21 July 2018

Warhammer World: Bugman’s Bar and Troll Brew Beer (By @SpectreUK)

We've just spent my Birthday Week (yes, I get a week) at Centre Parcs in Nottinghamshire. We had a great adventure week doing everything from the water park to miniature golf, learning to fire a crossbow, to quad biking, falconry, boating, and quite a few trips to their lovely spa.

On the way to Centre Parcs I dragged Cinabar to Warhammer World. I've been a collector and war gamer for many years, but never visited the hub of Games Workshop, so it was a bit of a pilgrimage for me. After getting several treats for my Birthday and wandering around the war gaming tables, we stopped off at Bugman's Bar for a spot of lunch.

The bar itself is Dwarf themed in Games Workshop's branded Bugman's style with a few of Bugman's Beers on tap. Cinabar ordered a fish finger sandwich, and I had a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. I couldn't help but order the Troll Brew from the rather ugly image on the pump handle.

Although the bar suddenly became very busy after Cinabar's empty bar photo our sandwiches arrived pretty quickly. Both sandwiches came with a tub of really nice chips, and there was plenty of sauce on the side. It was a huge portion served on a wooden board. There was a lot of bacon in my BLT, some diced onion, and chopped tomatoes. The bread was pretty soft and thick, and my sandwich was very tasty with its decent supply of bacon. Cinabar loved her fish finger sandwich too.

There were a few tables filled with people playing various board games, such as Blood Bowl, and I could well imagine a group of dwarf adventurers sitting down for something to eat. Although as you can see the bar is quite high, so they may have to stand on tiptoes! The music was metal and not too loud, with a good balance for talking. Some restaurant's music can be too loud for people to chat, whereas a meal out is supposed to be a gathering.The toilets were refreshingly labelled Ladies and Gentlemen too, not anything weird that could confuse the desperate.

My Troll Brew was a good strong amber ale at 4.2% in volume. There were floral undertones in the aroma. In taste there was sweet amber malt to start with, which was followed by bitter herbal hops into the aftertaste. It was not a fruity beer, it was quite bitter, but you'd expect that from Troll Brew. Having said that it was really nice, washed my sandwich down a treat and I would definitely have it again. Somebody wandered past me with a San Miguel. I couldn't understand it, why wouldn't you drink Troll Brew if you have the chance to travel to Bugman's Bar?

20 July 2018

Limited Edition Skittles Orchards (Asda) By @Cinabar

These new Limited Edition Skittles Orchards are now on sale in the UK, and seem to be exclusively available in Asda, for now at least. I tried to google the sweets and found the American version of Skittles Orchards have some difference, for example peach, and their apple is red. I thought I’d see what was in our UK edition pack of Limited Edition Skittles Orchards.

Green - These were labelled as apple. I found the flavour very sour and sharp. In fact it sharpness is the first hit, and it is overpowering, then there is a subtle hint of apple.
Purple - This one is cherry, and the flavour develops as you eat, it starts soft, then gets a bit stronger and a little sour. Is it just me or should cherry sweets be red not purple. A nice cherry taste though.
Yellow - This is lemon, and it is very much a regular lemon Skittle. It is sweet not sour and wonderfully fruity. It is very enjoyable, but that is what you’d expect from a lemon skittle.
Orange - This is orange in colour and flavour. It is sweet not sour, and again very tasty. There is lots of sweet citrus, but aren’t these too in a normal bag of Skittles?
Red - This new flavour is pomegranate. It is sweet and different, these were by far my favourite, they were a good representation of the fruit flavour and every enjoyable. I did google to see if pomegranates are grown in orchards too, they are apparently. Phew.

I have to admit to not being too impressed with this bag of Limited Edition Skittles Orchards. My least favourite flavour were the green sour apple, they were more zing than apple and the fruit flavour never quite over came the sharpness. Green were of course the most plentiful in the bag. The lemon and the orange were a disappointment not because they were bad, just because they were regular Skittles flavours. I did however like the cherry and pomegranate, but perhaps not enough to buy the bag again.

19 July 2018

Fentimans Sparkling Raspberry (from Bamburgh Castle) by @NLi10

It's usually a bit of a chore to get the new Fentimans flavours in Birmingham, but I was up north for the weekend and got to visit Hexham - the home of Fentimans so it should be a breeeze, right?


Fentimans doesn't have a shop anymore, the lovely bar hadn't unboxed them from their stock room yet (rotation of dates and all that) and the off-license only had the one in the window left from their free trial box. The guy serving had tried it though, and thought it was too much raspberry which is a good omen for me as I love that flavour. 

Fortunately we did a lot of visits to local attractions and their shops always have the latest things on offer.  I managed to stumble across a few bottles in Bamburgh Castle gift shop (not the cafe oddly?!)

The castle itself is a really beautiful place.  With live archaeology, and some period style minting happening on site there is a lot to do besides just the epic views and buildings.  As a museum buff they could do with a little more selective curation, but what they have got allows you to discover the treasures yourself.  Like the drinks.

And it's sweet, it's very fruity and the sparkle is just the right side of refreshing.  It's a lot more drinkable than the lovely Cherry Cola they do which is very much a one and done drink.  I think I could happily just drink this for an evening.

As usual it's a real drink with lots of real flavour infusions and not just a diluted syrup.  It's a proper social drink that I expect to sit with the usual lemonades in the pubs.

In the end I think the effort to track it down was worth it, but I've heard rumours that Sainsbury's are already selling the 750ml bottles which will be a perfect excuse to visit them.

Another win from my favourite drinks company.

18 July 2018

Crazy Hot Popchips Ridges (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

I have had regular Popchips before and I like the look of these Ridges they produce. This Crazy Hot flavour has a three chilli extra hot rating on the front of the packet. These Popchips Ridges are the usual low in calories, as they are popped not deep fried, so they are half the fat of usual crisps. Popchips take potatoes add heat and pressure until they pop. There are no artificial flavourings in the ingredients and they are gluten free.

On opening the big sharing packet there was a strong paprika smell mixed with chilli and a mild potato aroma at the back of the smell. On looks as you can see from the photograph these well-rounded Popchips have a medium depth of ridge where the flavour can gather, and the seasoning of paprika is a deep orange. On taste there is an initial tomato and paprika flavour and the chilli builds in the mouth, so these Popchips are rather hot. The more Popchips I ate the tastier the tomato and paprika tang and the hotter the chilli. They are not uncomfortably hot though, but they are still hot and tangy. These Popchips Ridges not hot enough to put off scaredy-cats that might be worried by the three chilli rating and the "Crazy Hot" on the front of the packet next to the picture of the fiery chillies, because these are very tasty, but they are not too hot to handle!

On the packet;
In the 85g packet there are 98 calories per 23g serving, having 3.6g of fat, 1.1g of sugar and 0.57g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.

17 July 2018

New Maltesers Buttons (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

I was browsing WH Smiths at the train station, as I pass by it on my commute, and I noticed an empty shelf and a sign saying New Maltesers Buttons. I asked about them and the lady on the till said they sold like hot cakes when she put them out earlier, but that they were expecting a delivery in a bit. The next day I went in and spotted them on the shelf and bought a handful of bags! I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about, plus they were on offer. ;-)

The bags are fairly small, and the calories per pack are just 166, so they aren’t too bad for a treat. I poured out the contests to have a look, half expected flattened Maltesers, but found discs of milk chocolate speckled with Maltesers pieces.
The flavour worked vey well, although proportionally there was more chocolate than Maltesers pieces, the maltiness still shone through. The buttons were easy to much on and fun to eat. The chocolate was thick when it melted, and felt rather soothing. The Maltesers bits in the buttons still added crunch, and I liked the flavour of the buttons. These were a nice snack, and a good pick me up after a long day at work. Something I would buy again, if I didn’t already have another five bags sitting in the fridge!

16 July 2018

Strawberry Teavana Black Tea (Starbucks) By @Cinabar

Given the continuing heat here in the UK, hot drinks from Starbucks as a treat have dropped a little further down my priority list. I am well aware that there are some people who feel that hot drinks are more refreshing on a hot day than a cold, but I am not in that club. I am also aware that my lack of caffeine from coffee recently seems to have induced the odd headache, which is a bit worrying really. Seriously I only usually have the odd coffee at work, okay possible around five, plus the one I have with breakfast in a morning, plus the one after dinner in an evening…. Oh, its bad isn’t. That aside I have been drinking very little coffee the last few weeks, but I still have every intention of getting back to it when it becomes cooler. In the meantime I thought I’d see what new cold drinks Starbucks have that are new, ideally with a healthy serving of ice.
I spotted on the menu this new Strawberry Teavana Black Tea ice drink and decided to give it a try. The first thing to note was that I was asked if I wanted it sweet, I asked for clarification on what they meant and they said they had a sugar syrup they could add, but that it was still nice without. I decided to try it without as I was after a more authentic black tea experience. I watched them make the drink and as per the Teavana spec it was indeed shaken to mix.
The drink itself is deep strawberry red in colour, and looked very cooling, I was loving the generous portion of ice. I gave it a sip and was impressed with the flavour. It had a good strawberry taste that was sharp and zingy, but as promised not very sweet at all, it seemed to be similar to a more natural strawberry juice, which was rather refreshing. The lack of sweetness meant it tasted like a real fruit tea as the leafy flavour was also present. I thought this drink was just what I needed, refreshing with a good strawberry taste and not too sweet.