Booze-infused iced teas to look for

Originally posted in the Brandon Sun - May 20, 2016

In the past several weeks I’ve checked out the beer scenes in Regina and Minot and one thing I noticed is that craft sodas are now a thing but not only that - boozey sodas are becoming incredibly popular. Breweries are making boozey and non-boozey versions of root beer, ginger ale and other various drinks. I feel that malt-based alcoholic root beers will be more of the norm in the next five years. Speaking of boozey sodas, I’ve been feeling incredibly bored lately and trying new fruity coolers because there are times when a full-on-hoppy IPA just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve been drinking a great deal of alcoholic iced teas in recent days because.. well.. iced tea is delicious, and not only that, beer/malt based iced teas may become the next Bud Light Lime.. even though Coors Light Iced T failed miserably a few years back. This week is all about my absolute favourite alcoholic iced teas available in Manitoba.

Thank goodness that this horrible take on Iced Tea is long gone!

Mill Street Lemon Tea Beer - Mill Street’s Lemon Tea beer predates the flop Coors Light Iced T by several years. In fact, Mill Street’s Lemon Tea beer may be one of the first tea based beers on the market. The beer pours a rich orange/amber ale with a good amount of cloudiness. The aroma is very much tea forward as I find it to be a rich combination of Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey aroma with notes of lemon, a bit of a graininess from the malted barley and wheat, a bit of a sugary sweetness but more Orange Pekoe tea than anything. The taste has the complexity of a wheat ale with the complimenting flavours of tea. The flavour gives off a gritty wheat that’s more common in a Belgian witbier or a German hefeweizen, a decent amount of lemon. For the most part, Mill Street’s Lemon Tea Beer comes off as an ale with tea and lemon flavours, not overpowering and not overly sweet. $3.06 per 473mL can at the 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart and beer vendors around Westman. 4/5 Pints

Boston Beer Co Twisted Tea Original - Who would have thought that Boston Beer Company’s (AKA Sam Adams) most popular product in Manitoba would be a barley malt based iced tea cooler? I sure as heck didn’t! Twisted Tea is a camping and Country Fest tradition in Manitoba for the past few years now for those who are tired of Bud Light and want something sweet. Twisted Tea Original pours a clear orange/amber with just a hint of carbonation. The aroma is very much the typical summer time picnic in the park iced tea you get served from a plastic water pitcher, very sugary, a moderate amount of tea and a hint of malted barley which gives it a bit of a hint of booze and grain. When tasting Twisted Tea, the first thing that hits my tongue is the booze burn from the malt which is reminiscent to a typical vodka cooler booze burn. I’m a bit surprised by the booze burn but the iced tea and sugar follow up giving off that typical summery iced tea taste to it, but I feel like it’s missing a bit of lemon.. so feel free to use a lemon wedge for this malted barley based iced tea cooler. Looking back, it has a hint of a flavour that reminds me of Sam Adams’ popular amber Boston Lager, but I don’t have the lager on hand to taste test. $2.34 per 355mL bottle at most Liquor Marts and beer vendors around Western Manitoba. 3/5 Pints

Snapple Spiked Rasp Cherry Tea Vodka - This is the only non barley/wheat based beverage of the bunch. I felt that it only made sense that if I was going to promote boozey iced teas, that my favourite iced tea brand would make the list! Snapple is known for some of the best bottled/canned iced teas out there, their owner Canada Dry Motts has licensed out the iced tea to be turned into boozey form. This isn’t the first time that Canada Dry Motts has done that.. they also have a decent variety of Mott’s Clamato Caesar products at the LC and vendors including Mott’s Clamato Caesar Original, Lime and even Spicy! Back to the iced tea, Snapple’s Spiked Rasp Cherry Tea Vodka beverage pours a slightly cloudy orange-golden lager, in fact - this is the most beer looking beverage I’ve had all night! The aroma is a medley of raspberry, cherry and loose leaf paper.. for some strange reason. Snapple’s iced tea tastes like your typical Snapple iced tea right at the beginning, it has a floral tea flavour followed by fruitiness of raspberry and cherry. Then.. the booziness factor from the vodka kicks in and leaves a light burning sensation on the palate. For the most part, this drink is all about the iced tea and retains that famous “Snapple” taste.. but the hint of vodka makes you realize that this isn’t a non-alcoholic beverage at all. I know a lot of people tell me that they don’t know when there’s vodka in their beverage because it’s “neutral”, but for me - I get a bit of an acidic bitterness on my tongue any time I taste anything with vodka in it. This is pricey for a Snapple product, but if you are an iced tea aficionado, the Rasp Cherry Tea Vodka is worth trying because it goes down so well! $2.99 per 458mL can at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Dauphin, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Roblin, Russell, Swan River, The Pas and Virden. 3.5/5 Pints

Feel free to take out my take on boozy Root Beers!

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