QUICK REVIEW: Tropical Citrus Rockstar Energy Water

Tropical Citrus Rockstar Energy Water

Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: 20 oz. bottle
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Hydrating. If you enjoy kicking your heart with 200 milligrams of caffeine, you will like this. Contains typical Rockstar Energy Drink ingredients. Sugar free. Zero calories. Provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin C.
Cons: If you hate the amount of flavor VitaminWaters have, you’ll hate this. Tropical citrus flavor was a bit odd and it almost doesn’t do a good job of masking the bitterness of the caffeine. Way too easy to drink. Artificial sweeteners more noticeable as it gets warmer.

Nutrition Facts: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 100% vitamin C.
Other reviews: Caffeine King, Caffeine! The Energy Blog

REVIEW: Mountain Dew Kickstart (Fruit Punch and Orange Citrus)

Mountain Dew Kickstart

Wise men once said in the late-1980s, and more recently in a Kia commercial, “Ooh, are you ready girls? Ooh, are you ready now? Ooh, yeah! Kickstart my heart, give it a start! Ooh, yeah, baby! Ooh, yeah! Kickstart my heart, hope it never stops! Ooh, yeah, baby!”

During my teen years, those motivational words from Mötley Crüe made me run faster, drive faster, eat faster, build Lego kits faster, and feather my hair.

But today, because I’m old, decrepit, and my iPod’s alarm allows me to snooze it, I need more than Tommy Lee’s drumming, Mick Mars’ guitar licks, Nikki Sixx’s bassing, and Vince Neil’s screaming to kickstart my heart and morning. Well, Mountain Dew might have what I’m looking for with their new Kickstart beverages.

Sure, if you wanted to Dew the Dew while there’s morning dew, you could drink a regular can or bottle of Mountain Dew, but Mountain Dew Kickstart is made for the morning. It’s a sparkling juice beverage that combines the flavor of fruit juice with the caffeine of coffee. Yes, it’s basically a morning soda that can be part of your complete breakfast. But, just like breakfast cereals, consuming them at two o’clock in the afternoon would not be a faux pas.

Mountain Dew Kickstart comes in 16-ounces cans and two flavors — Orange Citrus (makes sense) and Fruit Punch (not so much). If you were to drink a can to start your morning, you’d have downed 80 calories, 20 grams of sugar, 100 percent of your daily vitamin C, 80 percent of your daily niacin, 80 percent of your daily vitamin B6, and 92 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine, all of which is much better than regular Mountain Dew. A 16-ounce serving of Mountain Dew has 230 calories, 62 grams of sugar, 72 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine, and isn’t a significant source of any vitamins and minerals.

Mountain Dew Energizing Fruit Punch Kickstart

We love our fruit punch here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, so a part of me was excited to see it as a Mountain Dew Kickstart flavor. However, at the same time I was a bit confused about the choice. Fruit punch isn’t a breakfast drink and is stereotypically (according to television) something that’s spiked at school dances with alcohol or Spanish Fly. Perhaps a more breakfast-friendly flavor, like apple, would’ve been better.

The aroma from the can was mildly fruity and somewhat reminded me of Hawaiian Punch. The sparkling juice beverage sparkled moderately, making it easier to drink than any other Mountain Dew soda. It started off with nice sweet fruity flavor similar to other fruit punches I’ve had (which is mostly McDonald’s fruit punch) and ended with an aftertaste that’s similar to Diet Mountain Dew. If you decided to test my taste buds for which fruits make up the punch, I would fail. Overall, it’s not a bad beverage, but I feel weird drinking it with breakfast.

However, Mountain Dew Orange Citrus Kickstart tastes more like something appropriate for breakfast.

Mountain Dew Energizing Orange Citrus Kickstart

The orange-flavored sparkling juice beverage doesn’t have an aroma as strong as its red sibling, and whatever smell there is its a generic citrus. Just like Mountain Dew Fruit Punch Kickstart, it had a mild amount of carbonation, so look elsewhere if you want to wake up with fizz tickling your nose.

The orange citrus flavor tasted more like tangerines, which was fine, but what wasn’t fine was how the initial taste, which, like its aroma, wasn’t very strong, quickly went from mild to extremely watered down to an artificial sweetener aftertaste. Its flavor wasn’t a kickstart; instead it was more of a downshift.

To be honest, I’m not sure who’s going to regularly buy Mountain Dew Kickstart. Xtreme Dew fans will probably sneer at the fact that it’s a “sparkling juice beverage”; hardcore energy drink drinkers will scoff at the 92 milligrams of caffeine per 16-ounce serving; nutritionists will ridicule the 5 percent juice both flavors contain; and 12-year-olds will laugh at the acetate isobutyrate they contain because they’ll probably pronounce it as, “ass taint I saw booty rate.”

But what do I know. I feathered my hair in the late 80s.

(Disclosure: I received free samples of Mountain Dew Kickstart from Mountain Dew.)

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – Fruit Punch – 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 100% vitamin C, 80% niacin, 80% vitamin B6, 60% pantothenic acid, and 10% phosphorus. Orange Citrus – 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 100% vitamin C, 80% niacin, 80% vitamin B6, 60% pantothenic acid, and 10% phosphorus.)

Items: Mountain Dew Kickstart (Fruit Punch and Orange Citrus)
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 16 fl. oz. cans
Purchased at: Received from Mountain Dew
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Fruit Punch)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Orange Citrus)
Pros: 92 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine. Good fruit punch flavor. Nice energy boost. Significantly less calories and sugar than regular Mountain Dew. Mild carbonation makes it easy to drink. Awesome source of vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin B6. Mötley Crüe.
Cons: Only 5 percent juice. Weird drinking fruit punch in the morning. Both have an artificial sweetener aftertaste. Orange Citrus’ flavor goes from mild to light. Not sure who will buy this regularly.

REVIEW: Mike Tyson’s Black Energy Drink (Poland)

Mike Tyson's Black Energy 1I guess you could do worse than Mike Tyson as your product spokesperson. Granted there was that whole sex crime conviction and he did rip a guy’s ear off with his teeth and he did threaten to eat a guy’s children. But still. Spokesmen have been known to do worse.

I’m sure we all remember back in late 90s when the Jolly Green Giant rolled his Pontiac Fiero in the desert outside Reno after a four day meth bender. Sure he survived relatively unharmed, but sadly his diminutive life companion Sprout did not. The trial was sad and left the giant a broken man. And the next morning’s New York Times headline didn’t help his state of mind, mocking his beloved Jingle. “Ho, ho, ho! Maaaanslaughter. ”

Then it came to light that the only things Poppin’ Fresh was poppin’ were handfuls of OxyContin.

And I don’t even want to mention when Mr. Peanut’s fetish video surfaced.

Though I’m sure none of us were very surprised when Cap’n Crunch stabbed that guy outside of that Hooters in San Bernardino.

I used to be a Mike Tyson fan. When I was a kid, I loved him. Sure, I’d never seen him in a real life boxing match, nor had I ever heard him speak. But he was about the toughest NES boss I’d ever come across at that point in my life. That’s gotta count for something.

Mike Tyson's Black Energy 2I guess my first real falling out with ol’ Iron Mike came in 1990 when he lost the title to Buster Douglas. Again, I hadn’t seen a second of that fight (like my mom would ever let me get anything on Pay-Per-View). All I knew was that I’d been looking forward to Tyson refereeing a match between the then-heroic Hulk Hogan and the then-alive Macho King Randy Savage on Saturday Night’s Main Event, and now I would have to watch a boxing champion referee who didn’t star in a video game I’d been playing for years! What a disappointment.

Since then, like most of the world, I’ve watched with mild interest (and pity), Tyson’s slow descent from the God of Punching to a guy who just sort of floats around in the pop culture ether, showing up in stuff every once in a while.

And what better stop on that weird downward spiral than a stint as a peddler for this Polish energy drink.

Mike Tyson’s Black Energy.

First off, I like the can design. Simple and straightforward. Mike’s face tattoo is not something you’ll miss on a shelf. And a quick scan of the ingredients list reveals my new favorite drink ingredient: “aroma.”

Popping the top revealed a very Red Bullesque (Red Bullian?) nosegrope. Underwhelming. I was hoping “aroma” was going to be champion sweat.

Mike Tyson's Black Energy 4

The drink itself is the color of my pee when I realize I haven’t had a liquid other than coffee in a few days. I was really hoping it was going to be intensely black. The drink. Not my pee.

Although…

Mike Tyson's Black Energy 3

I don’t know what I was expecting this to taste like. Mike Tyson with part of Evander Holyfield’s ear in his mouth was at the front of my mind. All of those Polish jokes I’ve heard old people tell, in the back of my mind. I was hoping for some intensely foul craziness. But Mike Tyson’s Black Energy just tastes like Red Bull, though maybe not quite as sharp. Disappointing in the grand scheme, but I do like the Red Bull.

If you’re in Poland, I recommend picking up a can, if for no other reason than to have it on a shelf in your cubicle. Because why wouldn’t you?

I also recommend YouTubing the Black Energy commercials.

I also recommend watching that Hulk Hogan match.

I also recommend playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.

That is all.

(Nutrition Facts – 100 mL – 46 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, .1 grams of sodium, 10.8 grams of carbohydrates, 10.8 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Mike Tyson’s Black Energy Drink (Poland)
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 250 mL
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Red Bull. Soda Popinksi. Early 90s WWF. Poland. Champion sweat.
Cons: Pee. Buster Douglas. Face tattoos.

REVIEW LIGHTNING ROUND (ENERGY DRINK EDITION) – 1/24/2013

Here are some quick reviews of new-ish energy drinks we’re too lazy to write full reviews for:

Rockstar Recovery Tea:Lemonade

Item: Rockstar Recovery Tea/Lemonade
Purchased Price: $1.67
Size: 16 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent tasting. Lack of carbonation makes it easy to drink. Contains tea. Only 20 calories and 2 grams of sugar per can. It’s got electrolytes! 240 mg of caffeine per can.
Cons: Not an equal balance of tea and lemonade; it’s significantly more artificial lemonadey. 240 mg of caffeine would, at best, keep Arnold Palmer up for 48 hours, at worst, kill him. When it gets slightly warm the artificial sweeteners stand out more.
Other reviews: Caffeine King, Energy Drink Heaven, Caffeine! The Energy Blog

Rockstar SuperSours Bubbleberry Energy Drink

Item: Rockstar SuperSours Bubbleberry
Purchased Price: $1.67
Size: 16 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Initial bubblegum flavor was somewhat pleasant. If the 120 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving doesn’t wake you up, the unpleasant sourness will.
Cons: Unpleasant sour flavor at the back end ruined this drink for me. SuperSour? More like SuperSoI’mNotGoingToDrinkThisAgain.
Other reviews: Energy Drink Heaven, Caffeine King, Caffeine! The Energy Blog

Monster Zero Ultra Energy Drink

Item: Monster Energy Zero Ultra
Purchased Price: $1.67
Size: 16 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Great mild citrus flavor. My new favorite zero calorie energy drink. Better tasting than Monster Absolute Zero. No sugar. Easy to drink. Pretty textured can.
Cons: It looks like the water in my sink after I wash my face. Very slight artificial sweetener aftertaste that got stronger as the beverage got warmer. Can doesn’t specifically list the amount of caffeine per serving.
Other reviews: ED Junkie, Possessed by Caffeine, Blonde and Thinner

Monster Cuba-Lima

Item: Monster Energy Cuba Lima
Purchased Price: $2.19
Size: 16 ounces
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nice lime flavor with a generic cola flavor in the background. Smooth. Looks like a rum and cola. Doesn’t taste like an energy drink. As good as pitcher Jose Lima was in 1999 with the Houston Astros.
Cons: If you love alcohol, you might be disappointed it’s non-alcoholic even though it’s based on a Cuba Libre (rum, cola, and lime). Don’t know how much caffeine is in each can. Strong lime flavor might be off-putting to some.
Other reviews: Thirsty Dudes, Screaming Energy, Blonde and Thinner

REVIEW: Red Bull Editions (Red, Silver, and Blue)

Red Bull Editions
Call me old fashioned but if I need energy, I’ll drink a cup of hot coffee, snort some cocaine, or maybe do some meth like my grandpappy did in those sepia toned garage years.

The point is I’m not a fan of energy drinks because they’re either loaded with way too much sugar or taste like I’m guzzling Keebler elves piss. I also don’t like Red Bull because I once threw up from imbibing too many Red Bull & Vodkas back when they were chic and before frat boys made it their go-to cocktail. The strange “tang-taste” Red Bull has still makes me dry heave.

When I’m too lazy to make an espresso, I’ll head over to a convenience store and pick up one of those Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso drinks which come in tiny cans that make me feel sophisticated as I hold my tattered copy of Sylvia Plath that I never read. I don’t mind heading over to a convenience store because there’s something soothing about the glass doors and dim lighting of the refrigerated beverage shelves. While being comforted by the beverage shelves during a recent visit to 7-Eleven, I noticed new Red Bull flavors.

Red Bull Red (cranberry), Red Bull Silver (lime), and Red Bull Blue (blueberry) all come in the famous Red Bull skinny can, but with new graphics. I was intrigued. The other energy drink companies are introducing new flavors, why not Red Bull? I later found out they’re being sold exclusively at 7-Eleven until their national rollout March 2013.

The cashier gave me a sullen look as she rang up the buffalo chicken roller and Red Bulls. “It’s for a review!” I protested, but she just rolled her eyes and gave me my change. I don’t need to justify my purchases to her but I think I would give me the same look too. Oh well…

I was a bit cautious when I got home to try my new drinks because I knew if that familiar tangy flavor was prevalent, I was done and couldn’t review it. I pulled the tab. Is there no sound satisfying as the “pfffftttssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss” when you open a can? Not even the crackle of frying bacon or the screaming of a lobster when you dunk it into a hot bubbling pot can compare.

Red Bull Red Edition

Red Bull Red Edition
Red Bull Red tasted of cranberry juice with hints of an almost citrus nature. The infamous gag-reflex aftertaste Red Bull has was still present but pleasantly faint. The cranberry flavor was very forward. It had a great sweet and tart balance, like most good cranberry juices. I certainly enjoyed this one.

It won’t replace my cranberry juice in the morning or when I make a Cape Cod as I wear white cotton pants (similar to what Michael McDonald wears in music videos) sauntering on the hot sand. This was a surprise and very approachable for an energy drink that doesn’t taste like one. Plus, the name sounds like a twist on The Shining’s “REDRUM!!! REDRUM!!!”

Red Bull Silver Edition

Red Bull Silver Edition
This is the Red Bull that will probably garner the least amount of regular consumers. It tasted similar to Coca-Cola’s Italian offering, Beverly. I’m a big fan of the drink and before anyone scoffs, I’ll remind you that I also drink a healthy amount of Campari. Bitterness is a flavor, and an emotion, I savor intensely.

Red Bull Silver Edition immediately tasted like tonic water but then takes a sharp left into bitterness. I also enjoyed the faint lime flavor but wished there was a more pronounced citrus punch. You’d get more of a citrusy zing if you drank a citrus Alka-Seltzer or ate a dirty lemon wedge from the waiter’s stand.

I love bitter drinks but like the action movie Mortal Kombat, the public still isn’t jaded enough to appreciate it. It’s the boldest one of the three and I have to applaud Red Bull for it. I will hoard as many as possible before the execs realize they created a drink only 0.0003 percent of consumers will enjoy.

Red Bull Blue Edition

Red Bull Blue Edition
Blueberries are a strange flavor, like grape, because most blueberry and grape products don’t taste like their respective fruit. To be honest, I like the “candy” blueberry flavor better than actual blueberries, and Red Bull Blue Edition delivers it with a punch to the crotch and fisticuffs to your nagging granny as you lie there watching in pain.

The blueberry flavor is rich and not very sweet which is awesome. Also, like the other two, it’s bereft of that strong unpleasant tang. This one is, by far, my favorite of the three.

Red Bull Editions 2
I doubt anyone eats anything while they drink Red Bull but if you do, don’t (and that includes any food that calls itself “rollers”). The flavors are strong in a good way but like your pushy neighbor, it’s going to try to takeover and ruin everyone’s time. Also, I don’t know if I got an energy boost from them, since I didn’t feel any different. In fact, the only arduous thing I wanted to do was play some Borderlands 2 and eat some saltines.

These new Red Bull Edition offerings have changed my mind about Red Bull and I do hope all three survive, and not get discontinued like Red Bull Cola. Do yourself a favor, hunt for them. They’re well worth trying. Kudos to an energy drink that does not rely on its usual bags of tricks like overly syrupy flavors that cave your head in to let you know, “Hey, I’m a damn BLUEBERRY Potsie! RAAAAHHHHGHHHHAHHH!!!”

(Nutrition Facts – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 27 grams of sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Red Bull Editions (Red, Silver, and Blue)
Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: 8.4 ounces each
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Red)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Silver)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Blue)
Pros: No Red Bull energy excruciating tang taste. The scene when Liu Kang meets his brother’s ghost with the song from Orbital playing…still brings me to tears. Cranberry tasted like cranberry juice. Not so sweet. Blueberry is present and plays nice. Michael McDonald.
Cons: The lime could be stronger. When the person at 7-Eleven dismisses you. These are limited right now. Energy levels are questionable. Mortal Kombat’s movie sequel. Chicken Rollers.