Rating: ©©©©© chips (“A” list)
** Updated 11/10/15 – upon further review (aka more delicious sampling) of this impeccable product, we felt it our duty to change the beer popcorn’s rating to “A” list!
We often wonder how many deliciously different salty snacks there are out there that the majority of us will never ever get the chance to try? Those smaller local companies that only distribute in the surrounding area, or the little mom and pop stores that specialize in one specific type of snack, and unless you happen to travel to this specific town or region of the country you may never ever know of the delicacies that await you there. Luckily for Chip Review we have a lot of friends and family out there that are always on the lookout for local snacks wherever they may be visiting. Seriously, we cannot begin to tell you how many different pictures we receive each day from one person or another asking us “hey, have you ever tried these ones?” or, “hey, we’ve never seen these, have you reviewed these?”, or “hey, we’re in Ohio have you ever heard of Grippo’s??” More often than not we have already tasted and reviewed whatever snack may be on the photo, but every once in a while that person or people come through and we strike it snack rich!! “Grab one or two of every flavor they’ve got!!” we yell over the phone or texting machine.
The most recent example of this type of scenario just took place a week or two ago. One of us from Chip Review walked into the office one morning and there sitting on our desk is a small collection of a variety of different flavored popcorn from some company called Chef’s Shoppe. The flavors ranged from dill pickle to pizza to bacon cheddar, but the one that really caught our attention, and in the end the one that we ended up liking the most was the beer flavor!
But first let’s back track to this Chef’s Shoppe. After a little investigative work, and explanation from the giver of the popcorn, we learned that the Chef’s Shoppe is a Gourmet Kitchen Store (aka specialty cooking and food store) located in Edwardsville, Illinois. And, Edwardsville is the third oldest city in the state of Illinois. Although technically a city in southwestern Illinois, Edwardsville is considered a part of the greater metro area of St. Louis. So, we’re not sure if Edwardsville citizens cheer for the Blackhawks or the Blues! We can only imagine that it is a heated debate in those parts!! Sorry, back on track. Obviously the Chef’s Shoppe sells more than specialty kitchen tools and foods and such. They also offer more than seventy different popcorn flavors. According to the Chef Shoppe’s webite:
In May 2012 the Chef’s Shoppe expanded again, taking over the 2,500 square foot space adjacent to the existing business and adding popcorn. But they didn’t start small – offering over 70 flavors of popcorn every day, the Chef’s Shoppe entered the popcorn scene in a big way. Scott, having officially retired after 32 years with AT&T the year before, is the head “popologist”. With the help of his merry band of popping and coating specialists they turn out hundreds of gallons of popcorn every week. ALL are made fresh in house – ALL are available to taste before you buy – ALL are so delicious that picking just one is nearly impossible.
Well, the Chef’s Shoppe seems like our sort of place, and we hope the fine people of Edwardsville, and even St. Louis, continue to embrace and support it for a very long time to come. Chef’s Shoppe popcorn is on the larger end of the popcorn spectrum, with very round, and softer kernels. We would describe them as having a lot of popcorn meat, or body to them, that provides a great toothsome popcorn chew. As for the beer flavoring – WOW! This stuff is pretty awesome! Certainly some of the most unique flavored popcorn we have ever tried. Visually, no one would ever assume that they were about to eat beer flavored popcorn, it pretty much just looks like a cheddar cheese popcorn. However, a couple kernels in the mouth, and one quickly realizes that they are enjoying something a bit unusual, something they can’t quite pinpoint, and something DELICIOUS!! We were surprised to discover that the base of the popcorn seasoning was actually spicy cheese. Nowhere on the packaging does it indicate that the popcorn is anything but beer flavored? However, it is immediately apparent that this popcorn also includes a slightly spicy and creamy cheese layer in addition to beer (quick glance to the Chef Shoppe website confirms our findings). What really sets this popcorn apart, and what makes us love the flavoring is the decisively yeasty beer flavoring. The spicy-cheesy-beer-y combination works amazingly well with popcorn. We were beyond impressed to say the least!!
So, if you ever find yourself traveling to, or through, Edwardsville Illinois, do yourself a favor and go try a couple, or fifty, different popcorn flavors from the Chef Shoppe. Just make sure that one of those flavors is the BEER!!
As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.
Popcorn provided to Chip Review by J & V for review
Chip Ratings Scale:
© – return to sender
©© – tolerable
©©© – notable
©©©© – lip-smacking
©©©©© – “A” list