Taste Test: Beer Chips
Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments.
Boulder Canyon Spinach & Artichoke Chips
The idea of gourmet potato chips is strange. Chips belong to we, the slobs, not hoity-toity caviar eaters. But in recent years, chips have been gourmet-ized along with everything else, so that you people in your mansions on the hill can enjoy salty, oily goodness without feeling like you're mingling with the common man. At the height of uppity snack food sits Boulder Canyon Natural Foods, which offers a variety of good, semi-standard flavors (Hickory BBQ, Jalapeno Cheddar) and at least one very strange one: Spinach & Artichoke.
But what about those without such refined taste? What can we buy for $3 at Whole Foods and still feel connected to the days of Ramen? How about two great tastes that everybody was already combining, chips and beer? The concept is simple, and the packaging is sort of "extreme," with wacky phrases like "only tested on humans" and "open mouth, insert Beer chips, swallow (don't forget to chew)."
Taste: Both of these odd combinations inspired ambivalence. Neither has achieved wonderful-new-taste-sensation status, but both are tasty enough not to inspire vomiting, either. It's mostly a "yum?" followed by a "Hmmm I'd rather have some regular chips." The flavors advertised on both are definitely there, though: The former includes both spinach and dehydrated artichoke (rather than just "natural flavors") and the latter actually lists "BEER" as an ingredient. The spinach chips are also incredibly salty, while the beer chips leave a seriously yeasty aftertaste. They do, it should be noted, taste like beer–but not strongly, and not for very long.
Office Reactions: Beer: "It's like if you marinated chips in the head foam of beer." "Good until the aftertaste kicks in." "I don't even like beer, and I have to say those aren't beer-y enough." "They're like sweet! Like wine-cooler chips." "That's really horrible. Remember when the popcorn companies came out with kettle corn, and it was just like regular corn covered in sweet?"
Spinach & Artichoke: "I've never been a fan of snack foods that try to infuse a chip with the taste of what it would normally be dipped in, and this is no exception," "Pretty tasty, a bit musky, though. Tastes like a summer day," "A bit too phlegm-inducing. Maybe it's just my glands, though," "Not especially spinach-y or artichoke-y. Definitely salty. But strangely good."