Monday, November 30, 2009

Gold Peak Tea Lemon

Most of the teas I've been reviewing have been products people would need to buy online, so I have something that can be bought at many convince stores. Gold Peak Tea claims they have an award-winning taste and that you'll "experience the true taste of tea". Lets find out shall we?

With a pop twisting open the bottle, I took a sip and I got black tea and lemon. What else would you expect? Well this wasn't. The black tea of this was the kind you bought in a big boxed wrapped in plastic with powdery tea leaves in it. The lemon element was not a fresh zest of citrus either, it was the sweetener somehow. I don't know how they accomplished this but it was like a lemon flavored splenda. Setting it back down I smelled it at the neck of the bottle, the cheap black tea.

Gold Peak Tea is actually a product of the Coca-Cola company, and I think that gives us a clarification of where this fits in. I've bought this a few times before while on the run and I needed a drink. Those times it did its job and I even enjoyed it, but from the perspective of this blog I give it a C (decent).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blue Sky Organic New Century Cola

You don't see many organic sodas these days because people concerned with organic foods typically don't drink soda. It's an unhealthy drink. However Blue Sky makes a line of drinks that are all organic so those looking for a little luxury in their liquid diet don't have to give up on being all organic.

Cracking this open showed that there wasn't as much carbonation as Pepsi or Coca-Cola and it didn't take as long to settle. It tastes like other colas; a sticky sweet almost like molasses but it was different because you could tell it was using cane sugar as the bottle read. Compared to the big brands, this cola isn't quite as sweet either. Once finished it leaves you with the sizzle of carbonation and the aftertaste of the cane sugar.

Unfortunately I think I like Coca-Cola better. I give it a C (decent) because being organic and made with cane sugar didn't make it anything but a regular soda. Perhaps cane sugar isn't the right choice for colas because it's lighter in a way. Maybe Blue Sky has a cream soda that works better with cane sugar?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Teavana Sour Cherry

As I stated in Teavana's last review, Teavana is kind of like the Starbucks of tea. It can be found in malls and they will make you a tea to go and while you wait you can try out different samples they have. Today I have a a tea of theirs that has a bluntly descriptive title. My initial thoughts are "yum cherry", and "how sour?"

The smell of this tea unbrewed is quite pleasant with intense cherry and a manageable sour. Once prepared they become more equal, but this isn't for the best. The aura has sour in the back seat still but once sipped they become one element. It has a little too much pucker for me and you're left with a hint of just that in the aftertaste. The actual tea in this is a blend of black and green, but I find them hard to detect. If I didn't know better I would call this a sort of herbal tea.

Perhaps this would be better iced in the summer but I gave it a C (decent) due to the lack of balance and tea taste. Many others with a taste for sour might like this, I don't.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sapporo Premium Beer

I believe this is my first international beer on this blog. Typically when people think of an international beer the United Kingdom and Ireland come to mind, but Sapporo from Japan is what this review is about. I chose this because the fact that it's made from rice intriuged me.

My first impression of Sapporo was a MASSIVE HEAD! While gently pouring down my tipped pilsner glass, it expanded so quick I couldn't drink it fast enough to keep it from overflowing down the sides. The head retained well as a foamy head similar to a stout. After fighting down to drink the beer I found it had a body that was heavier than most lagers, but this wasn't a Budweiser. It tasted grainy which I guess is from the rice and it had a slight inoffensive bitterness. I should also note that it wasn't as carbonated as well-brand American beers despite my first impressions.

This is a fairly bland beer, but I do think it would go well with some sushi. I must admid I'm not a big fan of lagers, but I would buy this again on a hot sunny day when I needed something light to cool me down. It's score is a C (decent).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Maté Factor Dark Roast

My last review of a maté tea was from the same company as what I'll be reviewing today, The Maté Factor. The benefits of it were amazing but I wasn't a huge fan of the taste. The Maté Factor claims their dark roast "brews a delightfully rich, invigorating cup of tea" so I think this one will please my taste buds on a higher level.

Anyone who would be looking down at this cup I hold could be convinced it was coffee. Like my last cup of maté, the scent has that same plant-ish "green" to it but the roasted feature is easy to spot. The taste however makes it hard to miss. This tastes like a light coffee with a much lighter body and lack of bitterness and acidic taste. The aftertaste leaves you with the ying-yang of green and roast. They both linger pleasantly.

I believe this is where black tea and coffee meet, but with better health. The Maté Factor's Dark Roast has a B (good) taste and is a great way to start the day with anioxidants, energy and even an increase in metabolism! This one will be frequently be in my mug in the morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wachusett Hometown Haze

I recently visited Wachusett Brewing and had a great time touring their brewery and trying samples of their versatile lineup. One particular brew caught my attention though, their only Belgian white ale, the Hometown Haze. Unfortunately his beer isn't in bottles yet though, just on tap. Wachusett Brewery was so kind though to give me a sample to make this blog on though, so here are my thoughts on the new Wachusett Hometown Haze:

With a huge head that slowly receded to something that you could sip through, it had an atmosphere of bananas but light spices could be detected below. Its palate brought out those spices more and I found the malt component to be apart of those somehow. It had a body appropriate for a Belgian ale. Heavier than most ales and lighter than any opaque brew. It finished with the spice but the fruit element returned, but not as bananas. Lastly a note of hops was left as well and I found it to grow slightly as I emptied my glass.

I'm sorry Blue Moon, you have a run for your money. This is a fairly light beer for the Belgian category when compared to tripels and dubbels, but I think this is appropriate because their website states that you'll be drinking it all summer long. I give this a B (good) because the tastes of this beer may be light, but they work togeather well. This is a well balanced brew that will be a great choice for summertime.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sanpellegrino Aranciata

S.Pellegrino's unique "sparkling orange beverage" is a little hard to categorize. Is it juice? One of the top-end waters like their other products? Or soda like the other items in the cooler it's sold in? Well for now lets put that question aside and get to what it tastes like first to answer it afterwords.

It would be easy to assume this was simply orange juice with a quick inspection because it's opaque and yellow-orange in color. And appropriately it tasted quite similar to orange juice but it has more going on, like some lime and a dryness that's something like tonic water. This drink is not nearly as carbonated as tonic water or even sodas, and I think this is a good thing for it. Otherwise it would be something more like Fresca and hide the other elements to it.

To awnser the question of "what is it?" I think it's a cross between soda and juice. S.Pellegrino's website seems to sell it as a compliment to certain meals like wines, but I think it has far more uses as a cocktail component. After trying the raw product I added some gin and found an improvment to the standard gin and tonic. B (good)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Samuel Smith's Organic Cider

Before it gets too late into winter, lets visit a nice seasonal hard cider. Samuel Smith's Organic Cider will be my first malt drink, and rightfully so because it was a fine way to get something seasonally different on my tongue. So if you can find any leftovers of this, here's why you should try it.

Pouring this out of the dark bottle shows that this is a pale cider that smells of sour sweet apples like macintosh and granny smith. The aura also reminded me of some crisper white wines like sauvignon blancs. Tasting it showed a continuation of the crisper theme with a carbonation unlike any beer or soda, and its palate leaned more towards the crisp-sour but in no way that made you pucker. It finished very clear with the crisp liquid rolling down your throat, but a light aftertaste of a green apple.

I think this is a nice change from the typical malt drinks you'd find at the store. It's not super sweet, it fits the season, but it's still easy to drink. I give it a B (good). Samuel Smith's cider is something I'd return to once a year in the fall but it would never be the dominant drink of my fall selection.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Golden Moon Tea Honey Pear

Golden Moon Tea has many excellent teas, flavored and unflavored. Today I'll be reviewing a flavored product that's defined by its name. What should I taste? I think I know, but lets make sure.

With my beginning sniff I didn't detect nearly as much honey as pear, so I took a sip to find it. There wasn't as much as I had hoped. I think the honey isn't as much an elemental flavor as a built in sweetener. This sweet was not the kind I don't like such as the sugar some degrade coffee with, it was the natural kind in things such as fruit and clover or floral honey. Simple black tea was also as much a character as the added flavoring. Swallowing left a light taste of honey though.

As an end note I must say this is a tea I commonly wake up to when coffee isn't the thing. It isn't something I have to contemplate to get the full experience out of. Simple can be a good thing on the go. I give it a dependable B (very good). I say dependable because I've mistakenly over steeped it before and not had a bitter cup.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale

This beer was left in my fridge by one of my friends, who obviously didn't like it because only two of the six pack were gone. It was a free opertunity to get another beer on this site, so here are my thoughts.

Pouring this gave a decent head and actually a little sparkle. Looking through the glass, it had the appearance of a fogy and carbonated beer with lots of bubbles, one of these appearances came to be true to the taste. What a lite beer, and so carbonated that it almost equaled a lager. The actual taste was light and unexciting despite the spices in it but pumpkin was in the front. Not that it tasted bad, it just didn't taste much. I didn't finish it.

After an inspection of the bottle, I realized this was a product of Anheuser-Busch. The score given to this beer would be what I'd give a Bud Lite. F (avoid).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Warre's OTIMA 10

I've had other ports from Warre, but this one was obviously something a bit different. It comes in a smaller bottle and it has a modern label. Does this mean it'll be better though? I'd hope so because I think it looks cool.

I should note that this has an amazing color to it that changes from orange to rose to a chestnut color depending on your angle. Unfortunatley the nose displayed hardly anything to me, with only a touch of nuts and a reminder that this was alcoholic. After a sip things changed for the better though. The layers of flavors are quite hard to distinguish because they work together, but after some palatal exploration the first thing I found were cherries. The un-pitted dark ones with a "woody" note that matched it well. That woodiness paralleled some brandys as well and lastly the nuts smelled visited again, but I could tell they were almonds this time. The body was far lighter than most ports but still heavy if compared to any typical wine. Lastly it ended with a reminder of the cherries coating the back of your throat.

Warre has a great product here that would compliment many deserts. I give it an A (excellent) due to its fantastic taste and ease of drinking. It would've been an A+ if it had a more enjoyable nose though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Zhi Tea Sweet Desert Delight

I'll be reviewing a rather unique drink today that is unlike any other tea I've tried yet. Zhi Tea calls their Sweet Desert Delight one of their "Signature Blends". It's a rooibos herbal tea but it has much more to it, and it smells quite intriguing. As soon as my cup finishes steeping I'll see if it can live up to its initial impressions.

Its aura is something like a chai with cinnamon and an overtone of coconut that compliments it quite well. These reoccur in the taste but the nuttiness of the rooibos appears with a sweetness that's different from the cinnamon. It's something like fine sugar which I rarely add to my coffee or tea, but it fits in well here. There's a light aftertaste with the sweetness and a modified nutty flavor that tastes more toasted.

Zhi Tea should be proud of this tea and I believe they are, calling it their "Signature Blend". My fiance found this very enjoyable and gives it her stamp of approval. Now I'm not typically fan of sweeter drinks but, I give it an A (excellent) and think many others would give it an A+.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur

Not to be sexist, but I'm sure many girl's are going to be drawn to and like Bärenjäger (many of my female friends do already). Now who would've thought of making honey liquor? The Germans in the late 1400s of course and Bärenjäger also appropriately translates as "bear hunter". But despite it's history let's get to the point; would you enjoy it?

The first thing I noticed when pouring some of this into a glass was the smell of "sticky" honey. Yes the smell of sticky. I should note that Bärenjäger is actually not fermented honey, it's alcohol content is vodka and after some unsetteling it can be lightly detected. Despite this it tastes of the same honey and the sticky part become the texture as well. After swallowing you're reminded of the alcohol content but somehow it has no repulsive effect.

I don't think that
Bärenjäger would be useful in many cocktails due to its thick body. Visiting the website most of their cocktail recipies use other sweet or creamy liqors, and they had a bartending cometition for creating new recipies. I give Bärenjäger a regular B (good) because it's smooth and easily enjoyable, but it's simple and not something with levels of flavor.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Goya Coconut Soda

Here's an unusual choice for me to review; a Mexican soda. And a coconut soda, who's ever heard of that? So this caught my eye while grocery shopping and here's my thoughts on it.

Opening this I found that there was far less carbonation to this than many American sodas and it didn't fizz so much that I needed to stop while pouring so it didn't overflow. There is no smell to this. Upon tasting it was hard to identify any coconut, it was like slightly sweetened and carbonated water. The coconut only appeared in the aftertaste with big gulps for some reason, and even then it wasn't very noticeable.

Obviously I didn't like this, but it was drinkable so I give this a C (decent). I think Americans have Mexicans beat in the soda industry.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teavana Jasmie Dragon Phoenix Pearls

Teavana is kinda like the Starbucks of tea. If you've seen one of their stores before, you can order a tea on the go or buy some of their loose tea and try some new ones with samples available. On their best seller list their Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls are first, and rightfully so.

After steeping for only one minute, the smell of this is surprisingly apparent for a green tea with a floral scent that is hard to describe. It's unlike any air freshener that's sweet or overly "airy-flowery", it's complete and smooth. Once in your mouth it tastes less intense but more "full". Something that's hard to miss as well is the body of this tea, it's smooth and weighted (aka full body). It ends with a vegetable aftertaste that can be common in some green teas.

I recommend this to anyone who's a fan of green or white teas. It's a solid A (excellent) due to the experience given, but it isn't an everyday tea to me. I have this about once a week because it requires your attention to appreciate. Enjoy it while reading a book and going to be, not with a meal or in a cup on the go.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Land O Lakes Mint Hot Chocolate

It's the first day of November so I think it's appropriate to review my first hot chocolate. This selection obviously not from a small company like most of my other reviews, but it was recommended to me by my fiance and is easy enough to find in any grocery store. So here's my thoughts on my first drink concerning mental health for cold weather. Land O Lakes

The back of the package stated that it was a good idea to serve this with some whipped cream on top, but I find it has a little layer of foam already. It smells of the mints they leave for you at restaurants like Olive Garden, (of course it's the same thing, mint and chocolate). Once tasted the same two things return, but the chocolate is very milk chocolate. It's almost as if this was made with milk instead of boiling water. The aftertaste is simple as well and almost non apparent.

This uncomplicated drink reminded me of common products like your standard Hershey's bar and I think children will adore it. I found the perfect word for it to be mediocre, which matched the score of C (decent).

P.S. I realize my fiance likes this because of the memories of her childhood.