough just to have a few more cans to myself.

Of course, as with most good things in life, this one is pretty tough to get your hands on. Their distribution centers are only in Alabama and Georgia, and neither beveragesdirect nor Galco's Soda Pop Stop carry the stuff.

Luckily, you can order it direct from the maker for the very reasonable price of $10 per case. You're on your own for shipping.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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