Monday, December 27, 2010

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale

It's easy to let the dimmer and shorter days get to you, but it can also be an excuse to spend more time relaxing. The antique characteristic of Samuel Smith's label makes me think this would be appropriate to enjoy in front of the warm fireplace with a book. For the younger, I feel it would be just a appropriate in a classic British Isles pub. However, this being the first time I've had this I feel obliged to share my thoughts so those of you reading can determine if this would be a good choice for you

Even before tasting this I knew this would be a good choice because the sensations it gave. The visual ones showed a head that could compete with a classic Irish stout, and the color of it matched the body's. Nutty brown with a touch of red. Before the beer touched my lips I could smell the malts that somehow were walnuts! Past the lips it also showed wooded and roasted notes through the malts. The body was medium weight but on the back of the tongue you got a hint of sweet and a nice crisp. I didn't get these last notes as much because it was hard to swallow, I loved it in my mouth.

It only took me a a minute at the end of my pint to add the plus with the A. It's an A (excellent) and I recommend it to anyone who can enjoy a beer that's heavier than a generic lite beer.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Red Rose Original & a gift to my readers

Red Rose's Original tea isn't anything special, no offense to Red Rose. I'd give it a C (decent) being a simple pekoe tea with a touch, just a touch, of orange/citrus. Considering other teas of this price range they don't compare because it's not just flavored water. It has a heavier body than Lipton. But why I'm posting this product today is because it's the tea you have to use to make this phenomenal ice tea. Here's the recipe for a 2 quart pitcher, step by step.

What you'll need:
- 10 bags of Red Rose Original tea with the tags cut off
- 1+1/2 cups of sugar
- 1 jumbo lemon cut in half
- Lots of ice

1. Fill the 2 quart pitcher half way with ice and leave in the freezer.
2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. About 1.5 quarts if you care to measure it.
3. Once boiling put the teabags of Red Rose Original in the pot and steep for 5 minutes.
4. While steeping add the sugar to the water and stir until dissipated. If you prefer sweeter, add another 1/2 cup.
5. Add the juice of the jumbo lemon to the pitcher and leave half of the lemon in the pitcher.
6. After the tea is steeped take the bags out, squeezing each one dry, and pour the water over the ice in the pitcher.
7. Top the pitcher off with ice if it's not full and put in the fridge until completely cold.

If done right, the pitcher should be opaque. Many mistake it to be sun tea but getting it cold as soon as possible by pouring over ice is the key to this. Someone has yet to not like it. It's a family recipe form my Nana, who rests in heaven. She was a wonderful woman and she wouldn't mind others having this. It's the wrong season for iced tea, but not for a gift. This recipe is my gift to my readers.

In memory of my Nana and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

La Finca Cabernet Sauvignon '10

I feel that there's been a gap in what drinks I've covered recently for the current cold weather. There's a winter lager, chai tea, Irish cream, and even a hot chocolate! So what's missing? A red wine. Tonight I have a product from Trader Joe's, who's quite well known around here for their 'two-buck chuck'. La Finca is a label of Trader Joe's that's only a bit more than two dollars.

The first whiff told me that I got what I'd paid for, because alcohol is the prime scent. I still live by the saying "enjoy the drink, not the effect" though. So beyond the obvious asset, the grape part of the palate is quite 'viney', the body is light, and the aftertaste has an acidic twang. Sifting through all of this did convey hints of dark cherries.

Cheap is the prime adjective to use here, but let's be careful as to which definition is being applied. It was not a good deal. La Finca's canbernet is your stereotypical cheap red wine so I'm leaving it with a F (Avoid). Fear not those of you that have recently come home with a box of the 'two-buck chuck' though. I've already had that and know that it's cheaper in cost but not in taste.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carolans Irish Cream

The genre of liquor for the holidays is Irish cream, and when most hear that they think of Baileys. Another Irish cream, Carolans is here tonight for review though. It's cheaper, but does that mean it's not as good? Lets find out if you should consider it instead of Baileys.

The only hint that this is alcoholic is lightly in the nose of the glass. An easy sweet is there along with it though. Once on your tongue there is much more going on. Caramel and vanilla is what I got first from this. Honey is another strong point to this but it's rather difficult to note as different from the caramel. As for the whiskey in this, it's rather faint. One last note is that this has a lighter texture than Baileys or St Brendan's (that I reviewed before).

Not that Baileys is bad, but I actually prefer Carolans because it's lighter, balanced in taste and has more 'natural' sensations than Baileys mint, coffee or even original. I give it a B (good) and keep it stocked as my cream of choice for the holidays and beyond.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Golden Moon Tea Kashmiri Chai

Kashmiri chai is green tea chai, but Golden Moon's kashmiri chai is actually a blend of both green and black tea (with all those spices as well of course). This product has been a standard in my cupboard for awhile, so I feel it's time to share my thoughts due to the cold front over me and others.

I've prepared the cup in front of me with a touch of honey and cream as recommended by Golden Moon. That's how chai is suppose to be. Something else I'd like to note is you have to steep it for awhile, otherwise it's not strong enough in my opinion.

Once done right, the theme of this is 'spicy' cinnamon. Unlike the chai you get at most cafes or bagged teas, there's more going on than cinnamon as well. Cardamom 'seeds' are a big part here as well. Cardamom is a hard taste to describe, but the best way I can put it into words is an extreamly mellow ginger with floral notes. Cloves exists in this as well, but don't make it all that sweet on it's own. Even without cream or honey this has a rather round body.

Sitting in front of a fireplace with such a drink, has been an extremely enjoyable post to write. I'm giving Golden Moon Tea Kashmiri Chai a B (good), and I'm sure it could make one of your evenings an A (outstanding).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

JosephsBrau Winterfest

Before I begin, I'd like to note that JosephsBrau is just a cover for Trader Joe's. That's not to say this could be a bad beer, I think Trader Joe's does a good job with many of their beers for a great value. I paid a mere $6 for a six pack, and for something outside of cans, that's great these days. So lets see how this dark lager (pretty rare these days) does.

This starts with a good sized head as pictured above, but this does not stay that way. Putting my nose in the glass showed a sweet maltyness and a hint of alcohol! Looking back at the bottle I see that this is due to 7.5% abv, which is a better deal for some. This alcohol taste doesn't have any notice with the finish though. The body of this is right in the middle of my other beer experiences, and it has malts for a taste like the head. I was surprised by the lack of carbonation despite being a lager.

For such a high alcohol percentage this one is easy to drink. I'm not a huge fan of it though. It's just kind of odd in my opinion and the malts aren't as good as ones in others, so I'll be leaving it with a C (decent).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Twenty 2 Vodka

Vodka can be a hard thing to describe. Some people just want a cheap thing to make a drink of their choice alcoholic. Of course not necessarily a cocktail though. A few actually like notes of flavors added. I'm part of the group that wants a liquor that can make a fine drink with a few other pieces added. Twenty 2 Vodka is made by The Northern Maine Distilling Company in Houlton, ME. Let's see what category this vodka falls in.

Ethanol is apparent in the nose, but not in a biting way. This is certainly a hint of a good vodka that has no similarity to watered down alcohol in a plastic bottle. The palate is quite unique. I feel that it is a touch heavier than water in your mouth, but in perhaps a way of ethereal taste? I'm asking myself if there is drop of honey put in this bottle. Something I do know is the grainy ethanol is existing lightly on the back of the tongue. After sipping my glass I finished it by shotting the rest, and it was the first time I had any major burn.

Experimenting with cocktails such as the godmother and kamakazi, I could taste the difference in quality. I'm not hesitating to score this with an A (excellent) because it's a blank sheet to work with cocktails and is the first clear liquor besides gin that I've enjoyed straight. I'll be keeping this one in stock.