Ginseng Cola and Watermelon Beer?

I don’t consider myself a connoisseur of soft drinks (or anything for that matter), but every so often I am tempted to try something and yap about it on here as if I know what I am talking about. Sort of like my annual Autumn beer review. While it is fun to get a buzz and carve Jack-O-Lantern faces in various items, the review should not be taken as a serious beer taste-test. I just needed a vessel for my shenanigans. So here is a quick article that will fill  my time off as a facade for being productive.

Tonight, I am going to review a few items that I picked up at the local Food Co-Op. To me, the Food Co-Op of Moscow, Idaho is a slice of heaven. There are so many international items, odd vegetables, organic anythings and hundreds of micro brews in the beer aisle that to shop there is less of a chore and more of a trip. Sure there are some die-hard organic-loving hippies but for the most part, there are people like me who just want to load the cart with oddities and spend $1.30 on a root beer. Maybe I am the weird one and the hippies are normal? Hmmm. No, I smell much better.

As you can see, the selection of the beer and sodas from around the US and world is pretty extensive. The really cool thing is the box full of old 6 pack holsters so you can create your own beer box of goodness. As a person who has an average appreciation for fine beer, much is wasted on me because one man’s heavenly nectar is another man’s bottle of yak piss and if it is less than pleasing, I have a habit of making this face. So, don’t expect me to be agreeable over a $10 bottle of beer when I am the type that has recently ordered a Happy Meal and an orange soda. But I did end up with a few gems and here they are.

Lola was promised a part in this review.

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer from 21st Amendment Brewery was something that I just could not pass up. I can’t tell if it was the watermelon flavor or the fact the can spoke to me through its impressive designs and company’s mission statement. Whatever the reason was, it ended up in the basket.

The can posed this beer to be simple in ingredients but shocking in originality. Both hold true from the weird combination of wheat and watermelon to the warning stating “Agitate before opening. Yeast inside”. Being the type of person who ignores words and warnings, I popped this can and drank it down as if it was a Bud Lite. Not a  Bud Lite!

The first thought I had, was eating a piece of watermelon and dropping it in a bag of day-old grass clippings. And then, instead of leaving the watermelon in the bag, you just pick it back up and keep on eating, rhine and all. It definitely is a wheaty, yeasty beer but after a few more sips, that taste subsides and a dry watermelon flavor permeates allowing the main attraction of this beer to be shown. I don’t know what I was expecting. Perhaps a Zima with a watermelon Jolly Rancher inside? No, but definitely not a medium body wheat. I love it for what it is; a cool concept in cooler packaging. Check them out here!

The following two are the colas that I needed to try. That is pretty much because the only three colas I have ever had were Coca Cola, Pepsi and R.C. and to me, each are only separated by a few varying degrees. I know the difference, but I am not the type to spit one over another out in protest.

I needed to try the organic and micro brewed type just so I can really define what cola is. In the past, I have been let down by most anything cola flavored just because it all tastes like soda burp. Whether it is gum or candy, I leave it up to major corporations to tell me what real cola is supposed to taste like.The homemade version intrigue me.

The one on the left is from the soda micro company Natural Brew and from the picture, its label seems to read “Band Crapter”. That can’t be right. Anyway, it’s defining feature is the Chinese ginseng root that promises sharper memory and motor skills. I don’t know. The taste however, was much like RC. No, it tastes exactly like RC. To the Royal Cola haters this might be a deal breaker but the ginsing…uh..”zing”, helped me learn French in a night. And I built a fort from the couch cushions, invited the neighbors and pelted them with rolled up socks.

The cola to the right is from Virgil’s Micro Company and this one was a little more pleasing. Perhaps it’s the 64 grams of sugar? I have really become a fan of Virgil’s anything. The root beer is the greatest root beer you will ever have. While the cola is just like Coke, the root beer is like an acid trip to Candy Land by way of Chutes and Ladders. Unbelievable. If I had ten they would probably be consumed so fast I would slip into a diabetic furry of zombie-like coordination and absurd statements like “I lost my January” or “Beanie Babies for President! Four more days! Four more days!” It’s better if I just stick to one a week. Here is what I am talking about.

This was perhaps the most in-congruent review I have ever done. I just needed an excuse to spend stupid money on stuff that economically sound folks would scoff at. I suppose that is why we have blogs. It is a great excuse to do most anything. I can’t tell you how many stupid things I have done, not because it was for the reasons of writing, but just because I wanted to do it. The blog only justifies my actions to others.

In other news, I saw Trick r Treat finally. I liked it. Not so much for the quality of the movie but for what it was trying to do. I loved The Creepshow feel and even more so, I absolutely loved the Halloweentown feel. Did I really just give props to a Disney movie and in the same sentence with The Creepshow while describing an R rated film? Bet your booberellas I did. If I keep going I might just throw a bone to Are You Afraid of the Dark from the ancient world of SNICK.

If you guys have nothing going on tonight, check out Stacie Ponder’s relatively new radio show, The Scare-ening that is live at 8:00 Pacific. It’s a horror-fun-good-time.

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Don’t Move A…

…a toe. I have two great posts finishing tonight. Sorry I have been AWOL. So in the mean time, watch this. If you love me, you will watch the whole thing.

Where Did You Go? Part 14: FOOD

There are literally hundreds of retro food blogs out there that list every possible snack, soda, TV dinner, candy and fast food that has been discontinued in the history of ever. Some even track down the original item and have them in possession for pictures and possibly a daring taste test some 15 years after expiration. To those people who are that devoted to the dead sodas and snack crackers of the world, I commend you. I am not that devoted. But, I will write my own personal thoughts and memories of some of these deceased items so you can get a little taste of my opinions as I bitch and moan over why I have cognitive haunts about a drink I haven’t tasted in 20 years.

The Item: I was a lucky to be of the perfect age for the invention of the fruit snack. As a young kid, there was nothing better than to witness the combination of candy and snack. Fun Fruits and Fruit Rollups were about as amazing as fire to a caveman for a six-year-old. It was our heroine and we had to have it. Poor Mom was never allowed to go to the grocery store without bringing home a box and if we were with her on that chore, there was always a scene. “But they have vitamin C! THEY HAVE VITAMIN CEEEEEEEE!

Gone are the days when fruit snacks looked like deer shit and came in flavors like orange and cherry. No, nowadays they all have to have themes and familiar shapes to kids as if buying X-Men fruit snacks tasted any different from Barbie ones. These particular snacks have morphed into 3 feet long rolled up strips, snacks filled with goo, temporary tattoos for the tongue, stack-able cut outs, and formed into every Disney character ever created. I saw this coming in 1988 with the introduction of Shark Bites. I knew the simple days were through. The death of Fruit Corners died a quiet death, but I will still shed a tear.

The Item: Candilicious is not a stripper. I just wanted to make that clear because in search for the picture above, I was exposed to many of these dancers. That is a big distraction when waxing childhood nostalgia.

No, this was a great late 80’s candy that proved the mentality of my childhood was always bigger = better. Perhaps it was that my mandibular suck-hole was smaller but I remember almost choking every time I ate this. Imagine the taste of Starbusts, softer than Now and Laters and bigger than Laffy Taffy and you have Candilicious. It was a Bubbalicious product and in some ways it was the answer to my wish of swallowing my gum at the zenith point of it’s taste. I imagine 5 out of 5 dentists agree this candy should be not only discounted but wiped from all memory completely. But I remember. Nice try tooth nazis.

The Item: Burples might just be an item that history forgot. Perhaps it was the fact that the fruit drink was shockingly potent or maybe the futuristic attraction of the recently released Capri Sun, the Burples just never made a lasting impression. The bottle came collapsed with a powdered inside and all you needed to do was add water. If memory serves me right, it fizzed and expanded the accordion shaped bottle, but that might be in my head. The finished result meant a sugar high so intense, it will cause you to race around the house, slip on the linoleum and crack your head open on the kitchen counter.

The cool thing about these deceased drinks is that somewhere, buried deep in the two decade layered landfill, the non biodegradable containers still remain. A tribute to the 1980 consumer and our foresight beyond mutually assured destruction. Burples!

The Item: Five Alive was a staple in the house growing up and it was always in the condensed frozen can you see above. I can actually close my eyes and remember wrestling with the damn plastic strip that kept the metallic cap on. Then squeezing the can over the pitcher and watch it poop the orange/yellow concentrate in a slow sounding ‘schloooop’. There was a certain satisfaction of “making” juice, even if it just meant pouring in three cans of cold water and stirring. But there were a few times Dad would spit a large glop of frozen 5 Alive back into his glass. That’s what you get for putting a 7-year-old on juice duty.

I believe 5 Alive is still out there among the various juices and as an adult I am not sure if I would buy it. I remember not really liking it as a kid. Maybe it was the lime and grapefruit combination that had me wincing while watching ABC morning cartoons. What’s wrong with plain old O.J.?

The Item: The PB Max is..er…was amazing. Not only was it a brick of a candy bar but it would simultaneously enlarge your ass, give you type one diabetes and destroy the ability to whistle for a year. I heard a guy who had a peanut allergy one time walked into a gas station that sold PB Max’s and his lips, hands and feet exploded.

I can understand why PB Max’s died like Ryan White because eating half of a jar of peanut butter in one sitting is pretty amazing. Even for a candy bar. Plus it is a mess. It’s like a rapidly melting brownie filled with something that will smell up a minivan for years to come.

The Item: All the cereals of the 80′ and 90’s that had a link to either cartoons, video games or candy are pretty much dead. Long gone are the days when you could come out of the fort you built in the den and chow down on cereal with crushed lollipops and sugared marshmallow sugary sugars. No, the FDA says that they can’t use such marketing ploys to kill off kids, increase the medical insurance debacle, and cause adult depression linked to childhood obesity and repressed memories of mean skinny kids who sang “fatboy fatboy, why ya so fat? Cake on the lips, jelly in the gut, BIG BUTT!” Fuck you Sugar Bear. Look what you have done.

Now we have Grapenuts. With neither grapes nor nuts. I get no respect. Respect is niiiiice.

For real reviews of snacks and junk food you should… no… have to check out Matt’s articles.  These are classics. Peace and love.

11 Dead Sodas

Freezer Finds

Garfield Snacks

American Gladiator Bars