Friday, January 28, 2011

Pure Glass Bottle Reusable Vessel

I was recently sent this vessel by PURE Glass Bottle, a relatively new company offering a new and innovative option in the reusable bottle market. Founded by an experienced environmental chemist, PURE produces portable glass beverage vessels that are durable, convenient, and completely friendly to the environment. As an aspiring engineer, sustainability and eco-friendly efficiency are very important focal points in my life, and I believe that, as a society, minimizing our disposable plastic bottle usage is one important step in moving towards a collective attitude of decreasing waste. That being said, I support PURE's product, and was excited to try out the company's bottle.

PURE currently produces two variations of their bottle: The Traveler (520 mL, pictured above) and the Explorer (740 mL). The two bottles differ somewhat in shape, and the Traveler features a two-piece narrow orifice design, as opposed to the Explorer's wider and more conventional one-piece lid. I was sent the Traveler, and have been using it heavily ever since it arrived. 

From an aesthetics perspective, the bottle is pretty eye-catching. The clarity of the material gives the bottle a very clean, sterile appearance, particularly when being used with water. The unimposing simplicity of the logo and pure cylindrical geometry of the bottle's body give it a very modern, minimalist look. The nozzle-shaped lid of the Traveler model does slightly break the continuity and "oneness" of the bottle's appearance, but the added function of the lid makes the mild loss of form easy to overlook. One of my favorite aspects of trying different beverages is the variety of colors that one tends to come across, making the vessel's clarity an interesting dwelling point for me. The complete colorlessness of the bottle accentuates the natural color of whatever is inside, and allows you to see clearly into whatever it is that you are drinking. The bottle has a very clean, healthy motif, and from what I have experienced, the bottle's look makes it very inviting, as many people who have seen the bottle instinctively reach out to pick it up.

The body of the bottle is indeed made of 100% pure glass, but what sets the PURE Glass Bottle apart from other competitors is the vessel's transparent safety coating. The body of the vessel is coated in an impact-resistant safety material to prevent damage to the bottle and to contain potentially hazardous shards of glass in the event that the bottle does break. The coating has been proven effective, and PURE has even posted a rather humorous video on its website in which a representative is actually trying to break the bottle with a metal wrench to demonstrate the coating's containment of the glass, and only manages to actually damage the bottle after quite a few repeated strikes. The coating adds a bit of tactility and grip to the glass body, and makes the bottle easy to dispose of in the event of an unfortunate gravity-related mishap. The high-friction nature of the material does cause it to tend to attract small particles of dust and grit during use, but a quick rinse of the exterior solves this immediately. The body of the bottle feels great in the hand, and is the perfect size for most people to grip comfortably. The vessel is just big enough to fit in most cupholders, but its height may make it a bit unstable depending on the depth of the cupholder's well. The glass is thick and weighty and adds a satisfying heft to the container. Unfortunately, this reduces it's "portability" a bit, as it is less convenient to carry around, and probably would not make for the best jogging bottle. The added durability from the coating would likely make this a perfectly acceptable work-out bottle for the gym, but it is difficult to imagine running longer distances without being able to set the bottle down.

Another unique feature of the bottle is its two-piece lid. The lid (pictured below), screws onto the wider opening of the primary body, and gradually narrows to a diameter very similar to that of a common disposable bottle. The second cap then screws onto the lid to close the container. The lid contains a sealing ring (also pictured below) that matches with the top edge of the bottle's threaded area to prevent leaks, and the cap seals with the threaded portion of the lid in much the same way as a soft drink bottle. A few days ago, I began to worry that the seal was not complete when, for some unremembered reason, I decided to pick up the bottle and shake it around. I noticed droplets of water being flung from the bottle, and realized that they were emanating from the seam between the lid and body. After closer inspection, however, it was determined that they were originating from small traces of water trapped between the threads (presumably from my apparent inability to accurately pour liquid from one container to another) rather than from the fluid inside the bottle, so it is recommended that the threads be dried before sealing the bottle. The three piece-design also makes the bottle much easier to clean. All three parts of the bottle are top-rack dishwasher safe, although I have general reservations about putting plastics (lid and cap) in the dishwasher, as it tends to reduce their overall effective life span.

Wider opening of the bottle's body

Lid and cap

View of sealing ring with cap and lid replaced

I really like the design of the lid, as the narrow opening allows for a seal between the bottle and the drinker's mouth to be made, making it much, much easier to control the amount of beverage accessed at a time. This can be more difficult with wider openings, especially during situations involving inconsistent accelerations such as walking or riding in a moving vehicle. I have certainly had my fair share of embarrassing dribbles onto my shirt/pants while trying to drink in the car, and it is nice to find a bottle that takes that into consideration. 

My only real complaint about the entire bottle is in regard to the fact that the lid and cap are both made of what feels like a standard plastic. Everything in the bottle is FDA approved and BPA free (no danger of any estrogenic chemicals here), so there are no health concerns about the plastic, but the plastic is a noticeable contrast to the heavy feel of the glass bottle. The lid's plastic does not feel low-quality in any way, but it does not necessarily feel high-quality, either. The blue cap is also remarkably similar to a soft drink cap, and it is easy to imagine a scenario in which the cap is separated from the bottle and left unattended to be thrown away by an unwary third party. Leaving the cap on the bottle is an easy solution to this problem, but some sort of markings or distinguishing qualities could help to avoid the concern altogether. 

Although I suppose that it is a bit ironic that I am more concerned about damaging the plastic lid than I am about damaging the glass bottle to which is attached, I don't know that it would necessarily be fair for me to give the bottle less of a good review because of it. The nozzle shape of the lid involves some fairly complex geometries, and my first-hand knowledge of how these sorts of things are designed and produced tells me that making the lid out of glass would have been an impractically complicated and expensive undertaking. Plastic universally tends to seal better than glass, as well, so I don't know that glass-on-glass threading between the bottle and lid would have been a good idea, anyway. The physical difference between the materials in the hand and on the mouth while drinking produces a strange mental incongruity during early usage of the bottle, but the sensation vanishes after a short "break-in" period, and I no longer notice the inconsistency. Although I do maintain my complaints about the generic appearance of the cap, they are small when considering the bottle as a whole. I love this bottle, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a durable, sleek, and clean-tasting reusable vessel.

Verdict: Highly recommended

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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fruit 66: Orange Tangerine

One of the downfalls of being a hobbyist beverage reviewer is the propensity to buy new drinks every time that I see one. I love the habit, don't get me wrong, but it can be fairly expensive sometimes, especially since some of these beverages are not exactly cheap. This past sunday was an excellent example of this phenomenon. I walked into Bi-Lo with the intention of buying only hot chocolate and walked out with seven beverages. Fruit 66 was included in this assortment, and I had the chance to try it last night.

I must say, unfortunately, that I was not entirely impressed by the beverage. Despite it's adorable name, the drink is a bit lacking in overall flavor. Even by the end of the drink, I was not entirely sure of what I was tasting. I could taste the orange flavorings (although mostly just the tangerine) here and there, but overall the drink had a weird, empty taste to it that left me rather unsatisfied. What I did taste of the orange tasted more like the orange portion of creamsicle flavoring, and the drink had a heavy artificial taste despite its claims of 100% all-natural ingredients. It is not certified organic, however, so the claims should be taken with a probably unnecessary but justified grain of salt. The drink was also fairly sweet, although I had a difficult time deciding if it was too sweet or not, so I suppose that by default it was not. 

Fruit 66 was not necessarily bad. I just did not like it. Perhaps their orange flavor is not as good as the others and trying a different flavor first would have left a better first impression, but at almost $1.50 per unit, I don't know that I will be motivated to try it again. It has no qualities of a bad beverage, but it is lacking in many of the qualities of a good one, as well.

There is one more point to be made, however. On the can, they make a point of making you aware that a portion of the proceeds from each Fruit 66 beverage is donated to the School Nutritional Foundation to help improve children's health and nutrition in the American public school system. This is a cause that I can readily advocate, as I believe that the chemical-filled, sugary snacks and beverages that are being marketed to children these days are, frankly, an atrocity. Sugar (primarily because the food and beverage industry cram everything full of it) is one of the leading causes of American obesity, and, although I am guilty of the occasional over-indulgence, I think that we need to collectively cut back on both sugar content and serving size. As someone who, in his spare beverage time, drinks mostly unsweetened or organic beverages, I can definitely support a push for healthier drinks in America's public schools that don't sacrafice taste. Unfortunately, I don't think that Fruit 66 is the place to start, but it's definitely not the worst option.

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: Bi-Lo [Columbia, SC]
Size: 8 fl. oz. [237 mL]
Price: $1.19 [Discounted]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Progress Update

Just as a quick update, I wanted to let everyone know that I am extending the "About Drinkable Review" submission deadline indefinitely, as I have not really gotten much work done yet on the new site. I did not have as much time as I had hoped over the winter break to work on it, and the school semester has hit pretty hard already now that I'm back. I am hoping to have at least some form of the new site up by mid-February at this point, but I don't want to make any promises that I may or may not be able to keep. I am going to try my hardest to get to the library over the next couple of weekends and dedicate a large chunk of time solely to working on the new site, but my classwork schedule may impose on me otherwise. I apologize for being all over the place with my posts/promises, but such is the life of a senior-year mechanical engineering major, I suppose.

I will try to post updates over the next few weeks regarding the progress of the new site, and I will be sure to notify everyone when I reassign the date for the submission deadline. Make sure to pay attention to the twitter feed for unscheduled posts and site news. See you back here tomorrow for Tuesday's review!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Superior Ginseng Drink

I paid a visit to my local Asian market for the first time in a while this past weekend. Every time that I go, I pass by these tiny drinks in the tea aisle during my shopping and I wonder every time what the small beverage is like. Well, I can officially lay my curiosity to rest, as I have finally tried one and it is really not very good.

As far as the ginseng flavor goes, the drink is very satisfying. I love ginseng, and the flavor is very natural. However, this makes a lot of sense, as the beverage literally gets its flavor straight from a chunk of ginseng root contained within the interestingly shaped glass bottle. The ginseng is not, from what I can tell by the taste and ingredients, artificially enhanced in any way beyond the flavor dissipation from the root. 

Everything sounds great so far, right? Had the beverage stopped there, that would be correct. The reason that this drink falls short, however, is totally unrelated to ginseng. The drink, unfortunately, has been sweetened. But not with any conventional sweetener; no. That would be too...conventional. The beverage is sweetened with honey alcohol. Now, I have never experienced honey alcohol before, and I think that it is fair to say that my first exposure has turned me off to the stuff. The sweetness offered by the substance is...peculiar. It has a mild pungency to it, and leaves a horribly dry and unappetizing taste in the back of the throat. The aftertaste just does not sit well, and lingers for some time after the initial consumption. I practically had to empty my water bottle before the taste started to subside after only taking a few drinks of the already very small beverage. Although the taste of the ginseng is well-cultivated, the drink overall has a musty, bitter taste due to the odd mixture of ingredients, and I think that I would definitely have a very difficult time recommending this one to anyone other than the most die-hard of ginseng fans.

Note: This is not an alcoholic beverage. Honey alcohol contains less than 0.05% alcohol by volume and is not  actually an alcoholic ingredient.

Verdict: Not recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 4 fl. oz. [120 mL]
Price: $1.75

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Infused OWater

By this point, I have had many disappointing flavor-infused waters. Sometimes the flavoring is worth the extra effort, but I usually feel when drinking an infusion that I would really just rather have plain water. Owater, however, is a slight exception.

The first big difference about Owater is that it is sweetened (with pure cane sugar, I believe). Typically, infused waters are not, and many would argue that that is the point of an infused water beverage. I would certainly not argue with those people about it; I agree. But the mild sweetness in the Owater really just made the drink a lot more enticing overall. The sweetening helps to bring out the very natural taste of the fruit flavorings, and keeps them from combining into an obtruse amalgamation of flavors that leaves a bitter aftertaste in one's mouth (a problem that I frequently have with this sort of beverage).

I picked this up at Big Lots, and the flavor selection was limited to this one (pineapple, orange, blueberry), but I found it to be quite tasty. It was refreshing and different in an industry segment of largely similar and nondescript products, and stands out as a much more viable option for those looking for a healthy, light beverage that still has a bit of taste. Seeing as I got this one at Big Lots, I'm not sure of the retail price of individual units, but I would imagine that the prices are competitive. If so, this one is definitely worth your money.

As an added note, the company has changed their bottles, labels, and flavors recently (hence this older one ending up at Big Lots), so those who go looking for this should do some research first to familiarize themselves with the new look, so as not to pass over it in a store. The company also sells an unsweetened version of the beverage, as well, if that is one's preference.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Columbia, SC]
Size: 17 fl. oz. [502 mL]
Price: $0.70 [Discounted]

Friday, January 14, 2011

Takeya Modern Glass Water Bottle

As mentioned previously, I recently decided to look into getting a new water bottle, and I was sent this beautiful Takeya bottle through CSN Stores. I already have a Kor One Hydration Vessel (which I never got around to reviewing but may do so later) that I absolutely love, but I received a juicer from my family over the holidays, and I've been needing another vessel in which to carry juices with me to class. Upon receiving my Takeya bottle, however, I've found that I like it so much that it has become my default water bottle rather than simply a backup for juices.

The Takeya Modern Glass Water Bottle is, firstly, a gorgeous piece of beverage equipment. The simplistic, cylindrical design certainly has a very modernistic feel to it, and is accentuated by the muted green of the silicone wrapping and the clean white of the screw-on lid. The bottle itself is made of a unique material called "AcraGlass," a high-quality, glass-like acrylic developed by Takeya for its various product lines. The material is impeccably similar to conventional glass in texture, heft, appearance, and even sound (on the rare occasion that the bottle is knocked against something), and had I not done a bit of research into the company after receiving the bottle, I never would have suspected that the material was, in fact, not glass. Unlike many plastics or metals, the AcraGlass leaves no residual taste in the contained liquid, which is particularly important when using it for water. The bottle feels weighty and durable when held, and the tall, slender design fits perfectly in the hand. Overall, the bottle is just a satisfying thing to hold. The slender design, however, does make this bottle a terrible match for most cup-holders, but the reliable lid keeps transporting the container from being an issue.

The external silicone wrapping adds to the satisfying feel of the vessel by adding a little cushion to the unyielding inner material and adding a bit of much needed grip. An exposed glass bottle would surely be slippery and hard to hang on to when wet or covered in condensation; a common problem easily sidestepped with the silicone. The covering is only a few millimeters thick around the perimeter of the bottle, but is a good bit thicker on the bottom so that setting down the container too swiftly is not a concern. The two vertical slots along the length of the bottle allow air to creep between the silicon and the glass to dry any trapped moisture from filling/cleaning, while also adding an aesthetic relief from the plain consistency of the silicon's appearance. In the event that the bottle were to be broken during a drop, the wrapping would also prevent potentially dangerous shards of acrylic from scattering across the floor. Silicone is widely known for its insulative properties, and although the sheath around the bottle is not very thick, it still helps keep beverages closer to their initial temperatures for longer periods of time. With that in mind, it is certainly notable that Takeya bottles can be used for both hot and cold beverages: a feature that is relatively unique for a water bottle.

The bottle's lid is also of high-quality construction, and is made of a hard plastic that feels almost like a ceramic. The rubber ring in the top of the lid creates a strong seal with the opening of the bottle, and the molding on the side of the lid provides extra, although largely unneeded torque when screwing on the lid. The single-path thread design matches the threading on the opening of the bottle and ensures that the protrusion on the lid will always settle on the original sideways configuration seen in the picture above (assuming, of course, that the silicone wrapping has not shifted from its original state) when the bottle is sealed.

I am very, very satisfied with my Takeya bottle. My only complaint so far is that dust and other small particles can tend to stick to the silicone when it is dry, but that is a small complaint in light of the positives and is easily avoided by frequently washing the bottle. At 16 fluid ounces, the bottle is overall a better fit for juices and other flavored beverages, as I find myself frequently refilling the bottle when I use it for water (a function perhaps better served by the larger 18 ounce version). I have been using this bottle every day, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a visually appealing, durable, and relatively inexpensive reusable vessel.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Those of you who follow the twitter feed know that I said that I was going to review my new Takeya glass water bottle today, but due to extenuating circumstances, I need to push it back to Friday. I apoplogize, and offer this wonderful beer review instead.

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock is a superb beverage. I am, in general, a fan of darker beers, but I had never heard of the term "bock" before. I found, after some research, that "bock" is simply a term for a strong German lager. Excited, I opened up the beer and took a drink. At first, all that I tasted was a strong beer, but as I let the deep amber fluid sit in my mouth for a moment, I could begin to taste the cocoa. The cocoa's influence was even more profound upon swallowing, and the aftertaste was smooth and rich without being overpowering or lingering too heavily in the throat. I had just sort of assumed that the word "chocolate" in "chocolate bock" was simply a descriptor of the color (although I realized after opening it that the label does clearly state that it is made with cocoa), but the actual chocolate taste was a nice surprise and gave this winter brew a little something extra to make it unique. It certainly has a very "holiday" quality about it, but I think that I only feel that way because of marketing and social understandings about what makes certain foods and beverages holiday or seasonal. I really enjoyed this beer, and my only complaint is its limited yearly availability. But, of course, maybe that will help keep it special. I look forward to having another around this time next year.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Gift
Size: 12 fl. oz.
Price: Unknown [Part of the Sam Adams winter sampler pack]

Friday, January 7, 2011


I picked this up the other day expecting it to be a Vitamin Water rip-off. After all, the evidence makes this a reasonable deduction: The sideways text...the minimalist color design...the fact that it is vitamin-enhanced water...the fact that this particular flavor shares a name with a flavor of Vitamin Water...the list goes on. But I was intrigued, nonetheless, even if only by the color of the beverage. After avoiding the drink for several days, I finally tried it recently, and I must admit that I was surprised. This is not a wonderful beverage, don't get me wrong, but it was as lot different than I expected. 

First of all, it was sweeter than other drinks of its sort. It is a diet drink, however, and is sweetened with Splenda (the only artificial sweetener that I regularly find palatable), so it is not terribly sweet. It does have a sort of mouth-drying aftertaste reminiscent of Powerade, though, which put me off of the beverage a little bit. Although the bottle only says "Multi-V," it is clear that this is lemon-lime flavored, and very artificial, at that. 

It's really not bad. Something about it enticed me to finish the entire thing, even though I had to separate each drink with a drink of water to compensate for the mouth-drying sensation. I wouldn't not recommend it, but I also don't think that I could recommend it at full price, assuming that to be likely somewhere around $2.00. It's not bad, but it's not good, either, especially not in the face of other alternatives.

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Price: $0.70 [Discounted]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Important News About Drinkable Review

As some of you may have heard, I am currently working on moving Drinkable Review over to a new, dedicated URL ( I am doing this for many reasons, but the primary reason is to maintain better, more centralized control over the review in the face of increasing traffic to the site. As I work on moving Drinkable Review to its new dedicated URL, I am coming to the realization that the next step is to focus the site more strongly on promoting reader interaction. The traffic through the review is reasonably modest at the time of this writing, but it is consistent on a day-to-day basis, and the increasing size of Drinkable’s readership is steadily gaining momentum. Traffic has quickly reached an international scale, with many of the blog’s readers visiting from Europe, Asia, and Latin America, in addition to the U.S.

Now, before you take this as braggadocio, let me get to the point.

However, being as the site as it is now is simply a review blog, there is not much opportunity for reader interaction or community growth. The switch to the new site is my main plan of action to work on improving the "site-as-a-destination" feel, rather than a quick check-and-go blog, and I have many things in mind to improve Drinkable Review's permeability, many of which I am already working on implementing.

I was recently struck with the idea that one of these things should be to have a reader write the "About" section of the website. The about section simply talks about the blog's focus and content and describes the site's overall purpose, particularly with respect to summarizing the site for new readers. I've never liked writing my own "about" sections for any of these sorts of things (it always feels like boasting to me), and I think that having a reader/friend write the section would be a great step towards starting to build a community with the site.

If anyone is interested in helping out, email me at for further details and guidelines. More will be included in the email, but I will say here that I will offer the chosen submission's author a quick blurb about his/her site and a link out from the about page in the credit for his/her content. Drinkable Review is by no means a monstrosity on the internet, but its traffic is no longer insignificant, and this may offer a small but good opportunity for those with their own online ventures to spread the word about their project, even if just a little.

I will be accepting submissions until Monday, January 24th, and will notify everyone involved of the decision within several days of the deadline. Anyone is eligible to submit, but familiarity with Drinkable Review will obviously help in writing about its content, and is generally preferred.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to the next two weeks. Feel free to email any questions to the email address found above.


Twinnings Green Tea with Mint

I love mint. So, naturally, when I found this tea on sale for a dollar, I was pretty excited. I grabbed it up, took it home, and made a cup that very night to discover that I...only marginally liked this one. It is certainly not a bad tea, but the combination of mint and grean tea was unexpectedly odd, and left a dryness in my mouth after drinking it. It is possible that this is a tea that should not be oversteeped (I tend to like my teas fairly strong), and following the directions properly may help a bit with the dryness, but the overall flavor is just kind of strange. I can't really put my finger on why, though. It just seems like green tea and mint are not supposed to go together. The flavors are not complimentary enough to work well together, and they don't contrast enough to make the drink interesting or give it a unique flavor. The end result is really just kind of bland, and I think that I'd just rather drink plain green tea if given the option. But again, the tea is not bad, per se. Just neither interesting nor noteworthy.

Verdict: Worth a try 

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 10 bags
Price: $1.00 [discounted]