From men’s boxers made of bamboo to masculine snacks and THC-infused gummies, we review some products for fall.
Chill Boys: Underwear and Hoodies
When you get an offer to sample some underwear, boxers, or pullovers, it’s awkward, yes, but also appealing. I mean, who doesn’t love new undies? The story behind this Minnesota-based company is that a group of guys was looking to improve on boxers and boxer briefs and chose eco-friendly bamboo for the fabric. Our versions were both sized medium (for my son) and large (for my husband). I stole my son’s sample while he’s away at college to sleep in and found the boxer briefs luxuriously plush. The bamboo base is what makes these breatheable briefs a step above the others out there, including another Midwestern company known for its underwear, Duluth Trading Company. My husband reports he’s completely happy with them and the stretchy but shape-holding hoodie as well. It’s difficult to stand out in the bamboo/sustainable apparel industry, but Chill Boys has a leg up on the competition. Boxers, $21.99; hoodie, $78; chillboys.com
Damn, Man: Nuts and Exotic Meats Box
Sticking with male-focused products, you can’t go wrong with Damn, Man as a company name if you are trying to appeal to the woke bro crowd. So, here we are. The pitch cracked me up with references to cavemen and rugged appetites: “[This package] features a collection of exotic meats handpicked to cater to that primal hunter-gatherer instinct that echoes in the background from the evolution of early man. Included is a wild boar summer sausage that fuses the traditional sweet and tangy taste of summer sausage which the succulent, rich, and nutty taste of well-ironed wild boar for a unique gustatory experience.” There’s also a pork-and-antelope meat stick, a pork-and-alligator blend stick, and two 4-ounce bags of smoked nuts. We sampled these a few weeks ago in the heart of my husband’s Keto diet, and they are tasty and filling. $49.99 snack box; dmsnacks.com
Sugar Plum: Nostalgic Chocolate Bars
I have a major sweet tooth and treat myself to chocolate bars now and then. But nothing fully prepared me for how authentic several Sugar Plum chocolate flavors taste. The peanut butter and jelly bar tastes amazingly like a PB&J sandwich, while the apple pie flavor includes dried bits of apple and a hint of cinnamon for a tasty surprise. I asked my co-workers to help sample five flavors, and the traditional flavor of cookies and cream was voted the favorite while the pancakes and syrup version had too much maple flavor and aftertaste. This company that was started in Pennsylvania nearly 30 years ago by a mother and her son makes off-the-wall flavors like Fruity Flake with the popular breakfast cereal, and there are seasonal flavors as well like pumpkin spice and peppermint hot cocoa. The 3.5-ounce bars make nice gifts or office desk snacks for a square or two as a pick-me-up. Variety five-pack, $25; sugar-plum.com
Skrewball Whiskey: 100ml cans
I already admitted I have a sweet tooth, and peanut butter is one of my favorite flavors. It seems others agree. A convenient 100-ml can of Skrewball’s peanut butter whiskey is on shelves in Minnesota now, and I think it is going to do well as many ready-to-drink canned cocktails already have. Unlike other RTDs, however, this whiskey is straight up but a subtly delicious smooth sipper. The small package includes two servings—the perfect size for packing without having to buy a big bottle to transport or store. Approximately $5 per can; skrewballwhiskey.com
Verist: Ope, It’s Legal! Delta-9 Gummies
Surly Brewing Co.: Take Five THC Tonic
By now you’ve heard the story about how hemp-derived THC-infused gummies and beverages came to be a reality in Minnesota. Whether the story that the GOP lawmakers didn’t read the statue allowing the change is apocryphal or accurate, the road to legalizing marijuana in Minnesota took a big step forward on July 1.
We were immediately offered products to sample, from a new Surly beverage to Verist’s candylike chews, both featuring 5 mg of THC in each item. But unfortunately, I’m not the best person to review the products. I pride myself on an iron-clad stomach, but I’ve started (a few times) with just half a gummy or a few sips of the beverage, and I start to feel tired, heavy, and nauseous. I’ve asked others to review both instead. One of our editors took a whole gummy and enjoyed a lengthy, giddy, full-impact high, adding that the citrusy taste is nice—although taste really isn’t the point. (Half is recommended on the package to start.)
Founded in 2020, in Shakopee, Verist is a full-spectrum CBD oil and product line made with single-origin hemp extract, grown and produced on a fourth-generation family farm. Package of 10 gummies; $35
As for the carbonated THC seltzer, Surly is currently not allowed to include the drink on taps or even allow patrons, who can purchase a four-pack in the gift shop, to drink it on site. This is a product you have to take and bake, so to speak. My friend Nate reviewed this one and reports, “It tasted ridiculously … like lime water. Better than a sparkling lime water. No aftertaste, no medicinal hints, no dankness. I had to wonder if there was anything in it! I’ll confess to not being a connoisseur in this particular field, but I didn’t fall asleep or feel like I was heavy lidded or anything.” Four-pack, $25; surlybrewing.com