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Product Reviews

I Heart Keehwah - Metropolitan Flywheel

A Pairing of  Two Products Review: I Heart Keenwah Sweet Chili Quinoa Puffs paired with Metropolitan Brewing Flywheel Bright Lager
by John Beske

It’s 11:00 on a Friday evening, and I’m pretty bleary from a long day of trying to teach myself a new web-building platform. I’ve had it with trying to decipher all these lines of code and pages of instructions, but too wired to go to bed. On the plus side, there is a bottle of beer with a stylin’ Art Deco-ish label sitting in the fridge and a bag of I Heart Keenwah puffs on a nearby counter – a perfect late night snack. Of course, they’re waiting for me because I have to write a review of how these two consumables taste together, but hey, compared to what I’ve been doing for the last sixteen hours or so, this is easy – and tasty.

Our family been munching a lot of I Heart Keenwah snacks lately, and we have nothing but good things to say about them (as we have in the past). There are a lot of seriously tasty products in their line, and while I normally try to avoid eating too many snacks, these all have ingredients that even a cardiologist would love.

This particular bag contains Sweet Chili Quinoa Puffs. I pop a couple of the marble-sized puffs in my mouth while I’m digging around for the bottle opener (In my younger, less healthy days I used to put away a quite a lot of beer, but now it’s a rare treat so the opener has gotten buried in the back of the drawer). My first impression of the puffs is how different contrasting flavors come at me in waves. At the first touch on the tip of my tongue, there is a familiar and friendly sweetness, but that is quickly replaced by the powdery mix of jalapeño and habañero peppers that light up the center of my mouth, followed by a gentle wafting of onion and garlic that melt back into the sweetness while the spicy peppers dissipate like the vapor trails after a fireworks display. Meanwhile the crunchy texture of the puffs dissolve into a melt-y blanket that tamps out the fire it just started.

Now it’s time to add the beer into the mix. I have to admit that as I have approached middle age, drinking beer has become a ritual of quality over quantity, so instead of ripping through a 12-pack of Old Milwaukee, I would prefer a couple of bottles of a rich brown ale from a regional artisan brewer. As a result, I became the worst kind of a beer snob, which is one who has deep opinions without a lot of actual knowledge to back it up. Since most of the popular mass-produced beers were either lagers or pilsners, I passed over both types in favor of the more trendy ales and stouts (avoiding the ones processed with isinglass and other nonvegan ingredients, of course). So other than a couple of plastic cups of Budweiser at some random keggers, I haven’t drank a lager in years, and I really wasn’t expecting much from the Metropolitan Flywheel Bright Lager.

But I was very pleasantly surprised by the richness and depth of this beer. Instead of being overwhelmed by the taste explosion that had just happened in my mouth, the bold bright taste of the Flywheel took charge by offering a harmonious complement to the quinoa puffs, like a Stratocaster solo layered over a calypso.

Like I Heart Keenwah, Metropolitan Brewery is based in Chicago and just as I Heart Keenwah challenges our attitudes about snack foods, Metropolitan is changing attitudes about lager beer. Their selection of lagers range from the bright Flywheel to the inky black Magnetron, which their website describes as being "darker than Satan's soul". And since they use German brewing standards, all their beers are naturally vegan.

As I worked my way though both the bottle and the bag, alternating sips and crunches, the harmonious music continued with the fireworks overhead and the sweetness below. I felt a tinge of disappointment when the beer ran out since that was my only bottle, but my writing would probably have gotten sloppier had I continued drinking, so it’s just as well. And after a couple more minutes the chips were gone as well. But in that short time, it felt like a party, even as I was wiping pepper dust off my fingers so I could type out this review as I ate and drank.

All in all, mixing Metropolitan Flywheel Bright Lager with I Heart Keenwah Sweet Chili Quinoa Puffs is about a sophisticated and multilayered experience that one can expect from a bag of chips and a bottle of beer.

Vegan Street received this product for free to review and this was my honest evaluation.

© 2013-2016, Vegan Street

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