REVIEW: Mountain Dew Kickstart (Limeade and Black Cherry)

Mountain Dew Kickstart (Black Cherry and Limeade)

In an increasingly health conscious market full of zero-calorie sweeteners and unpalatably low-fat Chobani yogurt, PepsiCo decided to throw a proverbial middle finger in the face of personal trainers and inclined-treadmill-users everywhere when they released the first two flavors of Mountain Dew Kickstart back in 2013.

For those of you who don’t know, Mountain Dew Kickstart’s first flavors, Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch, are literally soda for breakfast. Like something out of a cartoon-binge induced dream of a seven-year-old, these two caffeinated flavors promised to give your humdrum morning that “kick” it so desperately needs.

Yet, amid skeptics (myself included), this year Mountain Dew Kickstart was ready to expand its caffeinated scissor-kick not just to our boring and mundane mornings, but to our boring and mundane evenings as well. Now available in (the rather unimaginatively named) Limeade and Black Cherry, the energy that these nighttime themed Mountain Dew Kickstarts provide can help you complete the important junk in your life, like applying for a job or finally getting around to completing that custody paperwork for your daughter. I was intrigued.

Because seeing a Mountain Dew product marketed as a breakfast beverage is not something one easily forgets, I knew exactly the retailer that would be carrying its nighttime themed companions. Looks like I was taking a little field trip to my local Walmart.

Amid familiar blue aisles of ridiculously low-priced goods and boxes of $5 movies containing twelve copies of Shrek the Third and an 80s Val Kilmer action flick, I found both new flavors of Mountain Dew Kickstart displayed humbly, at room temperature, on a rack near the checkout. Much like the Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch varieties, the first thing I noticed is that both the Limeade and Black Cherry flavors look suspiciously similar to their energy drink competition. I could not help but think that the familiarly shaped tall 16-ounce cans, colored pull-tabs, and generic labeling were channeling the style of both Monster and Rockstar.

Yet, what these Mountain Dew Kickstarts lack in originality, they certainly make up for in taste, which is surprising considering the executives over at Mountain Dew HQ decided to go with the uninspiring ubiquitous choice of Limeade and Black Cherry. However, I have nothing against these two flavors and I was excited to see how Mountain Dew (now famous for making a variety of beverages that actually have nothing to do with the original Mountain Dew itself) handled each one.

Mountain Dew Kickstart (Black Cherry and Limeade) Closeup

I have always been skeptical of flavors labeled “limeade”. Deep down I really want to believe, really, it’s just that anything labeled “limeade” usually just tastes suspiciously similar to lemon-lime, or just plain lemon for that matter.  Yet, despite my general feelings towards the marketing maneuver of all things “limeade”, this Mountain Dew Kickstart incarnation is fantastic. If Mountain Dew can do nothing else, it’s create an exemplary citrus drink. The flavor itself tastes (unsurprisingly) similar to the original Mountain Dew, but totally in a good way. Compared to other energy drinks, Mountain Dew Kickstart Limeade is a refreshing deviation from the guarana fueled, syrupy norm. In fact, if you didn’t tell me this was an energy drink, I would be hard pressed to tell it was anything other than just a new flavor of Mountain Dew.

However, as surprisingly good the Limeade flavor was, I enjoyed the Black Cherry variety even more. I have to admit that yes, I am a bit biased. Of my specifically colored fruits, I’d have to say black cherry trumps blue raspberry any day (get at me Jolly Ranchers!). With this in mind, I was happy to find this Mountain Dew Kickstart version did my beloved black cherry justice. But seriously, this was one of the best black cherry flavors I have ever had. It’s sweet and pleasant, but, like its Limeade companion, not overwhelmingly sugary or “chemical”.

Even though both Limeade and Black Cherry Kickstart may not offer the most original first impression, their fantastic flavors are proof that Mountain Dew absolutely knows what it’s doing in the beverage game. Although, I wouldn’t mind if Mountain Dew tried to pave some completely new path in the world of carbonated beverages.

I kinda want Mountain Dew to get freaky.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – Limeade – 80 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein. Black Cherry – 80 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Mountain Dew Kickstart (Limeade and Black Cherry)
Purchased Price: $1.49 each
Size: 16 fl oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Limeade)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Black Cherry)
Pros: Exemplary flavor. Barely tastes like an energy drink. Great flavor execution.
Cons: Lackluster packaging. Kinda boring flavor names. The fact that Walmart employees are incredibly underpaid.

REVIEW: Mountain Dew 2011 Game Fuel Tropical

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Tropical

I’m so ready to get my hardcore gaming on now that I’ve completed my thumb stretching exercises and I have a bottle of the new Mountain Dew Game Fuel Tropical. The 121 milligrams of caffeine in the 20-ounce bottle is enough energy to get me through a few hours of a crazy all-night shooting and carnage marathon.

Mountain Dew brought back their Game Fuel line to help promote the upcoming game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. But since it’s currently October and the game doesn’t come out until November, my shooting and carnage marathon consists of playing Angry Birds: Episode 6: Mine and Dine.

The caffeine surging through my body is making me so amped about doing things to wood, ice, and stone that only karate black belts do to demonstrate their skills. And, I’m ready to do things to pigs that only magicians can do — make them disappear in a puff of smoke.

I’m not sure how long it’s going to take for me to conquer every single level, but I imagine I’m going to need every single milligram of caffeine Mountain Dew Game Fuel Tropical provides because Angry Birds is a total time sink and I could easily end up playing for six hours straight and not even notice the sun went down and I skipped two meals.

But who needs meals when I have Mountain Dew Game Fuel Tropical to sustain me. The 290 calories in each 20-ounce bottle is roughly the same amount I can get with a Lean Cuisine meal, so it’s like a meal in a bottle. Sure, it’s what all nutritionists call “empty calories,” but if they’re so empty, why do they make me fat?

The soda’s green color is slightly darker than regular Mountain Dew and its color also makes it look like I can use it to clean my toilet, floors, and countertops, which I wouldn’t recommend, unless you love ants or are curious about what it feels like to be standing in a roach motel, if you use it as a floor cleaner.

The bottle says it has a “charge of tropical flavor,” which, before I drank it, hoped it didn’t mean lime, because that would be super silly since they currently have a lime-flavored Dew with their Taco Bell-exclusive Baja Blast and had a limited edition lime-flavored Dew called Distortion. Well, it turned out to be lime, but not as strong as the other two flavors I mentioned. Its lime flavor was so light that at times, while drinking it, I thought it kind of tasted like regular Mountain Dew. So it’s really not a “charge of tropical flavor,” it’s more like a light petting of tropical flavor.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Tropical isn’t horrible, but it tastes as if not a lot of effort was put into it. If Mountain Dew put in the same amount of effort I put into completing every Angry Birds level, perhaps they would’ve come up with something better than Mountain Dew Game Fuel Tropical.

(Nutrition Facts – 20 ounces – 290 calories, 0 grams of fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 77 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Mountain Dew 2011 Game Fuel Tropical
Price: $1.50
Size: 20 ounces
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Not horrible. 121 milligrams of caffeine per 20-ounce bottle. Code under the bottle cap can be used to to double XP while playing Call of Duty: MW3. My mad Angry Birds skills.
Cons: Despite its color it’s not good for cleaning floors. Tastes like not a lot of effort was put into the flavor since it tastes similar to others. Doesn’t taste like it contains “a charge of tropical flavor.” Sore thumbs from mashing buttons for hours.