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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fentiman's Full Bodied Shandy

Though ages passed, and stars did wax and wane
And through their courses sped, regarding not
The man who stood below, his cup in hand
Awaiting word from some dark god, he thought,
The word which to his lips would tip the cup
Which, ever-filled with brews sublime or foul
Would spell his fate until again he quaffed.

The word has come, and now the bottle found
Which on this day gustation shall offend
The brew shall doubtless lead me to expound
To mark my fate, my immemorial end

--The Quaffing of the Brew, Act II, Scene 3

A very happy holiday to you, dear hypothetical readers. It's been a long time since Ive been able to fire up the Lab. One reason--a good one, more or less--is that I've lost almost 40 pounds. While this is a good thing for my health, the effort to avoid calories has made it more difficult to justify the quaffing of such wondrous delicacies, most of which are laden with wonderful, wonderful sugar. Sweet, delicious, delectable sugar...

Er. Anyway, I believe that as Christmas nears, I can justify occasional consumption of something interesting. Plus, it's not truly a festive occasion without the risk of retching, is it?

Of course it isn't.

Today, we at the Lab will be trying another find of the Kibbitzer-in-Chief's: Fentiman's Full Bodied Shandy. You may remember how successful some of her other finds have been. I'm sure I needn't remind anyone that the two most hideous things we have ever consumed here--the Biotta Digestive Drink and the Abali Yogurt Soda--were both K-i-C acquisitions.

Which, come to think of it, she avoided drinking...

In any case, we've had Fentiman's before. One of the first things I reviewed was their Dandelion and Burdock soda (one of the rare weed-flavored Weird Soda variants). This one is a Shandy, which is apparently beer flavored with lemonade or ginger ale. However, this bottle specifies that, while it is made with traditionally brewed beer, it contains very little alcohol. Like the other Fentiman's, the label says "Best Before: See Neck", but the neck bears no indication of an expiration date.
It occurs to me that it does not specify the neck of the bottle. Perhaps some other neck? Upon inspection in the mirror, my own bears no such inscription. Perhaps it is borne within the shandy itself, in some sort of rod-logic-containing nanotechnological system. After consuming it, the nanosites will migrate to my neck and form a subcutaneous organic LED display, which will read "It's expired. You're gonna die."

Oh, what the heck. Take me to Shandy-town!

Where and when: I have no idea where she finds these things, but it came to the Lab in December 2009.
Color: A fairly rich yellow-orange, like a nice apple juice.
Scent: Quite pleasant, actually. Lemonade-ish, with just a hint of creamy bite.
Taste: Huh.
Okay, this is a complicated one. The initial taste is tart and lemony, followed quickly--a few seconds--by a growing nuttiness, which must be the beer. This is underlaid by an interesting combination of tart and bitter/creamy. It's pretty similar to some of the lighter beers I've tried--wheaty, crisp, citrusy. The lemonade is mostly in the initial taste, then hides around the edges.
Actually, it's very good. Let's see what the young'uns think.

Lead Assistant Taster: "Smells nice, kind of like a cross between root beer and apple cider. *quaffs* Sweet, but the aftertaste is kind of bitter. And the aftertaste rolls along with the taste."
Junior Assistant Taster: "Uuh. Doesn't smell that good. *quaffs* Doesn't have much taste."
LAT: "The aftertaste is like grapefruit!"
JAT: "I can't explain the taste." *runs off to the back yard*
LAT: *runs off with him*

I'm honestly quite surprised that they liked it as much as they thought.

Me: "You know, this has beer in it."
LAT: "Beer?"
JAT: "That's what beer tastes like?" *sounds hopeful*
LAT: "Actually, that's not that bad, is it, then?"
JAT: "That's what beer tastes like?" *runs back to the backyard, faintly overheard* "I guess I wouldn't mind trying beer sometime."

Oh, good.

Quaff rating: 3.5. Tasty!
Cough rating: 0.5. The nuttiness would be off-putting, if you didn't like beer.

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