Friday, October 30, 2009

Shipyard Pumkinhead

Along with octoberfest brews the other tradition is pumpkin ales, and Shipyard has one with a eye-catching bottle. I review this one in the spirit of Halloween! (I'm listening to The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack as I write this).

Smelling your mug you'd easily be able to determine the theme of this brew blind to the packaging. Pumpkin pie. And not just pumpkin, nutmeg is there as well (what would pumpkin pie be without nutmeg?) Drinking this beer is easy as well with a return to pumpkin and nutmeg but wheat is also detectable. What's missing is what this is, beer. There's only a little wheat on the tongue but no hops, malt or other elements that I enjoy in beer.

I give this one C (decent) but I don't think you all should dismiss it as unworthy. I'm simply not a fan of "fruit flavored" beer such as Wachusett Blueberry Ale or Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier. If you like those or perhaps even some malt drinks, give this one a try.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bogle Merlot '07

I decided on going with a lighter red wine this time because my last was quite heavy. Merlot is a commonly lighter bodied wine, and I've noticed Bogle's merlot to be a big seller at my work. So here's a good red at a great price (~$9.00).

As I sit here sipping my glass and writing notes, I know that my fiance will love this bottle. It's quite velvety all the way through. The nose has a touch of tannins when first poured, but that quickly goes away with notes of raspberries and some sort of herbal spice. I think the palate is a great example of fruit in a wine. Cherries and strawberries are at the front of the taste and you're reminded of the silky body. I find the most interesting part of this wine to be the aftertaste; black tea. There's also a hint of tannins again, but it wont be disturbing to any.

This wine has a versatile and well defined nose, palate, and finish. It didn't take me long to grade it as a B (good). I'd recommend this to any looking to get into red wines or "developing their palate". It's not hard to enjoy at all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Equal Exchange Love Buzz

I've noticed many starting to care about fair trade coffees. It should be obvious that Equal Exchange's products are fair trade because they made an alternative wording of fair trade their brand name. Not to be selfish, but what's on my mind in the morning is weather or not I like the cup I'm sipping. So here's my review as I sip my morning dose of caffeine.

I must admit the aroma of this coffee was surprising: It smelled like coffee, but also has the smell of tobacco? I was shocked, it wasn't pleasant but not overly unpleasant. So I went on to tasting. Fortunately the tobacco failed to reappear, this time a "brownie-fudge" chocolate took over. The body of the coffee was appropriately fudgy as well, but not full or heavy. The aftertaste left an apparent but not powerful acidity, chocolate, and bitterness at the end.

I give kudos to Equal Exchange for creating an unflavored coffee with flavors that aren't the typical manufactured or fake taste. However, I think I'll be returning to Starbuck's Sumatra as my typical supermarket coffee of choice. I give Equal Exchange's Love Buzz a F (avoid).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat

Some of you might've noticed the new Sam Adams beer available. If you're like me you'd rather know a bit about a beer before you buy a six pack of it. (I only invested in one to write this reveiw.) So as I sit here at my computer analyzing this latest concoction, I'll share my experience of it.

Once cold enough I put the bottle into a pilsner glass and found a foamy head that wasn't as crisp as most lagers or lighter ales. It hastily deteriorated and left some lacing on the glass. It looked like a hazy golden orange and I quickly found that to parallel its taste. It smelled of yeast and citrus and tasted again with yeast pulled to the front and lemon (not any citrus) very noticeable as well. I enjoyed the smell of this more than the taste.

This teatered on B- or C+, but with some though I decided on C (decent). It's a little light for my taste of wheat ales. In comparison to other beers, I'd say Sam's Coastal Wheat is a cross between their summer ale and Blue Moon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Maté Factor Fresh Green

Some of you may be asking "what is maté?" Well it's a south american infused drink like tea with far more caffeine than tea, so it's also a common coffee alternative. Others drink it for its health benefits such as; antioxidants, vitamins, weight-loss, and a hunger suppresant. If you'd like more info on this check out Wikipedia's article on it, but I'm here today to review The Maté Factor's product for it's taste.

I chose their green maté because it's suppose to be prepared differently and fresher unlike most that're roasted. "Green" is easily detected right from the start, with my first whiff detecting a planty green that's hard to describe. Something like grass but more enjoyable. A nuttyness is also easy to precieve. I find it tastes green as well, but less of a fresh plant and more earthy. The aftertaste returns as the almond nuttness that could be smelled before. there's also a slight bitterness to the drink that can easily be countered with a sweetner if not enjoyed, (I typically serve it with a toch of honey).

I'm sorry about my lack of a more defined portrayal of the taste, but it's a rather unique drink. I reccomend it to any who want less caffiene in their morning cup and a healthy drink that'll keep them from wanting a snack untill lunch. I give it a B (good).

Monday, October 19, 2009


TAZO's Zen green tea has been a favorite of mine since before I got into loose teas and other more exotic drinks, and you can still find a box of it in my cupboard. The reason behind this is that it's good and easy to find!

Zen is a green tea with spearmint and lemongrass but that's not what makes it satisfying to me. The few components to this tea somehow create an equilibrium that can be a simple drink to enjoy while surfing the web or every once in awhile be the focus of your attention so you can relax and explore the harmonies of it. My approach today will be the latter of the two.

Before steeping the tea it the lemongrass is far more apparent than the spearmint but it doesn't overpower it. Once steeped the 3-4 recommended minutes the smell from your cup shows more symmetry between lemongrass and spearmint. On your palate you'll notice the body of the tea is very full and the green tea shines through for the first time and the lemongrass and spearmint are harder to distinguish. The finishing tone is a hint of lemon, and not the lemongrass something different.

I noticed when reading the box and visiting TAZO's website that they list spearmint not peppermint or just mint. The less sharp mint makes this tea work far better. TAZO Zen is a very good tea B (good).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

maine root Ginger Brew

Ever heard of ginger beer? I know many have not. It's not like ginger ale, it's far more potent and lets you know that there's ginger in it. Most who've heard of and had ginger beer have had Reed's, but maine root's ginger brew leaves that in the dust for intensity.

A hint to this is concentration can be seen because of its opaque appearance like a greenish orange juice. For those not prepared your first smell might repulse you, and the first sip will as well. But the experienced of this is unique with ginger on the palate (duh), but it's a crisp-spicy somehow that's not like the raw root. Once past your tongue there is no aftertaste but a retaining tingle on it that lingers for quite some time. Besides the taste, I've found this to be a nice tonic to settle your stomach.

Despite being somewhat simple I give this an A (excellent) because it's been a favorite of mine that I've returned to many times. I warn you though, I'm sure people's opinions on this will be polarized.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

McNeill's Oatmeal Stout

Does oatmeal and a stout have anything in common? They're both thick, and don't they sound like a no-brainer to mix? I'd never tried an oatmeal stout before so while picking up a favorite of mine at the store, I decided to try something new as well and bought this.

After pouring my bottle I got the standard thick and retaining stout head along with an opaque dark brown body. I found the smell faint but suggesting a cup of coffee next to a sweet malt. Upon tasting things get more vivid though. Making your way through the fluffy head the liquid in your mouth is full and leaves a taste of chocolate-malt on your tongue, but the aftertaste is more blunt with roasted malts and an incomparable taste of "bread". What I mean by this is the wheat-dryness that makes you need water while eating a piece of dry bread.

This beer is a B (good) in my book due to the roasted malts of this beer. It's everywhere but there are other interesting things going on underneath it as well that could be enjoyed more. A warning to those who might try this beer; it's as bold as Guinness Extra Stout.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Capt'n Eli's Blueberry Pop

Here's another Maine made product, a fine soda. (Capt'n Eli's is actually just Shipyard's soda.) Now you've probably noticed that I don't do many soda reviews, but here's a new brand that I found with a most unique flavor. Have you ever heard of blueberry soda before? I hadn't.

Pouring my bottle into a glass didn't give the poping carbonation of products like Coca-Cola or Sprite. It had a light head that remained for a minute like a beer, go figure. It tasted true to it's name like blueberry with a sweetness that wasn't cane sugar or the like, it was your standard processed sugar found in many other products. In it's defense it wasn't overdone and I think it complimented the blueberry taste more than cane sugar would've.

With little comtemplation I gave the capt'n's product a B (good) and reccomend it to anyone who wants to try something different or have a sitdown "beer" experience with their 12 year old son.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Golden Moon Tea Sinharaja

Unlike my first review of Golden Moon's Vanilla Mint tea, their Sinharaja has a name that makes it's taste more elusive. But that's why I'm here! The name is actually a reference to where this tea is grown, the Sinharaja Rain Forest. I'm a fan of this tea though, and the cup I made to sip white I write this review will be one of my last from the tin.

Upon your first whiff over your cup you'll notice that this tea is bold like breakfast teas and... sweet? Once tasted you'll notice these same qualities, but to define the sweetness of this tea it parallels roasted caramel. Besides those two traits, it's also one of the fullest bodied teas I've tasted and the most prominent element of it's palate is rich, dark tea. After adding some natural cane sugar to my cup, (as Golden Moon suggests), I found my experience far more balanced. The particular sweetness was brought out to meet the "teaness" and the aftertaste left at the back of my mouth was the caramel.

My score of this tea is a B (good). I don't find it anything exotic but it's an excellent breakfast tea to wake up to, and my rate of return to it shows it's a common choice of mine when I don't want something peculiar to analyze.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Allagash White

Allagash is probably my favorite brewery in Maine and White is their classic, award winning brew. It's also their core product like Guinness's Draught or Samuel Adam's Boston Lager, but neither of these far larger companies have a staple example like Allagash White.

To give you a basic idea of this beer, Allagash is a Belgian white like Blue Moon. Even the nose of Allagash White shows how it's unlike Blue Moon though, with spice in addition to the orange peel palate. There is also a crisp element and yeast on the palate but it doesn't interfere with being smooth in aftertaste. There is a slight malty bitterness with the aftertaste as well, but I find it enjoyable.

Allagash's creation is a solid A (excellent) with unique and leveled qualities. I recommend it to anyone who wants to try something that any large beer brand cannot produce. This is also Allagash's least alcoholic beer, but I'll be trying their others because I find their products highly enjoyable.