Break tips from beans; remove strings, if necessary. Wash in cold water and drain. Using a knife, cut each bean lengthwise into several slices.
Place beans, soda, and water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes; drain well. Return beans to saucepan; add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; add butter, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Sprinkle almonds over beans to serve.