Archive for the ‘Food’


Squatters Hop Rising Double IPA

A few weeks ago I was on my way to the cabin and stopped at the liquor store for some beer. The selection of craft beers has been ever-increasing there and nestled among many of my favorites I saw a six pack of Utah Brewers Cooperative‘s Squatters Hop Rising Double IPA for $9.99. Liking the ABV (9%), the ratings on BeerAdvocate (86/100, N=349), and the DIPA labeling, I picked some up and brought them along with me.

Utah Brewers Cooperative puts out some great beers with hilarious names including Polygamy Porter and Evolution Amber Ale (Darwin Approved the label claims) all with excellent artwork. I knew that Utah was home to some excellent beer and breweries, something which surprised me considering the state in which they reside but which I am pleased to have the opportunity to imbibe.

This DIPA has some great spicy floral notes when you pour the reddish gold beer into a glass. The first taste is that of malty sweetness and a bit of bitterness from the hops but far more subdued than I would expect from a DIPA. The beer is highly drinkable and the sweetness carries further than the hops throughout the glass leaving you with a little bit of spice in the background but mainly malt.

Overall I have really enjoyed Squatters Hop Rising Double IPAs on the several occasions I have bought them since my first taste and I am confident that any hophead will be able to appreciate the goodness in this one. In fact, if you’re a hophead and you don’t like this one based on my recommendation I will happily buy you a beer of your choice and take your leftovers!

Have you ever had Squatters Hop Rising Double IPA? If so what did you think about it? How about other beers put out by Utah Brewers Cooperative? Which ones did you have and what were they like? Do you find the names as hilarious as I do? Any other Double IPAs you have that are favorites of yours which we can get locally that I should try? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Gedney Homestyle Old World Spicy Dills

Last week I was at the store and was perusing the pickle aisle and came across Gedney Homestyle Old World Spicy Dills. Apparently part of an entire product line, these were very similar to other major labels who have been putting out similar homemade style pickles in labeling, inclusion of cut up veggies, and some sort of backstory about how they follow old world traditions in pickling vegetables.

The ingredient list is fairly simple and is what made me decide to give these a try:

cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, carrots, sugar, jalapeno peppers, salt, garlic, calcium chloride, and dill seed

While I would have preferred they keep out the calcium chloride, an agent used to increase the salt taste without the sodium content and to help firm up the vegetables, instead opting for an ice bath before packaging, the rest of the list was just fine for me.

While the packaging was attractive and the vegetables included inside were nice, the pickles were sort of ‘meh’. First off, these were nothing more than Polish dills. Unfortunately for Gedney, they weren’t sweet enough nor spicy enough to meet even the basic standards of lower-priced brands such as Cub’s own Polish Dills which don’t include any of the fancy vegetables meant to catch the eye. Aside from the lack of sweet and spice usually reserved for this genre, they just didn’t carry much flavor at all. I mean, they sort of tasted like pickles but weren’t tart enough to bring out that usual pickle taste. The only good thing at all about these was that they were quite crunchy but that wasn’t enough to save them.

Overall while I haven’t tried the rest of the Gedney Homestyle, their Old World Spicy Dills are a big pass. If the rest of this sub-brand are going to be this lame, I expect to see them bouncing to rock-bottom pricing soon so if you’re a fan, stock up ;-)

Have you had Geney’s Homestyle Old World Spicy Dills? If so, what did you think about them? Have you had any other Homestyle items from Gedney? Which ones and what did you think of those? How about other brands, like Vlasic, trying to do the same thing? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Herr’s Texas Pete Hot Sauce Potato Chips

This past weekend we were doing a little grocery shopping and I came across a bag of Herr’s Texas Pete Hot Sauce chips at a Walmart in Alexandria. I just had to pick up these chips for two reasons:

    1. Herr’s is a favorite of mine from when I was a kid being that Herr’s was all over the Eastern seaboard (they are a PA company).

    2. I hadn’t seen anyone use Texas Pete hot sauce on a product before.

The chips themselves were in a large sized bag and were really inexpensive compared to other specialty chips ($2.50/bag). I grabbed a bag and brought them home, opening them up and digging in as soon as we walked in the door at home.

Full disclosure: I have never found Texas Pete hot sauce to be anything special. In fact, I thought it was kinda weak. I am a Frank’s man and I put that * on everything. Not wanting to remove any chance of this one being good based on Herr’s poor choice of hot sauce brands I ventured on putting my hot sauce allegiance aside.

The chips were phenomenal, just like I remembered from when I was a kid. None of this garbage that people eat here in Minnesota; this was true East Coast ownage (ok, I’m kidding a bit here). The chips were really good but they were still chips. However, the spiciness from the Texas Pete was well done. I have had plenty of name-brand chips trying to capitalize off the hot sauce craze such as Lay’s miserable Sriracha chip failure, but Herr’s Texas Pete probably has been the best by far.

While I didn’t see any other Herr’s chips in the store, I am looking forward to reliving my childhood eating these chips again and I certainly will not hesitate at all to buy another bag of their Texas Pete hot sauce version. Really good stuff that I recommend you try.

Have you ever had Herr’s chips? How about their Texas Pete version? If so what did you think? Did this review want to Make Herr’s Yours? What is your favorite chip brand and why? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Moonshine Makes a Legal Comeback

According to this article in Time, the now legal spirit, is making a big comeback due to people’s love of whiskey and a desire for something new and different.

From the article:

When the recession hit in 2008 and 2009, a number of states looked for ways to generate employment and keep tax revenue rolling in. One way to accomplish both goals was to loosen laws regulating distilleries.

[…]

The biggest operation is Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, which opened in 2010 in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Roughly 130,000 cases of moonshine were sold in 2012, a jump from 50,000 in 2010 and 80,000 in 2011, according to food-and-beverage-analysis firm Technomic. (A case holds 12 750-ml jars.) Ole Smoky accounts for the vast majority of all sales — 100,000 of the 130,000 cases sold last year.

[…]

As moonshine creeps into the mainstream, however, there are some in Appalachia who question whether a spirit that’s aboveboard — and regulated and taxed by the government – can truly be considered moonshine. It may be unaged whiskey. But is it really good ol’ ’shine?’

I had an opportunity to try Ole Smoky’s stuff several years ago as we were driving through Tennessee on our way to South Carolina. They have setup their distillery right in the heart of Gatlinburg and were offering free samples of their stuff, over and over again–much to my surprise. Most of it was fine for me, all except the stuff that was closest to actual moonshine–isopropyl tastes better than that.

I know a bunch of you guys are whiskey fans. Have any of you been trying the legal moonshines which have come to market? What do you think of them? Anyone ever tried to make it themselves? Do you think that moonshine can never be called moonshine as long as it’s created legally and taxed by the government? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.