Tested: Mad Hops, BRÖÖ Craft Beer Barber series and Grillbot
Mad Hops: Flavored Beer Drops
Designed by a New York company and containing “genuine beer ingredients like hop oils, bittering and malts,” Mad Hops encourages you to squirt liquid into your favorite “budget beer” to make it taste like another style. It’s available in six varieties.
I used Keystone Light, the 4.1% light American lager brewed by Coors Brewing Co. (24-ounce can for $1.30) as my base. My brief tasting notes follow. Apple Amber: a cross between warm apple juice concentrate and a green apple Jolly Rancher without the added sugar. Mexican Lime: rather tame, but certainly reminiscent of green citrus with a perceived bit of salt. Wild Blueberry: turned my beer into a lovely shade of magenta and offered up a bland candylike interpretation of the fruit. There’s no replacing the real thing. Cherry Wheat: dominated by an off-putting medicinal aroma, taste and finish. Irish Porter: like a cross between Dunkin’ Donuts hazelnut and French vanilla coffees. Lacks roast. Pale Ale: reminiscent of a basic version of the style, but lacks hop vibrancy and bite. The bottom line is that, for the most part, these drops do make a pale lager taste like something else. It’s a fun thing to try, but with so many flavorful beers being made using real ingredients, we recommend spending your money there. (gomadhops.com; $29.99 for all six flavors) –John Holl
If you work at the kind of place that frowns on you having a shower beer before starting your shift, but you still want a foamy experience while getting clean, this line of beer-infused grooming products is right up your alley. I spent a week trying the BRÖÖ Craft Beer Barber series, which incudes shower session wash, condi-shave cream, and a mug and mane lotion. Each are marketed as multipurpose. The shave cream is also a conditioner; the lotion is for moisturizing and hair styling. They work as advertised—my shave was smooth and face soft. Pleasant aroma similar to a floral Barbicide and talcum powder. (broo.com; $6 each) –JH
As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to rise, grilling season is upon us. But what to do about that grimy, charred nightmare under the lid? While a little heat and elbow grease will clean the dirtiest of grates, grill masters and gadget lovers will geek out over the Grillbot, an automatic grill-cleaning robot. Simply place the Grillbot on the grill and push a button to select a 10-, 20-, or 30-minute cleaning cycle. Finally, close the lid, walk away and enjoy a cold beer while the robot does the dirty work. (grillbots.com; $129.95) –Jon Page