Friday, December 30, 2011

Calpico: Mango

I must admit, I was a little bit nervous when I picked this beverage up off of the shelf. I opted to try the the mango flavored version of the drink, but the original markets itself as a non-carbonated milk/yogurt beverage. I really had no idea what to expect going into this one, but the taste is one that would have likely contradicted my expectations anyway, if I had had any.

Calpico is a little bit hard to describe, as there's really not much out there that tastes like it. It's sort of one of those "have to try for yourself to see" beverages. The base of the drink tasted milky, but it also sports a robustly tangy and acidic bite to it that most creamy flavored things tend not to have. The mango flavoring was quite noticeable, but it was a bit less sweet than other mango flavored things and it did not interfere heavily with the original taste of the drink. While the drink has a relatively milky taste, it's hard to pin down exactly what the drink tastes like, as the acidity turns it into almost an entirely different drink. 

The dairy taste comes through quite clearly, but it is more like Calpico has captured the "essence" of dairy, rather than having the flavor of a full-bodied milk or dairy product. Additionally, the drink does not have the thick consistency of milk, and is only slightly more viscous than most other non-carbonated soft drinks. I am glad that this is the case, however, as I think that had the drink been much thicker, it may have just been too odd to handle in full servings. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the mango Calpico. It was different and unique, and I found it to be surprisingly light and refreshing, despite its somewhat odd combination of elements. I still haven't worked up the nerve to try the original flavor, but I am sure that it is quite good and that I really have nothing to worry about. Definitely give this one a try.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 16.9 fl. oz. [500 mL]
Price: $1.99 [If memory serves...]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taylor's Tonics Holiday Fizz Collection

Although I have had somewhat mixed results with Taylor's Tonic's products in the past, they seem to be a company that I keep coming back to. Their beverages are always interesting and unique, and it's always nice to find companies that are not afraid to take a more experimental approach with their product offerings. I was excited when I found this holiday soda assortment at my local World Market about a month ago, and despite some trepidation about eventually having to drink an egg nog soda, I decided to give it a try. The collection came with four flavors: egg nog, gingerbread, candy cane, and cranberry. Below is a quick overview of what I thought of each flavor.

The egg nog fizz was sure to be my least favorite of the bunch, so I decided to try it first. I really don't like egg nog in it's regular form, so I was not exactly excited about drinking a carbonated version of the flavor. As I expected, I didn't really like this very much. It was heavy and sweet, and the flavor lingered in the back of my throat for a while after each sip. Also, the egg nog flavor really does not go very well with carbonation. I can't say that I would recommend this one.

Having tasted all four of the flavors at this point, I think that the gingerbread flavor was the most interesting. That's not to say that it was the best, as it certainly had its issues (heavy, busy flavor, strong aftertaste, etc.), but it was definitely the most ambitious and different of the bunch. The beverage is supposed to emulate the taste of gingerbread with a combination of ginger, clove, and cinnamon, and it actually does so very well. The only problem with this is that you are...well, for the lack of a better description, you are drinking a gingerbread flavored soda. Again, it's an interesting concept that really just ended up tasting sort of strange in the end.

Given my disappointment with the last two flavors, I was starting to have my doubts about the collection. However, things began to look up a bit with the candy cane shake flavor. As many of you surely know by now, I absolutely love mint. I found Taylor's Tonics' take on candy cane to be a much more suitable flavor for a carbonated beverage, and I enjoyed this one much more than the egg nog and gingerbread sodas. However, the drink was still very heavy and sweet, and I found myself having a hard time finishing the entire serving. 

And last but not least, of course, is the cranberry. This was my favorite of the four sodas that came in the collection. I think that this was largely due to the fact that the flavor seemed a good bit more straightforward than the others, despite it's reasonably lengthy list of ingredients. It pretty much just tasted like cranberry, with a hint of other holiday spices here and there in the background. But still, the cranberry flavoring did suffer a bit from the typical, heavy consistency and sweetness of so many naturally brewed sodas.

I think that the fact that the cranberry was my favorite serves as a great example of my recently adopted philosophy about sodas. It has been my experience (particularly lately) that simpler, more straightforward flavors tend to lend themselves better to a sweetened, carbonated environment. In other words: the simpler the taste, the less likely it will be that elements of the sodas flavor will be lost in the mix. Simpler tastes ultimately leave me feeling more gratified, almost as though the simplicity of the taste offers a more whole and accessible experience.

Anyway, on to my last words about the holiday sampler. Although I did not particularly love any of these sodas, I really enjoyed the process of tasting each of them. Each one was different and unique in its own right, and the sampler was a fun and exciting break from a season of traditional (and often tiresome) beverages. I had some issues with the heaviness of each of these drinks, and I don't know that I'm entirely sold on the "old-fashioned brewed soda" taste just yet, but I still would say that this holiday collection is definitely worth a try if you ever run across one. If nothing else, it was a lot of fun.

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: World Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $6.99 [4-pack]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today is my sister's birthday, and I am afraid that I forgot to write today's review up yesterday. I will need to postpone today's review in favor of spending some time with the family. Check back tomorrow afternoon for a review of Taylor's Tonics Holiday Fizz assortment.

- Hayden

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Pop Shoppe Root Beer

For the past several years, I have had a weird aversion to root beer. I always loved the stuff when I was a kid, but for some reason it has held little appeal to me lately. I'll drink the occasional root beer every so often for the sake of trying something new, but I've found that they are usually too sweet for me. I am very rarely able to finish an entire serving in one go, and I've just sort of naturally begun to avoid them altogether.

That being said, I found this little mind-changer at my local Big Lots, and I was so intrigued by the shape of the bottle and the rather adorable label (not to mention the ridiculous price) that I decided that it would be almost silly not to try it. And I am certainly glad that I did. The Pop Shoppe has made a pretty delicious root beer, whether you like root beer or not. The flavors are strong and prominent, and yet are not overwhelming or overly sweet like many other root beers that I've had. Additionally, the drink seems to have a bit of a citrusy aftertaste, almost like eating nothing but the juice vesicles out of an orange slice. It has that sort of light, watery taste of the pulp of the fruit without any of the bitterness of the surrounding septum. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I like it.

Overall, this is a very good root beer. I may still not be the world's biggest root beer fan, but The Pop Shoppe has convinced me to give the beverage another shot. I can't wait to try more of The Pop Shoppe's sodas in the future.

Oh, and be sure to check out The Pop Shoppe's website. The descriptions of their various flavors are genuinely funny.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $0.60 [Discounted]

Friday, December 16, 2011


It's not very often that I find a non-alcoholic beverage that comes in an aluminum bottle. So, naturally, when I saw this drink sitting on the shelf at a local Wal-Mart, it really jumped out at me. The sleek, minimalist design of the black label is also very eye-catching, and I eagerly decided to give it a try.

ThinQ markets itself as a focus, mood enhancement, and stress relief beverage, and is packed with all natural mood enhancing ingredients such as GABA and ginkgo biloba, among others. Although I did not notice a huge impact in my mood (although, to be fair, I have made a habit of drinking these during the relatively stress-free activity of watching Star Trek all night), I did find ThinQ to be very tasty. Or, at least, I found the "citricity" flavor to be quite tasty. The mixed berry variety tastes a little bit odd; almost like a typical berry flavored energy drink. 

The "citricity" variety, on the other hand, is delicious. It reminds me a lot of a an orange-cream popsicle. ThinQ is sweetened with natural sugar, as well as a bit of Reb A (one of the only derivatives of stevia that I actually find palatable), and it manages to be sweet without being overly so. The consistency of the drink is light and airy, and the level of carbonation is matched well with the flavor. I have had several of these since my initial experience with the beverage, and I have enjoyed each one of them to the bottom of the bottle. Although I don't really like ThinQ's mixed berry flavor very much, the citrus variety is definitely one to check out.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Wal-Mart [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $1.49

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good news, everyone! I have officially graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Things should quiet down significantly for a while now, and I will finally have some time to get Drinkable Review back to its original pace and consistency.

Thank you all so much for bearing with me during this past semester. Things have been very rough lately, both in school and otherwise, and I sincerely appreciate your understanding.

Posting will resume this coming Friday.

Thanks again,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I just wanted to briefly hop on here and post a quick update about the state of the site for the next couple of weeks. As those of you who follow me on Twitter may have already seen, I am graduating in two weeks with my bachelor's in mechanical engineering. Needless to say, I am going to be incredibly busy over the next fourteen days. I have an unbelievable amount of work to do this week, and slowing down for even an hour to write this week's reviews may prove to be fatal to my grades.

That being said, I will not be posting reviews this week. I would like to say that I will be back up and running by next week, but I will be right in the middle of final exams, and I don't want to make any promises. So, I am hoping to be under way again next week, but if my schedule proves to be more demanding than I expect (which is usually the case in engineering), I will definitely be back the week after that.

Thank you again for your patience as I finish up my degree. I will be back in my original form and posting on a regular schedule again very soon.

Until then, have a wonderful week.

- Hayden.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sam Adams Winter Lager

As I have said before, Sam Adams is probably one of my favorite American Breweries. Their beers are consistently memorable and flavorful, and it is very rare that I find a Sam Adams brew that I don't like. The Winter Lager is no exception to this rule, and I think that is actually one of the better lagers that I've had recently.

In general, lagers are not my favorite kind of beer. I do enjoy a good lager from time to time, and there are always exceptions to every self-established rule of personal taste, but I usually prefer stronger ales and stouts to the somewhat light nature of most lagers. That being said, Sam Adams Winter Lager is an excellent dark lager with some very nice seasonal tastes mixed into the brew. The lager is spiced with orange zest, cinnamon, and ginger, lending the drink a flavor very much reminiscent of cold weather and the winter holiday season. Although it is somewhat on the yeasty side, I found that it had a very light and flavorful taste. The aftertaste also does not linger around very long, either, making the Winter Lager very easy to drink. To give you an indication of exactly how easy it is to drink, I have had nine of these in the past two weeks.

I also found it worth nothing that this is a beer that remains tasty as it equalizes to room temperature. I have a bad habit of drinking things fairly slowly, especially when I am with other people, so unwanted heat transfer into my beverage is an issue that I run into frequently. However, Sam Adams Winter Lager stays just as good as it begins to warm to ambient temperature, making it the perfect beer for those of us who like to truly appreciate our beverages.

And by "truly appreciate," I mean "absentmindedly take two drinks every twenty minutes while staying up all night feverishly trying to write lab reports and technical papers."

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Wal-Mart [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $8.99 [6-pack]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dr. Pepper (Glass bottle, natural sugar)

I have never been a huge fan of Dr. Pepper. It's certainly not a bad drink, but there has just always been something about the flavor that gets tiresome pretty quickly for me. Even so, I was pretty excited when a favorite lunch time cafe of mine began carrying these old-school Dr. Peppers. 

From my observations, glass bottles have been seeing somewhat of a resurgence in popularity lately. Just a few years ago, convienience stores and gas stations that carried glass bottle sodas were few and far between. Now, it is almost difficult to find one that doesn't offer at least a few choice sodas packaged in glass. However, one soda that I have found to be conspicuously absent from all of these store shelves is Dr. Pepper. It is possible to occasionally find a Dr. Pepper in glass, but the ones that I have found so far have simply been the HFCS-sweetened formula simply repackaged into a different container. This was the first glass Dr. Pepper with natural sugar that I had ever seen, and I was definitely excited to give it a try.

I want to start off my thoughts on the drink by saying this: the drink is good. This is not a bad drink. I just don't really like Dr. Pepper. It is very similar in taste to the regular formula, but as with most other drinks containing natural sugar, this one has a drier taste than its more conventional counterpart. I do like it better than regular Dr. Pepper, but I still found myself having a hard time finishing this one. That, however, is due entirely to my personal disinclination towards the beverage. If you like Dr. Pepper, this is definitely one to try out. If you ever come across one, that is.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Jasmine Cafe [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $1.95

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Update

I just wanted to hop on here while I had the chance to do so and say that I will not be posting reviews this week. I have a ludicrous amount of school work to do this week, and I literally don't think that I am going to have the time to sit down and write them right now.  I apologize for the delay, but this is a very important week for two of our senior mechanical design courses, and I need to be able to commit myself completely to my group work.

That being said, I am hoping to implement some changes into the format and content variety of Drinkable Review within the next couple of weeks. I want to start updating more frequently during the week, and I have some ideas for adding some audio and video content to the site in addition to the regular reviews. I'm hoping to make a more in-depth video explaining Drinkable Review's new direction soon (hopefully some time this weekend), so keep checking in, or follow Drinkable Review on twitter for continued updates.

- Hayden

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pure Glass Bottle Reusable Vessel: Explorer Edition

As some of you may remember, I was sent Pure Glass Bottle's Traveler vessel about a year ago. Although my steadily increasing collection of reusable bottles has caused me to use it a bit less than I previously did, it is still one of my favorite vessels. Naturally, I was excited when Pure Glass Bottle contacted me with an opportunity to review their other, larger vessel design: the Explorer.

I mentioned the Explorer briefly in my previous review of the Traveler. Like the Traveler, the Explorer is made of 100% pure glass and coated with a non-removable, impact-resistant material that increases the strength, tactility, and safety of the glass. However, while the Traveler only holds 17 fluid ounces, the Explorer clocks in at an impressive 25 ounces. To me, this is probably the most appealing aspect of this bottle, as the previous upper limit of my reusable bottle arsenal was only 20 ounces. I drink a lot of water during the day, and I always welcome larger-volume bottles, as the constant return trips to various water fountains can grow tiresome when using smaller bottles. In contrast with the Traveler, the Explorer sports a one-piece body design, with an orifice wide enough to easily add ice cubes, flavoring powders, or other enhancers to your beverage. 

Obviously, as the capacity of a bottle increases, so does its overall size and weight, thus reducing its potential for "general-purpose" use. Typically, larger bottles tend to assume a sort of "on-the-desk" role, and are often foregone in favor of smaller bottles when ease of portability is a concern. As far as physical size is concerned, the Explorer is not all that much larger than a typical 20 oz. disposable water bottle. At its narrowest point, the bottle is not much wider than a Dasani or Aquafina bottle, although the hourglass shape does increase its overall diameter. The shape of the bottle does make the vessel a little bit top-heavy (especially when full), but it also offers a very natural and comfortable grip that feels great in the hand. 

The detractor from the Explorer's portability, however, is its weight. When full, the Explorer is exceptionally heavy for a water bottle. At the time of this writing, I did not have the means necessary to give a more exact measurement, but I can say that this is a bottle that is going to get pretty heavy after being carried around for any extended period of time. The folks at Pure seemed to have anticipated this, as the Explorer is available with two different cap designs, both seemingly focused on making the bottle easier to carry. The flat cap design pictured above comes with a simple plastic handle fixed around the neck of the bottle. I carry my bottles in the side pockets of my backpack, and I found that with a little care, the handle was not difficult to remove and set aside for potential use later. The bottle is also offered with a "sports cap" alternative that features two loops built in to the top of the cap to allow for easier transport.

The flat cap with handle design

The sports cap design

Both of these designs are functional, and do allow the bottle to be carried more easily in a "hanging" position, rather than always occupying the entire hand, but I still think that the bottle is too heavy to be used realistically in active outdoor situations. The sports cap also adds a good inch of height to the bottle, and is a slightly odd shape, making it harder to fit into bags and travel cases. Overall, I think that I preferred the more simple and straightforward flat cap design for my purposes.

The Explorer (both cap designs) and Traveler bottles

I think that the weight of the Explorer really makes this bottle a better choice for home or office use, rather than a travel bottle. However, I do not say this as a bad thing, as I feel that the above average capacity and wide-based design make the Explorer ideal for desk use. The Explorer is a great alternative to the unsightly Nalgene construction of most other high-volume bottles. Although it is hard to argue against the utility of one of those comically large, graduated plastic bottles when shopping for a high-capacity vessel, I am more than willing to sacrifice a few ounces for the sake of having an aesthetically pleasing bottle to sit on my desk that doesn't demand a trip to the water fountain every ten minutes. Although I would recommend Pure Glass Bottle's Traveler vessel as a better choice for an all-purpose travel bottle, the Explorer fits the bill for an attractive and sturdy "office bottle" quite well.

Verdict: Recommended

Pricing, size, and purchasing information can be found at Pure Glass Bottle's website:

Or, follow Pure Glass Bottle on facebook

Be sure to check out the review of the Traveler vessel here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA

As far as American brewing companies go, I think that Sam Adams is one of the better "big-name" breweries. I have liked almost all of the Sam Adams beers that I've tried, and their Latitude 48 IPA will be joining the list as "another good beer from Sam Adams."

As I have said recently, I've been drinking a lot of IPAs lately. I have been in a very "bitter beer" mood for the past month or two, and I like to think that at this point, I have a fairly wide and objective data set from which to pull information about the qualities of an IPA. Although most IPAs have relatively heavy overtones of citrus, Sam Adams Latitude 48 is seemingly more focused on the hops. The citrus taste is still there, as there are light hints of orange peel in the aftertaste, but the citrus taste is much less pronounced than in other beers of its type. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do really like the citrus flavor that usually accompanies IPAs, so its relative absence in this one was a little bit disappointing. 

Where Latitude 48 does not fall short, however, is in the hops. It has a somewhat light and malty taste on the nose, but ends with a strong and fairly bitter, hoppy finish. For those who do not like bitter beers, this one is probably not going to be your cup of tea, because it's pretty bitter. This is nothing unexpected from an IPA, but the lacking taste of the citrus leaves more room for the bitterness to show through. I enjoy beers with strong, bitter finishes, and although I do miss the citrus, the bitterness is very satisfying and leaves a relatively unique aftertaste (for an IPA) in its wake. 

Overall, I liked this one a good bit. Although I would have preferred a slightly heavier citrus flavor, the hoppy bitterness was still very pronounced and tasty. If you like IPAs or strong, bitter ales, this is definitely one to try out.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Wal-Mart [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $8.99 [6-pack]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Teavana Jasmine Dragon and Roobios Tropica Tea Blend

I have been sitting on this review for quite some time now. This past summer, I went on a weekend trip to Washington D.C. with some friends of mine. While we were there, we stopped by a rather large shopping mall, where I had the opportunity to visit a Teavana tea shop for the first time. My experience at Teavana was strange, to say the least. Teavana has an interesting sales hook in that the store offers about thirty different kinds of fresh, loose leaf tea in bins behind the counter, and the custom flavors and varieties that are offered by the company are achieved by simply mixing and matching the individual tea varieties. 

As I found out soon after deciding to visit the crowded shop, Teavana runs a pretty aggressive sales pitch routine on their customers. The second that I stepped in the door, a sales associate was offering me samples of some of Teavana's special blends and filling me in on what custom varieties were currently on offer. After finishing the samples offered at the door, I was whisked away by another employee to sample several more teas at another station. It was here that I tried the subject of today's review, and also where I made the mistake of simply stating, "This is really good. I think that I might get some of this one." Before I really realized what was happening, I had been escorted to the register and was standing face-to-face with a cashier who had already launched into a lengthy explanation of Teavana's convoluted pricing system and was preparing to fill a container with the tea. It became fairly apparent to me at this point that Teavana's prices are specifically designed to disorient the customer. 

The prices listed on the bins of tea in the store represented the price of two ounces of that particular tea. As I'm sure that you can imagine, trying to calculate how much half a pound of an uneven mixture of two separately and unconventionally priced teas will cost while standing in front of an anxiously waiting store employee is the mathematical equivalent of Olympic level gymnastics. Even with my five years of engineering education, I was at a loss to come up with an estimate, and after several moments of hopelessly trying to figure out how much money that I was going to be spending, I simply gave up and asked for a quarter pound of the tea. The tea ended up costing me $25, and although I was left feeling a bit unsettled by the confusing prices and the out-of-control nature of my visit, I am happy to say that the tea was worth every penny.

As pictured above, the tea is a combination of jasmine buds and a rooibos blend mixed with dried strawberries and other tropical fruits. The jasmine buds have an excellent flavor, and have a strong "jasmine" taste while still remaining mellow and crisp. Although I am not typically a huge fan of rooibos tea, I found the blend included in this mix to be quite pleasant. The tropical elements mixed into the rooibos give the tea a light, fruity taste, without making the tea taste sweet. The fruity undertones of the rooibos blend also help to mellow out some of the the strong, earthy overtones of a typical red tea. This works well with the mellow taste of the jasmine, and the flavors complement each other much better than I originally expected. 

Overall, this is a wonderful tea. Although my experience in purchasing it was a bit manipulative, I have to admit that it is very difficult to complain about the end result. $25 dollars may seem like a lot for a quarter of a pound of tea, but the estimated serving size of 1/4 lb. is about 25 cups, and $1 per cup really isn't that bad, especially for a tea of this quality. If there is a Teavana near you, I recommend checking out their selection, and I definitely recommend their jasmine dragon and rooios tropica blend as a good starting point.

But a word to the wise: If a Teavana sales associate asks you if you've ever shopped there before, just do yourself a favor and say yes.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Teavana [Washington D.C.]
Size: 1/4 lb. [Approximately 25 cups]
Price: $25.00 [Approximation]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Red Rock Golden Ginger Ale

It is rather rare that I find a "true" ginger ale that I feel that I can recommend to everybody. There was a time when it was even difficult to find a ginger ale that actually tastes and bites like real ginger, particularly in the southeastern region of the United States. Luckily, this scarcity seems to be dwindling, and I have begun to see many more "natural" ginger ales on all sorts of store shelves. Unfortunately, this also means that it will grow harder and harder to easily discern the good from the bad, particularly considering that a previously untasted ginger ale tends to be a relatively high-risk purchase. Red Rock's ginger ale, I am happy to say, is one of the best ginger ales that I have had in quite some time, and I think that most individuals with even a moderate taste for ginger will definitely find something to like in this one.

Lauding itself as having "just the right bite," Red Rock is a sort of fusion between the more contemporary, sweet ginger ales that you would find in most gas stations and the more old fashioned, spicy concoctions that you might purchase at a general store or health foods market. The slogan is certainly a bold one, as different people like different levels of bite, but after having tried it, I think that Red Rock is right: this ginger ale really does have just the right amount of kick. The added sweetness of the drink helps to bring the typical sting of natural ginger ale down a notch, but not so much that it undermines the ginger's taste. The ginger is still at the forefront of the beverage's flavor, and it still maintains that sort of notorious, dry spiciness. However, the sugar makes the overall experience more palatable, as I did not find myself growing tired of the taste after a few drinks as I often do with other more "hardcore" ginger ales. Red Rock's ginger ale was strong without being too strong, and was easy to drink all the way to the bottom of the bottle.

All in all, this is a great ginger ale. I would probably even go so far as to rank this one as one of my "top three ginger ales," and I think that it is definitely worth a try, even if you don't like ginger. If you are on the fence about stronger ginger ales, I really do think that this is the one that will change your mind. If you already like stronger ginger ales, then you are almost certain to enjoy this one, but if you don't like ginger then...well, then you probably shouldn't be drinking ginger ale, anyway.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Jasmine Cafe [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $1.99 

Friday, October 14, 2011

I apologize for missing both of the reviews this week. I have had a lot of things going on as of late, and it was particularly difficult this week to work in time to sit down and write out the reviews.

I will be back next week, and I will be posting a video some time within the next few days that will hopefully explain some of the reasons for my inconsistent posting schedule over these past few months.

Again, I apologize, and I'd like to thank you in advance for your understanding, and be sure to check back next week for new content from Drinkable Review.

- Hayden

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ishii Japanese Green Tea IPA

I have had this beer sitting in my refrigerator for a long time (about two months now), and I am just now finally getting around to giving it a try. When I saw these sitting on the shelf at Total Wine, I ignored the high price tag and - knowing that this was one of those drinks that I just had to try, regardless of cost - quickly grabbed one off of the shelf. Given my initial excitement about the beer, I assumed that I would be drinking this one right away, but I suppose that it assumed more and more of a sort of "wait for a special occasion" status the longer that it sat in my refrigerator. However, I got tired of waiting for such a special occasion, and finally decided to just drink it last week.

The first thing that struck me as interesting about Ichii's green tea IPA was the amount of sediment that remained suspended in the glass after pouring. I have no aversion to a bit of sediment in my beer, but rarely does it remain dispersed throughout the liquid as it did in this case. The solid material did eventually settle out to the bottom of the glass, but it took quite some time to do so. This is not necessarily good or bad; I just thought that it was worth mentioning.

The taste of Ichii's green tea IPA is not unlike that of other IPAs that I have had recently. The green tea taste was certainly there, but it was fairly faint, and really didn't add a huge amount of flavor to the overall taste. It became more prominent as I drank more of the beer, as I knew what I was looking for by that point, but it was still pretty light and was largely masked by the flavors of the beer itself. Ultimately, it seems to me like what could have been a very unique and interesting flavor combination ended up being more of an underwhelming gimmick. The beer itself, though, was pretty tasty, and fell on the dry and bitter side that many IPAs usually tend towards.

Overall, I didn't think that Ichii's Japanese green tea IPA was as interesting as I had hoped that it would be. As an IPA, the beer was pretty good, although a little bit standard. However, the somewhat disappointing influence from the green tea makes me wonder if this is one to be recommended, or if it is best just to stick with other, regular IPAs that are a bit more reasonable in price.

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: Total Wine and More [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $3.99 [Per bottle]

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tradition Oolong Tea

It has been a while since I have reviewed a tea, but I find it fitting that this one is yet another product from Tradition. I have yet to have a product from the company that I have not thoroughly enjoyed, and its oolong tea is no exception. 

Although oolong tea is not my favorite variety, I have always enjoyed partaking in it. I have very fond childhood memories of sharing warm pots of the stuff with my family during dinners out at some of our favorite Chinese eateries. The mildness of the flavor makes it a great tea to share with friends, as it is not likely to be offensive to anybody's taste buds. Tradition's oolong is a little bit more flavorful than other oolong teas that I have had in the past, but it still maintains the tranquil subtlety so characteristic of the tea. The flavor is very light and earthy, and the aroma does not linger long in the aftertaste, giving the tea a cleaner finish than other, similar types of tea. Unlike some of the stronger teas (i.e. black or green), oolong does not tend to dry out the mouth, making it easier to drink in larger servings.

Overall, I find that there is actually not much to say about Tradition's oolong tea. It is a pleasantly mild and benign tea that sits well on the palette and is likely to be enjoyed by most people with even a slight taste for hot tea. Although this one is somewhat unremarkable (as most milder teas often are), it is still a great example of the beverage, and is definitely worth the money. I am inclined to recommend some of Tradition's other teas over this one (such as their jasmine green or their barley tea), but if you are looking for something light and refreshing, or would just like to try something a little bit different from the usual norm, then this one is certainly worth checking out.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 20 bags per box
Price: $3.99

Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Hook Long Hammer IPA

I have been trying a lot of different IPAs lately. I am generally a fan of dry, hoppy beers, but for some reason had never taken to India pale ales until fairly recently. Among my list of current favorites is Red Hook Brewery's Long Hammer IPA.

Red Hook's Long Hammer is a very tasty beer. It has a light, dry taste that is crisp on the palette and tastes heavily of citrus. Although the taste is bold and bitter, it does not linger long in the aftertaste, giving the beer a relatively clean and refreshing finish. I was really impressed by the aromatic citrus flavor of Red Hook's IPA. It tastes noticeably of grapefruit, a flavor of which I readily approve. Grapefruit is one of my favorite citrus fruits, and I have yet to have a grapefruit-oriented beverage that I have not enjoyed. So, needless to say (although I am about to say it anyway), I really enjoy this beer.

I think that I may add this to my list of "standby" beers. It is delicious, well-balanced, easy to find, and relatively inexpensive. Red Hook's Long Hammer IPA is a very satisfying beverage, and it is very easy for me to recommend, especially to drinkers who favor bolder beers.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Exxon Filling Station [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $7.99 [6-pack]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mr. Q. Cumber

I have been hearing/seeing things about this beverage for a while now, and although I have had cucumber beverages before and not really enjoyed them, I thought that I would give this one a try after finding it at a local organic market. Now that I have had one, however, I understand what some of the hype is about.

Mr. Q. Cumber, while not wildly different from other drinks of its type, strikes a balance between sweet and savory that many of its competitors seem to disregard. Cucumber is very strong, and it can often be quite an odd flavor to incorporate smoothly into a beverage. Many of the cucumber drinks that I have had in the past seem to simply embrace the odd bitterness of cucumber's flavor and do nothing to reduce or impair the overwhelming taste. Mr. Q. Cumber, however, is different from others in that it is more of a cucumber soda, rather than a cucumber flavored seltzer or water. The cucumber taste is, overall, not very strong, and the drink is sweetened just enough to compensate for the remaining bitterness of the diluted flavor.

As I have already said, my previous experiences with cucumber beverages led me to not expect much from this one, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I don't know that this one is one for the record books, but the strong balance between the cucumber flavor and the sweetness of the beverage results in a light and refreshing drink that is definitely worth a try. The seven ounce serving size is also a perfect portion of the beverage, as a larger serving size would likely grow tiresome towards the end of the bottle.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Rosewood Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 7 fl. oz. [208 mL]
Price: $1.19

Friday, September 23, 2011

Honest CocoaNova

As I am sure that I have mentioned in the past, I am a big fan of Honest Tea. So, needless to say, I was very excited when I saw the company's new line of CocoaNova beverages sitting on the shelf of my local organic foods market. Although all that I knew about the drink at the time was that it was some sort of chocolate and cherry infused beverage, I was still very much looking forward to giving it a try.

CocoaNova is unlike any other drink that I've had in the past. As one would expect, the theme here is certainly chocolate. However, the chocolate is not as strong as other chocolate beverages that I have had in the past, and tastes more like natural cocoa than many other drinks of its "type." I say "type" in quotations because although there are obviously other chocolate-oriented beverages on the market, Honest CocoaNova is quite unique. Rather than tasting as though the drink is made from chocolate, the chocolate serves to add more of a background flavor to the overall drink as a whole. I was not anticipating this subtlety, as there was a thick layer of chocolate sediment that had to be shaken into the drink before consumption, but I really enjoyed the lighter, almost watery taste of the beverage. I have had both the cherry and mint flavors, and I must say that both are very well balanced, although I prefer the combination of mint and chocolate over that of cherry and chocolate.

Overall, CocoaNova is a very unique and delicious beverage. It is surprisingly refreshing for a drink that contains a significant amount of chocolate, and I have really enjoyed both of the bottles that I have had so far. However, with most highly unique beverages, there is a bit of risk in purchasing this one. I don't know that this is the drink for everyone, and there are sure to be some consumers out there who find the subtlety of the flavors a bit strange and off-putting, but I think that anybody with a taste for chocolate will almost undoubtedly find something to like in Honest CocoaNova. Definitely give this one a try.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Earth Fare [Columbia, SC]
Size: 10.1 fl oz
Price: $1.50

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dry Lemongrass Soda

For those of you who are unaware, I absolutely love to cook. Although it usually leaves a bit of a mess behind, I am a particularly avid fan of Asian cooking. Lemongrass ranks pretty high on my list of favorite Asian seasonings, so I am sure that you can imagine my excitement when I found this beverage sitting on the shelf in my local organic grocery store. 

Upon buying the beverage, I was not familiar with Dry Soda Co., but after doing a bit of research, I came to find out that they are a fairly new soda manufacturer that focuses on creating all natural sodas that are less sweet than the competitors and better for your health, overall. I always tend to enjoy sodas that focus more on the flavor and less on the sugar, and I was naturally excited to give this one a try.

Unfortunately, I was met with a flavor that I can only describe as "strange." Although the drink did have hints of a distinctly lemongrass flavor, I'm not entirely sure how to describe the overall taste. The aroma of the beverage smells a bit like lemon-scented dishwasher detergent, which is a bit odd, but not necessarily bad. It just didn't smell or taste like I what I was expecting. I think that I was anticipating a taste more along the lines of lemongrass after it has been cooked into a recipe, but was instead met with a more raw, natural lemongrass taste. 

Overall, the drink was not bad by any means. The level of sweetness is well-balanced, and is present without being overbearing. However, I don't know how much the sugar adds to this particular flavor, as the taste of the lemongrass is so prominent that the marginal sweetness almost doesn't affect the beverage. Again, the taste is not really bad, per se. It's just really strange, and I don't know that I can say that I like it. I think that this one is definitely worth a try if and only if you like lemongrass, but I would not recommend this one to the general consumer.

Lemongrass makes for an excellent spice, but I don't know that it is the best ingredient in a soda. The "healthy soda" ethos of Dry Soda does incline me to give some of the other flavors a try, however, and I think that many of the other flavors that the company offers would lend themselves better to a "less sweet" soda approach.

Verdict: Not recommended

Purchased: Earth Fare [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $6.99 [4-pack]

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crystal Light Pineapple-Lemonade Punch

This is the last of the three drink recipes recently sent to me by Kraft Foods. Due to an unexpected grenadine syrup shortage at the stores nearby my place of residence, I was not able to procure the ingredient on my way back from class. I should be picking some up soon, however, and I will update this post with my feelings on the drink once I am actually able to make it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crystal Light Strawberry Lemonade

(Click for larger image)

Although Labor Day typically marks the end of the summer season in the minds of many, I thought that it would be a great day to keep the summer spirit alive by sharing with you all some wonderful Crystal Light lemonade punch recipes that I was recently sent by Kraft. Today's recipe marks the first of three that I will be posting to the blog this week, and it is a tasty and refreshing strawberry lemonade made with Crystal Light's Natural Lemonade flavored drink mix. I was recently sent a sample pack of Crystal Light Natural Lemonade by Kraft so that I could give these recipes a try for myself, and I was able to mix this one up early last week.

I really liked Crystal Light's strawberry lemonade concoction. The tangy bite of the Crystal Light lemonade lends itself well to the sweetness of the strawberries, and the two flavors just worked very well together, melding into one appetizingly sweet-and-sour taste. The drink did not blend up into the same thick consistency that is pictured in the recipe above, but that may be because I was preparing a double portion for some friends and the berries may have just not blended as well given the larger quantity of things in the blender. With regards to consistency, the resulting drink was more like a viscous lemonade with small chunks of strawberry floating throughout, but I actually really liked the extra texture provided by the bits of fruit floating around in the liquid.

Overall, this drink is an easy recommendation. It is easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and tastes great. This is definitely one to consider whipping up for your next party, cookout, or otherwise equally casual social gathering.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Brief Hiatus

I want to apologize in advance, but there will be no review today. Drinkable Review will be in hiatus for the next two weeks while I try to nail down my work schedule for the new semester. I need to take a bit of a break from the review to allow myself some time to establish a rhythm with my schoolwork.

I recognize that my posts this summer were inconsistent at best, and I know that a lot of the posts that went up on the correct dates were still frequently late. However, this is my final semester of undergraduate work, and it is looking like it is going to be the most busy semester that I've ever faced. In order to set off on the right foot this time around, I will need a bit of uninterrupted time to figure out how I'm going to set up my routine so as to not fall behind.

Now, that being said, I do have some Crystal Light punch recipes that were sent to me by Kraft a few weeks ago. I was sent a sample of Crystal Light's natural lemonade with which to make the recipes, and I will be trying and posting each of them on the blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of next week.

I apologize for needing this sudden break from my posts, but the extra consideration of finding things to drink and review is a bit much on top of my school responsibilities right now. Once the semester is fully underway and I have an established cycle for getting my schoolwork done, I will be back to doing my reviews as regularly scheduled.

I thank you all in advance for your continued patience as I finish up my undergraduate degree, and be sure to check in next week for some tasty Crystal Light lemonade recipes.

- Hayden

Friday, August 26, 2011

Activate: Energy

As many of you likely know by now, I am a pretty big fan of flavored waters. I really like trying different takes on the infusion and/or flavoring process, and Activate immediately caught my attention on a recent trip through the grocery store. The double cap, square bottle design, and the transitioning color gradient on the label all gave the bottle a very eye-catching and effective shelf presence and, naturally, I decided to pick one up and see what it was all about.

After reading the back of the bottle to determine the function of the double-capped design, I realized that the second, upper cap is actually not a cap at all, but rather contains the vitamins and flavoring for the beverage. Activate has an interesting approach to flavored water in that the flavoring is kept separate from the water until the consumer is ready to drink the beverage. To release the flavoring, the user simply twists the upper cap clockwise until the seal inside the cap is broken and the flavoring powder is released into the water. After this is done, the bottom cap is unscrewed to open the beverage. 

Now, this was interesting enough for me to buy it on the spot, and the taste of the beverage is actually pretty good. The lemon-lime has a light, refreshing flavor, and although the aftertaste is a bit lingering, the flavor was very good overall. The real question on my mind, however, while purchasing the drink, was whether or not the separation of the flavoring and water made a noticeable difference. 

Unfortunately, the answer is "not really." The ingredients did seem to taste a little bit fresher, but only a little bit, and it did not really seem to have much effect on the overall taste of the drink in the long run. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the cap release mechanism, while it is interesting and different, actually hurt the drink a bit, as I had some issues with the mechanism retaining some of the flavored water during shaking and then dripping out onto my desk after taking the cap back off. This does not seem like the biggest problem in the world, but when one's desk is covered in important paper documents, a cap that leaks neon green liquid all over the place can be a serious issue. This could have been solved by not furiously shaking the beverage in between sips, but the fairly solid flavoring had a bad habit of partially settling out at the bottom of the drink, and I was left with no choice but to shake the drink periodically and simply be careful about where I pointed the cap afterwards. 

Aside from some design flaws, Activate: Energy is an interesting beverage with a fairly good overall flavor. However, the flavor was not all that different from the other drinks of its type, and some of the aforementioned design flaws actually kept me from having a smooth and enjoyable experience. The cap design is definitely different, and I would say that it is at least worth one try to say that you've experienced it, but I don't think that I would recommend this as a regular beverage. 

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: Earth Fare [Columbia, SC]
Size: 16 fl. oz.
Price: $1.99

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Numi Organic Pu-Erh Tea

I am by no means an expert when it comes to pu-erh tea. However, the experiences that I have had with it have all been very good so far, and Numi's organic pu-erh is an excellent example. I must admit that, at first, I held on to this one for several days before actually working up the nerve to try it. The full opacity of the liquid and the thick layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle led me to believe that this was going to be a very strong beverage.

However, Numi was not nearly as strong as I originally thought that it might be. In fact, it was very mild and tasty and surprisingly refreshing. Pu-erh tea already has a very unique, earthy flavor, and Numi's organic take on the beverage tastes even more natural. Numi's pu-erh is sweetened, but only mildly so. I am accustomed to drinking pu-erh without sugar, but the amount of sweetening was just right and was subtle enough to add to the flavor without diminishing the taste of the tea. The residue at the bottom also added to the freshness of the taste, although I did have to keep shaking the drink between returns to the bottle to keep the particles distributed.

Despite my slight hesitations about the potential strength of the beverage, I enjoyed my experience with Numi very much. It is a very easy drink to recommend, particularly to tea drinkers, and I definitely want to try some of Numi's other flavors in the future.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: World Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl.oz. [355 mL]
Price: $1.99

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nichol Kola

When I first found Nichol Kola sitting on the shelf of a local World Market, I was immediately excited and then disappointed by the bottle's label. I should have known not to be excited by the five cent "price tag" on the packaging, but some force inside of me was still disappointed upon discovering the true price of the beverage. Despite my childish disappointment, I still decided to give the soda a try, and I am very glad that I did. 

As you may have guessed, Nichol Kola is delicious. It has the taste of a more "old-fashioned" cola, in that the cola taste is a lot stronger and has a bit of a spicy kick in the aftertaste. Overall, there's really not much to say about Nichol Kola other than the fact that it is really just good. The cola taste is strong, without being syrupy or overbearing, and is sweet without being excessively so. I had no problem finishing a full serving of Nichol Kola, but was left satisfied by the end of the bottle. Although there are other colas that I prefer, Nichol Kola is definitely a top-of-the-list recommendation.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: World Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $1.69

Friday, August 12, 2011


I have been searching for Drank for a long time now. I first heard about Drank over a year ago, and I have been fruitlessly scouring gas stations, convenience stores, and pharmacies ever since then in the hopes of finding a can of the elusive beverage. However, this past weekend, I finally found a gas station in Greenville, SC that carries the stuff, and I don't think that I have ever been more excited to see a drink sitting in a convenience store refrigerator.

Drank was, in a lot of ways, the first of its kind, as it was one of the first relaxation beverage to attain any sort of media acclaim in a market saturated with taurine-filled energy boosters. The beverage has developed a rather strong cult following since its release in 2008, and rightly so. Drank is both delicious and effective as a relaxation supplement, and is an all around very easy recommendation.

First and foremost, Drank is delicious. I was trying to figure out how to describe it to a friend of mine as I was drinking it last night, and the best description of the flavor that I could formulate was "gentle grape." Drank is grape flavored, but the taste, unlike most other grape-flavored soft drinks, is very subtle and light. Most grape-flavored drinks are heavy and overly-sweet, and I must admit that I was, at first, a bit worried about Drank only being available in grape. This worry was neutralized upon opening the can, as my olfactory was not met with the typical, sickeningly sweet aroma of "grape" flavoring. Although Drank does not taste like natural grape, the taste is subtle enough that the beverage does not overwhelm the senses, and is enjoyable all the way through. 

Drank uses a blend of rose hips, melatonin, and valerian root in their relaxation supplement, all of which are known for their relaxing and sometimes sleep-inducing properties. Although the beverage did not cause me extreme relaxation as its marketing suggests, it did do a fairly good job of bringing me down to a less heightened state. Many claim that the drink helps them sleep at night, and although Drank did not make me tired, I can certainly see how it would help somebody who is already somewhat tired reach a state of slumber more quickly than usual. Overall, I was very satisfied with the level of relaxation offered by Drank, as I enjoy the temporary "de-stressing" offered by relaxation beverages, but I often have difficulty making time for a drink that might exhaust me.

Drank is a wonderful beverage, and I can safely say that it was definitely worth the wait. My only complaint is that it can be pretty hard to find in stores, especially in the southeast. Other than that (and maybe even because of that), Drank is definitely a drink to try out. I can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Raceway Station [Greenville, SC]
Size: 16 fl. oz. [473mL]
Price: $1.69

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pure Inventions Water Enhancer

Pure Inventions, a dietary nutrition company specializing in all natural liquid supplements, recently sent me two samples of their rather unique liquid water enhancer. Pure offers a wide variety of liquid dietary supplements, including green tea, fruit, and cocoa extract mixtures, among others. I have been trying a lot of different water enhancers lately, and I could tell as soon as I took the containers out of the package that there were several distinct things that set Pure's product apart from the rest.

First and foremost, I was somewhat startled by the weight of the containers as I lifted them out of the box. The vials are made of a very thick and high quality frosted glass that feels great to the touch. The vials feel like medical-grade pharmacy bottles, and they give the impression that they are very durable and would definitely survive being carried around in a handbag or backpack. The lids also screw on very tight, and there is no indication that they would leak under regular circumstances. 

One of the more interesting things about Pure's enhancer is the fact that the bottles use a built in medical-style dropper to administer the enhancer. The dropper allows for more precise servings, and is better than the more typical eye-dropper lid type in that it allows the consumer to add the liquid either quickly or drop-by-drop, depending on the amount desired. The dropper can also be used as an impromptu stirring rod to give the water a quick swirl to help homogenize the flavor. However, the dropper does have some drawbacks. Having to physically take something in and out of the container greatly increases the chance of accidentally dripping the flavoring outside of the bottle. This is something that a little care when serving won't solve, but it does cut down on its portability a bit. However, it should be noted here that Pure does not market their product as highly portable. It is a nutritional supplement, and is constructed to present itself as one. However, in a market segment full of competitors who frequently tout the "on-the-go" nature of their water enhancers as a major selling point, some consumers may view this lack of portability as a problem. 

The only other small complaint that I had about the functionality of Pure's enhancers was the dropper bulb. The directions for the green tea supplements call for one full dropper of enhancer per 8 ounces of water, but the suction of the dropper bulb is not quite strong enough to entirely fill the dropper. This is not a huge problem, as adding two half droppers is certainly easy enough, but it does leave the actual serving size between usages a bit ambiguous.

Overall, the taste of Pure's water enhancers is great. I was sent samples of the green tea with peach and cranberry with elderberry supplements, and I like both of them a good bit, although they are quite different. The green tea with peach is fairly straightforward, although it is very good. Pure uses all natural ingredients in their enhancers, and it really shows. The green tea extract manages to avoid the "instant tea" taste that is so common amongst tea flavored water enhancers, and tastes a lot more like real tea than most of the competition. The peach flavoring is a little bit more on the standardized, "this is peach flavoring" side, but it is still good, and adds an extra element of interest to the taste. I found the green tea with peach flavor to be very good, overall.

The cranberry and elderberry extract is a little bit more unconventional than the green tea extract, in that the entire cranberry is used, seeds and all. This gives the fruit extract supplements a more granular consistency, and allows for a little bit of sedimentation after mixing if the drink is allowed to sit still long enough. Using the whole berry also allows for a very accurate and natural taste, and the enhancer does taste pretty much like a mildly sweet, raw cranberry. The inclusion of the elderberry also adds an extra bit of interest to the flavoring, although my previous inexperience with elderberry makes it difficult to attest to exactly what the fruit adds to the taste. My only complaint with the cranberry extract is that it has a mildly strange aftertaste. It's not a bad aftertaste; just a bit dry and mildly bitter. It took me a few servings to warm up to the cranberry extract because of the lingering aftertaste, but after I became accustomed to it, I began to really like the flavor. 

Overall, I really like Pure Inventions' water enhancers. They are full of beneficial dietary supplements, and are very natural and straightforward, with no added sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavors. The only thing keeping me from giving Pure's supplements my full recommendation is the slight barrier of entry. The supplements are on the expensive side, with each bottle ranging between 30 to 45 dollars. In a market full of water enhancers that typically cost less than five dollars per box or bottle, it makes Pure's product a bit of a hard sell. However, it is important to keep in mind that each bottle contains approximately 60 servings, and that the price you pay for Pure's product also includes the superior quality of the container, the carefully engineered nutritional benefits of each mix of supplements, and the unmatched natural taste of the flavors. 

If you are in the market for a truly all-natural water enhancer and are willing to take the risk on the price, Pure Inventions' natural supplements are definitely worth trying out.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Samples sent courtesy of Pure Inventions
Size: Varies by flavor [2 - 4 fl. oz.]
Price: Varies by flavor [$30.75 - $44.95]

Check out pure inventions at
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Late again, late again

I realize that the excuses are getting quite tired at this point, but I am going to have to push today's review back to tomorrow afternoon. Obligations at work and a family event at home this evening are preventing me the opportunity to finish today's write-up until later this evening.

Again, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and I thank you for your understanding as I deal with the scheduling chaos of preparing to head back to school for the fall semester.

So check back tomorrow for a rather exciting review of a uniquely high-end water enhancer sent to me by Pure Inventions.

Continued apologies and thanks again,


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lotte Chilsung Crushed Pear Beverage

On a bit of a whim, I thought that I would review something a little bit different today. I recently picked this up at an Asian market in town, and other than the two translated words on the front of the can and a website on the back with the domain suffix for South Korea, I have no idea what this is. Aside from the crushed pear, there is no indication as to what else, if anything, is in the drink. What I do know, however, is that this drink is delicious. The pear tastes very crisp and natural, although there is a slight candy twist in the aftertaste. Tiny pieces of the pear fruit from the crushing process are left suspended in the liquid, adding a very interesting texture to the beverage. It is a bit on the sweet side - almost like a thin pear nectar - but the small serving size is just satisfying enough to make the natural sweetness of the pear just right.

Overall, this is a great drink. I really enjoyed it, and I would definitely buy it again. It's an easy recommendation to make, and if you can find one, I would certainly suggest picking one up. That is, of course, assuming that you can actually find one.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 238 mL
Price: $0.99 

Friday, July 29, 2011

No post again today. I will be posting an apology soon explaining my inconsistency with my reviews this summer.

I hope that everybody is having a great day, and I thank you again for your continued understanding as I try to sort some of my personal responsibilities out right now.

- Hayden

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tradition Barley Tea

I am a big fan of Tradition's teas. They make quality products, and I always get a little bit excited when I find a new kind of loose leaf tea sitting on the shelf in Tradition's definitive, glossy box. I was just recently introduced to barley tea for the first time a few weeks ago, and despite having initial hesitations about the concept, I found that I really like it. Naturally, when I found this during a routine trip to the Asian market, I seized the opportunity and grabbed a box off of the shelf.

For those unfamiliar with the product, the picture on the front of the box is actually a bit misleading, as the tea bags are not simply filled with barley grains as depicted in the image. Instead, each bag contains a fairly even mixture of barley grains and black tea leaves, as shown in the horribly lit photograph below. Some more traditional barley teas are prepared by simply stewing barley seeds in hot water to release the flavor, just as you would with "conventional" tea leaves. Tea bags containing ground barley seeds can also be found as a method of preparing individual servings of the tea. Ironically, Tradition has decided to break from the routine by combining the tastes of whole barley seeds and fresh black tea.

Tradition's barley tea has an excellent flavor. The black tea tastes very fresh, and the barley seeds add a slight grainy taste to the bitterness of the tea. Although barley does not have a particularly strong taste, its flavor is very distinct, and is certainly present amongst the black tea. This is a good thing, though, as the two stark flavors act as mellowing agents for each other, and both of their distinct aromas combine smoothly into one pleasantly mild and natural taste that leaves the palette feeling clean and refreshed.

Although I have a hard time imagining a tea-drinker not enjoying Tradition's barley tea, I would say that this may not be the drink for everybody. Those who do not enjoy the taste of natural, earthy grains are not likely to find great pleasure in this beverage. While I still encourage those who harbor hesitations towards the drink to give it a try, I'd definitely say try it before you buy it. I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of all sorts of grains, and I really found a lot to enjoy about this tea. I would say that it's one of my recent favorites, and I definitely offer it my recommendations.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 2.8 grams [20 bags/box]
Price: $3.49

Friday, July 22, 2011

Today's post will be delayed until tomorrow. I apologize, but I have some business to attend to tonight that I unfortunately can't talk about here because it involves a surprise for a friend, and I will not be able to finish today's update as planned.

I apologize for the continued delays. Everything is sort of happening at once right now. Things should return to normal within the next couple of weeks.

See you back here tomorrow afternoon!