Every now and then, a company or an agency hired to do PR for a company will offer to send us something to try. Sometimes I’ll say yes and, if there’s a natural fit for our audience, I’ll write about it. Other times, there’s not a natural fit for our core audience, but I’ll still write quick, off-the-cuff reviews of something I was sent in the instance a few readers out there might be interested—even if it has little to do with Milwaukee. This is an example of the latter.

Here’s a collection of rapid reviews of stuff that was sent to Milwaukee Record headquarters over the winter. If you’re craving takes on beer, bourbon, “white pizza” and “smooth cottage cheese,” you’ve come to the right place.

Five Nine Bourbon

From the minds behind the Troll Co. lifestyle brand comes Five Nine Whiskey. This Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (made at the 10th oldest distillery in The Bluegrass State) was “crafted to honor creators, builders, fixers, and doers who measure time by the grit on their hands, not the hands on the clock.” After a long day in the content creation mines, I took a nip off this mini bottle they mailed me, then used the rest in a whiskey ginger ale. It was a chest-burner (in a good way) and had a sweet, complex character that balanced the stiff rye whiskey flavor. Refreshed and replenished, I returned to writing about area codes of whatever. I guess what I’m trying to say is Five Nine Whiskey is pretty good. It’s available at a variety of spots in and around Milwaukee now, too.

Kemps Smooth Cottage Cheese

Back in February, Kemps released a “first-of-its-kind” line of smooth cottage cheese. As an unapologetic lover of cottage cheese, I smashed that reply button when I was emailed an offer to try the new product.

The revolutionary new dairy delight is marketed to kids who are too young, and frankly, too goddamn foolish to recognize that cottage cheese rules and the bigger the curds are, the better it is. Not only have the curds been smoothed out, but fruit flavoring has been added to give it its own youth-focused look, feel, and taste.

It’s like yogurt, but with a slightly thicker, more dense texture and a slightly savory aspect that vies for attention with the fruit. And at 4% milk fat, one of these probiotic whole milk treats could serve (and has served) as a passable breakfast or afternoon snack on its own. The mixed berry flavor was good, the strawberry banana was alright, and I didn’t really care for the strawberry…but that might just be a “me” issue. Personally, original large curd cottage cheese is my ride or die, but if you and/or your children are curd-averse, Kemps Smooth Cottage Cheese might be the thing for you.

Leinenkugel’s Honey Lemon Light

Another Rapid Review column and another example of Leinenkugel’s slowly continuing to win me back. This time around, it’s the brewery’s new Honey Lemon Light that’s pulling me further towards “consumer consideration” territory. My amateur theory is they mixed Honey Weiss and Summer Shandy together, but it’s probably a little more complicated than that. Still, it’s (thankfully) a less sweet take on Shandy and a more summer-suited offering than Honey Weiss. And at just 99 calories, it’s an appealing option if you’re White Clawed out and want to work in a non-Pilsner light beer option at any point this summer. You lost me for many years, Leinenkugel’s, but you’re wearing me down and gradually winning me back with some of these new brews.

Lou’s White Pizza

Late last year, Lou Malnati’s quietly unveiled a white pizza for the first time in the company’s existence. The appropriately named “Lou’s White Pizza” is a specialty pizza (available in both deep dish and thin crust varieties) that features the rich and questionably-dubbed “Louie Cream Sauce” topped with loads of Wisconsin mozzarella cheese, fresh mushrooms, spinach mix, and red onion. After a PR person working with Lou Malnati’s reached out to offer me a taste of the new item, I arranged a pickup from the chain’s Oak Creek location and cleared my calendar for what was to surely be a lazy, couch-ridden night ahead.

I typically prefer red sauce pizza over white/oil sauce options, but HO-LEE-SHIT was this good. Admittedly, this creamy, cheesy, and impossibly buttery deep dish ‘za was among the most decadent things I can recall taking to the dome in recent memory. However, I had this a few months ago and have thought about it no fewer than 25 times since demolishing a large Lou’s White Pizza with no help over the course of like 24 hours. I might be back for another soon.


While I’m an omnivore, I’m always open to trying new vegan alternatives to foods I regularly use. So when Parma! emailed me with a generous offer to send some “plant-based Parmesan” my way, I welcome the opportunity to critique the condiments. The shipment I was sent consisted of the Original flavor and Garlicky Green. I sprinkled each liberally on separate bowls of lightly buttered noodles, figuring that would be best way to have an unimpeded taste of both varieties.

The O.G. did the job, but I would probably opt for traditional shaker Parmesan instead if given the choice. That said, the Garlicky Green was savory, boldly garlic-forward, and the coarse granules were great on pasta and scattered atop homemade flatbread pizzas. I’d be curious to try its “Better Than Bacon” flavor as well. If you’re vegan, eating keto or paleo, or adhering to a kosher diet, Parma! is a more-than-worthwhile option to consider putting in your fridge. But as a dairy-consuming guy on a budget, $11.95 is a bridge to far for me. I will be savoring the Garlicky Green while it lasts, though, and looking for new ways to use it on stuff I eat.

Top Note Mixers

With it being based in Milwaukee, having a respectable presence at a wide range of area retailers, and with the fact our businesses have worked together on our N/A Day Non Alcoholic Beverage Festival these past two years, I’m well aware of Top Note. I’ve used their products. I’ve purchased their products. I love many of their products. But since I don’t make near enough money as a co-founder/editor of a web-only entertainment publication in a mid-sized metro, I wasn’t about to turn down free Top Note when a national PR person working with the local brand offered to send a variety case my way.

To be honest, some of the items they sent were actually new to me…including Top Note’s Ginger Beer (with a noticeable and enjoyable bite!) and its Grapefruit Soda (which I used to make a less sweet, less artificial Paloma than I’m accustomed). In all, everything from Top Note was top-notch, but the three tonics: Classic, Bitter Lemon, and Indian Tonic all took the cake and brought my gin and tonics (a drink on the short list of my favorite/most imbibed cocktails) echelons higher than those generic in-store brands that are sold in one-liter plastic bottles. Keep being you, Top Note…and hey, keep sending the goods my way if you want.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.