Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spring Grove Soda at the MN State Fair

My 3-year-old and I spent yesterday morning at the Minnesota State Fair.  We had some fun:

Minnesota State Fair
Deep Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  SOOOO good!

Minnesota State Fair
With my big guy at the MN State Fair.

One stop I KNEW we had to make was at the Spring Grove Soda stand. They're a local soda from southern Minnesota that sort of got me hooked on small soda companies a few years ago.

Spring Grove Soda at the Minnesota State Fair
Their little stand near the DNR Building.

Spring Grove Soda at the Minnesota State Fair
I just HAD to get a Spring Grove Root Beer.

Spring Grove Soda at the Minnesota State Fair
At $4 a glass, it's not the best deal at the fair, but still worth it!
(The best deal and something I always get is $0.25 flavored "honey straws" in the Horticulture Building.)

Spring Grove Soda at the Minnesota State Fair
They let me step in and get a photo of their big stash.  You can see my reflection smiling in the upper left.

Spring Grove Soda at the Minnesota State Fair
My son "helped" me finish my root beer.  Thanks buddy.

Their root beer isn't my favorite of all time, but it's really good and has a unique flavor. It almost has a fruitiness to it with a bit of earthiness too. (Their Cream Soda is one of their great ones too - I could have used a cup of that at the fair as well.)

Nice chatting with you, Spring Grove folks!

p.s. My 100th post was last year, and it was about having a Root Beer at the State Fair.  Now, this is my 199th post.  We'll see if I get back to the State Fair for more sweet treats next year around my 300th post!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review of first 5 hard ciders

I've had 5 out of the 10 hard ciders that I picked up earlier this month, so I thought I'd do a quick review of the 5 I've had so far.

My Hard Cider purchases from Total Wine and Spirits
Here are all 10 that I bought (seen in this post), but I've only tried 5.

Here are 5 reviewed in order that I had them:

Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider ($1.79): Great, crisp, raspberry flavor. It tastes sharp, but it goes down really well. This was sweet and tasty. Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Ciderboys "Strawberry Magic" Apple Strawberry Hard Cider ($1.49): Again, very crisp. More heavy on the apple flavor, but it's a good flavor. Just a bit tart (like a fresh apple), but otherwise pretty sweet. Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Abita Purple Haze ($1.79): This was a flavored beer. It's a lager brewed with raspberries added at the end. It tasted just like "normal" beer with just a little fruitiness. Just a LITTLE. It wasn't bad, but I'm not a fan of beer - I was hoping this was less beer-like. If you like a slightly sweeter beer, then try it. But I wasn't a fan. (I HAD to try this one because Abita makes my favorite root beer ever.)  Score: 3 out of 10.

Samuel Smith's Organic Cider ($2.99): This was really dry and reminded me of a white wine. It needed to be sweeter. No thanks. And it was the most expensive of all the 10 bottles I purchased (there are 2 more that I haven't tried yet that were also $2.99, but all the others were $1.49-$1.99).  Score: 3 out of 10.

Wyder's Dry Pear Hard Cider ($1.99): This was OK. It was dry (as implied in the name), but not as dry as the last one I had. The pear had a nice sharpness/tartness to it, and there was still a little sweetness in there too. It tasted refined (like wine), yet sweet (like a sweet cider). Score: 6 out of 10.

So Woodchuck won this round, and Ciderboys was close behind. But I have 5 more to try - I hope to be posting about the rest of these in about a month. Check back!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Frostop Orange & Cream

After a warm afternoon of picking veggies in our tiny garden, I came in to enjoy this:

Frostop Orange & Cream
And you can see a lot of tomatoes and a few zucchinis in the background.

Brand: Frostop Orange & Cream.

Origin: Hopkins, MN.

Purchase Place: Frattallones Ace Hardware, Minneapolis, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This was VERY smooth and creamy. It was sugary, but it wasn't too much. It's a straight trippin orange cream, yo. Pretty good. It was as advertised and a little better than I had hoped.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Double Cola

I needed some caffeine yesterday, so I grabbed this:

Double Cola

Brand: Double Cola.

Origin: Chattanooga, TN.

Purchase Place: Frattallones Ace Hardware, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Invert Sugar.

Review: This was generically OK. It's a decent soda with a slight fruity/berry taste. It has a nice bite. It's a good take on cola, but nothing amazing. I'll give it a score just above average.

Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A little booze for a change...

Last week, my son and I stopped by "Total Wine and Spirits" in Roseville. We spent some time in their "Mix and Match" aisle where you can purchase bottle-by-bottle:

Total Wine and Spirits
Henry helping me pick out some hard cider (I'm not a big beer fan).

My Hard Cider purchases from Total Wine and Spirits
My Hard Cider purchases from Total Wine and Spirits. (Technically 1 or 2 are flavored beer.)

I'm not going to turn this into a hard cider blog, but I'll maybe post about these all as a group once I've had them. (So far I've had 2.) Check back for that.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jarritos Strawberry

I wanted some sugary sweetness this weekend:

Jarritos Strawberry

Brand: Jarritos Strawberry.

Origin: Mexico.

Purchase Place: Cub Foods, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This tasted sweet, but not really like strawberry. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't strawberry either. It just tasted "red." Not bad. No bite. All sweet. I'll give it an average score.

Score: 5.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Frostie Vanilla Root Beer

Time for a root beer:

Frostie Vanilla Root Beer

Brand: Frostie Vanilla Root Beer.

Origin: Detroit, MI.

Purchase Place: Frattallones Ace Hardware, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was really sweet and sugary. It tasted a lot like the root beer that's left in your mug after you finish your ice cream from a root beer float. But it had an extra butterscotch flavor to it as well. It was OK if you like what I just described. I thought it was just alright and nothing special, so I'll give it about an average score.

Score: 6 out 10.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fanta Grape

I opened this a few minutes ago, and I'm still enjoying it:

Fanta Grape

This is the "Mexican version" that I got in the ethnic foods section. The back of the bottle is all in Spanish, and the bottle cap says "Grape" and "Uva" (Spanish for grape).

Brand: Fanta Grape.

Origin: Mexico.

Purchase Place: Cub Foods, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This is very sweet, sugary, and syrupy. The flavor was spot-on. It was "basic" and normal, but extra sweet, and I liked it a lot. Oh, and a BONUS: the top of the bottle is super rounded - I've never sipped soda from a smoother, rounder opening. It was a strange, special treat.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Search by Sweetener

A few of you asked me to do this a long time ago, and I finally got around to it...

If you scroll down my right sidebar, you'll see see my tags for my posts. I just went through all 180+ posts and added a tag regarding the sweetener. Right now, I have 130 reviews tagged with "Sweetener: Sugar" and 31 reviews tagged with "Sweetener: HFCS" (High Fructose Corn Syrup). My "sugar" tag encompasses cane sugar, granulated sugar, beet sugar, etc. All of my individual posts still contain more specific information on the sweetener, but I lumped a lot of those together under the "sugar" tag.

And there are 15 other "sweetener" tags besides these! So if you want to look through my reviews based on sweetener, scroll down the right sidebar of labels and click on what you'd like to see.