June 2015 Product Reviews

Share this:Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0

Das Horn – Ultimate Drinking Horn
Organic Energy Food
clifbar.comOn-the-go energy food has a short but extensive history that is as tragic as it is successful. Sometimes you bite or swallow something that is immensely satisfying and sometimes you projectile vomit goo that resembles a hamster’s diet. Being a body builder with constant love handle concerns, I am always on the lookout for wonderful new products that provide stamina and endurance. Seeing that CLIF (of energy bar success) had created an organic energy food via Capri Sun package had me giddy and a tad nervous of food squeezed through a tube. Once you get over the “This is how astronauts probably eat” thought, the initial squeeze of Banana Mango with Coconut is incredibly satisfying. Think warm smoothie for a proper mental grasp-itude. The immediate kick of energy and blood sugar–induced mood was very enjoyable and refreshing during a two-hour bike trek. The next flavor I tried was Pizza Margherita— the initial sensation was not the same but still had the same energy kick. It’s probably the most healthy of the four current flavors, but my strong gag reflex was tested in the first second or two it was in my mouth. I showed the flavors to some of my co-workers and the approval rating was limited to the Banana Mango with Coconut. The flavors Banana Beet with Ginger and Sweet Potato with Sea Salt were met with, “eww”s and “yuk”s. I tried those flavors and neither was as bad as the reaction to the packaging, but they were still odd tasting. I imagine there is a bit of a learning curve to products of this nature. The energy was rewarding in all cases, but overall, this is not something I would spend $2.29 to $2.99 on. Better luck next time, CLIF. –Benjamin Tilton

Das Horn
Ultimate Drinking Horn

In the spirit of standing out from the rest of the boozehounds, I jumped at the chance to take this oddity out for a few beers. After my first drink ended with a face full of ale, the novelty had worn off, and I had to learn the proper way to swig out of it. Das Horn is basically a hollow plastic bull horn with a neck strap and stand, because gravity. It’s great for all the frat brothers and young Vikings alike, but horns don’t stand without help, and it would be a pain to tote its stand around while drinking. I may be knocking this product, although I can actually see myself using it at upcoming barbecues and pool parties, but, as I found out, it is probably not a good idea to take it to the bar. If you want your summer party name to be reminiscent of your Nordic ancestors, go to dashorn.com. –Granato

Pilsner Bottle Opener

Most beer drinkers can agree on two things: Bottled beer just tastes better, and it can be a pain keeping an opener handy. DropCatch is an ingenious bottle opener that you can mount the old-fashioned way—or use its internal magnets to keep it in place. The box says the magnets can hold up to 60 bottle caps, and over the course of one weekend, I was able to get to 40 before they reached the floor. It was hard to believe that magnets could hold a bottle opener in place while prying metal off of glass, but this thing has staying power to say the least. The DropCatch looks as good as it works—with a stained wood base and a classic-style opener, it is sure to look good on your fridge, washing machine, bathroom vanity or any other surface in your home. Before getting the DropCatch, I didn’t like drinking out of bottles because of the sound they make when you toss them, but now it is kind of more fun to drink out of glass. –Granato

H-Type Black GrOpener

Though the GrOpener may look like your run-of-the-mill bottle opener, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Made from aluminum extruded in Clearfield, Utah, and then crafted in the Denver area, the GrOpener is a handy device that makes one-handed bottle opening a cinch. Simply slide your index finger through the GrOpener’s hole, your middle finger over the hook underneath, rest the opener end over your bottle cap and exert some pressure, and you’ll be popping bottles with finesse. If cans are more your thing, the GrOpener’s hook can take care of those pesky tabs as well. With two sleek styles—a standard anodized aluminum in a variety of colors ($16) and the industrial strength, scratch-resistant H-Type in charcoal black and metallic silver ($20)—and a super strong neodymium magnet, the GrOpener is an excellent addition to your fridge, grill, bar or any metallic surface. Wherever you like your brews, keep a GrOpener handy. –Christian Schultz


The GrowlTap takes your standard growler and turns it into a personal party ball filled with your favorite local or home brew. The idea behind the GrowlTap is to keep your beer fresh by carbonating it, which prevents it from going flat over time. GrowlTap does this by injecting food-grade CO2 from a 16-gram canister into a closed system that attaches to any standard glass growler. A few key items that make the GrowlTap worthwhile include its storing and portability for outings or parties, its ability to attach any standard glass growler and a price point around $50, (which includes one CO2 canister). One great aspect that GrowlTap incorporated into the design is the over pressure valve—a round yellow dot on the housing that attaches to the growler—which prevents the user from turning the GrowlTap into a beer bomb by over pressurizing. I took the supplied 16-gram canister of CO2 and pressurizing tap apparatus and attached a local Avenues Proper growler filled with their English Golden Ale, attached all the components, and pressed the brass button to pressurize the system. Soon after, I found that the beer dispensing valve was leaking, but only because part of the fitting that was made to come apart for easy cleaning was loose. Once everything was tightened down, the GrowlTap worked perfectly. One problem I noticed was the amount of slack in some of the solid fittings from the CO2 valve to the growler fitting, but other than that, the GrowlTap is a solid “growler-ater.” –Joshua Joye

Portland Growler Co.
The Sprocket Growler

I’ve never been a growler guy. Schlepping a jug of rapidly warming beer to my house or to a party and trying to drink it all before it goes flat doesn’t seem ideal. Plus, beer growlers evoke images of Keen sandals, olive-green zip-off pant/short combos and The Who stickers. Gross. I hate to admit it, but I’m a growler guy now. Portland Growler Co.’s ceramic vessels are slip cast by hand and are topped with large swing-top lids and rubber gaskets. The model I tested—the 64oz. satin-grey Sprocket—is massive. Even empty, the thing weighs over 4 lbs, but all that mass is a good thing, as ceramic is a much better thermal insulator than glass. After filling up the Sprocket at the Red Rock Beer Store and spending a couple hours drinking in my sunny backyard, the last glass of beer was still pretty cold—and I didn’t even chill the growler before filling it. Plus, thanks to the lid’s air-tight seal, the last beer was surprisingly just as carbonated as the first. Though the jug is heavy when filled and tough to pour its contents into a glass with the glass in one hand and the growler in the other, the sprocket-like shape of the handle helps to get a good grip. Another problem I found is that when pouring beer one-handed, the swingtop lid can swing around the neck of the jug into the stream of beer, and the metal swing-top cage starts to scratch up the growler’s ceramic finish after a few uses. These are minor complaints, though, even at its steep $69 retail price. Growler fills can be much cheaper than bottled beer, so after a couple dozen fills, this jug just might pay for itself. –Cody Kirkland