REVIEW: Mtn Dew Game Fuel Berry Lime

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Berry Lime

I’m a bit past my gaming “wonder years” when I would spend hours on end using one hand to make Kirby eat his enemies whilst blindly stuffing corn chips into my own gaping maw with the other.

Growing up means learning to manage my time more wisely. Gobbling down Doritos with two hands is way more efficient!

Despite this, I’ve vowed to never become that uncool adult who calls every Xbox “a Nintendo” and insists Pokémon is pronounced “Pokee-mans.” So to stay hip, I’ve decided I need to start drinking Mtn Dew Game Fuel again.

Wait, kids don’t say “hip” anymore? My apologies. I believe the correct term is “#$wag.”

I haven’t had a sip of Game Fuel since it was first released in Citrus Cherry flavor to promote Halo 3 in 2007. I’ve mentioned before how I still have 3 cans of sealed Halo 3 Dew in my basement, and while they probably have the corrosiveness and flavor of Xenomorph blood now, they remind me of a simpler time when Mtn Dew actually spelled out the word “Mountain.” Back in my day, vowels were cool! Whippersnappers!

But now in its 6th iteration, Game Fuel is back to promote Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Citrus Cherry has returned, as usual, but 2015’s flavor n00b is Berry Lime.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Berry Lime 2

With the color of a melted Gumby, the tempting turquoise liquid hissed at me as I cracked it open. And as I took a sip, that hiss became a bite. The fizzy carbonation here is strong enough to lift you into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized! So you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!

But the burn of the bubbles is paired pleasantly with the initial hit of berry flavor. The berries form a potent good cop/bad cop duo: first, a wave of bright, friendly blueberry sweet-talks your taste buds, but then a puckering tang of blue raspberry lays the smack down on ‘em with a surprise suplex from behind.

It’s a charming one-two punch that segues smoothly into the palpable lime aftertaste. More light and tropical than it is sour, this lime is what really appeals to me, because it tastes almost exactly like a liquefied Lime Skittle. And everyone knows Lime was the best Skittle before it was unceremoniously killed off and replaced with that bastard Green Apple Skittle.

R.I.P., Lime Skittle: I’ll pour a little bit of Dew out for you, my homie.

As the candied lime flavor peters out, I’m left again with the unfortunate back-of-mouth-funk and throat-stickiness that all new Dews seem to give. But unlike the grittiness of the recent Mtn Dew Black Label’s real sugar, the corn syrup here leaves my throat feeling slimier than a ’90s Nickelodeon game show.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Berry Lime 3

The whole experience really is a bit like a more carbonated (thumbs up) and more artificial (thumbs down) version of Black Label. But it’s still as addictive as Minesweeper, and it’s hard to stay mad at a drink that simultaneously reunites me with my dearly departed Lime Skittle while also making me feel like I’m a vampire suckling on the life essence of a Blue Raspberry Jolly Rancher.

So while it probably won’t make me a Major League Gamer, this nostalgic and tasty Dew will at least make sure I don’t confuse Mario with Chef Boyardee.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle – 280 calories, 0 grams of fat, 85 milligrams of sodium, 75 grams of carbohydrates, 74 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 113 milligrams of caffeine.)

Item: Mtn Dew Game Fuel Berry Lime
Purchased Price: $1.79
Size: 20 fl oz bottle
Purchased at: Campus convenience store
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Two berries of blue in my Dew = woo-hoo! Lime Skittle memories. Willy Wonka levels of carbonation. Flavor suplexes. Repeatedly whispering the phrase “tempting turquoise” to myself in an empty room.
Cons: Nickelodeon levels of throat sliminess. Probably too sweet to drink with Doritos. Whpprsnpprs. “Thank you Chef Boyardee, but our princess is in another pasta can.”

REVIEW: Mtn Dew Black Label

Mtn Dew Black Label

I’m probably not your typical college student.

“Oh, you guys are going to a party? Which one? I was always a fan of Mario Party 4. Should I bring a controller?”

“Football game? No, but I do have these awesome Limited Edition Little Debbie Football Brownies! They’re really just the same as their Easter Egg Brownies, and…hey, where’d everybody go?”

This mindset is why Mtn Dew’s sleek new Black Label variety probably isn’t for me. It’s being sold in limited college markets until its nationwide release in 2016, so I believe the idea is that this drink would be a perfect chaser at a party or a tasty, highly caffeinated pick-me-up before a round of Ultimate Frisbee on the quad.

But this “Crafted Dark Berry” Dew is flavored with herbal bitters and grape juice concentrate, so my immediate reaction was less “cool” and more “could this be the spiritual successor to grape-flavored Mountain Dew Pitch Black? Holy s***, Halloween is coming early this year!”

So I hustled over to my university convenience store and bought a can. At the register, I considered throwing in a box of condoms to up my “cool factor” in the eyes of the cashier, but instead I bought a Hostess Jumbo Honey Bun. Oh well, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad.

Mtn Dew Black Label 2

The light violet soda looks like a cross between a mad scientist’s concoction and the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s sinister bathwater, which is the reason I poured it into a laboratory-themed cup. It certainly isn’t because I don’t actually own any real glasses. That would be ridiculous!

The carbonation here is much more mild than other Dews, producing a smooth gulp that doesn’t sting your throat. As for the much hyped-up flavor, the prominent tang of the grape juice does make it taste a lot like Pitch Black (or at least how I remember it tasting; 10 years after Pitch Black’s release, my taste buds may have become senile and forgetful).

However, the complex “dark berry” makes Black Label taste more like Pitch Black that was diluted with Ghoul-Aid and a liquefied package of Kellogg’s Fruity Snacks. In layman’s terms, this means there’s the slightly sour grape beginning, which is dark and a bit bitter. It’s almost like the folks at Mountain Dew barrel-aged a bunch of Welch’s.

This is paired with a bit of puckering blackberry tartness and hints of sweet, artificial blueberry. The added ingredient of orange juice also gives the drink a citrus finish that reminds me of 2007’s Halo 3 Mountain Dew Game Fuel (which I still have three sealed cans of sitting in my basement. Seriously, how am I not more popular on campus?).

Mtn Dew Black Label 3

This charming mixture of nostalgic flavors puts Black Label right up there with original Game Fuel in my personal pantheon of best Dew varieties. However, the mellow mouthfeel of the drink makes me wish for more fizz, as a stronger bubbly bite would likely give the drink’s sour and tangy flavors more of a memorable impact. Instead, the lingering sweetness from the drink’s 100 percent real sugar leaves me with a bit of an uncomfortable, gritty glaze in the back of my mouth.

Regardless, fans looking for a more refined and energizing Dew won’t be disappointed. And if you’re just looking to channel the ghost of Pitch Black in time for Halloween, put down your Ouija Board, ‘cause it won’t get much closer than this.

Now, as I was saying: the Easter Egg Brownies are also very similar to Little Debbie’s Pumpkin and Seashell Brownies, but…hey, wait, come back!

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – 210 calories, 0 grams of fat, 85 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 53 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 83 milligrams of caffeine.)

Item: Mtn Dew Black Label
Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: 16 oz. can
Purchased at: Campus convenience store
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: A holy trinity of Pitch Black, Ghoul-Aid, and fruit snacks. Halloween in beverage form. Junk food séances. Encyclopedic knowledge of Little Debbie. Mario Party 4.
Cons: Unpleasant throat coating. Bite strength is less “Dracula” and more “Edward Cullen.” The thought of drinking 8-year-old Game Fuel. Trading my reputation for a Jumbo Honey Bun.

REVIEW: Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast

Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast

Despite fitting perfectly into Mountain Dew’s target demographic – I was a middle schooler when extreme sports were huge and a high schooler when gaming culture went mainstream – I’ve never been a huge Dew devotee. (Dewvotee?) For whatever reason, my tastes always tended towards the cola side of things. Still, I’ll never turn down a chance to try a weird, limited edition soft drink, so here we are.

Mountain Dew’s Sangrita Blast is one of two Taco Bell-imprinted flavors freed from soda fountain exclusivity just in time for the sweltering summer months (the other being longstanding fan favorite Baja Blast).

Now I have to admit to some ignorance here: When I first picked up this soda, I was puzzled by its name. “Sangrita?” I wondered aloud. “With a T?” I figured one of two things: Either Mountain Dew was afraid of calling it Sangria Blast because people might mistake it for an alcoholic product, or the flavor was crafted as a mish-mosh of sangria and margarita flavors.

A few minutes and some light Googling later, I discovered sangrita is actually a different beverage altogether. Unlike wine-laced sangria, sangrita is an alcohol-free tequila accompaniment made from pomegranate juice, chili powder, and an assortment of other juices and spices which vary from recipe to recipe.

Reading about this popular Mexican drink, my hopes rose. Not because it sounded especially good, but because it just sounded so different. A carbonated take on a peppery, nectar-y cocktail? What a fascinating way to diversify the usually predictable Mountain Dew flavor line-up. Whether it ended up tasting good or bad, at least I knew Sangrita Blast would be interesting.

(At least, that’s what logic told me.)

Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast 2

I admired the promisingly deep, bloody red tint of the soda and cracked open the bottle top. I took a whiff, anticipating the sensation of spicy fizz tickling my nose; instead, though, I found a vague, cherry-ish scent remarkably similar to another Mountain Dew flavor, Code Red. Troubling. Still, smell doesn’t always betray taste, so I remained optimistic and took a sip.

Disappointingly, the flavor was no better. There was no trace of pomegranate, no piquant spice blend, just a bold, cherry-dominated fruit taste with mild citric undertones, sort of like a toned-down cherry limeade. Just as the smell suggested, there was little appreciable difference between Sangrita Blast and Code Red. It’s pleasantly fruity with a surprisingly light aftertaste, but talk about false advertising.

The label plainly describes it as regular Mountain Dew with “citrus punch flavor,” this is true, but if you’re naming your product after something as distinctive as sangrita, you can’t just run Hawaiian Punch through a SodaStream and call it a day. This soda isn’t bad, but it’s disappointing, which is, in a way, worse. If nothing else, I was expecting a potentially awesome hangover remedy, yet we don’t even get that – just a tame retread of an already successful flavor selection. Oh, well.

Unfortunately, I never sampled the fountain version of Sangrita Blast, so I can’t comment as to how the bottled version compares. But I can tell you while other varieties of the citrusy, over-caffeinated classic may be a Mountain Do, Sangrita Blast is most certainly a Mountain Bad. (Did I do that right?)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle – 270 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 73 grams of carbohydrates, 72 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast
Purchased Price: $1.70
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Krauszer’s Food & Liquor
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Beautiful color. Pleasant enough take on carbonated fruit punch. Basically Code Red, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Cons: Deceptively named. Missed opportunity. Basically Code Red, if you’re not into that sort of thing.

REVIEW: Mountain Dew Dew Shine

Mountain Dew Dew Shine

Here’s a completely useless nugget of information you will never have to recall in your lifetime. Before Mountain Dew was Mountain Dew, it was slang for the clear liquor called moonshine. And now Mountain Dew is honoring its past by selling a non-alcoholic clear soda called Dew Shine.

This isn’t the first alcohol-sounding, non-alcoholic Dew the folks at Mountain Dew have developed. A few years ago, they rolled out Mountain Dew Gold, a citrus and malt liquor-flavored soda. It was supposed to roll out nationwide and it had a campaign that gave Dew fans the chance name the beverage in different regions. The nationwide rollout never happened. Instead, it was sold only in a few regions across the U.S.

However, Mountain Dew Dew Shine has been rolled out nationwide and is available in single bottles or four-packs.

There’s a lot of retro going on with bottle’s label, which looks like a weathered piece of paper and features Willie the Hillbilly, the original Mountain Dew mascot, and “It’ll Tickle Yore Innards”, the original Mountain Dew slogan. The bottle is made of glass and beverage contains real sugar, which, if you think about it, is kind of retro in this day and age of high fructose corn syrup.

The beverage is as clear as water, and to make sure it was, I filled an empty Dew Shine bottle with water, put the screw top back on, placed it next to an unopened bottle, and had someone arrange the bottle with my back turned. After comparing the two for a few moments, I couldn’t tell the difference. Can you determine which is which using the photo below?

Mountain Dew Dew Shine 2

According to the bottle, Dew Shine is a “clear citrus flavored Dew,” and with its name, I assume it might taste somewhat like moonshine. Unfortunately, I can’t confirm that since I have no idea what moonshine tastes like and I’m not willing to drink moonshine because I don’t want the internet to have photos of me walking through Waikiki with no pants.

Dew Shine has a light citrusy aroma that reminds me of a generic lemon lime soda. Its flavor also has a mild citrusiness to it that leans towards lemon. But I detect a slight maltiness too. The combination is giving me flashbacks to Mountain Dew Gold, but with a much mellower flavor. The mellow flavor and light carbonation makes Dew Shine easy to drink.

Dew Shine is refreshing, not overly sweet, pleasant, and has the same amount of caffeine as a can of regular Mountain Dew (52 mg), but I’m not sure younger Dew fans would like it because it’s not like most Mountain Dew flavors. There’s no radioactive color, no bite, and it doesn’t slap you with sweetness. It’s a different kind of Dew.

The glass bottle, the beverage’s clear color, the use of real sugar, and its flavor makes it appear and taste like its for older or sophisticated taste buds. Because of those attributes, Dew Shine could be considered a Craft Dew. I also want to call it Crystal Dew.

But with that said, if I need a soda to pick me up, I would rather have regular Mountain Dew. Dew Shine has the same amount of caffeine as regular Dew, but I feel regular Dew’s combination of a sugary punch, stronger carbonation, and caffeine content does a better job at energizing me.

But if you happen to find some Dew Shine on shelves, I think it’s definitely worth picking up.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 42 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 54 milligrams of caffeine.)

Item: Mountain Dew Dew Shine
Purchased Price: Way too much on eBay ($26.99)
Size: 4 pack of 12 oz bottles
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice citrusy flavor with a bit of maltiness. A sophisticated Dew. Easy to drink. Not made with high fructose corn syrup. Same amount of caffeine as a can of regular Mountain Dew. Nifty retro label.
Cons: Younger Dew drinkers might find this flavor to be too mild when compared with other Dew flavors. Might be difficult to find. I prefer regular Dew when it comes to getting energized. The internet having photos you wish it didn’t. Only available in glass bottles.

REVIEW: Mountain Dew Kickstart Hydrating Boost (Pineapple Orange Mango and Strawberry Kiwi)

Mountain Dew Kickstart Hydrating Boost

When I saw the bizarre, trippy commercial for Mountain Dew Kickstart Hydrating Boost energy drinks during the Super Bowl, I got pretty excited. An energy drink with some kind of hallucinogen in it? WOOHOO! Well, at least that’s what the commercial led me to believe, but I was intent on finding out for myself.

The description on the bottles are kind of interesting. Flavored sparkling juice beverage blend from concentrate with other natural flavors. I was under the impression it was a normal energy drink, but right away I noticed they weren’t as acidic and sugary as others on the market.

It has coconut water, contains 10 percent juice, and with the can being only 12 ounces and 60 calories per can, it’s definitely healthier than a lot of other energy drinks.

It comes in two flavors, Energizing Strawberry Kiwi and Energizing Pineapple Orange Mango. Did they really need to use the word “energizing?” I mean, it’s called Kickstart, and it’s sold amongst other energy drinks. And they use the same term on both flavors. They should use different ones, like, I don’t know, “Pump You Up Strawberry Kiwi.” Just my thoughts.

Mountain Dew Kickstart Hydrating Boost Orange Pineapple Mango

Pineapple Orange Mango beats out Strawberry Kiwi big time in the taste department. It has three fruit flavors, and though you might think something would get lost in the mix, all three flavors actually come through, with pineapple and orange being the most prominent. It drinks like a mix between a soda and a sparkling juice, and isn’t as carbonated as much as normal energy drinks are. It was very pleasant to drink.

The cans say, “with just the right amount of KICK” because they have 68 milligrams of caffeine.

But they don’t say anything about containing acid or some other drug that will make my cat dance or my statues come to life and have deep philosophical conversations with me, but I saw the commercial. I know what’s going on here.

Mountain Dew Kickstart Hydrating Boost Strawberry Kiwi

The Strawberry Kiwi was kind of weak. I really just tasted strawberry, and since the flavor wasn’t nearly as potent as the Pineapple Orange Mango, the carbonation is more noticeable and it just doesn’t work as well as its companion flavor.

Both contain coconut water, but it must not be much. I couldn’t taste a hint of the distinctive flavor in either. But I’m not really complaining, as coconut water doesn’t have the greatest taste.

I drank half of each so I could see what was up with the energy boost I was supposed to receive, but honestly I didn’t really get too much of the kick I was promised. Now you may drink this and get a decent kick, but it didn’t do much for me.

But despite the lack of boost, I did find the hydrating part to be true. I would normally stay away from an energy drink if I needed a thirst quencher, but these drinks were darn refreshing.

As for the hallucinating… well, it never came. That commercial was so misleading. Promising me free drugs in a can that would make me dance and hallucinate, on top of giving me an energy boost. And what do I get? Nothing. Well, I did get a tasty Pineapple Orange Mango drink that I would have again. And I gained the knowledge that Strawberry Kiwi isn’t worth my time.

But most importantly, I realized that you shouldn’t seek out hard drugs inside cans of Mountain Dew energy drinks. You should just call your shady friend Peanut and see if he’s currently in or out of jail and whether or not he can hook you up.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 68 milligrams of caffeine, 0 grams total fat, 130 mg of sodium, 15 grams total carbohydrate, 14 grams sugars, 0 grams protein, 68 milligrams of caffeine, 75% vitamin c, 60% niacin, 60% vitamin b6, 45% pantothenic acid, 10% phosphorous. Strawberry Kiwi – )

Item: Mountain Dew Kickstart Hydrating Boost
Purchased Price: 2/$3.79
Size: 12 oz. can
Purchased at: Gulf Gas Station
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pineapple Orange Mango)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Strawberry Kiwi)
Pros: Pineapple Orange Mango was quite tasty. Less sugary and acidic than typical energy drinks. Only 60 calories per can. Having a shady friend named Peanut.
Cons: Strawberry Kiwi was pretty weak. Drinks did not offer much of a kick. Misleading commercials. Having a shady friend named Peanut.