Okay, admittedly, I had to guess on the name of this one.
The Kibbitzer-in-Chief returned from one of her mysterious "go somewhere other than the Lab for a while" missions with a can of something yellow and an odd smile on her face.
"It's called Kvass," she said, "and apparently it's popular in Russia."
The can was extensively labeled...in Cyrillic.
As a scientist and Quaffmaster, I do try to keep a cosmopolitan worldview. I try to sample Weirdness from around the world. Heck, we've even tried something from Antarctica!* But Russia is a new one for me. I'm out of my depth, and need to consult with an outside expert.
My good friend who shall for the moment remain nameless--a fellow scientist--was over the other day, helping put up gutters on the Lab.
Me: "So, GFWSFTMRN, you read Russian, right?"
Me: "What the heck is this stuff?"
My friend proceeded to describe Kvass. Apparently, in Russia, this stuff is brewed up from stale rye bread by the kegful and sold on street corners. It's technically a fermented product, but the alcohol content is very low. According to some quick and superficial research, for a while it was displaced by Coke and Pepsi, but it has made a recent comeback based on nationalist pride.
I'm going to quaff Russian nationalist fermented rye bread. I have the greatest calling EVER.
Color: Dark caramel brown. Slightly lighter than most colas. A pretty orange-brown, medium carbonation.
Scent: Malty, but less bitter than Malta Hatuey.
Me, to K-i-C: "Here, smell."
K-i-C: *GAG COUGH CHOKE BLEAH*
It's not that bad. Slightly spicy, strong malt, a bit of root beer/cinnamon.
Taste: Oh...my. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. A fairly strong beer/hops flavor, also a strong taste of carbonation (which is odd, given that the carbonation is pretty mild).
There's an interesting malt flavor. It's actually fairly mild, tends to linger around the top.
Me, to K-i-C: "Want to try it?"
K-i-C: "No." GAG COUGH GAG ALMOST PUKE BLEAH
She tries several times, but is actually unable to sip any.
K-i-C: "Can you make beer out of raisins?"
Hmm. I guess I can taste what she means. With the bread, it's kind of like bread pudding soda.
The aftertaste is fairly lemony, acid, with a slightly-sweet beer-like note.
This may be one on which the K-i-C will have to disagree. I kind of like it. Not a lot--I don't think I'd go down to the street corner for a refreshing cup of Kvass--but it's far better than some things I've had. If I were a beer afficionado, I would probably appreciate it more. Still, a big "Spasiba!" to the makers of Kvass. Pretty good stuff.
K-i-C: COUGH BLEAH ICK ICK ICK SHUDDER BLAAAARGH
Or maybe not.
Quaff rating: 2.5. It's not exactly splendid, but I can see the appeal.
Cough rating: 1.5 (for me). I'm betting the K-i-C would go to about 4.5.
*And just in case someone should comment on this (see comments in linked review): yes, I know it's not from Antarctica.
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