The habitat was small, which was fine, given that we intended for the specimens* to free-range on the Lab grounds during the day. They grew well, and all was well.
The back door to the main Lab building is left open during much of the day, as the official Weird Soda Review canine auxiliary staff** require unfettered access to the grounds to perform their duties (these include "barking at nothing" and "pooping in as many places as possible"). In order to minimize insect infiltration of the Lab, the open doorway is covered by a screen curtain held together in the middle by a magnet. The canine staff mastered the art of simply pushing between the screen flaps within a few minutes, and so had no trouble with it. The new lab chickens, however, were completely stymied by this incomprehensible barrier.
Chicken #1: Behold, comrades! The large bipeds emerge from this opening with some regularity. Surely, beyond must lie untold riches and new places to poop. Let us voyage into the unknown.
Chicken #2: Indeed. Forth Eggorlingas!
Chicken #3: *hits screen* Alas! What is here, my faithful avian companions? My way is blocked by a mystic barrier. The light and scents from the paradise within drift out to tantalize and tempt me, yet I cannot pass! Ah, cruel fate!
Chicken #2: 'Zwounds, it bars my entry as well. Whence comes such an impediment? Knowest thou, O wise leader of out feathered sisterhood?
Chicken #1: Nay, it is altogether out of my experience. Never before has such a thing come to pass in the memory of any chicken. Let us investigate.
*The chickens poke around at the screen, completely failing to notice the fact that it parts easily in the middle*
Chicken #3: Truly, it is impassable. The mammalian bipeds and our canine foes must be possessed of some celestial virtue, unknown to hens, by which they can move freely betwixt this realm and that which lies beyond. Oh, cruel fate, which so oft is arranged against our ilk.
Chicken #1: Verily, thou hast pecked it on the mark. Come, let us return to our efforts to uproot every vegetable planted by the bipeds.
This dialogue was repeated every day. It was amusing to watch them utterly fail to figure out how to get through, and be so obviously annoyed that we and the dogs had no such trouble.
Well, it was funny until they finally figured it out. Now we have to keep a constant watch on the door, lest the chicken hordes invade and explore the Lab.
Inspired by this unfortunate turn of events, I have been busy constructing a larger habitat for the chickens (based on plans for the Garden Coop) in which they can spend more of each day in seclusion. Being a novice at construction, this has been occupying much of my attention, and I have neglected my Quaffmasterly duties. Well, no more. NO MORE, I say! No invading fowl shall keep me from the swift completion of my appointed rounds.
Tonight we're trying "Foxon Park White Birch" soda. I'm presuming this is a birch beer, rather than some sort of soda made from whole birch trees.
Where and when: Purchased at Urbn Pizza in Vista, CA.
Color: Transparent, totally clear. The white/pale blue label color scheme, combined with this, gives it an icy aspect.
Scent: Yep, it's a birch beer. It has that very strong scent of wintergreen. Oddly, though, it's underlaid with a savory, almost meaty smell. This is quite strange, and makes me a little afraid.
Taste: The mint is the dominant taste, with a nice balance of sweetness. The sweet is not overwhelming; rather, it's a good complement to the mint. However, there don't seem to be any other tastes at all. It's very clean, but kind of uninteresting.
No sign of meatiness, not even a bit of gravy or a blot of mustard.
About ten seconds after the swig, a delayed aftertaste creeps in. It's a cooler, more pepperminty feeling, pleasant and faint. Other than that, there's very little aftertaste; cool mint, and a fading slight tart note which is the inevitable melancholy twilight to cane sugar's intense noontide radiance.
I'm really not sure what to make of this. It leaves very little impression beyond a pleasant wintergreen mintiness. I suppose in its own way, that's nice; the cleanness is appealing in a way, and at least it's a pleasant taste, but it lacks complexity. It reminds me a bit of IKEA furniture.
K-i-C: "Rest assured, it was quite expensive."
Hmm. Perhaps I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate what sets this apart from all other birch beers. It's nice--I wouldn't mind drinking it--but I probably would specifically request it. And I definitely wouldn't try to have it with most pizzas, it's far too weak.
Actually, Urbn has a nice white-sauce pizza with clams. This might go well enough with that...
Soda in the trees
A few notes, now repeated
Plain and simple song
Quaff rating: 2.5. The taste is well-balanced and pleasant, but colorless.
Cough rating: 0. There's nothing offensive here at all.