High Noon’s hard seltzer, Pool Pack, is better than it has any right to be

Yeah man, I’m surprised too.

Welcome 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 hard seltzer guy, but I appreciate their place in the boozing landscape.

The obvious appeal is having something light and slightly familiar, with the added feature of cutting out gluten for any Celiac drinkers out there. Previous malt beverages, like Smirnoff Ice, were always sticky and syrupy. Seltzers were always a little crisper and more mature.

I understand that “maturity” is a relative term for a category that taught the world: “There’s no laws when you’re drinking Claws.” Considering Smirnoff Ice’s lasting contribution to society was a game where drinking one was presented as an ignominious challenge, it’s a step up.

Early seltzers were spiritually part of the La Croix bloodline, even though the famous bubbly-maker had nothing to do with actual booze. The opening salvos from White Claw and Bon & Viv were mostly true to that standard: a highway of bubbles, with whatever fruit flavor was supposed to be involved stuck in the trunk and politely asking to be let out. Fortunately, because La Croix is awful, we’ve moved away from that and toward a world where these seltzers actually taste like things.

That brings me to High Noon’s Pool Pack, which cruelly arrived on my doorstep on a snowy Wisconsin day (this applies to most of April and select days in May). I am a relative seltzer neophyte, but if you offer to send me booze I will happily drink it and then write about it.

Along the way, I was promised the “best-tasting hard seltzer” on the market. That’s some high praise that I lack the tools to quantify, but yeah, High Noon was pretty dang good.

Allow me to break it down.

Is it ever OK to dip a hot dog in beer? 1 Yankees fan dared to answer that

Ew or yum?

OK, look: I’m not here to judge. Whatever you want to do with food is fine with me.

In the grand tradition of taking something and dipping it in something else that is not normally a dipped/dipping thing — see, woman dipping chicken fingers in Coke at the U.S. Open — we have here a New York Yankees fan caught dipping a hot dog into beer and then eating it.

What’s funny to me is that we use beer to cook brats sometimes. We take a sip of beer after taking a bite of hot dog. Yet somehow, the idea of eating a beer-flavored hot dog — or drinking a … hot-dog flavored beer? — is kind of gross to a lot of people.

But now, like another video below, I need to try this:

Yum? Or nah?

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Elysian’s newest beer, Dank Dust IPA, smells exactly like 4/20

Elysian went hard on the “botanicals” for this specifically-timed beer.

Welcome 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

Elysian has long been a favorite in the relatively short timespan of this feature. Its Halloween-themed pumpkin beer mix pack was better than expected. The beer it partnered with the Seattle Seahawks to brew — Hawkitect wheat ale — is a pretty great stadium brew.

So when it reached out with a sampler of its newest beer, a spin on its flagship Space Dust called Dank Dust IPA, I jumped at the opportunity. This isn’t surprising. I am very easy to peer pressure into drinking things. If you offer to send something my way, I will most likely drink it and write about it here on the friendly confines of For The Win.

This was no normal beer, however. As the brewery’s founders explained in a special Zoom-based tasting session, this was the alter-ego of Space Dust. A beer that was supposed to launch April 1 but — wink-wink-nudge-nudge — got unexpectedly (not unexpectedly) delayed to just under three weeks later.

My friends, this is a beer that smells, and tastes, exactly like marijuana.

No photo can accurately capture what’s going on here. Cracking this beer immediately made my office smell like the basement of a frat house. That pine-y hop profile lives up to the “danky” moniker in a big way — this thing smells like a baggie of weed. This is a scent of sticky floors and indecipherable texts that just say “hoagie cake.” It’s… a lot.

The pour itself is very pretty — golden brown, fluffy white head, etc — but hoooo boy, you’re not gonna notice that. You’re gonna notice that if you spill this on your couch, your kids aren’t gonna be allowed to have playdates at your house for a while unless their friends have cool parents.

That dank flavor is overwhelming up front, even though there’s no cannabis or THC or any marijuana product in the beer itself. This, I’m assured, is intentional.

“Before you open this you’ve got to roll up a towel and plug it under your door or else your neighbors will worry,” founder Dave Buhler told For The Win during the tasting.

The cause is the addition of soluble terpenes to an already-potent IPA, creating a very distinct flavor profile. One Elysian was careful to label as “botanical” in more wink/nudge, cover-our-bases messaging.

“We were trying to mimic the smell of diesel which is… a kind of, uh, botanical,” said fellow founder Joe Bisaccia. “The terpenes in dank dust are meant to mimic the botanicals, which help perk you up rather than mellow you out.”

Dank Dust is less aggressive as it warms up, and I did feel some of the intended energizing effects, though that could have been the power of suggestion at play. The extreme, uh, botanical profile either wears down or simply becomes commonplace, giving way to the citrus IPA notes the flagship version of the brew hit so well. Elysian’s founders assure me this is a feature rather than a bug. As those terpenes collect in our smell receptors, it dulls the effect even though the world around you still smells very much like a tsunami of bong water.

Our tasting also featured regular Space Dust, which is much more my style. The difference between the two is remarkable. Space Dust is lighter and easier and complex in its own right. Dank Dust has to be approached with caution. Where I could drink three or four of the original no problem (before heading off for a nap since they’re 8.2 percent ABV), one Dank Dust is enough to top me off.

So yeah, it’s an interesting idea and an interesting beer. Elysian has pulled something off here, but I’m not sure exactly what. Dank Dust is worth seeking out for a try and, if you’re a connoisseur of certain “botanicals,” could be your jam. For me, though, this was an idea more interesting in theory than execution.

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A definitive ranking of every Girl Scout cookie flavor (and Thin Mints aren’t No. 1)

Girl Scout cookie season has begun.

Girl Scout cookie season is HERE!

That’s right, time to start ordering all those boxes of delicious cookies to scarf down (or, pro tip, some are good out of the freezer!) in the coming weeks. Hopefully, supply chain issues won’t be a problem and you can get your favorite soon.

Speaking of which: It’s a good time as any to light the world on fire and give you the definitive ranking of the best flavors of cookies, at least as of 2022 per the Girl Scouts’ official website.

Let’s dive in, from worst to first (and sorry in advance, these are definitive, I don’t make the rules).

How to get a free reusable Starbucks red cup for the 2021 holiday season on Thursday

Free Red Cup Day!

‘Tis the season … soon enough. And that means it’s time for you to get a reusable Starbucks cup for free on Thursday, November 18.

Per Starbucks, if you order “a handcrafted holiday or fall beverage,” you can get a free red cup that’s been made with 50 percent recycled content.

So what constitutes a holiday/fall beverage? Glad you asked!

The list: “Apple Crisp Macchiato, Caramel Brulee Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte,  Hot Chocolate, Irish Cream Cold Brew, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, Toasted White Hot Chocolate and Toasted White Chocolate Mocha.”

Note: It’s while supplies last!

Go get it on Thursday!

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Here’s how to get free Taco Bell on Thursday thanks to the Braves’ Ozzie Albies

FREE TACO BELL!

Ozzie Albies didn’t win World Series MVP for the Atlanta Braves — that would be Jorge Soler.

But he won another very important award: The latest athlete to get America free Taco Bell.

That’s right, with his stolen base in Game 1 against the Houston Astros, Albies fulfilled the Steal a Base, Steal a Taco promotion, and on Thursday, November 4, you can actually get a free taco from the fast food chain.

But how do you do it? What are the restrictions? What kind of taco is it? That’s OK, we’ve got you covered to help you in your free taco needs:

When can I get my free taco?

On Thursday, November 4, all day, you can get one free taco in-store or on the app, but not via delivery.

Is it a Doritos Locos taco yet again?

It is indeed!

Any caveats?

It’s while supplies last, so keep that in mind.

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Guy Fieri’s apple pie hot dog for the ‘Field of Dreams’ game sounds super gross

Ew.

Remember that Friends episode — “The One Where Ross Got High,” from Season 6 — in which Rachel makes what she thought was an English trifle but turns out to have parts of shepherd’s pie like peas, onions and ground beef?

That’s what Guy Fieri’s latest concoction for the Field of Dreams game in Iowa between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox sounds like: it’s an Apple Pie Hot Dog, while will be served at the game.

That’s right, the Mayor of Flavortown got very, very American and combined pie crust (good!), bacon jam (good!), apple filling (what?) and hot dogs (whaaaaaaaaa?) to make a Frankenstein’s monster of a baseball game offering.

I understand the need to do something special for this game. And I understand the conversion of a classic Chevrolet commercial into a food item. But no thank you. Let’s run down some reaction to this thing.

Here’s how to get free Taco Bell on Thursday thanks to the Bucks

Thanks Bucks!

Not only did the Milwaukee Bucks win an NBA title on Wednesday.

They won all of America free tacos from Taco Bell, joining the list of athletes and teams who have done so over the years.

Thanks to the chain’s latest promotion — if a either team in the NBA Finals came back from trailing at halftime, Taco Bell would give out free Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos — Thursday is the day you can cash in and get yourself some free food.

How does it all work? What are the rules? Glad you asked. We’re going to answer all of that for you right now.

When can I get my free taco?

On Thursday, July 22, all day during store hours. You can do it in stores, through the drive-thru or on the app, per Taco Bell … but not with delivery.

Is it a Doritos Locos taco yet again?

Actually, to be precise, it’s a free Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos taco!

But! Also, via a release: “Fans redeeming via the restaurant will be able to select their choice of a Flamin’ Hot Doritos® Locos Tacos, a Nacho Cheese Doritos® Locos Tacos, a Crunchy Taco, or Soft Taco all day on July 22.”

What’s the difference between a Doritos Locos taco and a Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos taco?

The shell of the taco adds some serious spice.

Any caveats?

It’s while supplies last, so keep that in mind.

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Watch Joey Chestnut break his own world record after consuming 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes

Another year, another hot dog eating title for Joey Chestnut.

The Fourth of July would not be complete without the annual running of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. And it’s no surprise that Joey Chestnut has taken home the grand prize once again, doing so after breaking his own world record.

On Sunday during the contest, Chestnut earned his 14th title in 15 years, managing to consume 76 hot dogs — plus the buns — in 10 minutes, one more than the world record he set in 2020. This 14th title win also brings Chestnut above Rafael Nadal for the most championship titles in a single event.

Though ESPN’s feed of the moment Chestnut ate his 76th hot dog cut out due to a tech issue, here’s how the final few dogs went down.

Chestnut was clearly ready for the event, as he finished 26 more hot dogs than runner up Geoffrey Esper en route to breaking his own world record.

Congratulations to Chestnut for the well-deserved victory and the world record… again!

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Here’s every winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest since 2000

A look back at every winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest over the last 20 years.

With the Fourth of July comes everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure: the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, an annual tradition featuring the art of consuming an absurd amount of processed meat in a short amount of time.

The competition rose to notoriety through the likes of Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi, who have each won the event multiple times.

For this year’s contest, Chestnut is not only the odds-on favorite to win his seventh consecutive and 14th victory in the last 15 years, but there’s literally no one who is expected to come close to dethroning the defending champion, who is a -5000 favorite to win, according to BetMGM.

With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at every winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest since 2000, both men and women.