Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kotas Reviews Newcastle Werewolf

Hello my loyal readers! Welcome to Day 4 of Okotastoberfest! It's Halloween everybody, and that means we have a special treat for you today...a little something from the United Kingdom has escaped the confines of London (well, Tadcaster North Yorkshire...close enough for us ignorant Yanks), and now prowls your local grocery's beer aisle looking for new prey. It is Newcastle Werewolf, and we're here to find out if it is a howling good brew, or if it should be shot with silver bullets.


I really like the label on this one. It's clearly a Newcastle beer, but the blue star is nowhere to be seen, a werewolf is front and center, and it really plays up the theme. All in all, a perfect example of how to spookify (shut up, it's a word) your standard offering. I've always enjoyed their standard Newcastle Brown Ale, which is the favorite beer of some of my poker buddies and one of those nice session imports perfect for a fall evening. How will this interloper stand up? 

Rawwwwr? RAWR!

Billed as a "blood red ale", I would just like to say that this is "sort of blood red...if the blood were drying after being exposed to air for a while". As with all the beers I've tried this week, it doesn't have much of a scent, but it does look pretty good in the glass. This beer is another "quick hit" sort of taste, with a coffee tang to compliment the maltiness, but there's no clean aftertaste here. The not unpleasant sourness lingers a bit, like the pain from a scratch fading shortly after it was inflicted. The flavor also smooths out as you drink. My first taste was not my favorite, but after a few more sips, it grew on me and became a very drinkable beer. 

This would probably go well with any sort of pub food, along with red meats, which is very fitting given the name. I am pleased to note that the hops are back in their rightful place after yesterday's surprise visit, though I do wish the bitterness was a bit...mellower maybe? This is a beer that leaps into your throat and growls at you that it is definitely a beer, and not some sort of drink masquerading as a beer or beer like substance. 

On the FACE Rating System, this gets one howling smiley face. As a seasonal change up, I like it very well, but I certainly wouldn't seek it out as a regular drink, even during its season. A session or two in the appropriate yearly cycle is more than enough. If you like fall beers, or if you are a Newcastle fan, I highly recommend giving it a whirl. It won't bite your head off.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kotas Reviews Shiner Oktoberfest

It's Day 3 of Okotastoberfest! Today we head for Texas and the Spoetzl Brewery for our specimen: Shiner Oktoberfest. The Spoetzl Brewery bills itself as the oldest independent brewery in Texas, and was founded in 1909. The Oktoberfest brew began life as Shiner 96, one of the beers created to celebrate the (at the time) impending centennial of the brewery's life. It entered seasonal rotation shortly after. Their most well known beer is of course the tasty Shiner Bock, favorite of country music stars and Hank from Breaking Bad. Let's see how their brew stacks up!

Oppa Marzen Style!

 I've always liked the designs for the various Shiner beer labels. Distinctive, yet always easy to recognize. This is no exception really, and hey, they spelled Oktoberfest with the proper German spelling, so you know, thumbs up. Shiner Bock is a pretty good beer, the kind you'd get when you want to stay domestic, but want a fancy domestic that looks like an least on the East Coast. 

Fancy and Dancy!
The scent on this one is a lot like all the other ones we've looked at: faint. The color is a bit brighter than either Yuengling or Sam Adams' offerings, and it generated a bit more head when poured, but not a ridiculous amount. The flavor is very consistent throughout the quaffing process: what you taste on the first sip is the same taste that lingers in your mouth. The finish is also clean and crisp, but the aftertaste is very bitter...mainly because the main flavor is a lot more bitter. In fact, it tastes a lot like someone drank a Sam Adams Octoberfest and said to themselves "Man, this is good, but it needs a LOT more hops to really make it shine". 

I am not a huge fan of the current trend in "extra hoppy" beers. I actively avoid IPAs of any strength and something like Milwaukee Brewing's "Hoptoberfest" is RIGHT OUT. This is not a huge offender but it is certainly a lot hoppier than I would like. If you like this kind of thing, you'd probably like this beer fairly well. It won't provide that hop shock and awe that seems to be the current trendy thing, but it is a lot more than most Oktoberfest brews I've had. 

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 0 faces. It's well done in presentation, looks good, and drinks well. I could drink a few of these in a long session...if it was a flavor I actually enjoyed. It's not bad, but it isn't anything close to my cup of tea. Tune in tomorrow for a special edition of Okotastoberfest, in honor of the holiday. Muhahahaha!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kotas Reviews Samuel Adams Octoberfest

It's Day 2 of Okotastoberfest! Today's offering comes to us from the first of the national "craft brewer" brands to hit the mainstream: Samuel Adams. Sammy A here, true to his Southie nature, put out their groundbreaking Boston Lager, and suddenly everyone and their brewmeister mother was attempting to cash in the wild popularity of beer that actually tastes good. They started putting out an Oktoberfest brew in 1989, but it has been a staple of my Fall Beer Selection for many years. Let's take a look!

Note that they spelled Oktoberfest in the inferior American way
The bottle is bright, distinctive yet still very much a Sam Adams bottle. I like this color scheme as it pretty much matches the color of the leaves that fall from my oak trees. Well, most of them. I like Samuel Adams, but it is kind of the dark mirror of Yuengling for me. I strongly dislike their standard Boston Lager, but almost all of their seasonal, special, or otherwise offbeat beers I enjoy quite a bit. In fact, their Black Lager was my go to beer for a while. How will this one stack up? Unlike yesterday, this one's a pop off, so I had to resort to my trusty bottle opener to reveal the secrets within.

The secret is apparently a brownish orange

The color of this beer is pleasing to the eye and nice fall-oriented dark orange and brown concoction. I tend to pour my beers using the "side of the glass" method, so there isn't any head to speak of. The scent is pretty weak actually, with only a hit at the malt goodness. The flavor is very...bursty. You take a sip, but the full thing doesn't hit you until you actually swallow it and then you get an explosion of malt, caramel, and a hint of pumpkin. As quickly as it arrives, it fades leaving a clean finish and a ghost-like aftertaste that is a pleasant reminder of beers past. 

It's not as bitter as the Yuengling brew and certainly isn't as strong a flavor, though it is strong. Good with a burger, bad with fois gras, if you catch my drift. Not completely overwhelming like the Yuengling, but distinctive. It is certainly more drinkable, but it is more filling than a pilsner or a lager. Comfortable is the word I would use to describe it. I could drink this fairly steadily at a party and be pretty happy. 

On the FACE Rating System, Sam Adams Octoberfest gets a solid 2 smiley faces. If you like beer and haven't tried it, I recommend picking up a 6 pack. If you are throwing a party or bringing beer TO a party, a 12 pack would certainly be welcome at anything I was hosting. What will tomorrow hold? Tune in and find out!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kotas Reviews Yuengling Oktoberfest

Greetings my loyal readers! The time has come for another October Theme Week! Now, what could be more October-y than Oktoberfest? Well, just about everything, given that it usually takes place in September, but that's not the important thing! What IS more important is the wide variety of seasonal beers that become available around this time! I enjoyed Cereal Monsters Week so much, I decided to do it again, only this time with something that gets me drunk. Welcome, to Okotastoberfest! 

For today's entry, we hearken back to an old standby, Yuengling. Billing itself as America's Oldest Brewery, Yuengling burst onto the, uh, regional scene from its local brew roots in Pennsylvania a few years back. Of all the domestic beers, this one is probably my favorite, and is my go to beer for everyday drinking. This year, for whatever reason, they seem to have released an Oktoberfest version. How does it hold up? 
At least it is in a brown bottle. Green bottles suck!
I've found that Yuengling beers outside their staples of Lager and Black & Tan to be very hit or miss with me. I think their Porter is okay, but that "Lord Chesterton Ale" is very, very meh. They also price their non-staple beers more like the mass market craft beers, which is to say "$3 more than the usual price". I wasn't super thrilled with that, but hey, Science or something. Let's pop (well, unscrew, since it's a screw top) this bad boy open!

This is my non-schamcy glass

The scent is essentially that of standard Yuengling products, which is to say, not very strong. It's got a nice basic malt odor with overtones of hops and a hint of something...maybe pumpkin, maybe just extra malt. The scent would probably be heavier if I used an actual beer glass, but eh, roll with what you know. Not much head on the beer, but I'm gonna call that a good thing. 

The taste is pretty good, with a nice shock of malt and a bit of hoppy aftertaste. It bubbles on the tongue a bit in a fairly pleasant sort of way. It is rather more on the bitter side of beer than some, but it doesn't have a heavy sourness to make it taste bad like some really bitter beers can do, and the finish is pretty clean. It tastes a lot like a bit more bitter version of their standard Lager.

All that said, it's pretty heavy on the mouth feel. This is a beer that takes all other flavors around it and says "Nein! Ve shall haf none of zat now!" so it wouldn't go good with any food that has any flavor south of "Bold". It sits in the stomach, and is not something I could quaff with any sort of regularity. One or two of these, and I'm full. It's also not particularly distinct from their standard Lager, though you can tell it is different. I just don't know if it's different enough to justify the price difference. 

On the FACE Rating System, I give this beer 0 faces. It's not a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not a particularly great beer either. If you get a chance to try it, say at a party or as part of a variety pack I'd give it a whirl, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to acquire it. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kotas Reviews Fruity Yummy Mummy

Welcome to Day 5 of Monster Cereals Week! Today we unwrap the mystery of the final Monster Cereal, the mysterious and yet still incredibly silly Fruity Yummy Mummy! Fruity Yummy Mummy is the latecomer to the Monster Cereal party, debuting in 1988 and being discontinued in 1993. It was General Mills' second attempted at a generic "fruit flavored" cereal and replaced Frute Brute in the line up, if only briefly. Again, this is one I missed out on as a kid, usually because my cereal tastes by that point were growing up, as was I. It was originally a fruit-flavored cereal with vanilla marshmallows, but the current incarnation is the surprising choice of orange creme flavored. Will it curse us for disturbing its rest? Let's find out!

What's wrong with your faaaaaaaace?
Clearly, Ancient Fruity Egypt did not have much of a dental plan. Look at that thing! I've never seen a mono-tooth before. And check out the shoddy workmanship on the wrappings of the forehead! Coming loose like that is unacceptable! Anyway, the mascot isn't terrible. It's a cartoon mummy with multicolored wrappings and pretty much is what I imagined when I heard the phrase "Fruity Yummy Mummy". He's also the only Cereal Monster able to function at full capacity in sunlight, which explains why it is dawn on his box. Artificial Orange Cream Flavor is not what I would have chosen for my cereal, but I don't have a Fungineering degree. 

50 (well, 5) Shades of Reddish Colors!
The cereal pieces are a lot brighter than I was expecting after the Boo Berry debacle. They are red and orange, rather than the red and yellow of Frute Brute. The marbits are a bit boring in shape, with all of them either the generic "monster head" or just formless blobs, but the colors of orange and yellow are a welcome sight. The marbit density appears to be much higher than in any of the other fruit flavored Monster Cereals. Maybe this was just the lucky box! The cereal definitely smells of artificial orange cream, but the scent is not as strong as on Frute Brute. 

It's like a marker factory exploded into food
This was certainly an orange cream flavored cereal. It actually tastes like that, even if it is the fakey flavor you get from, well, every orange cream flavored thing ever. It is not a super strong flavor, but it is distinct and the marbits give a shock of flavor similar to Boo Berry. The difference is that it actually works in the cereal's favor. The Dry Run isn't bad, about on par with Frankenberry, but the Gold Standard? Wow, that orange cream flavor is very noticeable but not overwhelmingly so. The high marbit density means that each bite tastes pretty darn good, rather than a wasteland of awful punctuated by berry-ish "not badness". The cereal does degrade faster in milk than Count Chocula or Frankenberry, but gosh darn it, I still like it. The Aftermath is still a bit disappointing, though the milk was at least orange cream scented this time. I think I actually like this!

On the FACE Rating Scale I'd give this 2 smiley faces. It actually accomplishes what it set out to do in making an orange cream flavored cereal. Now, if you don't like orange cream (and I get that not everyone does) this is totally not the cereal for you, but if you do like it, give it a whirl. 

Thus concludes the glory of Monster Cereals Week! Hopefully I'll be able to do more Theme Weeks in the future, as I had a lot of fun with this, despite the boxes of leftover cereal. I have to say, Count Chocula still stands above the rest as my favorite of the five, but Fruity Yummy Mummy comes in as my next favorite. Frankenberry is probably better for people crazy about strawberry flavoring. The worst of them is probably Boo Berry, simply because it was all around awful, which I think is due to the current formulation. Frute Brute was just a shocking failure in the flavor department, even though it looked and smelled so good, which summoned the Twin Dragons of Disappointment: Excitement and Expectation. See ya'll next time!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kotas Reviews Boo Berry

Welcome to Day 4 of Monster Cereals Week! Today we explore the world of the only incorporeal cereal mascot around, the groundbreaking Boo Berry! Boo Berry was released shortly after Count Chocula and Frankenberry made their debut, and was the third Monster Cereal. It was also the world's first blueberry flavored cereal, and I think it may be the only blueberry flavored cereal that's still around...if it's still flavored like blueberries. I remember this being fairly decent...if you like blueberries of course...when I was a kid. Let's take a peek into this spooky world of revisionism!

His eyebrows will haunt you forever
This mascot is definitely the hipster of the bunch, I mean, look at that HAT! And who wears a tie anymore? Does he have to go to the ghost formal? Is there a ghost office job where he files ghost paperwork and downs three ghost martini lunches? OH MAN. HE'S THE GHOST OF DON DRAPER! THIS EXPLAINS SO MUCH! Still, he's got a certain style about him, definitely the most fashionable of the Cereal Monsters. Like Frute Brute, this is "Artificial Berry Flavor Frosted Cereal"...which means it probably tastes nothing like blueberries, because "berry" is a very generic term. I mean, it's not something completely made up like "Sharkleberry" or "Purplesaurus Rex", but it never actually tastes like anything nature produced.

I've got...only a tiny amount of the bluuuuuuues...
The cereal pieces are a deep, dark purple-ish color that is pretty much Not The Blue I was Expecting, and the marbits are the same colors as in Frankenberry. Same shapes too. Way to be a copycat, Boo Berry. Couldn't even use a proper shade of blue, had to go with "ugly purple" eh? Well, I guess we all have to make compromises in these tough times. The smell is definitely artificial berry-ish, though it is not very strongly scented, which is surprising. How does it taste?

It's not really all that appealing looking as something to eat
Well, it tastes stronger than Frute Brute, I'll give it that, though it is not exactly a high bar to leap over. The Dry Run was okay, I guess. It doesn't really taste like blueberries, but it does have a berry-ish flavor for the cereal pieces and the marbits. Where the surprises came in with this one was during the Gold Standard. I don't know what the deal is, but milk changes the flavor profile a LOT. It dampens the flavor of the cereal bits (though not to nothing), but it makes the marbits' taste much more acute. The effect is to give a mild berry flavor punctuated by little bursts of stronger flavor. I suppose the effect is kind of like eating blueberries in other, better cereals. That may be too much thought into it. The odd thing is...after some time in milk, where the other cereals (even FRUTE BRUTE to the degree that it has flavor) had their pieces stay crunchy and somewhat flavored, this stuff? Not so much. The pieces become soggy and lose a LOT of their flavor. I thought this might make the Aftermath better, and while it does have a hint of berry scent, the milk is pretty much flavorless. Odd.

Overall, on the FACE Rating System, I give Boo Berry 1 frownie. I've never had a particular desire to seek out a blueberry (or just "berry") flavored cereal, but if I did, this would not satisfy. It does have more flavor (at least until it sits in milk for a while) than Frute Brute, but the lack of visual appeal and oh so sad milk sturdiness leave it behind the other, better executed cereals. I'm gonna say it: I think it was better when I was a kid.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kotas Reviews Frute Brute

Welcome to Day 3 of Monster Cereals Week! Today we examine a beast that hasn't been seen in over three decades, the mysterious Frute Brute! Some fun facts about Frute Brute. First, it was originally called Fruit Brute when it was first released, and purported to be "fruit flavored cereal with key lime marshmallows". The current incarnation changes the spelling, presumably to conform to whatever regulations there are about naming something "Fruit" when that something contains little to no actual fruit. It also changes the flavorings. This is a "cherry flavored cereal with spooky-fun marshmallows". How does it stack up? Well, let's take a look!

Is it just me, or does he sport an Elvis style this go around?
The mascot himself is...uh...kind of uninspired. He's pretty much any old generic cartoon werewolf with some green overalls on. I liked the original incarnation with the jaunty hat much better. Still, he's on theme and the art work IS well done. Huh, I just noticed that the same damn castle is on each of the boxes. I guess that is where they all live? Why would a werewolf live in a castle? Oh, and this is "Artificial Cherry Flavor Frosted Cereal". That does not inspire confidence. I don't know much about how this tasted when I was a kid, because they stopped making it before I had any say in what I ate for breakfast. I'm told that Knoxville favorite son Quentin Tarantino is a HUGE fan of it though.

No monochromatic color schemes in sight!

It's nice to finally see some risks being taken with this cereal. We have double the number of colors for the cereal pieces and marbits in purple, pink, and orange! The red ghost pieces are a "more different red" than the Frankenberry ones, and the yellow ones are a nice contrast. Not pictured is the rare "orange" piece that I found after these pictures were taken, clearly the result of dye cross contamination. The marbits were all in the "monster head" shape (or maybe just blob shaped) so that was a bit of a step back. This stuff has a very, VERY strong smell of artificial cherry flavoring, what in my youth I would call "red flavor". Let's see how it tastes!

Will it live up to the hype? You make the call!


Sadly, the visual and olfactory portions of the experience are the best part of this giant bowl of disappointment. I didn't expect it to blow me away, but it was simply amazing how little flavor there was, especially after the smell was so strong. The Dry Run was like eating vaguely cherry-ish flavored sugar coated packing peanuts, sprinkled with marbits that tasted like any other "generic" marbit. Not even a hint of cherry flavoring to be had in them thar marbits, let me tell you. The Gold Standard was a little better, with the milk releasing a bit more flavor. That flavor was a very generic fruit-like flavor though, and only sort of resembled the artificial cherry flavors that the smell tantalized us with. Not awful, but certainly not up to the standards of Frankenberry's distinct strawberry taste. The Aftermath left us with very good smelling, but very weak tasting cherry-esque milk. You let me down, Frute Brute. You let Tarantino down. You let all the fans out there in Internet Land down. 

On the FACE Rating System, I give this 1 frownie face. It would have been lower, but the cereal looks great and it was nice to see a bit more visual variety in this incarnation. Too bad the taste couldn't keep up with the sight and the smell. I mean, if it's called Frute Brute, I expect the flavor to hit me in the taste like, well, like a Brute. Let's hope your predecessor Boo Berry can do better!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kotas Reviews Frankenberry

Welcome to the second day of Monster Cereals week! Yesterday we took a gander at the snazziest breakfast vampire to ever hawk cereal. Today, we look at his oft-misunderstood counterpart, Frankenberry!

Made with Whole Grains! And LIGHTNING!
As a wee lad, I never appreciated Frankenberry as much as Count Chocula. Most fruit-flavored cereals of my day focused on multiple fruits (Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Fruity Marshmallow Krispies, etc.), so a "single fruit" cereal was somewhat rare. Also, I wasn't that big into "pink" for the color of my breakfast. As time passed I came to appreciate this stuff a bit more, especially the design for good old Frank. I mean, look at him! Built in goggles, a random gauge on his head, a whistle...could Frankenberry be the first Steampunk mascot?

Frankenberry was always portrayed in the commercials as the more fun loving of the Cereal Monsters, up for any old shenanigans so long as he got to deliver his cereal to kids. Huh, it sounds a lot creepier when you put it that way. Anyway, it's claim to fame cereal-wise was that it was a SHOCKING color of pink. The original pink coloration was some pretty nasty stuff, being nigh indigestible for a lot of kids and leading to some worried calls to doctors before they switched recipes. Let's look at the modern incarnation.

Yeah, not very pink is it? I left out a marbit that IS pink, but other than that? Not much pink to be hand in this strawberry cereal. The ghost pieces are more a dark red, and the marbits come in purple, white, blue, and pink. They are shaped like ghosts, bats, and "monster heads" maybe. It carries an unmistakable "totally fake strawberry" scent that you usually only smell when eating really cheap strawberry-ish candy. I will say that it is unlike any other fruit flavored cereal I've eaten.

No pink to be found in this sad lie of a bowl
Unlike Count Chocula, the cereal pieces do not have a strong strawberry flavor. It's there, but it sort of shares the spotlight with that generic corn cereal taste. The marbits on the other hand are incredibly strongly flavored of artificial strawberry. Did you ever get a Strawberry Crunch Good Humor bar? Yeah, it tastes almost exactly like the strawberry ice cream you find in those. 

The Dry Run of this cereal is decent. The flavor is not nearly as strong as with Count Chocula, though the marbits are certainly more noticeable in the mix. It retains the milk-defying properties of the Count, so the Gold Standard tastes pretty good. The milk adds a nice dairy contrast to the fake strawberry taste, and again, the Aftermath is a crushing disappointment. Where Count Chocula at least had a bit of chocolate flavor, this has almost none. Frankenberry is not one to easily give up its secrets, even to the awesome power of 2% milk!

On the FACE Rating System, this one gets 1 smiley face. I like it as a change of pace from Count Chocula, but it will never be my "go to" Monster Cereal. I do like the mascot though, and think he adds some interest to the marketing. Tomorrow we have a Howling Good Time with our recently returned buddy...FRUTE BRUTE!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kotas Reviews Count Chocula

Hey everyone, it's the middle of October! Do you know what that means? It means the MONSTER CEREALS ARE BACK! What's that? You don't know what the Monster Cereals are? Let me tell you! So, years and years ago (1971 to be exact, thanks Wikipedia!), General Mills decided that a series of monster themed breakfast cereals might be a big hit. They were right, mostly. Very, VERY loosely based on the Classic Universal Monsters, the Cereal Monsters are (in order of appearance): Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo Berry, Fruit (or Frute in the modern incarnation) Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy. They are some of the most processed, sugary, terrible for you cereals known to human kind. And I love them So. Very. Much!

Today's review will be the first in a series as I eat my way through all five current incarnations of our lovable teeth rotting monstrosities who want nothing more than for you to enjoy their delightfully artificial cereal products. Part of a balanced breakfast...if that breakfast consists of a head of lettuce and maybe a piece of fruit.

The first victim entry is the one with the most longevity: Count Chocula. He was one of the very first Monster Cereals (along with Frankenberry) to emerge from their devilish slumber and was the last one to still be available all the year round (until 2010, when all the Cereals went seasonal). Let us examine our subject!

I vant to be in marketing!

As you can see, the current box art is pretty snazzy, even if it does go with that "way to close to the camera" perspective so popular with Hollywood these days. He's creepy and he's cooky, but not particularly terrifying. Which is probably pretty good considering you want your kids to BUY your vampire themed cereal. He also does not sparkle in sunlight, which is a plus.

When I was a kid, Count Chocula was always my favorite, as I absolutely loved chocolate flavored cereal. I also happen to be a fan of tiny marshmallows (or marbits as the cereal aficionados call them). In the olden days, the cereal pieces were round wheel shaped things, and the marbits were just little TicTac looking things. But now? BEHOLD.


The cereal pieces are spooky ghosts! And the marbits? Well, they are uh...I think that's a bat...and that might be a spooky ghost..thing. And a blob. Or maybe another ghost? Whatever, they are certainly bigger than in the old days. "Spooky-fun Marshmallows" indeed. This stuff smells like Lucky the Leprechaun and Sonny the Cuckoo Bird crammed their respective cereals together and THIS is the result.

Part of this know what? Screw it.

It's pretty attractive in the bowl, with good visual appeal. The old stuff was sort of generic looking breakfast cereal, but with the current shapes it actually feels like a MONSTER cereal, or at least a Halloween themed one. The cereal pieces taste a lot like Cocoa Puffs, but coated in this sugary substance that adds a bit of extra sweetness (and durability in milk). The marbits taste vaguely chocolatey, but otherwise like any other marbit from a cereal.

There are three stages to sugary kids cereal tasting: The Dry Run, where you eat the cereal without milk, The Gold Standard, which is cereal and milk together, and the Aftermath, which is how the leftover milk tastes when you are done. The Dry Run of Count Chocula is pretty tasty, and I would (and do) totally eat this stuff as a snack or dessert sans dairy.

Unlike a lot of kids cereals (The Pebbles line is particularly notorious), it does not completely disintegrate in milk, so the first bite is only a bit drier than the final bite during the Gold Standard experience. The Aftermath however, is a mild disappointment. You see, I'm used to cereals like Cocoa Puffs and Cocoa Rice Krispies, which turn your milk into a yummy after breakfast treat. This? Well, the milk DID pick up some cocoa flavor, but it was really weak and kind of sad. I suspect the sugary stuff that coats the pieces prevents flavor leeching, so I suppose it is an okay trade off.

Overall, I give this 2 Smileys on the FACE Rating System. It is probably one of my top cereal brands of all time, though it isn't good enough to rate number one. The Count himself is one of the most personable mascots ever, in that fun-loving spooky (but not really scary) kind of way. Tomorrow, we examine his direct counterpart, Frankenberry!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kotas Reviews the Russell Stover Caramel Apple

It's October, and you know what that means! Oktoberfest beers, funky candy, and Halloween Costumes! We here at Kotas Reviews Everything find that this is a fruitful time to harvest many, many reviews, and it is only fitting to start the month off with a review of candy.
Om Nom Good?
Our Subject For Today
Today's experiment is the Russell Stover Caramel Apple confection, presented to me by a co-worker who shares my obsession with themed candy. The packaging is nothing special, your typical Russell Stover "large piece" candy wrapper with a picture of the treat on the outside, and a cartoon font "Caramel Apple" under which is written "Naturally Flavored". This is Russell Stover, folks. Naturally Flavored by horrible chemicals is more it's bag, even if those chemicals are strangely addicting.

The picture on the front of the wrapper is, in fact, an accurate picture. You get a vaguely apple shaped..disc? Wafer? Something apple shaped and flat, made of milk chocolate, and drizzled with dark chocolate. My co-worker claims it tastes exactly like a caramel apple. Is she right? Well, sort of. The first bite IS almost exactly like a caramel apple, you know, one of the ones with a huge layer of caramel and chocolate on it? That first bite is essentially nothing but chocolate and caramel and a hint of apple flavor, and this candy accurately reconstructs that flavor for your enjoyment. However, that is all it does. It does not taste very strongly of apple, just a hint of it in the caramel that does not linger on the tongue.

Honestly, it tastes pretty good, all caramel and chocolate-y goodness, but I was disappointed in the lack of strong apple flavor. It's not bad, but I've had better. On the FACE Rating System, I give it 1 Smiley. Good effort, and I might choose it over other candies, but it could use better packaging and more apple flavor.

Post Script

It apparently also comes in a variety with peanuts, though it is probably not worth reviewing that separately.