Archive for the ‘Beverage Review’ Category

Okay folks, it’s been a while since I last posted a list of mind-blowing, unimaginable, and all out “wtf?” beers for your reading and viewing pleasure. My apologies, I have been on the hunt. These last five months I have been trying out as many new brews that my stomach and pockets can handle and thanks to my efforts I have compiled this list of ten awe-inspiring, jaw dropping, and sometimes questionable libations that share one thing in common: You Probably Never Heard of them. Take a gander and find out.

1. Saranac Black Forest: Bavarian Style Black Beer

Saranac Black ForestAlcohol by Volume: 5.5%

Availability: Year-Round

Smells Like: Berries, sugary maltiness.

Tastes Like: Sweet, caramel, berry, dark, malty, refreshing, easy-drinking, Delicious!

Side Note: This is a very drinkable beer. I highly recommend it for people who aren’t fans of hoppy/bitter or even traditional beers. if you like sweet beverages you will probably highly enjoy this one. This is definitely one of my top ten favorite brews.

Brewer’s Description: “Brewed to pay homage to our founder’s homeland, our German-Style Schwarzbier is brewed true to style with a deliciously sweet malty flavor.It may be dark in color but it’s not heavy on roasted flavor like most people expect in a dark beer.”
2. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

DogfishHeadWorldWideStoutAlcohol by Volume: 15%-20%

Availability: Limited/Rare

Smells Like: Barley wine, cognac, intoxicating, full-bodied, complex.

Tastes Like: Dark, robust roasted flavor, but not overbearing. An amped up stout that will surely warm you up and make the world feel good after just one bottle.

Side Note: With such a high alcohol percentage, $10-$15/bottle retail price, and full-bodied flavor I really don’t recommend drinking more than one of these at a time. This is a great sipping beer, especially during cold months. Sipping is highly recommended.

Brewer’s Description: http://youtu.be/Jutjj50_AcE

3. Rogue VooDoo Donut Bacon Maple Ale

RogueVooDooDoughnutBaconMapleAleAlcohol by Volume: 5.6%

Availability: Year-Round

Smells Like: Smoked ham and maple syrup.

Tastes Like: Smoked ham flavoring, hints of maple syrup, but not quite as sweet as I expected. In the balance between sweet and savory, savory definitely prevails in this beer.

Side Note: Given the $19 price tag (D.C.) and its lackluster taste I would only recommend this for someone curious about the taste. But, to forewarn you, it really didn’t do anything for me. There’s nothing special about this beer and I honestly won’t be buying it again.

Brewer’s Description: “Rogue Ales has collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Bacon Maple Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen number of ingredients including bacon and maple syrup from one of Voodoo’s signature doughnuts.”

4. Brewhouse Rarities Green Tea Imperial Stout

BrewhouseRaritiesGreenTeaImperialStoutAlcohol by Volume: 10%

Availability: February Release (Limited)

Smells Like: Green Tea (Herbal)

Tastes Like: If green tea and black coffee (no sugar or cream) had a baby.

Side Note: 1st mistake: Buying this. 2nd mistake: Drinking this. This was just a bad decision on my part. When I got the feeling I wouldn’t like it beforehand, I should have just turned back around and went in the opposite direction. I actually enjoy green tea and stouts. But, putting the two together just doesn’t mix well in my book. It was okay as a once in a lifetime thing. But, I will never buy this one again. Sorry Flying Dog. This one just didn’t do it for me.

Brewer’s Description: “The combination of a cold green tea steep and a rich malt backbone creates a unique umami complexity. Rich dark chocolate and herbal accents greet the nose, giving way to a bittersweet chocolate base with roast earthiness and savory green tea flavors.”

5. Magic Hat “Pistil” Dandelion Ale

MagicHatPistilDandelionAle0Alcohol by Volume: 4.5%

Availability: January – March

Smells Like: Light, semi-floral.

Tastes Like: A unique floral + beer combo. Somewhat weird.

Side Note: I tasted this one months ago and I honestly don’t remember the taste too well. Sorry folks. While this was a unique brew. It wasn’t anything spectacular or even really worth trying. I’d suggest maybe buying one to see if you like it and then get a 6’er if you do. Also, this does not seem like a great beer for food pairing. So be cautious about doing that.

Brewer’s Description: “A refreshing, sun-inspired spring ale. A subtle floral spiciness from Apollo and Northern Brewer hops is balanced by earthy notes from dandelion leaves, while acidulated malts provide a smooth, slightly sour malt body.”

6. Old Dominion Brewing Company’s Cherry Blossom Lager

CherryBlossomLagerAlcohol by Volume: 5.2%

Availability: March (Spring Seasonal)

Smells Like: Carbonated Sweetness

Tastes Like: An average lager with a hint of cherry.

Side Note: Very small hint of cherry in the batch I drank. This wasn’t nearly as appealing as the Alice In Wonderland themed packaging made it look. It was very lackluster and disappointing. I thought I was in-store for a cherry experience and I felt like I was drinking any other run-of-the-mill draft lager. I wouldn’t waste my time or money on this again.

Brewer’s Description: “Cherry Blossom Lager is conditioned on a bed of 300 pounds of Michigan cherries for 48 hours prior to packaging.  Pale, Carafoam, Munich, and Vienna malts provide a crisp backbone, while the subtle addition of Perle and Tradition hops allows the fruit to transcend this delight.”

7. Dogfish Head: “Aprihop” Pale Ale brewed with Apricots

DogfishHeadAprihopAlcohol by Volume: 7%

Availability: March – May (Spring Seasonal)

Smells Like: Hoppy, yet Sweet Apricot goodness.

Tastes Like: Bitterness initially explodes on the palate but is quickly calmed by a refreshing hint of apricot sweetness.

Side Note: This is a pale ale brewed for the non-pale ale drinker. I highly enjoyed this beer. Although the bitterness is prevalent, the sweetness from the apricot helps balance it out and makes it quite a refreshing experience. I’d suggest this beer to any beer and non-beer drinker. Way to go Dogfish Head!

Brewer’s Description: “The flavor is rich with late hop notes, and its bitterness is tempered by just the right amount of malt sweetness and fruity undertones from the apricots” – See more at: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/aprihop.htm#sthash.tVwtaM6R.dpuf

8. Flying Dog: Double Dog Double Pale Ale

FlyingDogDoubleDogPaleAleAlcohol by Volume: 11.5%

Availability: Limited Distribution

Smells Like: A Hopped Up Ale on steroids

Tastes Like: Super Bitter hoppiness. Not for the amateur pale ale drinker

Side Note: Its high alcohol content and bold flavor definitely shines through (or should i say blurs through?) after just one bottle of this stuff. If you are not a fan of bitter beers, I don’t suggest you purchase or taste this. You Will Not Like It! Although I’m not huge on hoppy bitterness, Flying Dog has done a good job with this one. I was actually able to drink and enjoy it.

Brewer’s Description: “This is a big beer that calls for equally big food. Flavor notes: Citrus hops with sweet malt and subtle alcohol burn (like a kiss on the cheek).”

9. Fox Barrel Orange Unfiltered Pear Cider

FoxBarrelUnfilteredPearCiderAlcohol by Volume: 6.5%

Availability: N/A

Smells Like: Pear juice.

Tastes Like: Sweet pear juice with a light fizz and a slight honey undertone.

Side Note: This is another one of those top ten favorite beers. I love this hard cider. It’s crazy smooth and surprisingly flavorful. Fox Barrel knows what they’re doing. I have enjoyed all of the hard cider offerings that I have tasted from them thus far.

Brewer’s Description: “Fermented With Natural Orange Peel & Coriander, Infused With Organic Honey. ”

10. Magic Hat Cucumber Hibiscus Ale aka HiCu

MagicHatHiCuAlcohol by Volume: 4.2%

Availability: April – July (Summer Seasonal)

Smells Like: Hibiscus

Tastes Like: Hibiscus and cucumber. Almost like eating a cucumber roll (sushi). Very peculiar and very much an acquired taste.

Side Note: This is definitely one of those strange brews you find yourself trying simply because it is sush a departure from the norm. It’s a very light beer that I could definitely see pairing well with sushi or maybe even a fresh green salad with grilled tuna. Although it has an airy feel, I couldn’t really sip this beer. I suggest eating something with this. I feel like it will help compliment the hibiscus and cucumber flavors.

Brewer’s Description: “Perfect form with a smooth, malty opening line followed by a crisp, citrusy hop-filled second stanza. The final piece of its poetic existence is a dash of cool cucumber combined with the slightest of hibiscus tangs.”

I have recently been receiving comments on my Bolthouse Farms post about the validity of Bolthouse Farms’ health factor in relation to its “Natural Ingredients” label and the lack of transparency from its manufacturer’s when said ingredients are inquired upon. So I thought it would be good to inform everyone on my current position on Bolthouse Farms’ products and the current state of the U.S. food industry as a whole.

As stated to a previous commenter, my Bolthouse Farms post was originally published on April 26 of 2011. Since then, Campbell Soup Company has purchased Bolthouse Farms and I have severely limited my drinking of their beverages. This is partly due to the fact that Campbell Soup Company has been rumored to be using Genetically Modified Organisms (also known as GMO’s) in their food and carrying the listing of “Natural Flavors” which they reportedly won’t divulge upon request. With that said I think we must not simply single out Bolthouse Farms. We must have the broader conversation and discuss the state of the U.S. food industry as a whole. I’m willing to bet that about 95% of products distributed by major food corporations in America have “Natural Flavors” listed in their ingredients and I guarantee just about all of those manufacturers will not specify what those ingredients are if you were to call and ask.krogerkrazy.com

So, the only surefire ways to know that what you are ingesting is healthy and safe from GMO’s, pesticides or other toxic chemicals is to either grow and cook your own vegetables, meats, et cetera (extreme) or the less time-consuming and expensive option of researching ingredients and only purchasing organic, Non-GMO labeled foods that keep their ingredients transparent for their consumers (practical). This is why I like to shop at Whole Foods Market or the green/organic section of my local grocery store. They carry an extended variety of healthy, properly labeled foods like the aforementioned.

But, just to be clear, while knowing exactly what is in my food is important to me, I do indulge in the culinary pleasures  of a honey bun or fast food from time-to-time. I’m not totally anal about every single thing I eat or drink. The point is to educate ourselves and find a balance that works for us individually. So, I definitely believe we should educate ourselves on the pro’s and con’s of what is in our food so that at the bare minimum we at least know what we are eating. However, whether we decide to continue eating the bad stuff even after knowing it is bad for us is really up to the individual.

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The sad aspect of technology is that large corporations now have the means to manipulate products and term it food or throw around health jargon to trick us into thinking that what we are buying is actually good for us. So, just to reiterate, I think the most we can do next to growing our own food is just being smart consumers willing to invest time into researching what we eat and knowing what is good food versus bad food. I have been trying to eat healthier and be more conscious of what I put in my body. But, I must admit, it is a challenge with how the food industry is set up today. Like many consumers, I too feel that the governments lack of transparency when it comes to ingredients in our food is where the biggest of health problems stem from. If the USDA and the FDA weren’t so relaxed on these issues and controlled by the monetary influences of large corporations, the U.S. food industry would be held accountable for their unhealthy and dangerous practices. But, as long as we have concerned citizens willing to educate and spread the word about GMO’s and detrimental chemicals in the food we can teach those who are ignorant of what they put into their body just what is in their Cola or their McDonald’s chicken McNuggets.

With all of that said, true change begins with a conversation and education and is followed by an action. So, to those who feel passionate enough to leave lengthy comments on posts and attempt to educate readers and writers alike, take action! Do more than just talk about it. Find a way to create real change in the world. Having the conversation is great. But, without action the impact isn’t nearly as large. Just a thought! And thank you to everyone who read and commented on the original Bolthouse Farms post. I highly appreciate it.

Shock Top - End Of  The World Midnight WheatAlcohol by Volume (ABV): 6%

Chalk it up to Shock Top to deliver a brew formidable for the apocalypse. I had the pleasure of tasting their “End of the World Midnight Wheat” last year when it was available at my favorite beer and wine store and that first sip sent my taste buds into a frenzy. This is definitely one of the strangest brews I have ever had. There were hints of chocolate and wheat and then this crazy chili spiced aftertaste that hit the palate within the final second before entering my throat. The pairing of chocolate malt, midnight wheat, chili, and spices tasted like the hybrid brew of a mad-man mixologist. Although some critics who have tasted this beer claim they couldn’t taste the chili, I definitely could. It was distinct and left a very peculiar bubbly and spicy feeling in my throat as if I just took a swig of a crazily concocted semi-sweet, spiced rum. But let’s get down to business. I know you’re all thinking, “Would you drink this beer again?” To answer that question honestly: I would. But, I could probably only drink this once a year and that is because “End of the World Midnight Wheat” isn’t really your everyday run-of-the-mill beer. Not to say that I am solely a fan of those either. I just can’t really think of any foods I could pair it with, nor can I see myself asking for a pint of this at my local bar during happy hour. This is more of a novelty beer, which is why I totally understand it being themed around a once in a lifetime event. I, like the theme of this beer, feel as though its arrival should only be on rare occasions. Now, that’s not a swing at the taste of this brew. I think Shock Top has taken a new approach at brewing a limited release beer with a unique taste and appeal. I just think it’s not something I would find myself craving very often. But, I do advise any open-minded beer enthusiast to try this beer at least once in the slight chance Shock Top Brewing Company decides to brew this again. With that said, to read a few other opinions on this brew check these out: DraftMagBeerAdvocate, and Coloradoan.com.

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 6%

New Albion AleThis is one of the rarest brews I have ever encountered. Not only is its packaging unique. I mean come on, how many turquoise covers for beer have you seen? But, it’s a 30-year-old American Pale Ale that died and has been resurrected for limited release by the Boston Brewing Company a.k.a. Sam Adams. One thing about my taste buds is that they are partial to bitter foods and drinks and I am sure most of my professional beer drinkers know that IPA’s or Indian Pale Ale’s tend to be very bitter due to the level and types of hops used in the brewing process. So I am not much of an IPA drinker. But, for someone like myself who doesn’t like “hoppy” beers, the New Albion Ale is perfect. This brew really surprised me at how – for lack of a better word – golden, it tastes. Every sip is clean and crisp like a ray of sunshine entering your mouth. It gives your tongue a wake up call that makes your tonsils want to do the samba. The taste is as bright as the turquoise packaging the beer comes in. When poured it even has a slight shimmer in the clear glass. Although it’s still got that minute bitter (Pale Ale) aftertaste, it’s not overwhelming in this brew as it is in most Pale Ale’s. Until I tasted New Albion I didn’t know that American Pale Ale’s even existed. Now, I can say I am a fan of a Pale Ale. I definitely have to thank Sam Adams for reviving this brew, even if just for a while. I would definitely recommend this to the non-beer drinker for its untraditional Pale Ale taste. So go on and try it, but be mindful, this is a limited release. A downside to its rarity. Now while I like this beer for its not-so-pale-ale taste, this is only MY opinion. For more perspectives on New Albion check out these other reviews from BeerAdvocate, SeriousEats, Boston.com , and BeerGeekNation.

It’s been a little over a year since I shared a new post about the beauty that is beer and much has changed in the last 12 months. As usual, I have been regularly trying out and discovering new brews at my favorite local beer and wine spot. But, I have also explored quite a few departures from my normal cravings at a variety of alternate breweries, dives, and even a beer tasting. In my first “Beer That Tastes Good” writeup I described seven fruit-ales and witbiers that I thought could convert a non-beer drinker from cringing at the thought of even smelling a lager to craving a crisp hard cider or a nice lime-infused classic. Well, all of you beer haters and enthusiasts out there, I’ve got five more great brews that you may or may not have known about. So whether you are the occasional drinker, the beer fanatic, or don’t drink at all you’re going to want to read this.

1. Blue Moon – Winter Abbey Ale (Winter Seasonal)

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.6%

Blue Moon Winter Abbey AleBlue Moon’s Winter Abbey Ale is sweetly superb and after tasting it, I can definitely see why they brand it as a winter seasonal ale. It is “…[crafted]…with roasted malts and dark Belgian Candi sugar for rich caramel and toffee notes.” (Source) This makes for a beautiful, porter-esque ale that sweetens the moment subtly and smoothly and readies your epidermis for those cold winter nights. It’s almost like melting down some of the best flavors in a candy bar and serving them up in liquid form. The hints of dark chocolate, caramel, and toffee prove to be quite the confectionary concoction when paired with the Mittelfruh hops finish. This combination of great ingredients results in a delicious aftertaste, a rarity in most beers. On a cold winter night, this “chestnut brown-colored ale…” is definitely a fun, feel-good kind of drink. Just be sure to drink responsibly and don’t allow the sugary sweetness to take you over your limit.

2. Shiner – Holiday Cheer (Winter Seasonal)

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.4%

Shiner Holiday CheerI must say Spoetzl Brewery has outdone itself with its winter seasonal brew, “Holiday Cheer”. Prior to tasting this delectable drink, I was not prepared for the “awesomeness” that would accompany that first sip and every sip thereafter. This stuff should be in the holy grail of amazing beers. Trust me, it’s in mine. “Holiday Cheer” is brewed with peaches, roasted pecans, malted barley and wheat and in the spirit of holiday cheer, Shiner brings a beer that actually makes you smile with excitement after every sip. It’s peach subtlety and hints of nuttiness and brown sugar just makes you feel all warm and happy inside like you’ve just drank a fun beer. And guess what? If there’s “Holiday Cheer” in your system you have. I could probably down a six-pack of this stuff in one sitting, it’s so tasty. But, finding a six pack is incredibly difficult. It tends to sell out quickly and with it only around for a couple of months, you’re going to need to put your order in early for next winter season. Let’s hope you do so that you too may appreciate “Holiday Cheer” as much as I do.

3. Shiner – Prickly Pear (Summer Seasonal)

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 4.90%

Shiner Prickly PearShiner has really made an impression on me with their “Prickly Pear” Lager. This liquid gem only comes in Shiner’s family (variety) six and twelve packs and me being the beer conossieur, I always like to try variety packs of beer. So I bought the family reunion six-pack and the “Prickly Pear” definitely provided a pleasant surprise. “Prickly Pear” is brewed with none other than the juice of the prickly pear fruit – a cactus native to Shiner, Texas – and “Citra and US Golding hops”. (Source) This combination creates an aromatic brew that carries a semi-sweet subtlety with hints of apple and mild “hoppy” (bitter) taste. The level of sweetness in this beer is not as apparent as many other Weiss style ales, but I think that’s what makes it unique. It is sweet enough to be enjoyable and never overwhelming. Like the aforementioned brews, this too is a seasonal beer. But, “Prickly Pear” is usually only sold during the summer between the months of July and September. So if you’re looking for a craft beer that is light, refreshing and easy to drink during a hot summer day, I highly recommend Shiner’s “Prickly Pear” to quench your beer thirst.

4. Magic Hat – Elder Betty (Summer Seasonal)

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.5%

Elder BettyFor those unfamiliar with Magic Hat, I can tell you that they make some of the best and most eccentric brews I have ever tasted. So of course there was no exception when it came to their summer seasonal “Elder Betty,” A play on the word elderberry which is the sweet fruit they use for this delightful concoction. Elder Betty is exactly what summer should be: fun and exciting. It delivers not just a sweet aroma after popping the top, but a taste that matches its aromatic caliber. For those like me who love Weiss style ales, you’re definitely going to enjoy this one. It has light, tart, and sugary qualities that blend well with the warm summer breeze or the rainy effect of late spring. Magic hat did everything right with this brew. The “… touch of hops” combined with the light wheat and light elderberry fruit fuse to formulate a beautiful brew that should be enjoyed by beer enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. (Source) I just wish I could compare the taste of the elderberry to another fruit to give you a more distinct flavor profile. But, after sipping “Elder Betty” you will realize it’s taste is truly unique and unforgettable. So go grab an “Elder Betty,” available April 1 to July 31 and revel in the experience.

5. Wild Blue – Premium Blueberry Lager

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 8%

Wild Blue Premium Blueberry LagerNow, you may have noticed this beer has the highest percentage of alcohol by volume out of all the beers I have ever reviewed. And that whopping eight percent definitely holds true to this brews power. “Wild Blue” is what I like to call a sleeper. A sleeper is an alcoholic beverage that initially doesn’t create a buzz effect. But, within five to ten minutes of finishing a bottle, the buzz swoops in and you’ve gone from sober to a quarter past tipsy. In other words, lightweight drinkers should only enjoy a half to one full bottle and then call it quits. Being a beer enthusiast for almost eight years, I consider my drinking ability to be pretty good. But even I can’t take down a six-pack of this stuff in one sitting and that is for two reasons. Reason 1: That eight percent alcohol content gets you. Reason 2: This combination of all-natural blueberry syrup, two- and six-row barley malt, classic Aroma Hops and German hops weighs heavy on the stomach. The blueberry syrup makes this drink the thickest brew I have ever consumed. (Yes, even thicker than Guiness.) But the drinks thickness is only a minor setback on your path to blueberry wasted. (Note to reader: Don’t get blueberry wasted. You WILL wake up with a hangover the next day.) “Wild Blue” is a potent fruit elixir crafted for the blueberry enthusiasts palate. Although I really do enjoy this beer and it is brewed year-round, its potency and its strong blueberry overtone makes it more of a seasonal brew for me and I have to drink it sparingly. But, for all of you blueberry lovers out there, go wild!

This concludes my latest writeup of beers that actually taste good. For those who enjoy any beers that aren’t on one of my lists, please feel free to write your own review on something you enjoy and share it with me. I’d love to read about your beer selection. For those who haven’t yet read my first review, click here and enjoy.

As a University of Maryland Undergraduate, I attended my share of wild “keggers” and crazy dorm parties. Those late night beer-fests and jungle juice jams are what exposed me to the wonderful world of alcohol. While I do not advocate underage drinking, as a realist I know that it does occur and will continue to occur until colleges become extinct. So people please do not think I am writing this post to encourage or entice anyone under the legal drinking age to drink. I am writing this post to expose my twenty-one and older folks – who absolutely despise the taste of beer – to a few liquid sensations that will not only pull you into the dark side, but keep you there. All of the brews I will mention are not your typical beers. Some of them don’t contain any wheat, barley, or rye and are in fact made with fruit. Oh yes my good friends, I am going to open your minds to a whole new level of liquid temptation.

1. ANGRY ORCHARD – “CRISP APPLE” CIDER

This is my favorite beer thus far. Because it is made with apples and only apples, it is naturally gluten-free and its 5% alcohol content is sure to get you a nice quick buzz after just one bottle. Although Angry Orchard comes in three flavors I have only tasted their Crisp Apple and their Apple Ginger (which is a close second on the “delicious” meter). Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple has that good ol’ apple cider taste with that crisp, mouth puckering finish that is sure to enhance any meal. But, for a sugar overload I suggest pairing it with something sweet like apple pie or carrot cake.

 

 

thisisbravetalk.com2. WOODCHUCK DRAFT CIDER – AMBER

Yes, yes, yes, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Another hard cider?” And if you ARE asking that question the answer is YES. I’m sorry, but I find deliciously sweet apple nectar that can give me a buzz very alluring. Although Woodchuck’s brand of cider is not as tasty as Angry Orchard, I still find it pretty irresistible. A couple of these during happy hour and your taste-buds will be doing the tango while you experience that grand old bubbly, yet airy feeling in your head. (Probably from that 5% alcohol content in every bottle.) Woodchuck has quite a few different flavors of their “Hard Cider”. I have only tasted the Amber and the Granny Smith, which I must say has more of that beer taste to it than I like. So I would advise those of you who don’t like the taste of beer to steer clear of that one. However, I will be trying their Pear, Raspberry and their version of the “Crisp” cider. Who knows? It may even be better than Angry Orchards’.

Leinnenkugels Berry Weiss3. LEINENKUGEL’S – BERRY WEISS

This is the definition of hybrid brews. Leinenkugel’s “Berry Weiss” is a nice blend of “pale and wheat” malts with “Logan, Elder, and Blackberries.” (Source: http://leinie.com/berry_weiss.htm) And trust me, blackberries never tasted sweeter in this ode to fresh and sweet flavors. With 4.8% alcohol by volume, it may take an extra brew to get you where you want to be. But oh is it worth it and what a sweet victory you will acheive. So for all of you fruit drink lovers, try this one on for size. No bitter beer or “hoppy” taste here.

Blue Moon Picture4. BLUE MOON – BELGIAN WHITE

I discovered this sensation during happy hour at cornerstone, my favorite bar across the street from the University of Maryland campus. Blue Moon’s “Belgian White” is unlike any other brew. Like Hoegaarden and Shock Top, it too is spiced with coriander and orange peel. But, unlike those two, its taste is superb and more refined. Shock Top wishes it was Blue Moon. Hoegaarden just wishes it could share the same bar conversation. When garnished with an orange slice and poured into an ice-cold mug, its cloudy goodness can be seen in all of its splendor. I like to eat the orange and drop the peel in the mug to allow its natural orange flavor to really shine. Pair it with grilled chicken, shrimp kabobs or fish tacos and you’ve got yourself a great experience.

Bud Light Lime5. BUD LIGHT – LIME

For those who don’t like the original Bud Light, the additional lime flavoring will surely change your outlook on the Budweiser brand. Adding lime was the greatest thing they could have done to improve the taste of Bud Light. That 100% lime flavor gives it a summer kind of feel; A strong upgrade from a Corona with lime. Bud Light Lime is what Miller’s “Chill” looks up to and hopes it can someday achieve the magnitude of crisp, refreshing flavor that its Bud Light counterpart achieves. Pair this with tequila-lime chicken, nachos, or a pepper-jack cheeseburger and you will fool your brain into thinking the bar is a Cancún fiesta. Do it!

6. SAMUEL ADAMS – CHERRY WHEAT tumblr_mpl6yuOUmc1rn2unzo1_1280

I encountered this jewel while perusing my favorite local beer and wine store. I was in search of a new brew and wanted something that wouldn’t taste too hoppy and would be memorable and I definitely picked a good one when I grabbed a six-pack of Sam Adams “Cherry Wheat”. This is a great addition to the Sam Adam’s brand. It is not too sweet, yet not too hoppy. A great neutral beer with a nice cherry finish that refreshes, never overwhelming the palate. Pair this with a turkey, ham or roasted chicken dish to take the meal to new heights.

7. SHOCK TOP – BELGIAN WHITE

Although Shock Top does not taste exactly like Blue Moon it is a close second. While it is also a Belgian style wheat ale, Shock Top’s “Belgian White” has lemon peel, lime peel and coriander spice added in the mix for flavoring . And those distinguishing citrus accents are what make it unique and tasty. Pair this with a fried catfish seafood club and some beer battered fries. Ahhh, good times!

Now I know some of you avid beer drinkers may be thinking, “What about the I.P.A.’s, the pilsners and the dark lager’s?” Or you may be thinking, “he didn’t include Heineken, Amstel, Stella” or something like that and if you read the intro paragraph to this post you would know why I didn’t mention any of those beers. This is the guide for the non-beer enthusiast who doesn’t like the taste of beer. And while I am certain I will be able to make a more extensive list in the future, at this point these are my seven favorites.

Downtown Silver Spring Whole Foods

I have been shopping at WholeFoods for about a year now. My girlfriend put me on to buying stuff from there. While perusing through, I discovered they have some great organic lotions and soaps and I really like their Fair Trade and non-GMO products. The earthy atmosphere they provide is also very inviting. Yeah, I’m somewhat of a hippie. Anyway, I recently went on one of my routine shopping trips to my local WholeFoods and encountered something I had never seen before. An entire wall of BoltHouse Farms beverages in a variety of flavors and sizes. As my eyes glanced from left to right at the super colorful outer packaging of the BoltHouse Farms bottles, I noticed an array of delicious looking smoothies. There was “Strawberry Banana,” “Berry Boost,” “C-Boost,” “Blue Goodness,” and “Green Goodness.”  The images of peaches, berries, kiwi, apples and many other delicious fruit sent my taste buds into a frenzy. My curiosity to find out what one of them would taste like combined with a sudden urge to drink healthy brought my eyes to the “Green Goodness” fruit smoothie. Looking at the outside of the bottle I thought to myself, “It has kiwi and apples. It has to taste good.” So I spent the four dollars and some change and bought the thirty-two ounce bottle of “Green Goodness” and went home.

Green Goodness

This is where it gets weird. When I got home I immediately shook the bottle up as its packaging instructed, twisted the green cap and took a sip. Suddenly, my taste buds were being taken through a roller coaster of flavors. I was tasting kiwi, apple, and oddly enough…grass. Yeah, that’s right. I tasted grass. And not like your ordinary run-of-the-mill grass. This was fresh cut yard grass. But it gets even stranger because I found that after the initial palette shock of drinking some kind of rabbit-brew, I actually liked the stuff. No, Not liked it. I loved it. I couldn’t put the bottle down. My mind started racing as it attempted to decipher the many other fruits and vegetables my tongue tasted after every sip. After minutes of getting nowhere, I decided to actually read the bottle for the ingredients and what I discovered blew my mind.

Inside every bottle of Green Goodness there are: 3 Apples, 1/2 Pineapple, 1 Mango, 1 Banana, 1 Kiwi, Broccoli, Spinach, Green Tea, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Blue Green Algae, Echinacea, Garlic, Jerusalem Artichoke, Nova Scotia Dulce, Spirulina, Chlorella, Lemon Bioflavanoids, and tons of vitamins, good acids and other healthy stuff your body loves. So basically this stuff is some kind of miracle drink. Not only is it tasty, but it is very healthy, and at 560 calories a bottle you get a little over a quarter of your daily calorie intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). And since it is thirty-two ounces or the equivalent of about four glasses (eight ounces per glass), you can actually pour yourself a glass of it during lunch and save the rest for dinner. This is especially beneficial to people on the juicing or liquid diet. While this drink boasts a price tag of about four dollars plus tax per bottle, I think it is well worth it considering its great taste and great health benefits. Plus, as an added bonus it is Gluten Free, Preservative Free, GMI free, and has no artificial colors or flavors. So yes ladies and gentleman, that incredible hulk looking drink really is incredible. I am glad I stumbled across this weird stuff in WholeFoods. Now I am going to try their other flavors. I hear their Vanilla Chai Tea is amazing!

Check Out A More Recent Post I Wrote about Bolthouse Farms HERE!!!! 

Monster (Left), Red Bull (Center), AMP (right)

The Challenge/Experiment

I recently underwent a super busy week. School, social life, event promoting, event planning, and a host of other time consuming activities left me feeling weak and in need of an energy boost. I decided to go to the store and purchase an energy drink. Little did I know, this menial trip would birth an experiment. As I stood in front of the cold drinks section at the CVS peering through the glass, I noticed there were tons of energy drinks to choose from. So many that it actually made me want to know which ones taste the best and have the greatest effects. I obviously wasn’t going to buy every type of energy drink there and taste them. So, I chose  to drink and compare the tastes and effects of various Starbucks, AMP, Monster, Red Bull, & 5 Hour Energy products. To be specific, I drank Starbucks Vanilla Doubleshot + Energy, Starbucks Espresso and Cream Doubleshot, Starbucks  Coffee Doubleshot + Energy, AMP Original Energy, Java Monster Vanilla Light, Monster Original Energy, Red Bull Original, 5 Hour Energy Extra Strength, and 5 Hour Energy Grape.

 

 

 

 

Java Monster Vanilla Light (Left) Starbucks Vanilla (DoubleShot+Energy Right)

 

 

 

The Disclaimer/Story

Before we go any further let me tell you that I did not drink all of them in succession on a single day or night.  I only drank them one to two at a time over the course of three to four days. And while most people may be curious to know what effect drinking up to five or six at one time would have on a person, I already discovered the results of that question. One day in class about a year ago, a student brought two big cases of Red Bull to class as a gift to the other students. Apparently she worked for Red Bull on their student marketing team and was able to get cases of the stuff for free.  Anyway, the combination of me being thirsty, a curious guy, and also extra tired from an assignment I ‘d stayed up working on the previous night, I decided to drink five Red Bulls within the span of about forty minutes. Big mistake! As I sat there in my chair watching my classmates give a presentation, I began to become jittery and uncomfortable. I started having pains in my chest and I even felt a little buzzed. After a while my heart felt like it was boosted into overdrive and at one point I actually got kind of scared. I felt like I’d ran a mile and was recovering from being out of breathe. I started picturing myself passed out on the floor. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by all the taurine, caffeine and sugar flowing throughout my body. Lucky for me I didn’t pass out. Once the class ended I drank a lot of water and allowed the effects to wear off with time. So yeah, word of advice to anyone thinking about doing that. DON’T!!!!

 

 

 

Starbucks Coffee DoubleShot+Energy (Left) Starbucks DoubleShot Espresso & Cream

 

 

The Results

The only energy drinks that tasted good were the Starbucks Vanilla Doubleshot + Energy, the original AMP, and the original Monster. The rest of them were pretty gross. Yes, even the Red Bull. Gross! The winner of best tasting energy drink was the Starbucks Vanilla Doubleshot + Energy.  That stuff is delicious! That sweet taste of Vanilla coffee blended with guarana, ginseng and B vitamins is pure genius. First and second place runner up were AMP and Monster, which actually taste pretty similar to one another. Basically the original Mountain Dew on steroids. The winner of worst tasting energy drink tied between the Grape flavored 5 Hour Energy and the Java Monster Vanilla Light. Why someone would make such horrible tasting concoctions beats me. But hey, I guess their marketing teams were the victors in this situation because they got me curious enough to buy them. I definitely won’t be buying them again though. First and second runner up for worst tasting was the 5 Hour Energy Super Strength and the Red Bull. The tastes of those are indescribable and almost incomparable to any natural flavors known to man. All I can say is, a person who drinks those are clearly drinking them for their advertised energy inducing functions. Which, now that I think of, Red Bull really doesn’t give you wings. Those deceitful bastards! LoL The winner of most effective was the 5 Hour Energy Super Strength. I literally drank that stuff one minute and ten minutes later I felt like my pupils dilated, my senses multiplied and my attitude uplifted. In other words screw drugs, just drink a couple of those and you will feel like superman. Although the 5 Hour Energy Super Strength was the only energy drink that had a clear effect on me, that is not to say that the others didn’t. That’s just to say that their effects were not noticeable to me. After doing this experiment, I am tempted to do more food/beverage comparisons in the future and I invite you to try one yourself and let me know how it goes. ; )