16 January 2021

Shipyard American IPA Beer (Tesco) by @SpectreUK

Shipyard American IPA Beer

This Shipyard American India Pale Ale is based on beer from Portland, Maine, in the United States of America. It was actually brewed and bottled just down the road from me by Marston's PLC, in Wolverhampton. I worked there many years ago taking stock orders for booze from different pubs in the local area, to make sure the correct amounts of beer and other beverages were going to the right places. How times have changed, as now it's the distribution of vaccines I'm trying to organise!

Brewed using American hops, this 5% in volume Shipyard American IPA is sported as having a grapefruit citrus hoppy flavour, which means it's likely that Chinook hops were used in the brewing. It's always a treat for me to have a beer like this one, as I do love a good pale ale, and I'm also rather fond of Chinook hops.

There was a citrus fruity smell on opening the bottle with a clear grapefruit kick and a sweetness from the malts at the back of the aroma. This deep golden IPA has a perfect blend of bitter fruity citrus hops followed by that sweetness from the pale and possibly crystal malts. There is a jumble of bitter hops to begin with, with the grapefruit flavoured hops winning through. There is that sweet malty goodness travelling into the aftertaste, making for a moreish lip-smacking treat of a beer. Mmm... perfect after a trying week at work!

15 January 2021

Kit Kat Pops - Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Kit Kat Pops - Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed

I picked up this bag of Kit Kat Pops Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed online as it sounded like a strange edition. Abroad there are some odd flavours of Kit Kat but this one just sounded weird. In fact as Kit Kat varieties go this one has an element of pretentiousness; “oh you eat regular Kit Kats I prefer mine with Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed”. I still bought them.

This is a sharing bag of what I would call Kit Kat “Pop Chocs” but are labelled Kit Kat Pops. The bag is in English but I think it is an import, the first language on the back next to the ingredients is ‘NL’ so perhaps they are from the Netherlands.

Kit Kat Pops - Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed

These little cubes of Kit Kat Pops are milk chocolate coated without any noticeable seeds on them. The flavour is impressive, these might well be the king of sweet and salty savoury snacks. There is a lovely light crunch from the wafer and the ingredients. The texture works well. There is lots of sweet flavour from milk chocolate, then salty nuts and savoury corn and seeds. Such a good mix, I don’t care if it sounds pretentious they are genius. These are addictive, I think I might have a problem. Send help, by help I mean another bag of Kit Kat Pops - Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed please.

Kit Kat Pops - Peanut, Corn and Chia Seed

14 January 2021

Two different varieties of Raspberry and Lemonade Kombucha - no sugar, but all the taste! (@NLi10)

 Kombucha was a big thing a few years ago - but now? It seems no one wants to read about it.  It's become almost commonplace, so hello to the hundred or so people that actually clicked today - you are an elite group!

Today we have two very comparable brands - so much so that I kept checking I'd not just bought two versions of the same can! 

First up - Remedy Kombucha - a little more medicinal in it's approach and even approved by 'I Quit Sugar' which I'd never even heard of!

Look how dark that is! Lovely stuff, very strong smell.

They put the sugar in - then nature eats it all and turns it into lovely fermented goodness. Yum!

Contrast that to the Lo Bro's version - it's practically clear!  I'm sure it's all due to natural Raspberry and not the kombucha itself, but this was much milder and more of a refreshing summer drink than the potent cocktail above.

It's still most definitely kombucha though - don't go getting either of these if you aren't into the whole vinegar tea beer stuff!  Cat loves the smell of the days old can for some reason!

And - I liked both!  Honestly I'd probably grab the remedy one if I'm out and about, but the Lo Bro one at home for with a meal.  And as that's pretty much how I drank them I think I slotted it right.

I have another flavour of each to go from the big drink stack - but it's not a chore at all - in fact I'm making plans to get good old Holland & Barrett to bring the drinks to me for a change.  If you accidentally participate in Dry January without noticing does it still count?

13 January 2021

Sun Maid Sour Raisin Snacks Watermelon Flavoured Golden Raisins (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

Sun Maid Sour Raisin Snacks Watermelon Flavoured Golden Raisins

I remember having golden raisins from Sun Maid as an afternoon snack when I was very young. I used to like opening the box and pretty dumping the lot into my mouth. I'm not a heck of a lot different where my snacks are concerned these days, and have a habit of trying to fit as much of whatever I'm eating into my mouth at a time. I guess it is busyness at work that makes me do it, but also just the joy of feeling young for a short time when snacking.

I'm sure you can see from the photograph that these whole fruit Sour Raisins are Watermelon flavoured. Now I haven't eaten Sun Maid's golden raisins for many years, but I remember that they were plenty flavoursome on their own without adding another flavour to them. So I'm interested to see if watermelon complements the taste of golden raisins, or just battles against it.

Sun Maid Sour Raisin Snacks Watermelon Flavoured Golden Raisins

The next photograph shows that on opening the bag there was plenty of golden raisins inside. On smell these Sun Maid Sour Raisin Snacks Watermelon Flavoured Golden Raisins are very strong on watermelon with a sharp sour edge. On taste these golden raisins didn't taste like any raisins I've had in the past. They are face-twistingly sour. They taste of watermelon with a faint flavour of bubblegum towards the back of the flavour, and wow are they sour!

They obviously have the texture of golden raisins, but unfortunately don't taste anything like them. Whilst I was eating these Sun Maid Sour Raisin Snacks Watermelon Flavoured Golden Raisins and may face was contorting with their sheer sourness, I couldn't help missing the original Golden Raisins I liked to eat by the box when I was a young lad. I guess I'm a little old fashioned in that respect!

Information on the packet; The 42.5g bag contains 126 calories, with traces of fat, 26.8g of sugar, and 0.03g of salt. Ingredients have no added sugar, no artificial colours or flavours, and included; golden raisins, citric acid, sunflower oil, natural flavours, vegetable juices, and Sulphur Dioxide.

Sun Maid Sour Raisin Snacks Watermelon Flavoured Golden Raisins

12 January 2021

Coffee Mate - Salted Caramel Chocolate Creamers (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Coffee Mate - Salted Caramel Chocolate Creamers

Many readers will know about my annoyance with M&Ms and how America, and many other countries, gets tons of varieties and we in the UK get Peanut, Milk Chocolate and Crispy as an option if a shop is feeling adventurous. Well my other pet hate in the UK market is Coffee Mate. If you are British and reading this you will be thinking coffee whitener of which the full extent of the varieties available are full fat or low fat. Let me let you into a secret, in the States Coffee Mate have a multitude of interesting products. Yes they mostly go in coffee but they have lots of flavours some are powder based and some are creamers and there are even some liquid pump bottles. It is quite frustrating when you compare this the UK selection. Luckily though I managed to pick up these Coffee Mate Salted Caramel Chocolate Creamers via import and couldn’t wait to try them out in my coffee. I gave the pot a shake, opened it and revealed a light brown liquid and then I added it to my instant coffee to give it a try.

There was a gentle sweetness, a touch of chocolate and and just a hint of salt from the caramel. It was such a good flavour. This was a lovely addition to the drink, it made the coffee silky smooth too, and it felt a little more luxurious especially for an instant drink. I’m going to have to order a few more flavours, it turns out out I have lots of choices to explore. Come on Coffee Mate don’t forget the UK market.

Coffee Mate - Salted Caramel Chocolate Creamers

11 January 2021

Ribena White Peach and Hibiscus (Asda) By @Cinabar

Ribena White Peach and Hibiscus

Ribena have brought out a new cordial and confusingly it has no blackcurrants in it, which is usually their main thing. In fact apart from the name and logo of Ribena on the bottle I could easily not recognised this as one of their products. There is nowhere near enough purple anywhere for a start! The bottle is glass which is better for the environment and the whole thing is rather posh, including the name of the flavour Ribena White Peach and Hibiscus.

I poured some of the pale cordial into a glass and mixed with water. The drink looked very clear and could be mistaken for water, so the photo isn’t that interesting - sorry! The flavour of the Ribena White Peach and Hibiscus was lovely though, it is mainly peach and has a wonderful juicy fresh taste. It is sweet and flavoursome, the Hibiscus element is subtle and just adds a touch of floral to the end of the flavour. I like the drink and will happily buy another bottle, I hope the continue to expand and bring more interesting and different flavours. The only complaint I have about this Ribena White Peach and Hibiscus drink is that is tastes so summery, I look out and see the frost but find myself thinking of warmer days and barbecues. He is hoping the summer will be better this year.

Ribena White Peach and Hibiscus

10 January 2021

Naked Japanese Style Katsu Curry Long Grain Rice (@NLi10)

Naked do lots of great instant snacks for when I need a quick and decent sized lunch.  I'm just not used to them not being noodles.  This looks like a noodle pot, but it's a (BIG) rice pot.  So what's inside?

 Wet rice of course!  Smells fantastic - not quite perfect Katsu, but you aren't going to get a rich gravy just by pouring a kettle into a (reduced) plastic tub.

It does make up nicely though - I expected it to not quite work, but the rice was fluffy but still had bite, and the sauce was sticky enough that I could eat it with a fork like a heathen.

It's also fairly clear what's in it from the ingredients - a little curry and a little garlic - and a whole lot of great rice.  It filled me up for the day quite nicely and while relatively unexciting is definitely something I'd pick up again for the emergency cupboard.

9 January 2021

Super Bock Beer (Portugal) By @SpectreUK

Super Bock Beer (Portugal)

I had twelve beers delivered as a Christmas present in a big box. I do like receiving booze for Christmas and Birthdays. Amongst the twelve beers were six I've had before, and six I haven't. Here is one I haven't tried before...

Super Bock is the most popular beer in Portugal, and their best selling beer abroad. At 5% in volume Super Bock has won thirty-five gold medals in the past. This Portuguese pale lager beer has been produced by the Super Bock Group since 1927, so I'm feeling rather late to the party on trying this one out.

On opening the 330ml bottle there was a light fizz. There was the sweet smell of pale malts and a little bitterness from herbal hops. This deep golden lager poured with a decent head. It certainly doesn't seem like one of those mass produced belly-burping lagers I learned to hate as a barman back in the day.

On taste Super Bock's sweet pale malts tickled my tastebuds to start with, and then that bottom fermented lager flavour mixed well with the bitterness from the herbal hops into the aftertaste. I can easily see why this is such a popular lager. I reckon it would go perfectly well with most meals, from spicy dinners to fish and chips or barbecues. Alternatively just enjoyed on its own with a good book on a sunny day in the garden.

8 January 2021

McVities HobNobs - Chocolate Brownie Edition (Asda) By @Cinabar

McVities HobNobs - Chocolate Brownie Edition

Over Christmas I have eaten multiple packets of McVities Digestives Gingerbread Edition, they are officially my favourite seasonal biscuit! Lovely warming spice. They have already disappeared off shelves which is upsetting but they have been replaced with these McVities HobNobs Chocolate Brownie Edition, obviously I got a pack of the new ones to try.

McVities HobNobs - Chocolate Brownie Edition

So these biscuits are flavoured with chocolate brownie and are part of the HobNobs ranges. I opened up the pack and the biscuits looked and smelt like regular HobNobs, I had been expecting the biscuit to be a darker colour because of added cocoa for the Brownie element but I couldn’t see it.

I could taste the Chocolate Brownie in the biscuit, they were a little sweeter than usual and more chocolatey and they were pleasant, they were nice even. I have a sweet-tooth and I like chocolate but I also like like regular HobNobs and felt these were lacking the oaty flavour because of the extra added Brownie sweet chocolate taste. As I said these were ok, but they weren’t special. These won’t be a repurchase for me, perhaps I’m just down that the Gingerbread ones have gone!

7 January 2021

Oreos - Winter Edition Tin (@NLi10)

 Behold - a Christmas Present!

Here is the Winter Edition tin for Oreos.  It's probably collectable.  Lets eat them all anyway.

Those penguin Oreos look really cool - are they inside?

Of course not.  It's the most common three kinds 16 Original, 12 Brownie and 8 Gold.  
36 biscuits is quite good for a tin though so not complaining.

Huh - that's... unusual...

pretty logical though really.  More fit in, and they all stay fresh.  Still it's a shame - they released my favourite kind of Oreo in years this winter - and then they didn't put it in the tin.

For those that aren't familiar - gold ones are Custard Creams, Brown ones are Bourbon Biscuits, and the middle ones are dark biscuit and white cream - the classic Oreo.

All are great, but none are overwhelmingly new.  Just have to eat all these and use the tin for keeping more special flavours fresh. 

6 January 2021

Mars 95 Cal (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Mars 95 Cal

In case anyone is braving New Year's Resolutions this year, Mars has brought out a single stick to give you the authentic taste of Mars, but in a much slimmer version. This 21g bar is 95 calories, hence the name Mars 95 Cal. This could be perfect for chocolate lovers who just want a quick taste without shouldering the full calories of a traditional Mars Bar. It's slightly reminiscent of the size of a regular stick or finger of Twix.

On peeling back the wrapper and biting in, this Mars 95 Cal was gone in two mouthfuls. I was pretty much humouring it, as I'd usually dump a biscuit or chocolate bar or cake of that size straight in my gob without biting, but I wanted to try to savour it. Alas it was all over so quick that I didn't manage to savour the experience - I know, I know... "Name of your sex tape!"

Mars 95 Cal

I have to say though that the little Mars 95 Cal does taste of a regular Mars bar. I'd worked out in my kitchen gym an extreme amount earlier that day and my metabolism was roaring like an open furnace, so I downed the two Mars 95 Cals Cinabar had bought me to blog about, amongst a boat load of mixed chocolates from a grab tin we had over Christmas. My excuse is that I'd had a truck load of protein during the day and I needed plenty of calories to help fix my tired achy muscles overnight. Plus, I am rather partial to quite a bit of chocolate!

Mars 95 Cal

5 January 2021

The Bursting Bauble (Mummy Meagz) #Gifted By @Cinabar

Vegan The Bursting Bauble (Mummy Meagz)
I was very kindly sent The Bursting Bauble by the lovely folks at Mummy Meagz. My post corresponds with my taking down the baubles and finding the last chocolate one, and as Mummy Meagz specialised in Vegan goodies it is also Veganuary. Many people cut back on meat and animal products in January as a sort of a detox after the festivities and indulgence of the previous month. I have to confess I’m not doing this and as the only milk in the house is cow’s milk I have missed the point a little with this Mummy Meagz Vegan Bursting Bauble, I hope they forgive me.

So what we have here is a shell of a chocolate ball filled with marshmallows, the idea is you add hot (vegan substitute) milk the shell melts into it to form a drink and the marshmallows pop to the top. There is nothing more satisfying when it comes to hot chocolate than making this!

Vegan The Bursting Bauble (Mummy Meagz)

After a quick stir the drink mixed up pretty quickly and there were plenty of marshmallows on the top. The flavour was lovely, it was dark but had enough sweetness for balance. I loved making it and it tasted gorgeous too. I hope they sell these with out the Christmas theme because I want another!

Vegan The Bursting Bauble (Mummy Meagz)

4 January 2021

Cadbury Dairy Milk Orange Snowman (Asda) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Dairy Milk Orange Snowman

I’m back to work tomorrow, I chose the Tuesday rather than the Monday as I have a lot of leave owing and I liked the idea of going back to a 4 day week, to ease myself in. It is also the last proper day of Christmas with the decorations needing to come down, so it seemed appropriate that I finish off the last of the Christmas chocolate, and eat this Dairy Milk Orange Snowman. For completeness you understand. We do still have snow in our region, but it is now melting which again is well timed.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Orange Snowman

Orange chocolate was really a big thing in 2020, it is nice that something was having a good year! These Dairy Milk Orange Snowman consists of a chocolate orange filling, which is sweet and has loads of citrus hit. The coating is Cadbury chocolate and is rich and sweet. This was nice afternoon snack with a coffee, and as I like chocolate and orange I enjoyed it. There was plenty of flavour and comforting chocolate. I hope you all managed to have a good Christmas and New Years and that 2021 is an improvement on last year.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Orange Snowman

3 January 2021

Gunna Drinks - Moscovite (Mint Lemonade) & PinkPunk (Pink Lemonade) - @NLi10

So - we are continuing the theme of social drinks with the remaining two Gunna flavours from the NYE tower of soft drinking (the Green & Steelworks Gunna Cola are here)

After today I'm going to be drinking a lot of Kombucha!

First up we have the Raspberry Lemonade.  Probably the hardest sell for me due to my love of Fentiman's Rose Lemonade.

It looks pinker than my dodgy eco lighting suggests - I need to take more of the pictures during the day!

This has a lovely flavour, more reminiscent of the pink pop of my childhood than the more sophisticated blends, and it really benefits for it. Of the three this is the one I'd soonest buy for me, but frankly there are no bad options here.  Variety pack required!

This is probably the oddest of the three that we tried - it's basically a mocktail mojito.  Very refreshing, but more of a sipping drink or a mixer than a refreshing big gulp.

It's almost crying out for a sprig of fresh mint, and a tall glass with ice, and a summer...

Probably great with Mexican food too.

So - overall Gunna's Facebook post promised that they did familiar drinks with an interesting twist - and I agree.  These were all worth a look and far more exciting than the standard brands.  Although I may not be willing to walk back a full case of these from the high-street I'll Certainly adding these to online delivery orders.


2 January 2021

Up State Beer - Stewart Brewing (Lidl) By @SpectreUK

Up State Beer - Stewart Brewing

Happy New Year, Everyone! :-)

I'm sure we're all hoping that this year will be a brighter, safer and happier year for everyone. I have hope that this will be a year of healing. For the last six weeks or so I have been working hard as the project manager for the technical side of vaccination centres in the NHS. I have an excellent team of people working hard with me, and we've already had our hospital and two general practitioners go live before Christmas. They have been vaccinating hundreds of people from front line staff to vulnerable 80 year olds and overs. In the next few weeks more vaccination centres will go live and we'll be helping to save thousands of lives in the coming months. So busy, busy...

To cheer in the New Year and year of new hope, I have a beer from our Scottish neighbours. This Up State pale ale was produced by Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh. It's brewed with American hops for a citrus bitterness akin to grapefruit, so I'm suspecting Chinook hops are chiefly involved. At 5% in volume there was a bitter citrus aroma on opening the bottle which indeed smelt of grapefruit. I do love grapefruit juice at breakfast time, so I often wonder if this type of pale ale would be a good 'hair of the dog' or 'liquid breakfast', as similar to the traditional liquid lunch.

On taste this deep golden Up State pale ale pounces on my palate from the get go with its strong citrus grapefruit bitterness. This bitterness keeps on giving for much of each lavish mouthful. The sweet malts kick in after a while smoothing and also working well with the grapefruit citrus hoppiness, with both flavours dancing a merry jig into the aftertaste. A moreish treat this Up State pale ale is definitely a winner for any celebration. I'm glad I picked it for this New Year. So may it be a happier year for us all. A year of hope and a year of healing.

1 January 2021

Candy Pop Popcorn - Snickers (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Candy Pop Popcorn - Snickers
There is not a lot to do on New Years Day at the best of times but in a Tier 4 lockdown there is even less than usual, sadly. Luckily we have TV streaming services and popcorn so we decided to pop (pun intended) on a movie and try out this Snickers Candy Pop Popcorn I picked up online from GB Gifts. I bought this a little while ago with the intention of eating it with a film, so we decided to try out Hamilton for a bit of culture and history and as we can’t get out to the theatre properly at the minute.

Candy Pop Popcorn - Snickers

I started by trying to open the bag of Snickers Candy Pop Popcorn and it didn’t just pull open, I had to use the rip tear on the side which meant opening the popcorn sideways, which worked out ok as it formed a sort of bowl. The popcorn was rather tasty, there was chocolate and caramel and nuts all mixed in making this a very moreish bag. As with many popcorns some pieces had more topping than others and those that had all the ingredients were indulgent and super tasty. Some pieces were a little plainer but it added to the mix and kept it interesting.

I would definitely by this popcorn again, it had good flavours and good textures, I liked the idea of combining chocolate bars with popcorn and hope there are some other combos in the future. Hamilton too was fantastic, I had no idea who Alexander Hamilton was before is started and no idea of his impact on the American Constitution or his eventful life.

Candy Pop Popcorn - Snickers