Dan Century vs. Beverage Technology

By Dan Century

Chain Border

Lucky for you I'll try almost any beverage once(1). It's bad enough I have a wired personality - now I have these drinks to make me even more fidgety, socially awkward and vocally annoying. And you have these reviews to determine which one of these "x-treme" beverages you should imbibe to be just as obnoxious and jittery as me. Read on, dude…

Red BullRed Bull Energy Drink
It's bad enough that the average teen is already jacked up on Stacker II, Mountain Dew Code Red and prescription Ritalin - do they really need this too? For those who don't read labels, Red Bull contains 8.3 ounces of Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Caffeine and B Vitamins - in other words, enough chemicals to send an Indian elephant trampling through a petting zoo full of shocked suburbanites. Not to be confused with clubbers who enjoy Red Bull mixed with Vodka or Champagne. The average chick with a pierced belly button and remedial text-messaging proficiency is no stranger to this brew.

Personally, I like the stuff. It has a tangy, crisp taste reminiscent of B-12 vitamins or Sweet-Tarts and it lacks the amount sugar 20oz sodas contain so you won't get the sugar crash along with the caffeine buzz. The one thing that troubles me about the product is the location where it is made: Austria. Why Austria? Can't they make this swill in Newark New Jersey and cut a few cents off the steep price ($1.69 to $10.00 per serving depending on location and what it's mixed with). What is Austria anyway? Germany "Lite?" Sweden "Heavy?"

http://www.redbull.com/

Pepsi BluePepsi Blue: Berry Cola Fusion
After trying Mountain Dew Code Red and Vanilla Coke, I had to try Pepsi Blue. Was I hoping for a beverage trifecta of great tastes, a hat-trick of liquid refreshment? No, I'm a masochist. After taking one sip of Pepsi Blue my immediate reaction was to drop the bottle on my desk and exclaim: "What the fuck!" I was shocked - Pepsi Blue is the freakiest tasting substance since my last fluoride treatment at the dentist. Those dentists and oral hygienists - they tell you it's berry flavor (as in a fruit), but it's not - it's the horrible taste of unpronounceable chemicals. The Pepsi Blue Web site reads: "Prepare yourself for the tricked-up taste of Pepsi Blue". I can think of a phrase that rhymes with "tricked-up" that is a more appropriate description of the Pepsi Blue taste experience - here's a hint: it starts with "f."

My question is: just what kind of berry should make me think I've just ingested something so freaky and unearthly that I immediately started typing out my Last Will and Testament? It's no berry I've ever encountered before and it's certainly not a blueberry. I know what a blueberry tastes like and it's sho 'nuff not Pepsi Blue. You know what I think? Pepsi Blue is "blue" flavored - there's no berry or cola involved. Some scientist, possibly an evil German scientist living in exile in Argentina, figured out the flavor of the color blue, Pepsi put that flavor in a bottle and sold it to me.

I can think of another "blue" liquid known for it's "blue" color and unique taste: Prussic Acid, a.k.a. Cyanide. Foolishly, I finished the entire bottle of sticky, sweet, electric-blue liquid. I wouldn't tell you not to drink it, especially if you're fond of trips to the dentist, but I don't think I'll every drink it again. What's the best thing about Pepsi Blue? The all too appropriate heavy metal styled Pepsi Blue logo.

http://www.pepsiblue.com/

Vanilla CokeVanilla Coke
Apparently, after some discussion with some old people, Vanilla Coke is nothing new. Back in the day - make that way back in the day - when Coca Cola contained actual cocaine and it came out of things called "fountains," dudes named "soda jerks" (yep, that's right Bevis, "jerks") would combine all kinds of flavors with Coke - sometimes cherry and definitely Vanilla. "Old wine, new bottles", sure, but it's more like old, brown tooth-rotting chemicals, new 20oz plastic bottles.

The glutton for punishment I am, I purchased the new Vanilla Coke, drank it and came to this conclusion: it tastes like watered-down cream soda. Yes, that's right, cream soda - that crap with the unfortunate name that makes eighth-graders giggle, costs 23 cents a can, and seems to only exist at family picnics where you have to dig though a garbage barrel full of ice to get one and you know that only 7 hours ago that barrel was filled with garbage. But now it's filled with 23 cent cans of grape, orange, ginger-ale and cream soda.

What's my point? Vanilla Coke is nothing new. If you enjoy cream soda and need that brand name to go with it, Vanilla Coke is for you.

http://www.vanillacoke.com/

Code RedMountain Dew Code Red
Mountain Dew Code Red has been around for a while now - long enough to have an actual computer virus named after it - but, I'm going to review it, as it's the first in this new wave of unnaturally favored and colored caffeine drinks.

Code Red is the most sickeningly sweet and syrupy beverage I have ever tasted - unless you consider maple syrup to be a beverage. So sweet, that I could actually hear the bacteria building tiny plaque cities on my teeth and tongue. Yes folks, soda doesn't get any grosser than Code Red. And how about that flavor: Code Red. Remember when soda flavors were at least named after actual naturally occurring plant parts, like grape, or orange, or cola, or coke, or ginger? What kind of plants do Code Reds grow on? Plants from Hell? Plants from Mars? Should I be comforted by the fact that soda corporations are no longer lying about the flavors of their sodas and they've started to name their products honestly? No, I'm scared shitless. What's next in this corporate trend of honesty: is Kraft going to start marketing "Yellow Squares" instead of "American Cheese?"

Drink Mountain Dew Code Red at your own risk while wearing a helmet and strapped to the snowboard of your choice, dude. Original Mountain Dew was fine: it's crisp and refreshing and best of all caffeinated - the world didn't need a new flavor.

http://www.codered.com

Water JoeWater Joe Caffienated Water
Need caffeine, but you don't want the "coffee breath" or the artificial flavors, colors and sugar than normally accompanies it? Give "Water Joe" a try. What's more wholesome that pure spring water infused with caffeine? Better yet, make your morning coffee with Water Joe, and while you're at it, strap a NASA booster rocket to your Audi and drive 1256 miles per hour straight trough your neighbor's living room. Water Joe: I love the stuff, but I wish it didn't taste like a bunch of crushed No-Doze pills mixed with tap water.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/caffeine/3823.shtml

Dunkin DonutsA Caffeine Classic: The Large Iced Coffee at Dunkin Donuts
The 1990's brought us a plethora of new coffee experiences: new flavors, new configurations, new prices (try to buy a coffee at Starbucks without having to take out a second mortgage at DiTech.com) and new temperatures. Coffee purists like comedian Dennis Leary(2) abhor new coffee experiences like iced coffee, but I like mine chilled with some cream and two packs of Sweet 'N Low (which does not cause cancer by the way(3)). Dunkin Donuts makes the world's best coffee, served hot or cold. This summer, and for summers to come, get yours iced.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com

(1) List of beverages I will not try, so don't ask: Anti-freeze, Liquid Plumber, mercury (I have enough in my fillings, thanks) and any fluid originating from a male human's body.
(2) Check out Denis Leary's album Lock 'N Load for the funniest coffee rant ever.
(3) "On December 15, Congress passed legislation to remove the warning label that had been required on saccharin-sweetened foods and beverages since 1977. The "Sweetest Act," the Saccharin Warning Elimination via Environmental Testing Employing Science and Technology Act, introduced by Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) was signed into law by President Clinton on December 21 as part of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4577)." - Source: (http://www.sweetnlow.com/faq/index.html)

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