Friday, December 31, 2010

Xyience Xenergy

As I am sure many of you have realized by now, I really do not like energy drinks. I think that they are vile and that the amount of artificial ingredients and sugar that they contain is unjustifiable, and I resent my "try everything once" curiosity every time that I walk out of a store with one in my hand. I have only truly enjoyed one non-organic energy drink in the past: Bawls Guarana. I can now safely say, however, that the list now contains two entries.

The level at which I enjoyed this beverage came as a complete shock. I was bracing myself for the typical energy drink flavor (or worse), but was greeted instead by a magnificently tangy lemon taste. I had to take an extra drink to verify that I was not losing my mind, but, sure enough, I really liked this one. The lemon flavoring was certainly not subtle (hence "lemon blast," I suppose), but there was something very tantalizing about the taste. Xenergy is nicely carbonated, which in my opinion typically means "so fizzy that it stings your sinuses going down," but this one is just bubbly enough for the flavoring. The drink also does not taste overly artificial, and does a much better job of hiding its chemical makeup than most of the other apparently unconcerned competing brands. All in all, I really like this one, despite the overuse of the letter "x" on the can.

And I'm still a little bit confused as to how I could have possibly enjoyed a beverage with the moniker of "the official energy drink of the UFC," but I am always open to pleasant surprises.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 16 fl. oz. [473mL]
Price: $0.70 [Discounted]

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tango Energy Juice

Tango is yet another terrible energy drink. Tango is unique amongst energy drinks, however, in the fact that it is non-carbonated. This adds no real appeal to the beverage, however, as all that it means is that you can taste the sour and acidic energy drink chemical taste even more prominently amongst the lack of carbonation. It's not great, and really it just tastes like every other energy drink that you've ever had: sour and corrosive and full of taurine. Unless you really just want another generic American energy drink, don't bother with this one. 

Also, I decided to pour some of this one out to show the rather unprecedented color of the drink.

Tantalizing, isn't it? I've only seen this shade of green from superfood beverages, and those have a legitimate reason for being Earthy green.

Verdict: Not recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 16 fl. oz. [473 mL]
Price: $0.70 [Discounted]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Takeya Water Bottle through CSN Stores

I have been in the market for a new water bottle for a little while now. I already have a great water bottle that I absolutely love, but I would like an extra one for non-water beverages so that I can keep my other bottle strictly for water. After perusing the internet a bit, I came across this bottle at CSN Stores. CSN Stores is a huge online retailer that carries much in the way of home decor and kitchenware, with items ranging from cutlery to counter height stools to barware and wine accessories and just about everything in between.

The Takeya Modern Glass 16oz Water Bottle seems like a perfect fit for me. I don't think that I have mentioned it recently, but those of you who follow the blog know how much I love drinking out of glass. Having a readily reusable glass container to take homemade juices and other non-water liquids with me to class (and elsewhere in the city) will be a wonderful and affordable addition to my current water bottle situation, and the modern look of the bottle is very minimalist and eye-catching, adding even further to the appeal. I am very much looking forward to reviewing this bottle once I get mine in.

[EDIT: Review posted on January 14th, 2011]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

Best wishes this holiday season from Drinkable Review.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

My uncle recently gifted my father and I with a sampler of Samuel Adams' winter/holiday brews. The Old Fezziwig Ale was the first that I tried, and I really enjoyed it. It reminds me a good bit of Old Speckled Hen, in that the taste has the same sort of toasted flavor that sits in the back of the throat after each drink. It's not quite as pronounced as Old Speckled Hen, and the flavor is a little more subtle, but the beer is after all a different product and is unique in its own right. 

The beer is, as mentioned before, one of their seasonal winter brews and is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel. Cinnamon in particular is an ingredient found in a lot of winter and holiday beer recipes, and when combined with the ginger and orange, it results in a wonderfully mild flavor that is easy to enjoy all the way through the serving. The taste did not wear itself out, and I did not suffer from the bloated "just one more drink" feeling that I tend to get at the bottom of a lot of heavier beers. 

Sam Adams is already one of the only American beers that I feel is worth the money (by which I mean any money at all), and this is a great addition to my already high opinion of the company.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Did not purchase
Size: 12 fl. oz.
Price: Unsure

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Big Lots Trip Number 2

Well, I went to Big Lots again tonight. I came out with another huge selection of beverages to power through during the upcoming week. I was particularly surprised to find the Adina Holistics on sale for 75 cents. My sister and I together bought quite a few of those. I was also excited about finding Shasta Cola (especially four 16 oz. cans for a dollar) amongst the restocked selection. I used to drink Shasta all the time when I lived in Baltimore, but it's not a huge brand in South Carolina and I have not had one in a long time. 

As a result of these trips, I have a lot of content prepared for the next few weeks, so make sure to keep checking in (or follow me on twitter) for the occasional unscheduled update. 

Jones GABA-Infused Grapefruit Tea-Juice

In general, I am a fan of Jones beverages. Although there are times that I find their sodas to be a bit too sweet, I do, on the whole, enjoy their products, particularly their increasingly difficult to find Jones 24c. Jones GABA, however, is frankly kind of unimpressive. I was excited to try Jones' take on the "healthy and organic" energy drink, thinking that it might be better (or at least more honest) than typical energy drinks, but I was sorely disappointed by the beverage.

First and foremost, there were some technical issues with the drink. The can clearly states to shake well before use, so, naturally, I did. Immediately thereafter, upon opening the can, my hands were sprayed briefly with grapefruit tea-juice. The blast was very quick, and was probably just a result of pressure buildup from being transported multiple times, but any drink that has a chance of significant pressure buildup should not instruct its users to shake well. Perhaps simply "shake" would suffice. Nitpicking aside, the drink itself was not very good. The flavor was so subtle that it was almost undetectable amongst the taste of what I assumed was the GABA (which was not necessarily bad, but was rather overpowering), and I had to focus to pick up on the grapefruit. For more information on exactly what GABA is and what it does, the following article may be of some help. 

All in all, this one is just not great. There are other flavors, and I have a Honey Lemon version in line to be tried that may be better, but this one is just not great. The flavors are too light to be considered subtle, and the taste of the added GABA suppliments is bitter and not very appetizing. I am glad that I only paid $0.50 for this one, because I think that I would have regretted spending much more than that.

Verdict: Not recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $0.50 [likely around $2.00 at retail price]

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hedley's Blackcurrant Ceylon Tea

This tea was amongst one of the things that I purchased at Big Lots the other day, and I must admit that I was at first a little doubtful of a tin of forty tea bags that was marked at two dollars. But, Big Lots has yet to let me down with their products as of yet, so I decided to commit to the tea and bring some home with me, and it was certainly well worth the "risk." I am not typically a huge fan of Ceylon tea, but I absolutely love blackcurrant, and the flavoring of this tea is magnificent. For those perhaps unfamiliar with blackcurrant, it is a berry that grows prominently (from what I understand) in Europe and certain parts of Asia. It tastes somewhat like grape, but with a less sweet and more mature aftertaste left in the back of the throat. Every time that I eat or drink anything with blackcurrant flavoring, I wish more and more that they grew more readily in the United States. Preferably in my back yard.

The flavoring in this tea is prominent without being too strong, and seems especially appropriate for the holiday season. The drink stirs in me feelings of winter, and will probably be forever reserved for cold days for the rest of my time with this tin. And with forty bags of the tea, that may be a while. If you can track this one down, it's definitely worth a try.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 40 bags
Price: $2.00 [Discounted]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Big Lots Trip: December 2010

My sister and I just ran out to Big Lots to kill some time on this restless Sunday afternoon. I had not been to the Big Lots at home in a while before this afternoon, and when we got there, I was shocked and excited to realize that they have greatly expanded their snack and drink sections. I walked down the freshly-stocked drink aisle, picking up just about everything that interested me. At $0.70 a piece, it's hard not to take advantage of the situation.

So, as you can see, I left with a pretty strong haul. And what was the best thing about today's shopping trip? All thirteen of these drinks cost a grand total of $9.50. I may do some extra reviews for the next couple of weeks in addition to the regular posts so that I can crank through a bunch of these, so keep checking back. I'll try to twitter whenever an extra review goes up as well, for those of you who follow the feed.

Today was super exciting, and I can not wait to try all of these.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Boing! Manzana (Apple)

I picked this drink up at a gas station on the way back from out of town a few days ago. I was on the verge of buying a new energy drink, when I saw this on the bottom shelf with all of the Latin American drinks. I was immediately engrossed by the name of the beverage, and bought one without hesitation. I assumed going into the drink that it was carbonated, but was surprised to find that it wasn't. In my haste I had not paid close attention to the bottle. This is essentially just apple juice. Really good apple juice. It tastes a lot different from the American brands that I am accustomed to, and it was delicious and refreshing all the way to the bottom.

I still can't get over the name, though. It's absolutely hilarious.

Why would a juice be called boing?

Then again...why not?

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Spinx Filling Station [Greenville, SC]
Size: 11.7 fl. oz.
Price: $1.49

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stash Earl Grey Black and Green Tea

This is easily one of my new favorite teas. I was hesitant to try it at first, as black and green tea seem rather antithetical upon initial reasoning, but it was inexpensive enough that my intrigue won me over and I brought home a box. Any doubts about the beverage that I had at first were abolished before the tea even hit my mouth. The first bag that I prepared was an absolute delight, and filled the air around it with the characteristic aroma of the bitter citrus of Earl Grey tea, but there was something more to it: something almost peppery. This peppery aroma was only made better by the delicious taste of the tea. It is smooth yet distinct, and has a strong, unique flavor that is hard to quantify precisely in words. The citrus mixes well with the green tea (much better than I thought that it would), and the green-black mixture makes for a much more mellow end result than the typical Earl Grey. It is a delicious blend of flavors, and I have gone through almost all of this box over the course of about a week, which, considering how little I have been in my apartment lately and the preparation time involved in a cup of tea, is really saying something. Definitely give this one a try.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Purchased: Earth Fare [Columbia, SC]
Size: --
Price: $2.99 (18 bags)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fentimans Two-Hit Combo Review

As those of you who follow these posts may know, I had a Fentiman's Cola a few weeks ago and was absolutely astounded. It was one of the best colas that I have ever had, and I almost went to the store to buy another after I finished the first one. Well, now I wish that I had, because apparently Earth Fare is not restocking them, and I can't find them anywhere else. A few days ago, however, I went to World Market with some friends of mine and found two other varieties of Fentiman's hidden out of place on a shelf in the back. Although they did not have Cola, I was excited to try the new flavors.

Dandelion burdock

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this one, as I have never had dandelion or burdock, but I was pleasantly surprised. There is no mistaking the botanical basis of this beverage; it tastes like plants. But this is not really a bad thing. I was a bit taken aback at first by the strength of the flavor, but after acclimating to the taste, I really enjoyed it. The flavors mix into something similar to fennel, giving the drink a vaguely licorice-esque taste that is not overpowering. I am a fan of licorice, so I was perfectly okay with this, but those who don't favor the flavor should probably stear clear. It is silly to compare this to the cola, as they are entirely different products, but I couldn't help but catch myself wishing that I had a cola instead. By the end of this bottle, I was ready to be finished. I would buy it again, but probably not when faced with other options.

Verdict: Hesitantly recommended

Purchased: World Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 9.3 fl. oz. (225 mL)
Price: $1.79


I hate to say it, but this is a terrible beverage. I had no idea what this was when I bought it, and had to look up Shandy when I got home. I found out that Shandy is apparently a traditional English beverage in which beer is mixed with a variety of different drinks, typically sodas. In Fentiman's case, beer is mixed with carbonated lemonade to result in a low alcohol content (less that 0.05%) soda. After looking up the details, I had my doubts about consuming the beverage, but decided to give it a chance, anyway.

In retrospect, I wish that I had just been stubborn about it and not tasted it. It's really not good at all. I like beer, and I don't really mind lemonade, but mixed together I hate both of them. I'm not even really sure how to describe the flavor. I would just leave it at "beer mixed with lemonade," but that's not even really that accurate. Aside from not tasting good, there is an oddness about the concoction. I had a smattering of physical reactions to the taste after each of the three drinks that I took, such as itching in my neck and a crawling sensation in my right arm. It is very rare that a beverage will affect me that way, and it is usually not a good sign.

I'm sure that somebody out there has to like this; it's all over the place in Europe. But I'm kind of having a hard time imagining that anybody could really find anything to like within this liquid.

Verdict: Not at all recommended

Purcahsed: World Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 9.3 fl. oz. (225 mL)
Price: $1.79

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stash Chai Green Tea

I tried a bag of this tea over the Thanksgiving break two weeks ago. I have always been a little unsure of chai tea. It's not terrible, especially when prepared correctly, but there's just something about it that I don't really like. It leaves a strange taste in the back of my throat to which I've never been able to properly acclimate. This tea, however, is a different story. I was at first very doubtful of the combination: a strong tea mixed with an even stronger tea. But as I took my first sip, I realized that I had been mistaken. The botanical basis of the green tea really helps to balance out the strength of the spices in the chai, which results in a much more mellow end result. I drank the bag that I had unadulterated (no cream or sugar) to really get an accurate taste for it, and I actually really liked it unsweetened. That is actually indicative of another reason why I'm not a big chai fan. I drink my teas plain (I just prefer the full-bodied, bitter tea taste), and a tea that essentially has to be altered to be palatable is a bit contrary to my interests. But the mellowness caused by the green tea here makes it much easier to drink the tea straight. I did not try it with cream and sugar, so I can not speak to the taste alternative, but I really enjoyed it plain and would probably just drink it like that in the future.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Just about anywhere that sells name brand teas (assuming that they stock this variety)
Size: --
Price: Did not purchase personally, but likely between $2.00-$3.00

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Raynal VSOP

This is the second brand of brandy that I have had to date, and I have really been enjoying it so far. It's very strong and has a lot of kick to it, but it is also very flavorful and has a strong aromatic quality about it. It's definitely one of the stronger liquors that I have tried so far, but I really like it. I guess that there is not a whole lot to say about this one. Just about everything from my review of E&J VSOP (linked above) applies, but this one is just better and stronger.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Greene's Discount Beverages
Size: Half-Pint (200mL)
Price: $6.99