11 Most Addictive Breakfast Cereals

Last week, Yankee pitcher C.C. Sabathia made news when he explained that he lost 25 pounds during the off-season by kicking his Cap’n Crunch habit. “I used to eat it a box at a time,” he said.

Now, any fool knows that most breakfast cereals aren’t the best option if you’re looking to drop some pounds, so C.C. should have figured this out long ago. I interviewed C.C. after an Indians game in the locker room during his rookie season, and the towel around his waist could have been used as a tarp on the infield. The guy was huge.

That said, we can sympathize with the man, as most people know this stuff is incredibly addictive. We might not eat a box at a time like this 300+ pound athlete, but we’ve all been there where we couldn’t put the stuff down. You eat bowl after bowl, and then you can’t move for hours. The cereal companies know this so they spend millions on commercials trying to get you to try their stuff, hoping one bowl will get you hooked for life.

With that in mind I’ve put together my own list of the 11 most addictive breakfast cereals together with a commercial or related video. Most of this is a personal list, but I’ve added a few based on reputation alone, even though they aren’t my favorites.

11. Chocolate Cheerios

I happened to discover this new creation the day before the C.C. story broke. I’ve been laying off the sugary cereal for years except for brief moments of weakness, and I broke down when I saw this new creation at the drug store. The strange thing is that it’s not completely loaded with sugar, as it has fewer calories than many other addictive cereals. But the chocolate flavor makes this one incredible, and you just can’t stop eating it.

As for a commercial, we couldn’t find anything other than homemade tributes on YouTube, all of which were terrible.

10. Honey-Comb

They billed it as a big cereal with a big taste. The commercials sucked from what we can remember, and this one was particularly bad.

9. Crispix

This stuff isn’t that sweet, but it’s still addictive. The big selling point was that Crispix would stay crunchy in milk, and it certainly held up better than cereals like Golden Grahams, that would basically turn into a delicious mush. Here’s a spectacularly bad Crispix commercial.

8. Fruit Loops

You don’t really think of fruit when you eat this cereal. It’s pretty much a blast of sugar in all sorts of colors – more like candy. The commercials weren’t bad with Toucan Sam as the mascot. Some might prefer Fruity Pebbles, as it’s one of the soggy cereal classics, but I always preferred the Loops.

7. Frosted Flakes

This stuff basically tastes like pure sugar, but you can’t stop eating it after you start. The commercials were always a huge hit, with Tony the Tiger saying “They’re Grrrreat!” Here’s one of the oldest ones we found.

6. Apple Jacks

This is probably the best cereal out there with a big cinnamon taste. Here’s a classic commercial from way back when.

5. Corn Pops

I haven’t tried this stuff with the sweet corn flavor in years but I always loved it. This one should be inducted in the soggy hall of fame as well.

4. Cap’n Crunch

This one did in poor C.C. It’s never been one of my favorites, but countless people swear by it, and MrBreakfast.com named it the all-time greatest breakfast cereal. Here’s a great spoof of the Captain from “Family Guy.”

3. Honey Nut Cheerios

Before the Chocolate Cheerios came around, this favorite of Omar from “The Wire” was a longtime staple in my kitchen. Here’s one the early commercials with the jingle they milked for years.

2. Golden Grahams

It was tough keeping this one off the #1 spot, as the graham cracker taste is just incredible. As I explained above, these things get soggy pretty fast in milk, but they’re incredible when they’re crunchy and even when they become soggy. Here’s a pretty funny commercial without the annoying jingle.

1. Cocoa Puffs

Clearly, I have a real problem when it comes to chocolate – I can’t stop. By the time you get near the end of the bowl with Cocoa Puffs, you’re basically left with delicious chocolate milk. There are other brands that max out the chocolate flavor, like Count Chocula (one of the coolest cereal names ever), Cocoa Pebbles and Cocoa Krispies, but nothing tasted as good or as chocolaty as the Puffs. The commercials, on the other hand, were pretty lame….

We probably left off one of your favorites, so go ahead and slam us in the comments….

  

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Beer 101: Pouring and Appreciation

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Part 4 – Pouring and Appreciation

I struggled for a long time to find an appropriate title for this post, and while I think I ultimately failed, this is about the most accurate I could muster. One of the problems with writing about, thinking about, and enjoying craft beer is that you’ll inevitably cross the threshold of quirky geek knowledge into douchey snob intellectualism in the eyes of your peers. To say that people need lessons on pouring and appreciating their beer plants me firmly in the latter camp, but I hope I can explain away a bit of the sour taste you no doubt have after reading my title.

Pouring and appreciating beer is nothing more than the kinetic evolution of a beer drinker’s potential energy. As you learn more about beer and the brewing process, you will, at some point, understand how varied and interesting beer can be. It seems simple, then, that not all beers can be tasted and assessed the same way. You wouldn’t take a Prius to the racetrack to test its quarter-mile, just like you wouldn’t complain that the Bugatti Veyron doesn’t get great gas mileage. Those are hyperbolic examples, but they make my point. That said, I apologize if any of this sounds patronizing, because parts of it likely will. If you’re wondering why I even write things like “hold the bottle at the shoulder,” then you’ve never seen a truly novice drinker attempt to open a bottle-fermented beer. It’s not pretty, and you can bet at least 50 percent of the room will become a beer-soaked casualty of shaky hands.

The Pour
The pour starts by opening the bottle (shocking!). Grip it firmly at the shoulder – the rounded part near the neck – and pop the top. This isn’t a big deal for most beers, but when you start to explore some high gravity, bottle-fermented ales, you’ll see just how temperamental a beer can be. Tilt the nose of the bottle into the center of the glass, forming a small head before angling the glass toward your bottle and pouring into the beer, close to the side of the glass. When possible, it’s best to avoid pouring the beer down the side of the glass. You want a bit of head, and most beers allow you to pour fairly vigorously before they overflow. Again, every beer is different, so some will require a more careful pour than others. The more your pour into the center of your glass, the more head you’ll encourage. If the head starts to get out of control, pour slowly toward the side of your glass until it balances out.

The purpose of a good pour is to activate the carbonation in your beer and produce a solid head. This will give you a nice bouquet, which is the aroma generated by your beer. As the bubbles in the head pop, they’ll release the unique scent that the combination of malt, hops, and yeast produce in your brew.

Some beers are best served in a glass that augments the natural qualities of the beer. Perhaps the most common example is Duvel, but you’ve probably seen special glassware for beers like Stella Artois, Leffe, and Sam Adams Boston Lager, too. The glassware certainly isn’t necessary to enjoy the beer, it can enhance the tasting experience. In the case of Duvel, the large bowl and fluted neck allow the beer to have large surface area and sustain a 3-inch head, even as you tilt the glass to your lips. The Stella glass aims the beer at the appropriate area of your tongue to enhance the crisp hop flavor. For those specialty beers, check with the brewery for pouring instructions. A-B InBev has instructions for pouring its specialty brews in the iLoveBeer iPhone app (iTunes Link).

Tasting
This is the simple part of enjoying a beer - you drink it! As far as tasting goes, there are very few rules. Whether you’re pairing it with food or just sampling some new stuff in front of a fire, tasting beer is always easy. Taste is subjective, so you can never really be wrong about what sticks out in your beer. Not everyone will agree with you, but if you taste hot garbage, well, so be it. I’ve always described Cantillon’s Iris lambic as having a distinct gym sock finish, but Fuller’s London Porter tastes like burnt caramel. Your descriptions will run the gamut, and if you keep a little tasting notebook, you’ll start to see trends in your own taste and be able to choose new beers accordingly.

There are a couple things to think on when tasting. First, you’ll stick your nose in the glass to get a whiff of the bouquet. Again, keep your descriptions simple. It doesn’t have to smell like fresh holly on the fourth day of winter. Pine trees, frost, vomit, biscuits – these are all perfectly acceptable nouns to describe the aroma your beer produces. Next, your tongue essentially tastes sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, so there’s no need to get crazy. The sweetness of a beer comes from residual sugar in the malt, while bitterness comes from the hop. The other flavors will be present in different beers for different reasons. Sometimes it’s the yeast strain, sometimes the length of fermentation. Focus on the taste to start and worry about the reason later. Lastly, think about the mouthfeel and body of the beer. Is it too foamy as you drink it? Do you feel like you’ll fall through the floor after half a glass? These things affect the quality of a beer as much as taste, and you’ll start to develop a preference for different qualities.

The most important part of tasting, though, is that you drink beer and enjoy it. Invite some friends over for a tasting party. Hit your local brewpub for a tour. Head down to your local beer store and grab something you’ve never seen before, and check back here next week to read about pairing beer with food. If you’ve missed one of our Beer 101 series, you can find them on this blog by checking out the Beer 101 tag. Also, don’t forget to visit the beer section of the Bullz-Eye mainsite. Cheers!

  

Beers for the holidays

There are all kinds of drinks that make the holidays special and more enjoyable, but for many of us a good beer will always do the trick. Our beer aficionado Mike Barkacs put together a list of 5 holiday beers to consider as you stock up for the holiday weekend. His favorite is Corsendonk Christmas Ale:

I love Belgian beer any time of the year, so I had to have one on the list. I could have easily had five. The Corsendonk fits the Christmas beer mold perfectly. It is big, malty and complex. Just tons of flavor from every direction, but nicely balanced, as you’d expect from these guys. There is fruit, spice, grain and a healthy kick of alcohol. My only quibble, and it is minor, is there is maybe a touch too much anise in it for my licorice hating taste buds. Otherwise, it’s close to perfect. They spice it up, but there is so much more going on in this beer, that all the spice doesn’t feel overblown.

Whatever your preference, drink up, be safe and enjoy your holiday!

  

Beer 101: Beer Styles

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Part 3 – Beer Styles

When I set out to write this section of our Beer 101 series, I knew I was in for some work. There are nearly infinite styles of beer, and as the popularity of craft brewing has grown, we’ve seen a resurgence of near dead styles, the creation of new styles, and the advent of ‘imperial’ beer. That said, I want to give an overview of some of the most common styles and highlight a few of the more exotic beers so you can understand the scope of variety among beer styles.

Lager – This is the style we learned in high school, courtesy of the big American breweries and the most popular style of beer in the world. While some would call beer like Budweiser a pilsner, a pilsner is typically defined by a slight hoppy bitterness that cuts a portion of the malt character typical to lager-style beer. The distinction is very slight – after all, pilsner is a type of lager. The cold fermentation process used to create lager beer yields a nice, crisp flavor with a slight aftertaste.

Ale – This is going to be a more substantial subheading than lager because there are so many varieties of ‘ales’ in the world. Ale is widely defined as a malted barley beer, brewed with top-fermenting, fast-acting yeast that yields a sweet and fruity character, a bright, floral aroma and full-bodied mouthfeel. There are virtually endless varieties of ale, so we’ll only discuss a few.

Pale Ale – This is the beer known as a ‘bitter’ or ‘English bitter.’ It’s brewed with pale barley malt, typically a low- to mid-gravity brew with a highly complex finish. The flavor in pale ale is often heavily defined by the malt, and the best pale ales use the very best English or European malts. American malts are fine for lighter lager beers that are less about flavor and more about mouthfeel, but if you want some real character, you need better malt. Pale ales also have a bright aroma, thanks to the low-alpha hops added at the end of the brewing process. Low-alpha hops can be added in large quantities to impart some flavor on the beer without adding too much bitterness to your brew. I realize almost everything I’ve said here has been contradictory, so I’ll just say this: pale ales are all about balance.

Abbey/Trappist Ale – I group abbey ale and Trappist ale together because the brewing process and end product is nearly identical, the difference being that Trappist beers are brewed in Trappist monasteries by Trappist monks. This style of beer is top-fermented and often sweet and high in alcohol content. Some of the sweetness comes from the spices or candy sugar you can typically find in this style, and the rest comes from the alcohol. Perhaps the most prominent abbey ale is AB In-Bev’s Leffe, an amber-colored ale with a supersweet finish. Among the Trappist ales are Orval, Koningshoeven, Westvleteren, and of course, Chimay.

India Pale Ale (IPA) – The IPA has seen serious growth in popularity in America over the past decade. Brewers seem to be constantly releasing some epic IPA or another every month or two. The IPA style was invented so that beer could sustain long, oceanic voyages. The high hop content essentially safeguarded the beer against contaminants and also imparted delightful complexity with prolonged cellaring. IPAs are bitter to the max, though many also have a smooth, citrusy finish that pairs well with a wide variety of food.

Lambic – Lambics are a beer all their own. This brew is made using wild yeasts instead of cultivated ones, which can yield some interesting differences from batch to batch. Many lambics are also brewed with a portion of unmalted barley, which gives off a sour aftertaste not unlike a dry white wine. Lambics have been popularized in recent years by adding fruit sugar to cut the sour, funky taste of the beer. If you know anyone who drinks ‘Framboise,’ they’re really a Lambic drinker, though the Lindeman’s version is pretty far from the traditional style.

Wheat Beer – Wheat beer technically belongs to the ale category, but it has its own subset of special rules, and there are enough differences for it to stand alone. Wheat beers are, as you might have guessed, brewed with wheat malt, though they still contain malted barley. These beers are typically top-fermented and often appear hazy as the yeast settles during bottling and kegging. The most common styles of wheat beer are Belgian witbier (Belgian white ale) and German-style wheat. A witbier often employs unmalted wheat and spices – coriander, organe peel, and lemon zest are all popular – while a German-style white follows stricter guidelines: no spices, top fermentation only, and tightly controlled malt combinations.

That does it for our Beer 101: Beer Styles section. I could go on and on about styles I didn’t have space to mention. If you’re interested, dig around the web. There is a ton of information out there. If you’re just joining, be sure to head back through the past couple weeks for posts on the history of brewing and an overview of the brewing process. Next week we’re on to pouring and appreciation and in two weeks we’ll cover some guidelines for pairing beer with food.

  

What to do with that leftover turkey

If you’re like the rest of us, you ate way too much food yesterday, so more food might not be the first thing on your mind today. That said, many of you also have plenty of leftover turkey, and eating the leftovers can be just as enjoyable.

Last year, Mike Farley put together a great column in our Grub for Guys channel where he laid out some great ways to enjoy those turkey leftovers. Check out the great recipes for Turkey Breakfast Hash, Turkey Muffuletta, Turkey Antipasto Chopped Salad, Cheesy Broccoli Rice with Turkey and Day After Thanksgiving Pizza.

  

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