This week’s featured products are a trio of beverages, from zero-calorie sparkling water to low-calorie iced teas to an exciting IPA (240 calories pee 12 ounces, and worth it).
Here they are, in alphabetical order.
IPA is the hottest category in craft beer, and it’s been our favorite style—hoppy and robust—for more than a decade.
While the classic British IPAs were our first foray, once American craft brewers started brewing with Pacific Northwest hops, we were hooked. Goodbye, Old World IPA.
While a discussion of hops requires a long session, American craft brewers use Pacific Northwest hops, known for their fruitiness: their ability to generate flavors of apricot, grapefruit, mango, orange, peach and tropical fruits.
We try every American IPA that comes our way. Most recently, Ballast Point, a San Diego brewery, has stolen our heart.
The brewery began in 1996, in the back of a homebrewing supply store: a small group of San Diego home brewers who wanted to make a better beer. It is now owned by Constellation Brands, but the beers still taste like loving artisans fuss over the tiniest detail to coax exciting flavors from each ingredient.
Ballast Point’s flagship beer, the first Sculpin IPA (sculpin is another name for the California scorpionfish, photo #2), has hints of apricot, lemon, mango and peach.
The newest, our beloved Aloha Sculpin (photo #1), develops even more flavor by using a different strain of yeast called Brux Trois for short*. It contributes to the layers of flavor from the hops: guava, mango and pineapple (hence “Aloha,” from the tropics). It’s the first Brux Trois IPA to be distributed nationally.
IPA lovers: Seek it out!
Discover more at BallastPoint.com.
We applaud reduced-calorie iced teas, and are fans of Honest Tea’s Just A Tad Sweet Line. An entire 16-ounce bottle is just 60 calories.
The line is naturally flavored, USDA organic-certified, and the tea and sugar are Fair Trade.
There are philosophical-inspirational quotes on the undersides the caps. An example from Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most responsive to change.”
We enjoyed the three newest flavors (photo #3) immensely: Lemon Grove Maple Black Tea, Mango Maté Black Tea and Moroccan Mint Green Tea. But then, we’ve enjoyed every flavor we’ve tried (there are 15+ at last count).
Even the aroma of the empty bottles was intoxicating!
Discover more at HonestTea.com.
 Our new favorite IPA: Aloha Sculpin from San Diego (photo courtesy Ballast Point Brewery).
3: SPARKLING WATER: PEACH PERRIER
Peach is the latest of Perrier’s flavored sparkling waters (photo #4). Its formal name is PERRIER Carbonated Mineral Water Peach Flavor, but Peach Perrier works fine for us.
Peach joins the other Perrier flavors: Green Apple, Lemon, Lime, L’Orange, Pink Grapefruit, Strawberry and Watermelon.
We’re going to try to assemble them all and have a Perrier tasting. It sounds great for light summertime dining, with an assortment of salads including fruit salad, of course.
Discover more at Perrier.com.
They join 13 other flavors, which gives us an idea…for another tasting lineup!
*The full name is Saccharomyces “Bruxellensis” Trois.
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