Beverage of the Week: Schöfferhofer is a great beer for when you don’t want a beer

Schöfferhofer’s line of radlers are more fruit drink than beer. Sometimes that’s just what you need.

Welcome back to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey

Living in Wisconsin has made me intimately familiar with shandies, the beer-lemonade (or other fruit-based beverage) mix that permeates the summer. This is thanks largely to the constant presence of Leinenkugel’s flagship beer in the Badger State. What started out with lemon has now expanded to roughly a dozen flavors, of which maybe three are any good. I remain bitter that for several years I could get an orange shandy (terrible) but couldn’t find Sunset Wheat anywhere (it is, fortunately, coming back this fall).

This left me sorely lacking in radler knowledge, however, until I made the trip out to Munich for Oktoberfest.

Roughly six days in and in desperate need of hydration, I turned to the half-beer, half-soda mix that’s roughly one Euro more per liter than a Diet Coke on its own. My brain, polluted by a mother who’d grown up poor and simultaneously respecting the restorative “hair of the dog” wisdom passed down to me by an older cousin who only drank liquor from plastic bottles, opted for these hybrids in hopes of nursing my body back to half-speed.

This was a wonderful decision, as the helles/lemon-lime tincture not only restored my ability to form (mostly) coherent sentences but also created a calm port inside a stormy stomach tossed by marzens and a diet made up entirely of sausage, sauerkraut, and doner kebab. I rode that horse all the way through the rest of my vacation in Germany. Then I went to Scotland and had the same exact damn problem courtesy of whiskey because I. Do. Not. Learn.

This left a high bar for Schöfferhofer to clear. While it doesn’t say “radler” anywhere on the bottle/can, the description makes it clear this is a beer/”flavored drink” mix and, since it checks in at 2.5 percent ABV and is German well, yep, that’s a radler.

Schöfferhofer sent me a lovely bouquet of these beer/soft drink mixes for a taste test. Let’s see how they are.

Beverage of the Week: Spritz Society is the summer drink your aunt’s been waiting for

It’s a wine spritzer. In a can. Big divorced mom energy shining here.

Welcome back to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey

I am not a wine guy.

This may be an attribute of family gatherings where boxed Sunset Blush was the fanciest offering and children were given small glasses in an effort to scare us straight from the world of booze. It may be from a summer in college where my alcohol stash was greatly supplemented by warmed-over bottles of leftover chardonnay as a gondola attendant on the Providence River. Either way, old grapes burrow into a very specific niche in my brain that just flashes “YUCK” spelled out in old-timey light bulbs each time I taste it.

So, not my jam.

I had reservations when Spritz Society offered to send out a four-pack of its wine-based sparkling cocktail for review. Then I remembered I drank vinegar last week (three times!) and felt much better about this exercise. I still didn’t feel great about it — I hadn’t had a spritzer, as far as I can tell, in my life. I don’t believe I’ve heard one ordered anywhere in years (though I live in Wisconsin and if there were some kind of brandy-old-fashioned spritzer it would be a cultural phenomenal akin to the Beatles in 1964).

The marketing materials for this just say, “Welcome to Spritz Society.” Not “the” Spritz Society. Not “a” Spritz Society. This is Spritz Society, and if we want you to put on an owl mask and watch a series of high-stakes toddler fights, well, dammit, you’re gonna watch or have your membership revoked.

The mansion where Society holds its scandalous meetings smells strongly like peach, which gives off a nice summer-y feel to begin with. Once you take a sip the wine base is unmistakable. I couldn’t tell you *which* white wine we’re dealing with here, but it quickly overpowers the peach to fulfill the “spritz” part of the bargain. Unlike the hard seltzers that have been a mainstay in this column throughout the spring, the carbonation isn’t really there. There are a few bubbles, but nothing especially sparkling.

The end result is a light fruit wine, and to its credit, it doesn’t taste cheap. Despite my lack of grape accolades, I’ve had my share of bum wines — an amount of MD 20/20 I would never disclose to my health insurer — and this is considerably better than that.

It’s refreshing enough but not really something I’m into. The fruit fades quickly, but it’s not sickly sweet and is dry enough to be a nice complement to the light booziness that follows. It gets better as it goes on, but the light bitterness of the grapes remain, giving this all a very different taste than any of the hard seltzers with which it’s likely competing.

Which is the point, but it’s betting hard on people having strong feelings for a drink that traditionally pairs better with macrame vests and jigsaw puzzles than a tailgate or brunch. This is very much a wine spritzer, just dolled up for a new generation. Throw all the hashtags on it you want — deep down, this is a beverage that tastes like it drives a Subaru Outback and adopted too many dogs.

That said, this whole idea was apparently crowdsourced through Instagram, so there’s probably a much bigger audience than someone’s dad taking a break from New Glarus beers in Wisconsin.

Wine drinkers might feel differently, but it feels like there’s something missing. A little sweetness. A little carbonation. Something along those lines. It’s entirely drinkable, but at 8.4 ounces per can, 6 percent ABV, and $17 for a four-pack there are better options out there. If you like wine — if you like spritzers! — don’t listen to me. The peach is delicately placed and tasty. The whole drink is relatively pleasant.

But if you’re looking for something refreshing on a hot day, you’re probably better off with a light beer or a hard seltzer.

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Here’s how to get Popeyes chicken for just 59 cents (!) starting Sunday, June 12

What a deal!

That is not a typo with the headline at the top of this post.

You can actually get Popeyes chicken for 59 cents starting on Sunday, June 12.

But why is that date so significant? It’s because in 1972, per the chain, Alvin C. Copeland Sr. opened the first Popeyes (fun fact: Did you know that was named after Popeye Doyle in The French Connection? I just learned it!) in New Orleans.

How much did he sell fried chicken for? You guessed it: That would be 59 cents.

Here’s how you can get some very affordable chicken: You can get a two-piece chicken by spending at least $5 with an order through the Popeyes app or through the site on June 12 with the offer available through June 19. Seriously: What a deal!

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Beverage of the Week: I drank La Croix and vinegar because I don’t respect myself

It’s called a “healthy Coke,” and it’s proof TikTok must be stopped.

Welcome back to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey

OK. Full disclosure. I started this feature because I wanted to drink a bunch of fine German beers and then talk about fine German beers. While that very much remains in play, my beautiful, pure vision has since been perverted into hard seltzers, cookie liqueurs and a truly unhealthy amount of Coffee-Mate creamers.

But never did I see it getting this far.

Somewhere, somehow, from the dark recesses of TikTok came an ungodly creation. An abomination of ice, seltzer and balsamic vinegar known, for reasons I can only assume are ironic and/or idiotic, as a “healthy Coke.”

This disturbs me. Greatly.

My stance on La Croix is that it tastes like someone whispering the description of a soda they had weeks ago. My vinegar usage is limited to steak fries and descaling my coffee maker (different vinegars, but still). Like you, I, at no point, considered pairing the two, just as I’d never considered drinking either on its own.

But, because I drank Utah’s dirty sodas, added booze to Utah’s dirty sodas and have sipped cookie dough whiskey in the name of science, this duty fell on my shoulders. “Vocation” comes from the Latin “vox,” or voice, meant to imply a calling from God. In my case, that voice is filtered through my coworkers, lovingly reaching out to say, “hey dummy, drink this.”

So I did. With my head tilted toward the heavens, quietly asking, “why?” I did.

Like last month, when I had to purchase two gallons of coffee creamer in a single trip, I felt weird running this through the checkout line. I fondly remembered the words Ryan Dunn’s urgent care doctor gave him after an x-ray showcased a toy car inside his rectum at the end of the first Jackass movie.

“You don’t talk to anybody. To your girlfriend, to your boyfriend, to whomever. You don’t tell nobody. [My editor] already knows. That’s too many people.”

But while I can hid that shame from the cashier, I can’t expense these drinks I don’t want or salad dressing I won’t use unless I write about it. Such is the plight of my offseason.

The Top 10 Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors

We’ve posted a few articles this week on the latest weird, wacky and wild flavors out there in the world of ice cream. Time for a reality check. Who knew Butter Pecan gets so much love?

Dessert trends may come and go, but ice cream remains a perennial favorite. The question is: Which flavor is most popular?

We looked at data from Lexham Insurance — they cover ice cream vans — for the 2022 results. They looked at search volume around the world in 121 countries.

 

Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors 2022

1. Chocolate ice cream

2. Vanilla ice cream

3. Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream

4. Cookie Dough ice cream

5. Buttered Pecan ice cream

6. Neapolitan ice cream

7. Banana ice cream

8. Toffee ice cream

9. Caramel ice cream

10. Dark chocolate ice cream

Source: Lexham Insurance

 

Changes in the Top 10 Ice Creams

Below you will see what the results were back in 2008 when this article was first published. Note: Mint chocolate chip and cookie dough ice cream didn’t even crack the top 10 back then (nor did banana, toffee, or carmel). Vanilla and chocolate are in the top two spots, but vanilla took first place back then. In 2022, strawberry and cookies-and-cream ice cream were absent from the top 10.

 

Favorite Ice Cream Flavors Back in 2008

1. Vanilla, 29%

2. Chocolate, 8.9%

3. Butter pecan, 5.3%

4. Strawberry, 5.3%

5. Neapolitan, 4.2%

6. Chocolate chip, 3.9%

7. French vanilla, 3.8%

8. Cookies and cream, 3.6%

9. Vanilla fudge ripple, 2.6%

10. Praline pecan, 1.7%

Source: International Ice Cream Association, 888 16th St., Washington, D.C.

 

More Popular Ice Cream Flavors (based on sales)

Back in 2008, the NPD Group’s National Eating Trends Services published its own Top  5  List, based on share of sales in the USA. Here’s how their cone stacks up; note that Chocolate Chip Mint makes it to the top 5 whereas it was omitted by the International Ice Cream Association data.

1. Vanilla, 30%

2. Chocolate, 10%

3. Butter Pecan, 4%

4. Strawberry, 3.7%

5. Chocolate Chip Mint, 3.2%

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2008 and updated on June 9, 2022.

Beverage of the Week: White Claw’s new lemonade line is not an improvement

Finally, a White Claw that tastes like something (but not something good).

Welcome back to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey

I have nothing against White Claw. I just don’t think it tastes like anything.

The brand that helped launch the ongoing hard seltzer trend has, for me, stayed too true to its source material to be all that enjoyable. Every flavor offers a faint hit of what it could be, washed away by dry bubbles. It’s a reasonable alternative that tastes fine on ice but has been utterly skippable when it comes to my beer fridge.

I assumed all seltzers were roughly in that range before High Noon’s vodka/soda-based offerings changed my mind. Those tasted like actual cocktails while retaining the fizz and low calorie count of its genre. With summer set to settle upon Wisconsin at some point — 66 and rainy all weekend! — it felt like a good time to give White Claw another shot.

That led me to their new REFRSHR line of flavors which promise “a completely new take on lemonade.” That seems ambitious since there are already a bunch of other hard seltzer lemonades on the market, but the mix pack I was sent also led me to Google whatever the hell “calamansi” is, so there’s at least a partial truth in that statement. The flavors seem tasty enough and at 5.0 percent alcohol and 100 calories, it packs more of a punch than light beer or High Noon without ruining anyone’s diet.

So sure, let’s see what White Claw’s gonna use to secure its standing in the seltzer world.

Celebrate National Donut Day with 7 deals and free donuts on Friday

GO GET SOME DONUTS!

MMMM, DONUTS.

That’s right, friends, it’s National Donut Day, and that means you can actually get some free fried baked goods from purveyors of doughnuts around the country.

Why is Friday, June 3 National Donut Day? Why do we spell it doughnut or donut? I have no idea, but free or discounted donuts are the important thing here, and we want you to get those.

So let’s stop writing about donuts and get to the important stuff here: A partial list of donut joints that we’ve found who will give something away or sell you one for less than the usual price:

Beverage of the Week: Welp, they made me try peach lemonade vodka

Honestly it’s way better than I expected.

Welcome back to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey

Flavored liquors have taken off in recent years. The booming popularity of spirits like Fireball and Skrewball (540 percent growth in 2020!) is a reflection of a market that’s typically rewarded tinkerers trying to make middling drinks taste a little less like themselves.

That’s especially true when it comes to vodka, which offers the blankest canvas for experimentation of all the major liquors. There’s a wide gulf between connoisseurs buying top-shelf brands to drink on ice and the multitudes happy with neutral spirits swirled with fruit juice in a garbage can or whatever.

Pinnacle and Burnett’s have made “bad vodka mixed with a bunch of random crap” their business model; a trip down their line extension reads like a Baskin-Robbins menu. While I had a whipped-cream-vodka phase for a minute back there — especially with Mountain Dew, which somehow tasted like Sour Skittles (try it, in moderation) — I’ve mostly steered away from flavored vodkas and toward whatever would mix best with Zing Zang, hot sauce, and a beef stick garnish.

Smirnoff is hoping to bring me back on board with its new 2022 offering: Peach Lemonade Vodka. I wouldn’t have bought this unless it ended up in a bargain bin at my local grocery store, but my general rule remains: If you send me booze (or non-alcoholic beverages!) I will drink it and write about it.

Right away, this bottle flies in with some lofty promises. It’s wrapped in pink and yellow like it was a leftover prop from a Duran Duran video. The description printed therein promises “a refreshing taste like crisp waves hitting the sand” and “tangy flavors as bright as the sunshine.” I don’t know what the hell a crisp wave is, but fine. Shoot your shot, copywriter.

The bottle also includes three recipes, though they’re more suggestions than actual guides. Let’s try them out, along with a classic vodka tonic since that’s effectively a perfect summer drink and, despite the fact it’s currently 55 and raining in Wisconsin, summer is pretty much here.