Overcast

Winnipeg, MB

20°c Overcast

Full Forecast

Food & Drink

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bevvies sweeter than wine

Coolers can pack a boozy wallop to go with their sugary taste

Posted: 05/31/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print

Now that we're finally starting to see some consistently nice weather, there's nothing better than relaxing outside with an ice-cold beverage.

But not everyone wants to drink wine on a hot day. With that in mind, I figured I'd test-drive a few of the alternatives in our market -- coolers and flavoured beers.

No matter what flavour you're after, there's probably a cooler or flavoured beer to fit your fancy. Not surprisingly, plenty are citrus-flavoured, but there are no shortage of drinks purporting to taste like coconut, peach, or various berries that may or may not exist (see rockaberry, wildberry?).

While some coolers are beer-based, others are made from the harder stuff: vodka, tequila, whiskey or, in some cases, the mysterious "alcohol."

One thing almost all the coolers sampled had in common: they were plenty sweet. In most cases sugar (in some form or another) was quite high up on the list of ingredients. Flavoured beer, meanwhile, is typically drier and actually tastes like beer. It's sometimes a fine line between the two.

A few coolers are gussied up to the point where there are almost no distinguishable alcohol flavours, meaning they're deceptively drinkable, especially as the mercury rises -- something to keep in mind as you reach for a fresh one.

uncorked@mts.net Twitter: @bensigurdson

BUD LIME LIME-A-RITA (U.S. -- $3.01 / 473 ml can)

This looks and smells nothing like beer, but rather than artificial lime aroma you get from margarita mix. It's quite sweet, with sweet lime flavours front and centre but lacking the tequila flavours of a true margarita (there's no tequila in here). It's eight per cent alcohol, with a whopping 480 calories and 49 grams of sugar per can. Yikes. 1-1/2 stars

 

DOS LOCOS LIME TEQUILA MARGARITA

(Auckland, New Zealand -- $3.49 / 440 ml can)

Who knew New Zealand was a margarita hotbed? The Dos Locos brings the artificial lime note on the nose, but with an actual tequila note in there as well. It's plenty sweet, but pour over crushed ice and it'll do the trick in a pinch. 2-1/2 stars

 

COOPER'S CLOUDY LEMONADE (United Kingdom -- $4.50 / 500 ml bottle)

This "sparkling alcoholic cloudy lemonade juice drink" delivers pretty much as promised -- it's hazy pale yellow in colour, with some pronounced fizz and sweet lemon-juice aromas. It's medium-sweet on the light, crisp, citrusy palate, clocking in at a modest four per cent alcohol. The first four ingredients are water, alcohol, sugar and lemon juice -- not many surprises here. Having said that, it's fairly tasty. 3 stars

 

SHOCK TOP LEMON SHANDY

(St. Louis -- $2.79 / 500 ml can)

The first four ingredients in this "Belgian-style white beer" with "natural lemonade flavour" are, interestingly, beer, ale, sugar and citric acid. Pale straw in colour with a white head, it brings yeasty wheat-beer aromas, with very light lemon rind notes. Those wheat-beer flavours fall flat on the palate, and the citrus fails to pick up the slack. Somewhat watery and insipid. 2 stars

 

STIEGL RADLER GRAPEFRUIT

(Salzburg, Austria -- $2.96 / 500 ml can)

This very low-alcohol Austrian beer-based drink (2.5 per cent) is 50 per cent beer and the other half fruit juice. Hazy pale yellow in colour and with a light, white head, there's a lemon candy/grapefruit juice note on the nose. It's light and lively, with delicious grapefruit flavours that taste real. On a hot summer day this would go down very easy -- it's the best of the bunch, and it's not close. 3-1/2 stars

 

MOLSON CANADIAN 67 TANGERINE TWIST

(Canada -- $20.84 / 12-355 ml cans)

Pale gold and clear in colour, the sweet malt aromas work with the light (but somewhat artificial) tangerine aromas. There's a toasted oat flavour to this 70-calorie beer as well as some very light tangerine notes that don't get overly sweet, and at three per cent alcohol it won't knock you out cold. 2-1/2

 

TWISTED TEA HALF & HALF HARD ICED TEA

(Cincinnati -- $2.34 / 355 ml bottle)

This "flavoured beer" has no carbonation, and pours just like your standard glass of iced tea. The "half & half" refers to the fact it's "hard iced tea with lemonade flavour," and on the nose it's straight-up iced tea. It's not too sweet, and there's not much of a boozy flavour here. It's like drinking slightly sweetened American iced tea. Quite quaffable. 2-1/2

 

JACK DANIEL'S DOWNHOME PUNCH

(Lynchburg, Tenn. -- $2.33 / 296 ml bottle)

Other than your typical pop ingredients, the only thing the Downhome has going on that's different is "Tennessee whiskey." Bright pink in colour, it looks, smells and tastes remarkably like watermelon Jolly Ranchers, and you barely taste the whiskey at all. In a nostalgic way, this sort of appeals to me, but be warned -- it's quite sweet. 2-1/2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2014 D14

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.