Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Tale of Three Shandies

Remember how I told you how much I love samples? Boy, howdy, do I! Even when they are products I'm not likely to love. I get to try something new without paying for it. Not long ago, I received a 6-pack of samples from a sales-rep that included a "pumpkin shandy" from the Traveler Beer Company. Just the other day, I got a special visit from a representative of that company who gave me three more of their beer-like products for me to sample. And sample, I will, while trying to keep an open mind out of respect…who knows, maybe I'll became a shandy fan? Maybe…

A caveat: In transit from work to home, one of the bottles leaked a little, and possibly lost carbonation. I'll open that one first. Looking at it, it seems like it lost about 2 ounces while it shook around the back of my bicycle, and this one is Time Traveler Shandy, Ale Brewed with Lemon Peel and natural flavors added. 4.4% Alc. by Vol. Brewed and bottled by the Traveler Beer Company, Cincinnati, Ohio and Brenigsville, PA. Again, the label doesn't tell you what a shandy is, and describes the product only as an ale brewed with lemon peel, and which natural flavors? Not a word about blending the beer with soda.

It also oddly leaves out the natural flavor that is added, which is puree of strawberry. Malts: 2-row barley, malted wheat, hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh,.

Appearance: clouded pale golden color, slightly pink, small head (that I blame on the leakage, all my fault.)

Aroma: Sweetness, very lemon-y, swiftly overtaken by strawberry. A little bit tart.

Taste: Sweet and strawberry-riffic, with that small jolt of tartness. Citrus pops up, and then the carbonation and the soda fizz dominates. Strawberry jumps in here and there, but isn't the dominant note.

"Time Traveler" is a beer truly ahead of it's time. A vibrant wheat beer brewed wit real strawberry for a subtle yet complex flavor. Open one up for "A Taste of the Future!""

Fruity and refreshing. Okay, yeah, it's nice. Now, on to….The Curious Traveler, Ale Brewed with Lemon peel and natural flavors added. Those being, lime. Also 4.4% ABV., same malts and hops. Basically we've got a German-style wheat beer, though not sure what yeast they use. We do know the IBUs: 7. Same as Time Traveler.

The lookin': Highly hazed, golden-hued, slim white head.

The smelling': Lemon and lime are largest, with notes of honey, slightly tart. I kind of like it.

The tasting': Lemonade spritzer through and through, on top of a smooth wheat ale taste. Still some semblance of beer here, but …hell, it's exactly what it's supposed to be, it's a wheat ale with lemon lime soda added in, it's tart and refreshing, and it/s not the sort of thing I feel like drinking in November. It is what is, and I can't it for that. And I will finish the bottle, and I will drink the next one…

And that one is Tenacious Traveler, the winter seasonal, brewed with ginger and honey…

Lookin': Exactly like the last one.

Smellin': Exactly like a can of Schweppes ginger Ale, or Canada Dry. There's ginger, and plenty of lemon and lime. Nice.

Tastin': Alcoholic ginger ale. No real beer flavor …you'd have to search for it. Wait, there's some, sure if you squint just a little…brings to mind the British term for "malt-ernatives" that says it best: Alcopops. It's fizzy, it's ginger-y, and, again, it ain't for me. Someone's got to like it, but not I.

In the end, I gave up and tossed out about 1/3 of the glass, down the kitchen sink. Out of boredom, more than anything else. It was getting later, I was yearning for a real beer before I closed out the night, and in the end, finishing the whole 12 ounces meant tossing back more alcohol with no pleasure, and I was no longer interested in that.

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