Back in 2004 I was perusing my local Target and came upon a floor display of a soda called "Mountain Dew Pitch Black." The boxes were in my allowable Halloween colors: dark monster purple label with slime green and blood red text. The title of the soda "Pitch Black" was written in what I can only call "hurried, danger scrawl." And in fine print it said "with a blast of BLACK GRAPE."
What's a "BLACK GRAPE?"
Sounds dangerous and evil.
It's presence in the Halloween aisle coupled with its color scheme and the words "LIMITED EDITION" across the top telegraphed to me that this was a Halloween soda.
Good job advertisers. You targeted me.
So I bought a case.
The beverage was wonderful. First of all, it was such a dark color that I imagined it bubbling in some witch stirred cauldron at Mountain Dew headquarters.
The taste: marvelous. It was grape... but there was a citrus twist to it too that made it unique. And of course: there's the Mountain Dew caffeine blast.
How could I NOT get addicted to it?!
It became my beverage of choice for the 2004 Halloween season.
I drank it while I built decorations for our annual Halloween bash.
I used it to keep me up for nightly Halloween horror movie marathons with friends.
It became my Halloween buddy.
Then the season ended... and it was gone.
"Limited Edition" indeed. They weren't kidding.
As daylight savings time went into effect and we crept toward Thanksgiving and Christmas, I sincerely missed that soda and swore that next year I wouldn't just buy a couple 12 oz bottles and a 12 pack of cans. I'd stock up.
When the 2005 Halloween season began to ramp up, I headed back to Target and eagerly sought my Halloween buddy. This time he (Yes, I gave a soda a gender. Shaddup.) wasn't in a floor display. He was stocked a shelf high in the soda aisle! But oh wait? What was this?! My normal Pitch Black had a sequel: Pitch Black II, electric boogaloo.
No, actually, it was just called "Pitch Black II." BUT it had a tag-line: "Back with a Sour Bite!"
Sequels. Tag lines. This soda wasn't just a beverage, it was entertainment!
There on the 12 pack box were those foreboding words again: "LIMITED EDITION."
Well, I learned my lesson last year. I bought 3 cases. And then if I was out on the town, away from my refrigerated cans, I would by 12 oz. bottles. Pitch Black II was not to leave my side in October. We were buddies after all.
Again that beverage was my Halloween beverage o' choice for 2005. As for the new "sour bite"... I didn't really taste it. But I didn't care. I've got Warheads and Sour Patch Kids if I want a sour bite. My soda was back.
I'm not gonna lie: I bought enough Pitch Black II to enjoy through December. Then again I was rationing it. I'd have internal conversations that went something like this:
"Oooo it's Friday night. I'm gonna have a Pitch Black II. I've earned it."
"Oh wait... that means I'll only have 11 left. Hm. Did I REALLY earn it today? -sigh- Ok I'll have one tomorrow."
But you do what you gotta do to preserve happiness.
Then it was gone again.
I drank that last can like I was appreciating a fine wine on the deck of the Titanic.
It was a bittersweet moment. But I knew it'd be back next year. And who knows what Pitch Black III would have in store for me?
And I waited.
And I waited.
I knew something was wrong when I was in the second week of October and the beverage hadn't made it's appearance. "Don't Great Pumpkin on me now, Black!"
I searched the internet.
Surely there MUST be a 2006 version out?
Thanks to Matt at X-Entertainment I found out that though the soda hadn't returned, there was an Icee version called "Pitch Black Freeze." I went back to my Target and sure enough, there it was over by the microwaved pretzels and greasy pizza squares.
I poured, I sampled and: ahhhhhhhhhh there was my old friend again.
We walked around Target, looking at Halloween paraphenelia and talking about old times.
That was the last time I saw my friend Pitch.
From what I've gathered on the internets, Pitch Black hasn't returned in either 2007 or this year. I even signed an online petition HERE to help me sleep at night. I know they don't do a damn bit of good, but I was grieving.
This year while writing up my review of Boo Berry Fruit By the Foot, I had a thought. "Geez, these fruit rolls are really just the old flavors in a new box. -GASP!- What if Mountain Dew has repurposed the Pitch Black flavor in a new container??!! Holy cats!"
I dove into the wide wide world o' webs to see. Surely if I've had this thought, much smarter people with too much time have not only thought of it already but blogged about it somewhere.
First I tried the flavors of Mountain Dew's "Dewmocracy" campaign. I won't even bore you with the experiments but all you need to know is: no good. Nothin'. Zero. Zip. Boo to you, Dewmocracy. Boo.
I did a bit more Googling and found THIS article on theimpulsivebuy.com talking about AMP Energy Drinks. The text that caught my attention was this:
"... Traction tastes like the grape-flavored Mountain Dew Pitch Black..."One man's opinion is not law, though, so I dug further and found THIS posting on the Energy Drink Reviews blog.
"...definitely a decent grape soda and reminds me quite a bit of Mountain Dew Pitch Black..."JACKPOT, I thought, and immediately jumped in my car and drove to a 7-11 to buy an AMP Traction. Slapped down my three bucks ($2.68 for a can???!! I could buy a CASE of Pitch Black for THAT) and chugged it down.
Have I fulfilled my quest?
Well I looked down at the can of AMP Traction after tasting it and said "I have tasted Pitch Black and you, sir, are no Pitch Black."
It's close... but it's no cigar. First of all there's less carbonation than a Mountain Dew soda. Makes it go down smoother, but also makes it seem flat. And the flavor it grape... but not BLACK GRAPE. Where DO they FIND these BLACK GRAPES?!!!
So here we are. 2008. Halloween time. And I have no Pitch Black.
Please bring back Pitch Black.
I miss him.
Yes, I gave a beverage a gender. Shaddup.