Remember when Mtn Dew Kickstart debuted back in 2013? I do because there was a little hubbub about it being marketed as a morning soda, causing, I imagine, nutritionists across the country to roll their eyes. Oh, I also remember because I reviewed the first two flavors.
Although they had around 80 milligrams of caffeine, they weren’t considered energy drinks because, according to Mtn Dew, they didn’t have the same ingredients, like guarana and taurine.
Well, Mtn Dew Kickstart is getting some inter-brand competition from new Mtn Dew Rise, which ARE energy drinks marketed to be consumed, as you can guess from its name and some of the flavors available, in the morning. While they’re energy drinks, they also don’t contain guarana and taurine. But they do have zinc and vitamin C to help support immune function, and citicoline, which, combined with caffeine, helps improve concentration.
Speaking of stimulants, a can of Rise has 180 milligrams of caffeine, which, I believe, is the most in a single-serve Mtn Dew product. As someone who likes Monster and Rockstar energy drinks with triple-digit caffeine levels, I appreciate all that sweet, sweet caffeine.
The line has SIX varieties —- Tropical Sunrise, Peach Mango Dawn, Berry Blitz, Pomegranate Blue Burst, Orange Breeze, and Strawberry Melon Spark. While these names sound exciting, I should mention that if you’re a consumer of all Dew, or a conDEWmer, if you will, many of these will taste familiar to you.
Let’s start with my favorite, the pineapple-flavored Tropical Sunrise. I prefer it over another pineapple energy drink introduced this year — Monster Energy’s Ultra Gold. While the Monster offering has 15 fewer calories and no sugar, Tropical Sunrise has just 25 calories, 4 grams of sugar, a more robust fruitiness, and 30 more milligrams of caffeine. This also brings up memories of one of my favorite Dew varieties — Maui Burst.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) – 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Two flavors I like equally, but not as much as Tropical Sunrise, are Peach Mango Dawn and Strawberry Melon Spark. The former has a pleasant, but artificial peach aroma and flavor with mango lingering in the background. I’ve never had a peach mango beverage before, but now that I’ve had one, I need to try more.
Strawberry Melon Spark is a combination of strawberry and watermelon. It tastes familiar to me, not only because of the delicious, recently released Mtn Dew Major Melon, but because of SuperNova, the strawberry melon-flavored Dew that came out in 2008 as part of the DEWmocracy campaign to determine the next permanent variety. It was my favorite of the three flavors participating, but it didn’t win. That honor went to Voltage.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Peach Mango Dawn), 8 out of 10 (Strawberry Melon Spark)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) Peach Mango Dawn – 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Strawberry Melon Spark – 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Speaking of Voltage, I swear the Pomegranate Blue Burst one tastes like it. I was expected a bit more tartness from the pomegranate, but the sweet blueberry flavor tempers it. Berry Blitz tastes like it has blue raspberry with maybe a bit of blueberry. It has an almost cotton candy-like aroma and taste, which is also what I wrote when I reviewed Mtn Dew Amp Game Fuel Berry Blast. Samesies?
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pomegranate Blue Burst), 7 out of 10 (Berry Blitz)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) – 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Orange Breeze, as you can guess from its name, is orange-flavored. It’s the only Rise variety that has juice concentrate from the fruit it’s supposed to taste like. (The others get their juice from white grape juice concentrate.) The orange flavor is decent and has a slight sourness. This is the only one that tastes morning-appropriate, so I guess you can replace your OJ with OB as part of your balanced breakfast.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
All six varieties use acesulfame potassium and sucralose as sweeteners to bring down the total sugar levels. Even though there’s not much of it (5 percent), the juice does help these from completely tasting like diet drinks. Also, because they’re not overly sweet or syrupy, they’re easy to drink.
With the caffeine content hitting triple digits and decent to good flavors, Mtn Dew Rise might be a better way to kickstart your day than Mtn Dew Kickstart.
Purchased Price: $24.99
Size: 12-count, 6-flavor sampler pack
Purchased at: Amazon