Jumping From One To The Next

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It was a great run we had this Halloween season. Even though I was away on business the last week and traveled the whole day of Halloween, it was one for the books. I definitely want to thank you for hanging around and being apart of the celebration. I might not know you personally but I definitely feel we shared a special time this season. So bring it in and let’s hug.

NOW…no more talk about Halloween until next August. We have important work to do.

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Welcome to the next fun and from now until December 25th, we will be talking about all things Christmas and Thanksgiving. I know you might think it’s a little early but in my mind, if the stores are pushing chocolate covered reindeer, it’s okay for me too. I have put together a pretty extensive list to cover and much fun will be had.

You may have noticed the Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale above with my pot roast backdrop. I am not sure if this is a seasonal beverage or if it is a constant but to me, this is only a November-December drink. That always makes something a little more special. Just like drinking a cool glass of eggnog at a 4th of July pool party probably would lessen the feeling come this time of the year. Not to mention that’s kind of gross.

Since Cranberry Ginger Ale has been on the market for a few Christmas seasons, I don’t feel the need to review it but I will say that you need to have this in your fridge. If nothing more, its color screams Yuletide.

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Now this is what I want to review. I heard about Sprite jumping on the cranberry train like Sierra Mist and 7-UP but didn’t think it would arrive at the store so early. I was pleasantly surprised to buy it when I came home from my trip last week and immediately shot a picture to Matt over at Dinosaurdracula.com. It looks like I was tardy to the party, however, because he already tried it. I am always a day late and a dollar short when new products are introduced. I’ll review it anyway.

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I had high expectations for this because I like Sprite a bit more than one should. The red label makes for a pretty damn attractive bottle though it’s contents is clear unlike other cranberry soft drinks. Please great Almighty, make this taste amazing.

Hrm. After having a glass I stood there for a while not sure what to think. I liked it, there was no question about that but was it “blow your socks off slap your mama shoot a gun” good like I was hoping? Not really.

I couldn’t grasp the cranberry taste and perhaps it was because I bought full-on fat kid Sprite rather than the diet or Zero version. Usually the diet versions are less sugary and more tartness and in the cranberry soda world, that makes big difference.

So, I give it 7.5 out of 10. I do like it but if given a choice, I would probably take the advise of the Holiday Hawk.

Magic Hat Summer Scene Variety Pack

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Tis the season for fun and super sunburns! It’s a time every kid in America lives for and people like me look forward to sweating in a suit. But for adults Summer does have its perks like cooking out, beach trips and great light ales to quench the thirst after mowing the lawn…twice a week.

Today I am going to shed some light on a seasonal variety pack. I stick to variety packs mainly because it’s easier to shoot a video about four beers versus one. And it’s not quiet as boring because you have a…um…variety. Yeah.

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Magic Hat is a great brewing company from Vermont and is as creative and trippy as the hippies who live there. It seems every year they get weirder and weirder and if you know me, then you know that is close to godliness as it gets. They take time to put a little fun and humor into their beers and it is backed up by the taste. It’s hard to argue with a product base that wins almost all beer-fests throughout the world.

Today’s review-vlog is the Summer Scene sample which includes the #9 Pale Ale, Idle Betty, Blind Faith IPA and the new HICU beer made from hibiscus and cucumber. The HICU is the new beer they brought to the table. Sounds good, right? See what we think in the video. (I say we because I am loner who plays by his own rules)

Candy Cane Culture Clash

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This is a topic I have been meaning to write about for years but for some reason or another, I find myself in February before I can. So today, while it is still relevant, I want to write about candy canes. And not the ones we grew up with…

…but the candy canes that truly are candy. I believe Lifesaver candy was the first shot over the bow of Christmas to tell peppermint to get bent. But this bold and progressive move against holly-jolly opened the flood gates and soon other candy makers began to take their goodies, shape them into canes, package them in boxes and ship them to the stores for a 200% profit. How they didn’t jump on this back in the 1950’s when most teenagers still believed in Santa and a desk could stop a nuclear blast, I don’t know. But they are here now, and for twenty bucks I’m going to review them.

As you can see, I have made an Imperial Star Destroyer out of the boxes of candy canes that are about to be reviewed. I will admit, the color spectrum is quite festive and it almost seems a shame to take them out of the box and chew them up. But this site isn’t a photography sight (no shit) and I am less of a guy to stop and gaze at beauty so let’s bust them out.

So I have or tried to remove all the candy canes from the boxes. The Sour Patch Kids did not fare too well but as a guy in his thirties I no longer feel the need to suck my candy cane into a shanking weapon so broken or not, they eat the same to me. You will also notice that these have been labeled and displayed to easy choosing. I did, however, forget to segregate them by flavor. Aw fuck. Oh well, I’ll be surprised.

First! Okay, here we have Jolly Rancher Candy Canes and these appear to be the “Smoothie” edition. Interesting. They come in three flavors being strawberry, mixed berry and watermelon. I am only trying a couple flavors in this review because in all honesty, I have no sweet-tooth. If given the choice between a candy cane and a dry two-day-old triscuit that may or may not have been on the kitchen floor, I would most likely choose the latter. But what the hay, it’s Christmas and if you have been reading this site for any length of time then you know my reviews hold zero weight.

For all those who think that I am eating every variety in whole, this is a no. I have wrestled these out of their insanely tight wrapping and broken a tip off because…why do you think? Exactly. This particular candy cane is most definitely watermelon. If you can’t tell watermelon in taste, you have something seriously wrong with all six senses. I can most definitely taste the Jolly Rancher though the “smoothie” part is a miss on me. It is just sweeter and less sour than a normal watermelon Jolly Rancher is. (8 out of 10 Tim Allen fat suits)

Starburst Candy Canes. I have a bone to pick with these. Green Apple is not a flavor in the original Starburst line. Out of all the winning flavors in the lineup, why did they choose a nonexistent flavor? It confuses me much the same as why the Peanut gang are in different costumes for all recent Charlie Brown Halloween merchandise. It’s a stretch by comparison but the nerve is the same. So I’m not going to try the green apple. I am going with the strawberry flavor because I need to see if these candy canes are indeed the same as the glorious taffy originals. And holy shit they do!!! I am more of a cherry and orange Starburst fan but I will never leave a pink one for last. This is a pleasant surprise. I can’t vouch for the green apple because, what would I compare it to? (8 out of 10 Moose Mugs)

Gobstoppers have always been a mystery to me. I think it’s the name. According to the source of all things true, Wikipidia, the term “gob” means “mouth” in the United Kingdom. (Guise, is this true?) Therefore, a gobstopper must mean to stop one’s mouth. And…I learned something today. Anyway, Gobstoppers were never my first choice as a kid but I did fill a paintball gun with some and had minor success at making a kid cry about twenty years ago.

Oh, the candy canes you asked? Meh. I chose the white one just out of curiosity.

Call me gross if you must, but doesn’t this remind you of a baby tooth just recently lost? It’s the only thing I can think of once I cracked this piece off. Perhaps it’s strange irony but this should be a foretelling of tooth decay to come. The taste? It’s fruit punch. Most definitely fruit punch. (7 out of 10 Narwhals)

These are the ones I have been dying to review. Sour Patch Kids have been the candy of choice every time I go to the movies and a box of these can certainly burn all taste away for a solid week. I also like to share them with friends and press that little spot between the jaw and the bottom of the earlobe. Try it next time your eating these. You’ll hate it.

I tried to make sure that all the boxes of candy canes were purchased without damage but I believe these floppy cocks were shoved in the box the same way Lenny pets a mouse. But like I said, I am not here for looks. It’s the similarity to the original that I am here to review.

They are sour, there’s no argument with that but as for the similarity? Not really. They are Lifesaver candy canes dipped in Sour Patch Kid sour…sugar…stuff. It’s exactly what I expected so therefor I will only give it an average grade. (7 out of 10 Figgy Puddings)

Spree! I love the name. Spree candy canes promise to have a “flavor kick” on the inside much like the original candy that tastes like Advil on the outside and a powdery sour mix on the inside. Between the 500% of daily sugar intake and the fact these are hard candies, it makes Spree a dental nightmare. To combat this Willy Wonka adds that thse are fat free candies. So we have that going for us!

These are pretty good. I am not going to lie that of all the candy canes, these have come out close to the top only because they are not absurdly sweet and sour. I’m an ordinary average guy so there for these will get an above average average grade. (9 out of 10 Bumpus Hounds)

Well it’s nice to see someone hasn’t forgotten the mint in a candy cane! I love these! As an addict of coffee and tea, I have the need to brush my teeth five times a day. What? I don’t know why I needed to say that. Oh yeah! This has a great coffee-like taste to it and sure enough, it’s a spectacular stir stick! Hershey does a great job with the “less is more” angle and if you like mint in your stick and enjoy chocolate too, this candy cane is for you. Damn, I need to write jingles.             (10 out of 10 ill-digested potato or beef resulting in a hallucination of the ghost of Jacob Marley) 

Last but not least we have come to Sweetart Candy Canes and the ones that look most similar in color scheme to the intro to Saved By The Bell. Like most other assorted candy canes, these come in a variety of flavors being cherry, green apple and blue punch. I choose you, Blue! Pika! Pika!

These are just like what I had imagined. What a shocker. They are mildly sour and that stays through duration of eating. I like them but in all honesty, a 13 year old’s pallet is what these things were designed for. Without a lot of fanfare I will end this review on an average grade. (8 out of 10 shoeless John McLanes)

So there you have it! These aren’t your traditional peppermint candy canes and some don’t quite taste like their original form but I like the spirit of them. This is the time of year to get a cavity or two, gain a couple of pounds or even suck a cane to a sharp point and stab those terrible inflatable lawn ornaments across the street that you’ve been staring at for the past month. These are all good things so be good for goodness sakes…somebody’s comin’! Somebody’s comin’! Wait, that was from Ghostbusters.

Sorry for the lack of Christmas posts. I am getting a better laptop because this one sounds like the truck/generator that Arnold filled with explosives, lifted off it’s stand and pushed into an enemy tent in the movie, Predator.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!

Summer Beer Review!

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I know, I know, I know. I usually save the beer reviews for September through the entire holiday season but seeing how I am trying to fill up content for the new multimedia website, Veggiemacabre.tv, I figured I should stick to my roots. So tonight I am reviewing a local brew from North Carolina, French Broad’s 13 Rebels E.S.B.. I liked it and even though it is light on the bitters units (IBU) and only 5.2% alcohol by volume, it holds up in light body and flavor. Please watch and enjoy. And even enjoy the racist ashtray at the beginning.

The 2009 Fall Beer Review: Part 1

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And here we are! It is mid September and this Indian summer is finally fading into a crisp fall here in the Northwest. I must admit that this is one of my favorite times of year. You can just feel the change happen; spookiness with a need for sweaters and I love it.

This also is a time for the 3rd Annual Fall Beer Review! You’re damn right I am making this an annual thing and it is a great excuse for me to combine brews with my favorite season. If you can’t trick or treat, this is the next best thing. But this year I am having two. A private micro brew is sending me theirs so I have to wait but until then I have wanted to review a larger Fall beer that is one of my favorites.

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Enter Michelob’s Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale. This is a beer that should be named something like, “Son of a Bitch This Is Awesome!” because it hits on every Autumn tinge that makes this a seasonal beer. And above all else, it is lighter to accomodate those who are not true hardcore beer fanatics. Some people don’t like to heave after every sip.

Before I get to the taste, I need to point out that the look of this bottle/package is just too great not to jump around and howl at the moon for. From the orange fade-to-brown color scheme to the mascot, “Jack”, it lets the drinker know that they are drinking a season in a bottle. It almost reminds me of a throw back to the early eighties when jack-o-lanterns and scarecrows still ruled the decor for Halloween. At least that is the perception from me as a child. If they included a black cat on here then I probably would have thrown the six pack on the ground in the grocery and break danced in the froth and glass in a celebratory fashion. Luckily for Jack, the grocery store, aisle 5 and me, there are no cats on the label art.

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NUTMEG, CINNAMON, GINGER and CLOVES. These are the primary ingredients in this potion. My heart pitters over the balance of not only the spices but the words. It is like a witch’s concoction that casts a spell to buy paper skeletons and watch Halloween until the VCR finally spits it out in protest. And the blend? Pure September/October because remember, Halloween is not a day but a season.

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This is one of those beers that can not be faulted when the air is cool, college football is on and leaves are falling. If it is 90 and you are sitting by the pool you may feel like you are drinking a spent Hallmark seasonal candle. Luckily we are in the time frame to enjoy this one and I think it is beyond aces. But the past couple of years you have only heard my take. I’m going to go ask my neighbors to weigh in.

I will leave you with these because, really…I am drunk now. Seriously, I have downed a few of these and I just think anymore of me rambling will lead to embarrassment. But I did ask Matt at X-E.com and he said persevere. Will do sir. Next review I will carve something and that is a promise. So, here are my friends and their take.

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Cearsar: It doesn’t taste like the normal seasonal brews. It’s not a “bitch” beer but it’s definitely not a beer you would think. It is smooth and goes down easy and I got used to the taste and that causes one to start drinking more quickly. Not a good thing.”

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Giggles: “Tasty up front and I also like the after taste. It tastes like pumpkin pie but not too strong. The best thing I like is the lower carbonation and lighter body. It doesn’t leave you feeling full and bloated.”

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Hairy Wookie: “Free beer? Where?” Actually this is the beer to drink around a campfire. It is something to keep you warm at night but not too full to keep you down in  the morning.”