Friday, June 24, 2011

Polar Banana Seltzer

When I saw this at the grocery store, I had to try it. It's obviously a new release from Polar Beverages because it's not even apparent on their website except for mentioning a simple "Monkey Rum" cocktail. They did choose a good time to bring out a new banana product with summer just started a few day ago. Let me find out if banana seltzer can compliment a hot day.

Sure enough; it smells of bananas, tingles on the tongue, and leaves an aftertaste. It's not foolishly sweet as I had feared, but also not as strong as I'd prefer. It's a seltzer and not a flavored soda so I understand why it's not tasting of banana extract. I'd like it stronger because their mention of a cocktail with this ingredient is inspiring.

When I want seltzer I'll be getting  Polar's lemon or lime unless I want some variety. Those flavors have been the standard with seltzer for awhile for a reason. As for cocktails, I think I'll be trying to make a classic pina-colada cocktail (shaken, not blended) and diluting it with this product like a club soda. It's a C (decent) in my book.

Very creative Polar...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Katahdin Specialty Coffee Baxter Blend (Old)

Edit: Katahdin has since changed their flagship roast, and you can read about it here.

Maine has established a reputation for fine beer form microbreweries, but I think it's time for more recognition for the micro-roasters. I'm ashamed to say the only other Maine roaster I've hit so far is Bard's special Honduras bean, but today is about Katahdin Specialty Coffee's flagship bean.

Baxter State Park is a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy, and I think the Baxter Blend can be enjoyed by everyone as well because it's well rounded and easy to drink. It's easy to drink because there's little acidity to it but it has some of the enjoyable notes of highly acidic and lighter coffee's. "Nutty" in a way. I say it's rounded due to the body and hints of being roasted. Don't take these last notes as it being dark like French or Italian roasts.

If you enjoy the taste of coffee but frequently get heartburn or overwhelmed by robust tastes, give this a try. It's not too crisp or dark and isn't cutting corners on taste like big-box supermarket brands. It's a B (good) in my book.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gazela Vinho Verde '09

Summer is finally here, because it's hot and humid. The wine I always keep on hand for this season is Casal Garcia because it's a fine value for sparkly, crisp and fruity. Gazela has always been next to it in the wine aisle because it's Portuguese and the same grape, vinho verde. They're also only 50 different in price, so I'll be determining which one to stock as well as translating it's taste to English.

Just like Casal Garcia it pours with a slight fizz so bubbles attach to the inside of the glass while condensation occurs on the outside. More similarities can be noticed in the smell but the first difference appears here too.
Gazela is dryer than Casal Garcia. The palate is citrusy but has many other fruits happening as well, tropical melons. As you work your way down the glass you'll notice slight floral notes as well. "Green" is a good adjective to describe Gazela.

I'm giving Gazela a B (good) due to being a touch more juicy and I prefer the dryness. Casal Garcia was given a B. I think I'll be keeping both on hand though, because they're both a great value with slightly different approaches to Vinho Verde. Pick both up, you won't regret either.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mr. Brown Iced Coffee

I found this can in amongst canned coconut milk at an Asian grocery store with ramen noodles that would only let me know what flavor they were from the picture on the front. There isn't any oriental letters or symbols on a Mr. Brown can but it's made by King Car Group, an Asian company. Let's see what they think iced coffee should taste like.

Following the instructions on the back i had it in the fridge and shook it well before opening. Even before the brown liquid touched my lips I could tell this wouldn't be finished by me. I smelled chemicals. The ingredients are listed as; water, coffee extract, sugar, and milk powder. There's no real coffee in this. I took the sip despite my research's findings and the best way to describe this is sugar-milk with chemical coffee taste.

The supermarket didn't loose my business because they have roasted coconut milk that makes a phenomenal daiquiri cocktail, but I will never even bother buying a King Car product again because Mr. Brown is an F (avoid). If you need caffeine it's worth it to hold out for a different product.