Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 31

Rochester Beer Explosion!

First of all, a shout out to all the brodies and brodettes in Rochester, NY for a great weekend recently. They are the reason I was able to check out the epic shop, Beers of the World. The place is what it says, (like my blog) beers divided into region/countries and they claim to have over 1,100 of them. It's incredibly overwhelming and unless you had all the money and time to in the world to become an alcoholic, you probably couldn't get through them. Luckily you can buy singles of beer in NY so you're able to get a nice variety every time in. I'll try to run through these quickly. My memory of them may not be perfect. I suppose I should start taking notes, but that's not very fun.

The IPAs:

Lagunitas Maximus DIPA:

This was pretty good. Very citrusy and surprisingly sweet for a 7.5% alcohol beer. Not quite as hoppy as many in this style, but another enjoyable one from Lagunitas.

Smuttynose Big A IPA:

Another Imperial IPA, clocking in at 9.6%. Possibly my favorite part about this beer is the bottle art of the old school fisticuffs man boxing it out. My other favorite part of this beer is how good, sweet, and hoppy it is. It's also incredibly drinkable despite the high alcohol. Another really great one from one of my favorite brewers, Smuttynose.

BrewDog's Punk IPA:

This is the "baby" of the group only being 6.1%, but it was also in the biggest bottle. BrewDog has become infamous for their attempt at creating the world's strongest beer, so I felt like I had to give them a chance. Maybe it was all the hype, but I didn't think the Punk IPA was all that special. It was one of my first experiences with a European microbrew, so I wanted to like it more, but it lost to the more powerful Americans above.

The Stouts:

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Like the Gubna imperial IPA, this imperial stout from Oskar Blues is 10.5% and in a can. It's the only and imperial stout I've had in a can. Seriously, it's pretty great. Another strong one, making me realize why the night was kind of foggy.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

I think this was the best beer of the night. A friend was just talking about this brewery so I figured I had to give it a shot. Another strong boy at 9%, this night of beers (editors note: I didn't drink ALL of them in one night, just MOST...) is starting to get pretty crazy. This was great and flavorful and robust, everything a stout should be.

The Wild Cards:

Kona Brewing's Pipeline Coffee Porter

I believe this is the first Hawaiian microbrew that I have tried. The coffee flavor hit nice and strong as I was hoping and expecting. It was had a pretty traditional porter taste. Almost tastes like an alcoholic iced espresso beer or something.

.83 cent Russian Beer

Most of us bought one of these because of the big "SALE" sticker on the bottle. We knew this was probably a bad sign, but good for our wallets. At only 4%, it was certainly a change of pace from the rest, but unfortunately in a bad way. This was non-alcoholic tasting, alcoholic beer. Not so good. Probably worth the price for a pint though.

Finally, The (Genesee) Cream of the Crop

Genesee is a must drink in the Rochester area. Just because. While a local told the story of his first time trying it ("The cashier said 'it'll make you piss out your asshole", pardon the vulgarity), it really isn't that bad. It's a great locally produced session beer and there's something beautiful about that can. It also helped us beat Maniac Mansion that night (Meteor Police ending, we used Bernard and Michael, BTW). Also a big bonus.

This Is What I Drink : 30

Brew Crew:

Here's a quick trio of beers for you until we get to an even bigger beer post next.

Laughing Dog's "The Dogfather" Imperial Stout

For a while I hated the name of this beer. I thought it was pretty stupid. Then I imagined an entire epic 8 hour dog mafia trilogy film and all the work it would take for a terrible movie and then I thought it was funny again.
As for the beer, I can never turn down an imperial stout. I'd had some stuff from Ponderay Idaho's Laughing Dog, and I figured their imperial stout was worth a shot. Well, I'm not sure I'll be fetching or retrieving this one again any soon. Despite the impressive tan head that you see above (I was pouring this at an angle, but the head just kept exploding, kind of to an annoyance level), the rest of the beer disappointed. The flavor had a super hit of alcohol and it didn't quite have the taste I come to expect from a strong stout. I understand it's 11%, but I've had much better stouts at around that range with much more compelling and nice flavors. I wanted to like this one but I had to have it put down (LIKE YOU WOULD A DOG YOU HATED, GET IT?!)

Philadelphia Brewing Company's Kensinger Ale:

I believe this is the cheapest beer on the tap, possibly because it really doesn't have to travel very far from Philadelphia to Philadelphia (no doy). I feel like I'd hardly call this a "cheap" beer though, as it's really not so bad. It's crisp, smooth, and easy to drink at 4.5% alcohol, but it's got some pretty good flavor, certainly more so than you'd get out of Bud/Coors/Millers. It's strange though, I'm entirely certain they sell this stuff outside of Philadelphia, as I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it in beer stores around here. A shame because it's a pretty decent and inexpensive option.

Stoudt's Scarlet Lady (Draft)

I had these next two beers on tap at Philadelphia bar Johnny Brenda's. I first have to commend JB's (as cool people call it) on only having local beers on their taps. I'm pretty sure all of their beers come from less than 100 miles away, and most probably closer than that. Anyway, Stoudt's from Adamstown, PA obviously falls into that category. This beer falls into the category of an ESB or "extra special bitter." I didn't really know much of this category until I just looked it up, but to me it kind of tasted like a brown ale. What is supposed to make this style is its bitterness (obviously) and its balance. This beer didn't really stand out to me, but I wouldn't turn it away either. I suppose that is balance.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 29

Sheetz Chocolate-Banana Iced Coffee Drink

This is one of the final holdovers from the State College trip a few weekends ago. You see, Sheetz is one of the major convenience store chains in all of Pennsylvania, but they only start appearing once you get close to central Pennsylvania, otherwise you'd be at a Wawa. The Wawa/Sheetz boundary is nearly as contested and important to Pennsylvania's history as the Mason-Dixon line. Anyway, Sheetz makes its own brand of iced coffee beverage to compete with the Starbuck's Frapuccinos/Rockstar Roasted/Java Monsters of the world.

These kind of canned iced coffee drinks have become a favorite of mine on tour because you can't always get a chilled coffee drink at a rest stop, and these drinks fulfill that wish. I normally would not have stopped for this one, but the private label price ($1.99, not so bad) and the flavor (Chocolate-BANANA) got me to buy it. Banana is capitalized there because it's the wild card here. Chocolate, caramel, vanilla are all pretty common additions to canned coffee, but I have rarely if ever seen banana used. Ultimately though, this becomes the major disappointment of the drink because there really wasn't much banana flavor present. I understand that artificial banana flavor can go in many directions, possibly bad, but I'm always up for the experiment. I love banana flavored Runts and banana flavored Laffy Taffy. I have to say that Sheetz kind of wussed out here. They played it safe, and although the rest of the beverage is pretty decent and might be as good as the competitors at a better price, I bought it because it said banana, and I didn't get banana. Again, it's a pretty good product, but I wish they would have just advertised only a chocolate flavored coffee drink because it would have been more accurate.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 28

Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA + River Horse Hop Hazard

A couple more beer reviews left over from the weekend here for you today. First is a brand new one from the microbrew in a can forefathers, Oskar Blues from Colorado. While they've already tackled the impressive feat of having an imperial stout in a can, they've come out with 10% ABV IPA in a can as well. From what I've been told, canned beers actually keep the beer fresher because light is never allowed to tamper with the product. They also let you easily put them into beer cozies (or coozies??) inspired by Sir Charles Barkley. While this beer will set you back a bit ($15.99 for a 4-pack), it's really not that bad of a value for 48 oz. of a strong beer. You'd probably be paying a similar dollar to ounce value on a couple of bombers of imperial IPA, so once you get passed that, it's time to crack it open. The beer smells incredibly intense and hoppy, but once you taste it, it's surprisingly clean and almost sweet. The citrus hits really strong and it's not quite as hop heavy as you might expect. I think the most amazing aspect is how smooth this beer is for being 10% alcohol. If you were handed this beer you might think it was 6% or 7% which could be dangerous if you decided to have a few! The flavor is similar to that of Oskar Blue's Dale's Pale Ale, but just a tad different. Definitely impressed with this and the novelty of drinking great beer out of a can hasn't gotten old yet.

Next, it's onto another American Pale Ale effort with River Horse's (Lambertville, NJ) Hop Hazard. I've tried a couple of River Horse's varieties lately and I've been pleased with their brews. On the bottle it described itself as a "balanced" and not overly hoppy like a regular IPA would be. I think it still packs a pretty good punch of hops and at 6.5%, it isn't exactly a lightweight either. I do agree with their assertion that it's a fairly balanced beer though. The hops hit pretty hard in the beginning, but it's bit more crisp and bitter on the back end. It definitely falls into my broadening category of what an American Pale Ale seems to be. Not quite as intense as the Gubna, but I don't think it was trying to be. A pretty nice beer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 27

Steve Sutton's How To Make Sweet Tea:

Make sure you get to the last few seconds.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 26

Tröegs Javahead Stout:

I believe this is the first stout I've tasted since I've been on the blog and that's a surprise because it is my favorite kind of beer. This is also a semi-local favorite from just up the way in Harrisburg, PA. As you can see from the packaging and color of the beer, it's pretty intimidating. If beers were movie genres, Javahead would definitely be a good horror flick like stouts should be. At 7.5% alcohol it provides quite the punch. The tan head (as you can see in exhibit A) is beautiful, the color being something you'd expect from something with "java" in its title. The weird part is that I didn't find there to be enough coffee flavor in the drink itself. There was plenty of chocolate and roasted malts (great stout staples), but I feel like it can't get away with calling itself "java" without tasting more like coffee. Despite it's beautiful pitch black color, the stout didn't feel quite as thick as I like a stronger stout to be. It just felt a little thin for a style that is usually thick and intense. All those minor complaints aside, this is still a pretty good beer and not a bad value for beer in the mid-high alcohol range.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 25

Coffee, Tea, Sega.

Trader Joe's Unsweetened Green + White tea with mint.

When I was trying to wean myself off of the sugary beverages that I used to love so much, one of my best buddies was lightly or unsweetened iced tea. Just drinking water gets boring after a while, and tea is a pretty flavorful and healthy option to have around if you're looking for a 0 calorie beverage. TJ's version is interesting in that it's a blend of both green and white teas. Green & black is pretty common (they call it oolong), so green + white (baby green tea leaves) presents a light caffeine option. Mint is a classic tea partner and it really makes you forget that this tea is even unsweetened because it has such a nice flavor. Unsweetened iced tea is a bit of an acquired taste. I absolutely hated it as a kid, but now it's one of my favorite drinks. The Trader Joe's version isn't the best I've had, but it comes in a gallon jug, so the value is pretty great.

Nick's Cardamom Coffee:

What's that green thing floating in my coffee up there?! That's a green cardamom pod! At the suggestion of my friend Nick and per his instruction, I placed one pod and poured the coffee over it to release the flavor of the cardamom. Apparently in the Middle East they grind green cardamom and coffee beans together and boil that mixture in water to make the coffee. In Asia they use it to make a form of chai. That may be the next step, but this version was pretty great too. Just the one pod created enough flavor, but not too much, to spice up an ordinarily ho-hum cup of coffee maker coffee. I'm not exactly sure how to describe the flavor of cardamom if you haven't had it. It's some kind of hybrid of cinnamon + ginger, but not exactly that either. I think Nick got these from a fancy spice shop in NYC because apparently they're harder to find otherwise. I don't think I'd make cardamom coffee a regular habit, but every once in a while it's nice to spice up your coffee with a unique flavor.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 24

Woodside Farm Creamery: Coffee + Coconut Milkshake

Woodside Farm Creamery is a Delaware staple that I had heard a lot about it, but I had never actually been there. With the quick onset of beautiful Spring weather and all that comes with that (milkshake cravings), it was time to stroll on over to the farmland and see what they had to offer. While you'd think a dairy farm might have some other products like cheese or milk to buy, Woodside pretty much sticks to making and selling only their ice cream.

They have a few wild card flavors (bacon, birthday cake, dirt, motor oil) along with all of the classics, so it was difficult to decide how I was going to shape my milkshake. I'm normally a vanilla kind of guy, but I decided to spruce it up and go with a coffee ice cream + coconut mixture. With a 24 oz shake at $5.50 being the only size option, you better be prepared to make yourself kind of sick, or have a friend to share one with. We all kind of wished they had a smaller size for less money, but if you're going to drink a milkshake, you might as well go full blown milkshake.

As you can see by the color of the shake, I think I got a majority of the coconut ice cream in the mixture, which had a predominantly vanilla base. I wish I was able to taste a little bit more of the coffee flavor, but it definitely slipped onto my taste buds every few sips. The shake was super rich and thick, and getting little coconut shavings every once in a while was a nice touch. Somewhere between a beverage and a meal, I think the milkshake is one of the more intense drink experiences you could ever have, especially at a 24 oz size. I'm sure there were enough calories in there to sustain me for a couple of days, but I wasn't really counting.

Anyway, it was delicious, something that Daniel-Day Lewis or Kelis would certainly be proud of.

Friday, April 9, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 23

Homemade Aged "Easter" Eggnog

Back on November 27th, 2009 my brother, mom, and I made some eggnog similar to this recipe. Naturally, we drank many bottles around the winter Holiday season, but we saved a few for later in the year as we heard that the eggnog gets better with aging. With just two bottles remaining, we decided that Easter was a great time to crack one of them open (the other is waiting until a full year after bottling date).

How does a mason jar of raw eggs, sugar, milk, and cream last 128 days without spoiling? The secret is plenty of booze. Many basic eggnog recipes will only stay fresh for a couple of weeks because of the modest booze infusion. This recipe calls for a couple of handles of cheap bourbon and a bottle each of cognac and rum. The end result puts this drink at about 20% alcohol. This amount will sterilize any of that bad stuff that may be lurking in the raw eggs or long overdue cream. The major benefit here is that the different ingredients get a long chance to meld together and gradually mellow out. If you mix in booze with store bought eggnog, it's extremely difficult to get it to blend together well without the alcohol rising to the top or tasting too strong. Given at least three weeks (and even better 4 months!), while you still smell the booze, it's much harder to taste it.

My bro and I both agreed that the "Easter addition" tasted the best yet. I can't wait to dip into the last bottle in about 7 more months. The review will certainly be here!

This Is What I Drink : 22

Hoppy Beers

Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA:

This is the beer I like to think about when talking about Delaware's famed Dogfish Head brewery. As I've mentioned before, the stronger the hop flavor in a beer, the more I usually like it. While they make this IPA in a 9% ABV version (and a 20%), I feel like this is the best example of a very drinkable but still delicious tasting beer. All other previous criticism of Dogfish goes out the window after having one of these (see Festina Peche) because it doesn't have many flaws. I just decided today that if I'm ever on death row and get a choice of a "last beverage" it might be a case of 60-minute IPA. Probably a bottle of bourbon too.

Legacy Brewing's Hoptimus Prime:

Besides the obviously cool name, this beer from Reading, PA also happens to be really good. At 9% alcohol, this puts Mr. Hoptimus into the category of "double IPA." Anything that is "double" pretty much means "higher alcohol." This can sometimes be bad if the alcohol takes over the flavor profile, but that's definitely not the case with this beer. It actually tastes surprisingly mild and not overly hoppy. It's definitely one of the more drinkable and less intense high alcohol IPAs that I've had the privilege of trying. Though part of me misses that intensity. I think intense flavors keep me interested in a beer. Anyway, the picture I took of H-Prime also reminded me that Duke won the basketball tournament, and that's a bummer.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 21

A Martini

I went out for dinner the other night and saw somebody else order a martini. It looked fantastic, so I had to get one for myself. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to take a picture of what this classic cocktail looked like, but you've probably seen one before. Being a martini novice, I learned a lot about it that night thanks to our lovely waitress asking a bunch of questions as we ordered.

Vodka or Gin?

Well, I knew the answer to that. While my other diners went for vodka, I went for gin because I always knew it to be the proper spirit for a martini. Surprisingly, I was told this was the "dangerous" choice. According to our waitress, the human body processes gin differently than other spirits because of the juniper berries that gin is made with. This apparently causes a delayed reaction to the alcohol in your system, so you don't feel it until later. I wasn't able to confirm this online, but I have had some bad nights on gin, so I'll take her word for it. I still ordered gin though.

Dry or Very Dry?

This refers to the amount of Vermouth that goes into the cocktail. I really didn't know what was normal, so I just kind of shook my head when she asked "dry?".


If you say yes, you'll get your martini "up" in the cocktail glass rather than in a normal glass. I wasn't sure this was even an option as I always see martinis in the cocktail glasses. It just looks right that way.

Olive or a Twist?

So, you can either have some green olives as a garnish or a slice of lemon. I've always been more accustomed to seeing olives in a martini glass, so I went with those (we got 3 on a toothpick).


If you want to make your martini dirty, you put some olive juice in it. You can even drink it "very dirty" with even more olive juice. I didn't get it dirty.

Rocks on the side?

If your martini isn't cold enough, you can have some ice on the side to chill it to your liking. It wasn't necessary in this case; the drink was nicely chilled.

The martini is a beautifully simple and clean looking beverage. With good booze in it, it really tastes pretty great as well. I usually can't afford buying them because they always seem to be very expensive at bars or restaurants, but every once in a while you just have to class it up and go for it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 20

Saint's Iced Coffee:

There are still a few more beverages to talk about from the State College weekend. It turned out to be more of a new and reviewable beverage weekend than I thought, but a new drink is usually lurking if you keep your eyes open.

Despite having a Starbuck's closer to us, we decided to go to Saint's Cafe mainly because it wasn't a chain. That's not too much of a dis on Starbuck's as I think Starbuck's makes a decent product, but I can get that any day of the week. Anyway, I was in need of a coffee before our car ride (and after a night of drinking "espresso"), and since it was another warm day I went the iced route once again. At $2.50 for their only size (probably a large), it was a tad on the pricier side for a regular iced coffee, but certainly not outrageous. Unfortunately the end result was just okay. I think it just lacked the strongish flavor that I look for in a coffee. It was leaps and bounds better than Dunkin' Donuts, but not as good as Over Coffee Cafe in the current iced coffee wars. Obviously the price knocks it down that list as well. It had a nice environment and everything, but I was a bit disappointed in the end.

This Is What I Drink : 19

Kool Keith speaks about seltzer water:

My brother Thomas sent this to me. I'll let it speak for itself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 18


As you can see in the previous post, there is a bottle of something called "Root" in the picture along with the Yuengling. We've tackled the subject of Root a bit on the Spinto Band blog, and Art in the Age's blog will give you a more eloquent history on the concept of Root than I will. Quite simply, root is an organic alcoholic version of what we all know as root beer. It's not just a flavored vodka or anything, but its own 80 proof spirit. In my estimation, root has quickly become one of my favorite sipping spirits. It has enough interesting flavor on its own that I've never even really felt the need to try it mixed with anything else. This particular night, I was sipping out of an espresso cup. Every time I added more, I was saying things like "hey, I'm just drinking more espresso" or "more espresso here!". This was obviously hilarious because it wasn't espresso, and it would be strange to be drinking espresso at 2 AM.

Anyway, Root is a tad pricey, but I definitely recommend you try to track some down if you live in the Pennsylvania area and have always fantasized about the idea of alcoholic root beer. Art in the Age has a "root locator" if you want to find some.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 17

The Cheap Beer Carousel:

So as I said, we were headed to State College, PA for a concert. State College is of course home of Penn State University. What reminds somebody of college (or a band ryder) more than cheap beer? Not much, so I went through a mish-mash of beer, a couple from the majors and a couple locals.

Coors Light Draft:

was given to us for free by the great pizza shop Sarina's II next to the venue (we had the calzones, try 'em.) Normally, I wouldn't sniff at a light beer, but it was free, and I rarely turn down free things. I don't have much to say about Coors Light. It's like beer you drink when you don't actually want to drink beer. It's kind of a farce. I understand, less calories, whatever. I love heavy beer though. There's nothing more I like than a heavy, dark. and high alcohol beer, so the lightest lowest common denominator beer doesn't do it for me, and I hope to not see it very often on the blog.

Yuengling Lager (bottle):

Good 'ole Yuengling. This beer is not only a Pennsylvania classic, but now an American classic. Now that Budweiser has sold out to InBev, Yuengling is the United States' oldest brewery dating back to 1829. It's also America's second biggest brewery only lagging behind the Boston Beer Company, home of Sam Adams. Anyway, Yuengling is our cheap beer. Some people even think it's a good beer. I won't go that far, but I rank it a slight notch higher than the mainstream cheapies. I'm not sure if that's just hometown pride or not, but I like to at least support the somewhat local guys if I'm going to go the cheaper route in terms of my beer purchase. I actually enjoy some of Yuengling's other varieties slightly more than the traditional lager, but I'll probably get to those some time down the line.

Miller High Life (bottle)

Another classic. I'll always have a soft spot for the "champagne of beers" from my college days. It was either that or Pabst Blue Ribbon (which I'm sure I'll get to soon enough). It's not a beer you really drink to "enjoy", but you will definitely drink it. In that regard, don't you really secretly enjoy it? The answer is probably "yes". There is a time and place for a "session beer" as they call them, (any beer less than 5% alcohol and easy to drink) and after playing a show is many times that place. It's something I'd buy a 40 oz of on tour, and something I'd buy a 30-rack of for a party, but I'd rarely buy it for myself. It's the definition of mediocrity and all of the good and bad things that word entails.


Like Yuengling, this is another Pennsylvania classic, and more specifically a Central Pennsylvanian classic. I don't have a whole lot of experience with this beer but it's similar in taste and price to the beers I've talked about above. Once again, it always feels better to purchase from the locals and it's nice to have a few session beer options from somewhere near you. Possibly the most famous part about Lionshead is the incredible pictograph puzzles they have on the bottle caps. I'll never get tired of looking at these things. Pictographs will always be fun. If you want to ruin your future fun of figuring out the puzzles, go here. Things on the bottle cap are one of the better innovations of packaging of all time and this is one of the better examples of it.

You'll notice a bottle of "Root" in the Yuengling picture. I thought Root deserved its own post, so I didn't lump it into the cheap beer carousel. Root post will be up as soon as I'm inspired enough to write a bunch of words again.

This Is What I Drink : 16

Dunkin' Donuts Self Served Iced Coffee.

We took a trip to State College, PA this weekend and along the way stopped at a gas station we had stopped at many times before, a Hess station in Lancaster, PA. I was surprised to see the big DD logo outside. This was new. And as I hadn't made coffee that morning, I was ready to chug down some iced coffee. The big surprise was that this was a self-serve station Dunkin' Donuts, which in all my years of beverage watching, I had never seen. Perhaps it's more common than I think, but it was a new experience for me and my fellow travelers/DD drinkers.

My first thought was, "Wow, this is awesome! I can control the amount of creamer myself." You see, one of my main complaints about DD over the years is that if you don't really make yourself clear that you want "only a little cream", the employee will often hand you an overly milky mess of a coffee. At one time I used to get DD iced coffee fully sweetened with cream and sugar until I got really sick of it. Anyway, here's the thing, I added a tiny bit of milk myself, and it still tasted way too milky! What's the deal? Well, someone made the great point that the original "black coffee" product was probably just "brownish water." Not very appetizing, but it makes sense why the cream would so easily take over the flavor. And without real employees to prepare it, what exactly is the iced coffee product? It was probably shipped in pre-made plastic bags and then shoved into the machines. I didn't even mess with the flavor shots machine pictured above, but it was fun to play around with. I guess this is the final realization that DD coffee is what it is. A quantity over quality coffee product. You get a lot of coffee for your buck, but you sacrifice a lot of flavor. No doubt it has its place in the market as the caffeine kick is still there somewhere, but if you want a better coffee you probably should get it from someone you can talk to and not some machine in a gas station.

PS: Another thing about this gas station. I was able to buy a product I've been trying to find for a long time here. Look for it on TIWID (awesome acronym, right?) soon

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This Is What I Drink : 15

More Coffee Talk + Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla
Coffee is probably the most consistent and most necessary beverage in my routine besides water. I maybe only go one or two days a month without it. The days I don't drink it, I don't really notice the need. I still have energy, I can make it through the day. I'd like to say that I only drink it for the taste, but if that was the case I would drink decaf, and I don't. But I really do love the taste. Nothing quite socks it to you like a coffee. However much of that is mental or physical I'm not sure, but slowly sipping on a cup of coffee is sometimes one of the most pleasurable aspects of the day.

That said, let's get to the specifics pictured above. I'll first talk about how I arrived at putting almond milk in my coffee at home (my cereal too.) Growing up of course, I always drank regular milk, or 2%, what have you. Within the past couple of years though I made a conscious decision to take in as few calories as possible through liquids (beer being a gigantic exception.) This cut drastically down on my soda consumption and any other various heavily sweetened beverages I used to love to drink. Milk was grouped into this as well. Although I never drank that much milk, breakfast cereal is a staple in my diet, and so with that the milk had to become a lower calorie option as well.

First it was soy milk. Soy milk is really great along with a lot of other foods made with soy beans. However, the portrayal of the soy bean industry in Food Inc. turned me off a bit, and although I still consume soy products, I thought I would cut out one of the main things I bought with soy. Then I switched to rice milk. Rice milk isn't so bad either, but I found it pretty watery, especially with coffee. It just didn't quite mix the same as milk (nothing will, really.) After that I settled on almond milk. It's still not the same, but it's a pretty good option in terms of lower calories. I believe it only has 40 calories per 8 oz serving, and I certainly don't use that much when putting it in my coffee. It does the job of turning that coffee to a lighter color, and that psychological edge is enough for me to be happy with the product. I never really drink the almond milk plain, so I can't review it based on its own merit, but it's good in cereal too.

Here's the thing. Many coffee shops do not offer alternative sweeteners to half + half or milk without an additional charge. Fair enough, the other sweeteners are more expensive. So I usually sweeten my store bought coffees with half + half. It feels a bit luxurious after not using it more most of the time, and I used it in the picture above with my iced coffee from Over Coffee Cafe in Hockessin, DE.

Iced coffee has become a favorite of mine when I go out to a coffee place because I'm too lazy to make it myself. It's just a lot easier to drink, especially as the weather starts to turn warmer. I'll probably be reviewing a few different coffees from different shops around town, but I'll start with the OCC because I went there a couple of days ago. There isn't a whole lot to say except that the OCC has the best coffee in our area, but unfortunately has the longest drive to get there from where I work. You have to convince yourself it's worth the drive and it usually is. At $1.75 per large, it's a pretty good deal for a bold and flavorful coffee. I believe that iced coffee is the only drink I've tried at OCC and that's because they make it right. Simple and delightful.