Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Recently, Spin and I got together with a group of friends at La Shish Taouk.  I was rather glad that the group met here, as it's a place that caught my attention some time ago, and I'd been interested in checking it out.  I'd never had Lebanese food before, and I was curious.

While perusing the menu, I noticed something in the drinks list I'd never heard of before; Ayran.  So I asked the waitress about it, and she told me it was a fermented yogurt drink with salt.

What the heck, I decided.  I'll try that!  I've had fermented dairy drinks before and liked it.

This is what I got.

I've looked up the website since then, and have learned that Ayran is "the healthiest soft drink in the World !"

Soft drink is not how I would have described it. 

The ingredients list is water, yogurt, salt, citric acid and what I think was a preservative, but I can't remember the name of.

It looks pretty much like a glass of milk, only slightly thicker.  As for the taste.


It kinda tasted like the liquid in commercial cottage cheese, plus salt.

Plenty of salt. 

According to the label, the drink is meant to be served chilled.  I'm not a fast drinker, so it was room temperature by the time I finished it.  The flavour becomes more intense as it warms up.

Spin gave it a try and promptly rejected it.  She didn't hate it or anything, but definitely didn't like it.  Too salty, for starters.

It was definitely an interesting drink, and I don't regret ordering it, but it's not something I'd order again.  I could get used to the flavour, but not the saltiness.  I suppose if I made it at home, I could control for the salt easily enough - basic recipes I've found are equal parts water and yogurt blended with salt to taste, so it'd be simple enough to make. Some recipes include cumin or mint, which sound interesting, but neither are flavours I associate with salt.

Ayran, from what I've read, is incredibly popular in Turkey, but when it comes to fermented dairy, I much prefer kefir.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Young's Double Chocolate Stout.





Seriously, though. I saved this for the last of my Christmas gift beer reviews because I figured it would, at least, be the most interesting of the bunch. I was not wrong! Young's Double Chocolate Stout, unlike our last encounter with a "chocolate" "stout", really delivers on its description. "Silky rich and creamy smooth" "never overly sweet".

It is definitely on the dark, bitter side. I mean, even I can taste it. That doesn't keep it from being added to my favourites list, and if you're the type to like such things, it should probably go on yours.

(My Mother, uh.   She doesn't like it.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel

The pale ales and ciders out of the way, it's time to get to the darker portions of my Christmas gift beers!

I offered my mother the first taste of this one. I couldn't see her face, but her shoulders hunched and her neck tucked in like those of a disgruntled pigeon.


So maybe I'm just happy to finally be drinking something with discernible hops, but I like this! It's clean, smooth and pleasant with a slightly creamy aftertaste and the tiiiniest hint of malt. The alcohol content is a modest 5.3% and, when not smothered by a prodigious mattress of foam (drink it from the bottle, kids.), it goes down nicely.

I wouldn't rank it among my favourite (hey, I should write about those.), but I might order it for a lunch out.

Overall, I feel I must bestow upon this beer the highest award in ambiguousness I can provide.

Happy drinking!

Riéme Limonade Artisanale

A triple-review today! My mother brought home this lovely trio from a trip to our local Italian (and, by extension, Most-of-European) Grocery a while back. The bottles are dainty and pretty, the label design is uninspiring but not off-putting.

Our flavours for today are Pomegranate, Grapefruit and... uh, "Pink".

The Pomegranate one smells like candy and has a light flavour, but isn't overly sweet. It's clean and refreshing.

The Grapefruit one is a bit more carbonated than the other two and, again, the fruit flavour is understated.

The Pink one is actually white, and I think it's just plain lemonade flavoured. Still, very nice.

There were other flavours available, including "traditional" which was clear as water.  Each cost about a dollar and a quarter (Canadian) apiece, plus enviro fees.

All the flavours are united by a certain unobtrusiveness. They're not too acidic, not too sweet, not too carbonated. Pleasant and thirst-quenching. I think the Pomegranate and Pink ones are more to my liking, but I'd recommend giving any of them a try.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fuller's Organic Honey Dew

One thing about having a daughter that is on a mission to try lots of new types of beverages is that it makes finding Christmas presents really easy.  That different types of beer is high on her list of beverages to try makes narrowing things down even easier.

The down side is, I'm expected to taste test these with her.

So here we are again, furthering our quest in finding a beer that I actually like, instead of the usual gagging noises and facial contortions.

This time, Spindle chose another of the light beers I got for her.  Fuller's Organic Honey Dew.  It's a Refreshing golden Beer, the label tells us.  From an Independent Family Brewery, since 1845, the bottle tells us.  Now, most of the time, when we encounter a brew that proudly states such things, there's usually some sort of accompanying story on the label.  Some interesting prose to sell us on just how refreshingly refreshing we shall find it, or how awesome it is to be a family business for nearly 160 years.  The labels of this beer do not such thing, however.  What the back label does do is tell us it's beer.  In 9 languages.  It contains malted barley.  Also in 9 languages.  The very brief ingredients list of water, malted barley, hops and yeast... Yup.  Nine languages.  Clearly, this is a beer of international appeal!

It does have a very pretty bottle...

...and it's a lovely golden colour. 

With little to inform us, I had to rely on the website for more information.  There's even a "tasting notes" page.   With Organic Honey Dew, we are told to expect a beer that has "a zesty edge and a bitter sweet flavour."  It's "naturally palatable brew" that's "Soil Association approved."  It's "gentle sweetness" appeals to "even those who perhaps wouldn't usually drink beer..."

That would be me.

Does it?

No, not really.

At best, I can honestly say it didn't make me gag or go into facial contortions.


In taste testing it with my daughter, however, it illustrated once again just how differently people can taste things.  I could taste the bitter, but not the sweet.  At all.  I found it rather mild overall, which made it easier to taste test then other beers we've tried, but it has done nothing to win me over to the ranks of beer drinkers.  Spindle, on the other hand, cannot taste bitter.  For her, she could taste the sweet just fine.  She's not a fan of light beers, so it's hardly a favourite, but for the type, she liked it fine.  She found it light, refreshing, mildly sweet with a pleasant aftertaste. 

She also likes the bottle design enough to add it to her collection.