Have you tried those new energy drinks yet? You know the ones - little tiny cans stacked near the soda pop section in every grocery store in the country. I think it's great that all Americans are accepting strange and untested drugs added to normal sugar water. It's the health food of the new millennium! After all, they've found new pills to cure baldness, shyness, and depression. Why not add them to everything? White bread with added ginseng? Coffee with St. John's Wort? Well, I've ventured into this new land of alternative colas, and here are my results:

Blue Ox: Original *****
Odwalla RSR Simple Sports Drink: Berry *****
Source Burn Energy Drink *****
Piranha Pucker-Up Apple *****

Blue Ox: Orange Rush ****½
Vamp N.R.G. ****½
XTC ****½
Rockstar Energy Drink ****½
Hansen's Energy Pro ****½

Blue Ox: Citrus Max ****
Red Devil: Original Flavor ****
Karma ****
Omega Energy ****
Bomba Gold Energy ****
Piranha Wild Watermelon Kiwi *****
Mad Bull ****
Atomic X ****
Pimpjuice ****

Bomba Blue Energy ***½
Amp Energy Drink ***½
Piranha Energy Drink: Phunky Fruit Punch ***½
KMX Energy Drink ***½
Niagara ***½
Boo-Koo Energy ***½

Adrenaline ***
Piranha Energy Drink: Outrageous Orange Pineapple ***
Venom ***
Sobe: No Fear ***
Hype Energy Classic ***
Pure Power Energy Drink ***
Odwalla RSR Simple Sports Drink: Citrus ***
Go Fast ***

Piranha Energy Drink: Bone Crushing Citrus **½
Extreme Energy Shot **½
...Lost Energy Drink **½
Element Energy: Venom **½
Pure Power Shotz **½

Blue Ox: Black Cherry **
One-Eighty Energy Drink **
Orange County Choppers High Octane Fuel **
Guru **
Bawls Guarana **
Boo-Koo Energy Sugar Free **
Source Burn Energy Drink **
Jones Energy **

Pure Energy... Go Fast! Sports
Hansen's Power: Grape
Hansen's Energy: Tropical
Monster Energy
Diet Rockstar Energy Drink
Wired X 3000

Spaz Juice *
Hansen's Power: Guarana Berry *
Bull Fighter *
Invigor8 Energy Boost *
Mad-Croc Energy Drink *
Mad-Croc Energy Drink (Sugar Free) *
Emerge *

Invigor8 Nutrition Boost ½
Hansen's Diet Red ½
Hansen's Energy: Original Formula ½

Ol' Glory none
Red Bull none

Hansen's Power: Grape
contains: creatine, glutamine, "siberian" ginseng
Ooh, you've gotta be careful with grape. In fact, all the fruit flavors are tricky. If you do it wrong, they can taste like those "fruit flavored" candies that taste more like colors that fruits: blue, red, yellow, green. Starburst is like that. This drink doesn't even have the intelligence to color the drink a true purple like any self respecting grape drink should be. Instead, it's a yellowish-orange, like old gasoline. The flavor is kind of a watery sugary grape, but then again, any bad wine can have the same taste. It's a little too bubbly also... I couldn't imagine slamming this after a workout. Bonus points off, too, because the can isn't bilingual in French. I love to drink a soda that has "raisin flavour". *½ (out of 5)

Piranha Energy Drink: Bone Crushing Citrus
contains: taurine, lots of caffeine (see below)
"Bone crushing"? Do products for body builder have to sound dumb to appeal to their audience, or to the products make them stupid? Boy, EAS makes me embarrassed that I like to lift weights. You all know EAS, the bodybuilder-doping Colorado company who shills out the Broncos. I bet this drink won't be around this time next year, which could probably also be said for all the other entries in this list. It's an unfortunate shade of yellow-green, which looks like urine after all the expensive minerals and vitamins get flushed out of your system unused and unabsorbed. Great message on the side of the can, "Warning one serving contains about as much caffeine as one cup of coffee." That's nice to know. it might explain why I felt jittery for the rest of the day. I also had the taste in the back of my throat... a aspirin-like acidity that felt like I had just drunk battery acid. I don't know, maybe I had, but it was pretty good, and I got things done that afternoon. **½ (out of 5)

Blue Ox: Citrus Max
contains: ginseng, taurine, magnesium, calcium
Wow! You mean I can buy half as much Mountain Dew for twice the price? Thanks! Plus, this drink has a slight aftertaste or bite, as if the radioactive green color is going to eat through your stomach wall. On the other hand, it's been the most drinkable energy drink so far, not that there's been a lot of competition. It only gets four stars, because I'm not really sure there's any such thing as a "five star energy drink" as long as the portions are so small and they add strange stuff as ingredients. Plus, why can't the flavor be plain "citrus" instead of "citrus max". Does that mean the company also makes a "citrus min"? However, I fear that this is as good as it's gonna get. **** (out of 5)

contains: taurine, d-ribose (deoxyribose?), l-carnitine
Spree? No, Sweetarts? Hmmm, this candy tastes like something familiar, but it's not vaguely anything like the orange color it looks like. This one's by Sobe, jumping on yet another bandwagon; trying to stretch its already-thin product line. This drink reminds me how much I like Minutemaid Orange soda so much much better. And compared to the large thick glass Sobe bottles, the amount of liquid you get is really skimpy. I'd rather buy a bottle of Sobe tea, but this drink kind of tarnishes that product line in a strange way. *** (out of 5)

contains: taurine, maté, and "energy vitamins"
I'm a sucker for things like the "Electric Lemonade" that you can buy at Bennigan's/Chili's/Applebee's et al. It's usually just instant lemonade with cheap vodka for about $6 a glass, but I still love it. Set me up with a six pack of Lynchburg Lemonade, and I'll be good friends with Jack Daniels until the cows come home. This energy drink is the equivalent of that $6 cocktail. It's not really thirst-quenching. In fact, it made me more thirsty after finishing it. The side of the can says, "with instant bite". That's sooo much better that those bites that take a while to kick in, isn't it? That "bite" is actually a Fresca-like tang, and the color is a hot urine yellow. Maybe after you drink Venom, somebody has to stick a knife into your ass and suck the poison out. I dunno. *** (out of 5)

Hansen's Energy: Original Formula
contains: taurine, ginseng, ginkgo
Note that this is called the "original formula". Original? This stuff has only been out for a year. They might as well just call it, "the first thing we came up with". And it's a good thing that they kept trying out new flavors, because this stuff sucks. It's a milky yellow, and it tastes just like aspirin. Plus, I hate it when somebody calls their soda pop a "formula". It's like they are mad scientists playing with a chemistry set. Adding the strange ingredients doesn't help either. Maybe they are hoping that future "formulae" will grow hair or cure cancer or something. ½ (out of 5)

Blue Ox: Orange Rush
contains: vitamins, taurine, magnesium, calcium, caffeine
Is this the same stuff as the "Citrus Max"? Now I'm going to have to buy a second drink of that one and do a side-by-side taste test. This one is more orange in color, though I think the flavor is exactly the same. However, that's not a bad thing, since I like the other one, too. In fact, I think I can just stick to Blue Ox for all my energy drink needs. It's like that nice Minutemaid Orange soda I like, and though it's bubbly, it goes down easily. In fact, I drank this one with dinner, and didn't notice anything weird, except (as is the problem with all of these beverages) a skimpy amount of liquid for a high price. ****½ (out of 5)

Hansen's Stamina: Guarana Berry
contains: co-q, l-carnitine, bee pollen
And it's three for three! All of Hansen's power drinks really really suck. This one has "co-q" in it. Ok, ok, ok, at this point I think they're just making stuff up. If it's not a recognized chemical, vitamin, or mineral, you can't just put random letters on the label: "now with P2-Xt'RV^iT4@mn!". This is another one with no discernable taste at all. it's more like a ground-up pill. This is what you get if you let Skittles dissolve in milk. No that's not fair.... anything would taste better than this. PCBs, old bile, cancerous tumors in a blender. Anything. * (out of 5)

Blue Ox: Original
contains: ginseng, guarana, taurine
What the heck, I'll give this one five stars out of five, just because it is such a blatant rip-off of "Red Bull", which came earlier. Get it? "Blue Ox"? I'm surprised they haven't been sued yet. But what's great about this drink is that, in contrast to Red Bull, this one's actually drinkable. It tastes like nothing else under the sun, except maybe liquid bubble gum, or maybe "Champagne Brus", a Swedish soda pop that was popular briefly when I was a kid. Plus, it's a wonderful blue hue, and blue is my favorite color. ***** (out of 5)

Blue Ox: Black Cherry
contains: calcium, choline, vitamins, taurine
This one's a bit of a misstep for Blue Ox. It's not very tasty... it tastes like a cross between cough syrup and that cheap black cherry soda you can buy in the "generic" section of grocery stores. There must be reason why Coca-Cola and Pepsi haven't come out with a thick black cherry flavor; it's an acquired taste, and I don't think it works very well for an energy drink. Too sweet. On the other hand, maybe kids will get hooked on this. you see, if you can get kids hooked on two-dollars-a-can soft drink early on in their pre-teens, you'll have an "energy drinker" for life. It's like a sugary version of crack, but not as addictive. Blue Ox gets points for attempting a flavor that no other energy drink has tried, but that's about it. ** (out of 5)

Red Bull
contains: taurine
This is the one that started it all. Which is strange, because it's also the worst. When you drink this, you know you're sucking down chemical byproducts. It's a sickly yellow color, like the result of a chemistry experiment gone wrong. And the taste? It's way too fizzy for a start... at first that's the only thing you can taste. Your tongue send warning signals to your brain, letting it know that you've just swallowed poison: Drano or some sort of toilet bowl cleaner. Lately, the "hip" bars around town have been using this to mix drinks. I guess adding alcohol to kill the flavor isn't a bad idea. but as my friend Brody notices, "alcohol is a depressant, and Red Bull is filled with stimulants"... it's a really stupid idea. none (out of 5)

Piranha Energy Drink: Phunky Fruit Punch
contains: taurine and caffeine
Another one by EAS. I guess I didn't read the label carefully and I didn't realize this one was "phunky fruit punch". What an awful name. Maybe it's a good thing that the name of this particular flavor is in a dull small-type font that's hard to read. In any case, I was pretty shocked when the liquid that came out was blood red. Cute... if they were really trying to go with the "Piranha" theme, but I have a feeling that it's coincidental. As far as taste, well it's almost as good as "Tahitian Treat", or a carbonated "Hawaiian Punch". Unfortunately, there's that nasty chemical tang that most of these drinks have. It's like they want to remind you that there's special energy-enhancing chemicals in there, too. ***½ (out of 5)

Amp Energy Drink
contains: maltodextrin, ginseng, taurine, guarana
...oh yeah, and this one has MDX5. In fact, the side of the can says that "only amp has MDX5". But of course, because MDX5 is a silly made-up name that's intended to sound scientific. This is Pepsi's big foray into the crowded energy drink market. There's a big logo for Mountain Dew on the front, but I don't think that's a good idea because it reminds me too much that I'd rather have a can of that than drink this swill. The color is a bit lighter, as if someone splashed milk (or something more nasty) into your Dew. However, the flavor is something else entirely, like disolved "Lemon Drops" - those sour-sweet yellow candies that nobody really likes. And I can say the same for this drink: it won't be around this time next year, because Pepsi has a habit of investing a lot of money into bad ideas, and then eventually dropping products that don't sell (like Crystal Pepsi). ***½ (out of 5)

KMX Energy Drink
contains: ginseng, guarana
I'm all for creativity and innovation, but I really have to insist on standard naming conventions here. Orange things should taste orange, and grape-colored things should taste grape. So, where does that leave this dirty orange-red beverage? It's the color of old sludge, or maybe something found in the radiator of a car that's been abandonded for a few years. It's not pretty. Luckily, it tastes better than it looks: like sweet cotton candy with only a slight metallic tang of medicine. This one has bite, but not in a good "Extreme Sports" kind of way. It's put out by the "Delaware Punch Company" and I hope to god that this is not their only product, or their stock won't be worth the dot-com it's printed on in twelve months. ***½ (out of 5)

Red Devil: Original Flavor
contains: the ingredients are hidden... coincidence?
I feel a little bad that I'm helping the cause of Satan by buying this drink. However, it's pretty good, and I always thought unmitigated self-interest balances out evil. This drink is a shocking brown-orange color, with noxious foam that looks like it was fermented in the bowels of hell itself. However, the taste is pure candy-sweet, as is most sin. I loved the comments on the can: "Do not use in large amounts" and "Highly vitalizing". It sounds like I've just sold my soul in exchange for 8.4 fluid ounces of brimstone. **** (out of 5)

Bull Fighter
contains: not listed - caffeine, I guess
These guys are gonna get sued by Red Bull really soon, if they haven't already. The design of the can is exactly like its more-popular brother, down to the color scheme and the logo of a red bull (get it?) The clue to this strange beverage is written on the can as "imported from Holland". Plus the slogan on the side "ride the bull" this makes me think there's something a little... funny inside this drink. Dissolved hard drugs could only improve the taste of this swill. It's unfortunately they also decided to copy Red Bull's nasty acidic taste. The color is a little more yellow and the flavor a little more lemony. Lemony Snicket is more like it. This stuff is downright rank. * (out of 5)

One-Eighty Energy Drink
contains: guarana
If you are wondering what "guarana" tastes like, this is the energy drink for you. While the can says "Orange Citrus Blast", it's really just sugary water with a weird sour taste in it. It's my opinion that the sour taste is guarana. It can't be anything remotely orange. The color isn't even orange. If you are making a citrus drink, wouldn't you try to color it something other than a pale brownish pink? The can is kind of annoying, too. On one side, the logo is printed one hundred and eighty degrees upside down from the other side. Get it? Get it? GET IT? Hey folks, this is what passes for innovation in this crowded market. ** (out of 5)

Extreme Energy Shot
contains: taurine, ginseng, guarana, d-ribose
What the hell is the name of this drink? "Rx"? "Bottle Rocket" (also written in large letters on the side of the can)? Or the title I chose above? The can is a designer's bad dream, bright silver like a can of coors light, and covered with all sorts of slogans. There's even the signature of "James W. Lippencott" and the warning "not genuine unless signed". Oh yeah, as if I was worried about buying some bootleg energy swill. This drink is pretty good... falling into the Minutemaid Orange category with a lot of other drinks on the this. The problem is, this one tastes like it is watered down, like someone's trying to extend the batch by adulterating it. It's being put out by Arizone Teas in a last-ditch chance to jump on this bandwagon. However, even though the bandwagon isn't moving very fast, I don't think there's any way for them to run and catch it. Sorry. **½ (out of 5)

Hansens Energy: Tropical
contains: the usual crap... taurine, ginseng, and "l-glutamine"
Ok, what is the difference between "Hansen's Energy" and "Hansen's Power"? Do the "power" drink contain steroids? To make things more confusing, I just realized that the full name of this "beverage" is Hansen's energy Power Formula. Kind of like Power Bars or Power Rangers, I assume. So, I'm sticking by the name that's in bold face for all of these Hansen's drinks, and if I find out there's a different taxonomy I should be using, well, I really don't care enough to change my standard. This drink is in a purple can, but surprise! It's a lukewarm green-yellow, with frightening touches of brown, like an amaretto sour. As for any kind of "tropical" taste, forget about it. Nothing that hints of bananas, pineapple, or even coconut. I just get the taste of sweettarts and battery acid. Maybe their idea of tropical is a steamy, filth-ridden third-world country, because that's what this drink tastes like. *½ (out of 5)

contains: unknown (not listed)
I guess it's ok if the makers of these energy drink want their product to taste like aspirin. Maybe it lets the consumer think that the drink is beneficial to them, or that it will make all of their problems go away. But why would they want it to taste like baby aspirin? After a lot of thought, I've decided that this drink tastes just like orange-flavored cough syrup, like the kind they give to kids. One of the problems is that the color is a yellow, like dark urine or flat beer. But the taste ruins everything, and even ruins my childhood memories of getting to stay at home when I was sick, missing school, and watching daytime tv. * (out of 5)

contains: guarana and ginseng
In a desperate attempt to be "extreme", the side of this can says, "A Carbonated Slap in the Face". Or, since this drink is only manufactured and sold in less-competitive markets, the slogan could be, "A Canadian Carbonated Slap in the Face". And what does a Canadian slap taste like? (Or I should say, "Un Révéil Carbonaté")? Bland and lifeless, much like the country it comes from. There's so little taste here (again, like Canada), this could be slightly-yellowing mineral water. What is strange is that this is actually an advantage compared to some of the acrid swill here. I commend "Wet Planet Beverages" for being blatent and naming their drink after an illegal drug. Would Coca-Cola have the balls to brew something called "MDMA with ginkgo bilboa"? Plus, I'm charmed by the warning on the side for the naïf, "Please note XTC's effect if consumed in the evening". What effect? Dancing to annoying rave music? ****½ (out of 5)

contains: not listed, 'cause they don't have to list anything in Canada, dammit
This one is another copy of Red Bull. I can see why they'd want to copy the industry leader, but that stuff really tastes terrible. Karma keeps the dark amber color that looks like flat beer. However, it just tastes better - they used ground-up Spree as a model instead of Sweettarts. I like the enforced mandatory bilingual messages on the can. It's not an energy drink, it's une "boisson energie". And, of course, remember to "servir froid", or Freud, if he shows up. **** (out of 5)

contains: "siberian" ginseng extract, echinacea, ginkgo bilboa
They threw everything into this drink: lemon, herbs, vitamins. As a result, this thing tastes like a wrung-out bar towel. The color is the same... a dark caramel color like a drunk's liguidy vomit. Even though this drink tastes flat, there's always a scummy-looking head on it, like partially-melted cheap ice cream. I wonder what would happen if you replaced a baby's apple juice with a bottle of Guru. ** (out of 5)

Odwalla RSR Simple Sports Drink: Berry
contains: Water, honey, fruit, and sea salt... "Nothing fake here."
Why choose only one name for your sports drink when you can have five? Is it Odwalla? Or "RSR" (now there's a catchy name... for a FAX MACHINE)? Or maybe the "Simple Sports Drink"? I find it ironic that after trying all the new energy drinks out there, the one I really like best has nothing in it. No creatine or ginseng or ginkgo bilboa. This thing is really just regular Odwalla juice. However, it's one of the best things out there, and you get a bigger portion than a little can. Maybe after a workout now, I'll just reach for some water. ***** (out of 5)

Odwalla RSR Simple Sports Drink: Citrus
contains: Again, it just contains water, honey, fruit, and sea salt
I have a bad feeling that Odwalla just takes all the juice leftover at the end of the day, dumps it into one big vat, and call it a "sports drinks". Hell, those muscleheads will pay for anything. Kind of like a "bar shot" at a biker joint. I usually like citrus drinks, but this one tastes acrid, as if they put in both the grapefruit rind and the poisonous seeds, too. I don't wanna even THINK about what else could be in here. I just hope they pasturized the apple juice this time. I'd rather not DIE like that young girl from Denver. Their citrus flavor is so much worse than the berry flavor above. In fact, it reminds me why I type a web page like this anyway... now I can remember not to buy the citrus Odwalla. *** (out of 5)

contains: damiana, schizandra, mate, guarana, caffeine, ginseng
Should I be drinking this stuff? After all, it reportedly makes women horny. Then again, I'm a gay guy, so maybe it's allowed. This is the drink that got all of them women on "The View" excited one afternoon. And trust me, you don't want to see Barbara Wlaters with a hard-on. The stuff is in a pretty blue bottle, but the surprise was that the drink is blue, too. Like T-D-Bowl. The taste is underwhelming, but in this field, that just makes it distinctive. it tastes like what water might taste like in an alternate universe. Yeah, it's very watery, but with a strong flavor of herbs, like a waterlogged spice rack. My boyfriend thinks it looks and tastes like the blue stuff on top of a sno-cone. I won't kiss and tell, but it worked pretty well on the boyfriend about two hours later. I just hope he doesn't grow breasts from the stuff. ***½ (out of 5)

Vamp N.R.G.
contains: "taurine, ginseng, key B-vitamins and the maximum caffeine ALLOWED BY LAW" (emphasis theirs)
Ooh, spooky, boys and girls. This is the first (and hopefully only) energy drink marketed towards goth culture. I bought my can at "Hot Topic" which is kind of a black-clothing store for kids who hate commercialism but love the mall. Surprisingly, it's a really good drink. It's a blood-red color, and the taste is like a fizzy cherry, unlike all the other drinks here that try to taste fruity and fail miserably. Plus, I love the fun touches on the can... it's a "Supernatural Energy Drink" imported by Roubidoux beverage company through Transylvanian imports. The drink warns that it is "not suitable for children or mortals sensitive to caffeine". I hope they they are in on the joke, otherwise I'm laughing *at* them and not *with* them. A good slogan, too: "for when the sun goes down". Normally, I don't really like goth culture. The music sucks (Cleopatra Records really REALLY sucks), and the clothing looks like ren-fair rejects that we were wearing in the eighties to look cool. However, this is better-than-average drink here, Azreal. ****½ (out of 5)

Bomba Gold Energy
contains: taurine, caffeine, and "Sparkling Spring Water"
How thoughtful in this post-Columbine age to make an energy drink in the shape of a grenade. I'm sure kids will get a kick of out if it. Unfortunately, the weapon-shaped bottle only holds 250 ml (8.4 fluid ounces) of liquid, which feels skimpy when I can go get a Super Giant Big Gulp for under a buck at 7-11 (side note: should they change their name to "9-11"? There's a lot of Middle Eastern men working there...) The taste is really good, enough to merit four stars here - slightly lemony, and not at all acidic or chemical-tasting. However, my brother noted that there's no actual ingredients in this drink. The label lists sugar, water, caramel color, sodium citrate, and artificial flavor. No animals were hurt during the making of this energy drink, but then again, nothing remotely in the plant or animal kingdoms was even *used* here. **** (out of 5)

Bomba Blue Energy
contains: taurine, caffeine, and "Sparkling Spring Water"
How sad... the blue doesn't stand up to the gold very well. I think I'm giving this three-and-a-half stars just to keep it with its brother. I love the color blue, and at first I had a bad feeling that they just added green food coloring to the yellow drink to change its color. But there's a few more ingredients than the gold drink: an uncredited performance by guarana, and ascorbic acid as an antioxident. Maybe this is another case where more doesn't mean better. The flavor that remains reminds me of something like cheap Wyler's lemonade, or maybe ground-up flowers. It tastes like a rainy day, and it's quite puzzling to me. However, that doesn't necessarily mean I would drink this over the far superior gold. No, not me. ***½ (out of 5)

Go Fast
contains: "Australian Honey" (?), "Siberian Ginseng" (??), taurine (made in a laboratory in the USA, I'm guessing), various vitamins, ginkgo bilboa, guarana extract, and milk thistle herb (whew!) caffeine,
It's getting harder and harder to find new energy drinks that I haven't tried yet. I was excited about this one, because of the name. My Dad likes painting his Porsches red, but he insists that black is the "go fast color". So, this is the go fast drink. They get points for originality - this drink thasts like wine. I think it's the honey (all the way from *Australia*! are you impressed?) but there's an odd sweetness here that's unlike anything else on this list. However, that doesn't mean it's very good. I hate the overwhelming fizziness. Worse, I hate the strong bitter yellow color. Why couldn't they have followed my Dad's advice and painted it black? *** (out of 5)

Source Burn Energy Drink
contains: caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, "B6 + B12", "A + C + E"
I didn't review this one right away, so I'm going on memory. It was good. Oh, heck, I'll give it five stars. It's not like I'll ever get a chance to drink this again. I only saw it in stores once, and with the recent bust of these energy drinks, I don't think it will take over the world. I remember it had a great yellow color and a fantastic grapefruity taste. So, here it goes as one of the top drinks on the page - alas I hardly knew ye. ***** (out of 5)

Monster Energy
contains: l-carnatine, taurine, ginseng, and b vitamins
Urgh. Another Hansen's mistake. It's close to Halloween as I'm writing this, but it won't get me in the mood. It's pretty bitter, like those odd version of "sarsaparilla" root beer (or ginger beer) that I used to try as a kid, thinking they would be half as good as Barq's. They weren't. This is fizzy nonsense, a disgusting mix of sour root flavors and way too many bubbles. Even after sitting open in a refrigerator for a weekend, it was still hard to drink after a workout. I liked the can, though, with it's bright green "m" ripped logo. Plus, I got 16 fluid ounces of beverage, unlike those other teeny expensive cans. With the faltering post-tech economy, maybe people are trying to get value for their energy-drink dollar. However, I doubt it, and I doubt anyone would want even a sip of this foul brew. Monsters, feh. *½ (out of 5)

Rockstar Energy Drink
contains: milk thistle (see below)
Sing along with me the Smashmouth hit, "Hey now, you're a rock star, get your game on, go play!" If they had an advertising budget for this drink, that's the song they would use. But personally, being a rock star doesn't remind me of a health drink. Instead, I think of heroin addictions, cheap hookers, and choking on vomit. And that's kind of what this drink tastes like. Bright saffron yellow and extremely sweet. I shouldn't be so negative, I give "props" (isn't that the rock star term?) to the generous 16 ounces and the fact it has a taste unlike anything else. Plus, I'm intrigues by the addition of "milk thistle", something I hadn't seen yet. And just when I thought I'd seen it all in the world of energy drinks. It turns out that milk thistle, or "silymarin" (which sounds like a Lord of the Rings character name to me) might just protect your healthy liver cells and regenerate dead ones. And a new liver is just about what every rock star needs. ****½ (out of 5)

Mad Bull
contains: "Taurine & 5 Vitamins"
Wow! Just when I thought the energy drink craze was over and I'd never see a new brand, I found this one in the back of a sticky soda cooler at a cheap gas station. Is there a surplus company that distributes unknown brands? In any case, this isn't bad. It even brings to mind a fun Japanese anime that I like called "Mad Bull". However, I *really* think this is the last new drink I'll ever see, unless I find one in a run-down truck stop on a road trip. You never know... those truckers love their amphetamines. **** (out of 5)

Pure Energy... Go Fast! Sports
contains: Australian Honey (I guess the domestic stuff isn't GOOD enough for them), Siberian ginseng (ibid), Taurine, Vitamins B6 & B12, ginkgo biloba, guarana extract, and milk thistle herb... whew!
So many ingredients to so little effect. I guess if I blended everything in my garden together, I'd get an undrinkable swill, too. Just the average bitter yellow juice. Plus, I don't know if I got the punctuation right. Is it "Pure Energy... Go Fast! Sports" or "Pure Energy... Go Fast Sports!" or "Pure Energy Go Fast... Sports"? It reminds me of the Engrish on a "Pocari Sweat" bottle. *½ (out of 5)

Hansen's Energy Pro
contains: taurine, ginseng, and ginkgo
Oh, I'd given up on Hansen's after trying all the many many many many other bottles of rank pus that they sell. In fact, I'm not sure why I decided to try this one. The can looks the same as all the others, so many it was an impulse buy or wishful thinking. In any case, I was shocked. Pleasantly surprised. Renewed in my faith at the decency of my fellow man. This is a tasty yellow drink. Maybe the words on the side have something to do with it: "2003 Pipeline Hawaii". I'm guessing a group of rough surfers marched into the Hansen's plant, and kicked some ass until the chemists there rethought their usually bland-but-bitter formulae. In any case, it worked, though I still have a nagging worry that the next can I pick up will the the "Old 2002 Pipeline" stuff... if you know what I mean. ****½ (out of 5)

Hype Energy Classic
contains: taurine, ginseng, guarana, caffeine, and vitamins
Now, keep in mind that this is "classic" Hype. I have no idea of there is "new" hype (which is kind of the *definition* of the word "hype" isn't it?) but there's more fine print on this can than in most 300-page novels I've ever read. There's ridiculous phrases in English, French, and Spanish (example "Live life love life love hype") which makes me think that these enrgy drink bottlers are frustrated movelists. Maybe they should change careers, since the can is more interesting than the drink - a mediocrely bitter "Red Bull" clone. I drank it with dinner, and didn't even notice the taste. But at least I had something to read at the dinner table. *** (out of 5)

Hansen's Diet Red
contains: taurine, ginseng, L-carnitine, B-vitamins
So, is this what we've come to? People are so concerned about sugar in their caffeine-laden upper-drinks that we now have *diet* energy supplements? Are these the same people that worry about the number of calories in their daily multivitamin? Probably. This is such a bad idea, I don't know where to start. Hansen's line of terrible tasting swill now has a sickly aspartimine taste to go with the medicinal yellow piss color of their usual ener-pops. I mean, glucose is still the second listed ingredient, but now there's only three grams of carbs and sugars. But look at the details... this is an 8 ounce drink. 3 grams of glocose in 8 ounces? There's a sucker born every minute, and all of them are on a diet. ½ (out of 5)

Piranha Energy Drink: Outrageous Orange Pineapple
contains: taurine
About a year ago, I bought a case of Piranha with a coupon on top of a promotional deal. So, for under $40, I received 144 cans of the stuff. Plus, due to the fact that EAS is located in Colorado, the stuff arrived the next day. As a result, I have a soft spot in my heart for EAS. Even though they sell a lot of imprudent things (ephedrine, and sugary "health" drinks like this one) I like to see\ the local folks do good. This drink is the worst of their three flavors, more of a kool-aid sweetness where the pineapple tate just feels like something went wrong in the batch. Maybe it's the water in Golden that tastes funny - you can tell what it did to the flavor to Coors. *** (out of 5)

Diet Rockstar Energy Drink
contains: taurine, guarana, ginko, milk thistle (?), inositol (??), carnitine (???), eleutherococcua senticosus (ok, now they're just making stuff up)
Oh, I'm not even tasting this stuff anymore. A month ago, I discovered mixing energy drinks with vodka. Wow! If there's anything that can hide the acid taste of these health beverages, it's a good two or three shots of rotgut booze. This one needed a cover-up - by itself, the diet taste is even more rancid that usual... however it was pretty good with some Absolut thrown in. I don't like their dopey slogan ("party lock a rockstar"), but the slogan right above it ("better faster stronger") sounds like a Radiohead CD, or that Daft Punk song. So, I'll drink this at a loud bar anytime. *½ (out of 5)

Piranha Energy Drink: Pucker-up Apple
Taurine energy "blend"... it's that word "blend that makes me worry. I used to work summers at a local apple orchard, and I saw what they used to grind up in the cider when nobody was looking. This "scrapple" soda could be made from bits of leaves, worms, and rotten fruit for all I know. What the heck, it's just added protein.
When I was growing up in the seventies, the price of soda pop doubled. <old man mode>I remember when a can of soda was a dime<old man mode>. Then it was a quarter, which was ok. But after that, trying to find the right combination of dimes, nickles, and quarters to make 30 cents of 35, was a big pain. There was a local place called the "Soda Shoppe" that had a gimmick. They would sell bottles of soda for a quarter, and you would drink them and bring them back to be refilled for a nickle. Our parents loved this deal, but to us kids it meant we could suck down even more of the sugary stuff. Anyway, they had a sour apple soda that tasted just like this. About half-way through this EAS can (and it's a big one too, one of those new 16-ouncers), I remembered that I never really *liked* the sour apple soda very much. However, it brought back an feeling of something that I had forgotten about my youth, and I enjoyed reminiscing about cheap soda from sticky refilled bottles. ***** (out of 5)

Piranha Energy Drink: Wild Watermelon Kiwi
contains: I have no idea. Taurine? The can is littered with useless phrases ("maxmimum enrgy burst", "Energy x 2", "P tm") that I can't read the ingredients
I shouldn't get excited - this is just fizzy apple juice. And I shouldn't be surprised, since I liked the other Piranha flavors and everything else that EAS has come out with. But since the fad of energy drinks has passed, I haven't tasted anything as inventive or flavorful as this in a long time. The cans have gotten bigger, too. What used to be six dollars for ten ounces is now a giant American-sized big gulp of a 16 fluid ounce can. And that's the way it should be in this energy-guzzling country of ours, dammit! **** (out of 5)

Sobe: No Fear
contains: Taurine, creatine, arginine (Arginine? "Don't cry for me arginine?")
I can't remember too much of this energy drink, except that it was a sweet, bland unassuming beverage without a medicine taste. In other words, there's nothing "extreme" about it to justify the "No Fear" logo. Why fear? Afraid you'll choke on the gigantic 16 ounces of this soda pop? Scared of the fattening 260 calories and the fact that even root beer would be healthier for you after a workout? *** (out of 5)

Ol' Glory
contains: God, evidently
Here's a post-9/11 idea... take someone's else's pissy energy swill, and repackage it in a cheap-looking can that's adorned with the American flag. And I mean it's all *over* the can, wrapped around in a graphic that looks like a Kmart NASCAR t-shirt. The ingredients get short shrift here, but there's the entire pledge of allegiance on the side in large letters, with the words UNDER GOD in bold. This is what every athlete needs after a hard workout - undrinkable yellow sludge with a side helping of bigotry and jingoism. Tasty! none (out of 5)

Atomic X
contains: not specified.... just "vitamins and energy stimulating supplements"
These guys gave me TWO FREE CANS, so I can't criticise them. It was a very nice gesture, and a nice email to go with it. (Thanks a lot!) And the drink itself is original... nowadays that's all I ask of an energy drink, to be *different*. It's really sweet - probably the sweetest one on this list. It mixed nice with Vodka, too. Most drinks get overwhelmed by alcohol, but this combination was nice. The only thing I disliked was the packaging. The logo says, "America's Energy Drink". Well, "Ol' Glory" up above might have a word or two to say about that, boy. I smell a stink of a fight brewin' up! There's a tiny little picture of the Statue of Liberty right next to the barcode, as if she's stretching or trying to measure her height like it was a ruler. Bizarre... but nice drink though. Thanks and take care. **** (out of 5)

Bawls Guarana
contains: Guarana (and possibly bawls too)
This is not a good drink, but a great marketing campaign. This is the energy drink for unwashed smelly computer geeks playing First-Person-Shooter in all-night gaming orgies. It really has a weak flavor - that is, you even count "guarana" as a flavor. Have you seen it in other products? No? There's a good reason for it... it's because it *has* no flavor. It's a watery sugary mess that might taste good after a long session of fragging. Otherwise, stay away. Nice blue bottle though. ** (out of 5)

contains: I'm afraid to ask... the can says, "Let It Loose"
What kind of juice do you *think* would come out of a pimp? Is there a equivalent can for non-gay men called "HoJuice"? And what would be in *that*? Luckily, I can say that this fluid tastes great, a sweet yellow nectar that ranks up there with the best of 'em. I just wish the name wasn't so tacky - it's lot like I want to be seen drinking this in public. **** (out of 5)

Spaz Juice
contains: The usual stuff: caffeine, guarana, ginseng, taurine, vitamins...
I'm getting tired of "Happy Bunny". It was amusing at first, but didn't have a lot of staying power. Instead, I wish it would go away. All those pseudo-clever insulting sayings combined with a cartoon character. Oh, foul-mouthed children's drawing! We haven't seen *that* before... sarcasm sarcasm. For $2.50, you get a small can of a noxious bottom-of-the-barrel (in more ways that one) energy drippings, and two rude slogans: "Drink this and feel less sucky" and "All the energy you need to annoy everybody else". Somehow, it's just not worth the money, even though the happy bunny and the can is really cute. * (out of 5)

...Lost Energy Drink
contains: rad Xtreme chemicals that stick it to the man, man!
I'll review the can first. Because that's all this really is... the liquid inside is nothing special, although you get 16 fluid ounces of it. But the can - now *there's* a mistaken design decision. We will look back on this can in ten years and the epitome of horrible "post millennium" consumer artwork. It looks like the drawings on that teenagers do on the back of a spiral notebook, and I don't mean that in a good way. The intentionally-rough scribbles (pinup art, tagging, future tattoo ideas, doodles, flaming skulls, anarchy symbols) would look good on the way of an indie record store, but they look stupid on a soda drink can. It's a fun can to read, if you can laugh at it instead of with it, "Nobody Knows Nobody Cares", "Tear Down Your Idols", "From the garages in San Clemente..." do you *really* want to drink a beverage from the garage of a slacker skateboarder in Southern California? Only if he offer me a hit of that gnarly weed, man. Go ahead, "surf, skate, and snowboard all on the same day," but just don't do it drinking this pretentious anti-pop. **½ (out of 5)

Jones Energy
contains: Just caffeine
Why Jones, why? Your soda is so cool, with great flavor and fantastic amateur photographs as parts of the bottle design. So, why did you come out with an innocuous bland copper-colored can filled with copper-colored bilge water? I can understand wanting to jump on a bandwagon, but you used to lead the parade, Jones! The can says, "The last thing the world need is another energy drink, so here's one more". They should have needed their own advice - this drink is not needed, and has tarnished the existing sodas from an otherwise fine company. ** (out of 5)

Omega Energy
contains: Taurine, Ginseng, L-Carnatine, B Vitamins, Passion Fruit, "Other Power Ingredients"
Wow, this is just about as good as it gets. It's by "Fuze", who have underwhelmed me in the past with their lukewarm juice beverages. But this one is different - a great non-medicinal flavor, an ample amount (16 oz), and best of all, no high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. I don't know how they do it, but they get it right this time. The only annoying thing is the slogan repeated four times on the can, "Got The Juice!". I'm not sure if this is a command or a description, but it's not correct... this drink isn't like their juice drinks. It's actually good. **** (out of 5)

Wired X 3000
contains: Taurine, and lots of it
Can a drink be too extreme? Because this one is too much "too", if you know what I mean. Too big (I could barely drink it all in two separate sittings), too sweet, too much taurine, too gaggy, too yellow, too syrupy, too much tasting like aspirin that has gone bad. it's a mistake on so many levels, I don't know where to begin. or end. So the big question is, is "Wired X 3000" imported? Or merely retarded? What can explain the slogan on the side, "Faster The Connection". Not that's proper even English. *½ (out of 5)

Elements Energy: Venom
contains: Ginseng, Taurine, and B Vitamins
These have been out for about three years now - they've been repackaged and burdened with the "energy drink" label. So, they're fair to re-review here. Frist of all, the packaging. I like the new aluminum bottle. It's a generous 18 ounces, but what I miss is the ability to *see* the color of the drink in a glass bottle. For example, "Rain" used to be my favorite, but now it just tastes syrupy instead of clean and clear. This one is no better. "Venom" is actually a pretty yellow-green color. However, in a metal bottle, it tastes like stale gatorade. If it's supposed to be "citrus bite" I think they should rethink their product placement - this is a waste of a good drink. **½ (out of 5)

Boo-Koo Energy Sugar Free
contains: Far too much
Is it true you can have too much of a good thing? How about too much of a *bad* thing? Well, here's proof: 24 fluid OUNCES of energy sludge. The top of the can says, "Three (3) Drinks In One Can". This would be nice if one (1) of them tasted good by itself. There's no need for this much drugs - even if you needed the boost for a high-impact sporting event, you'd be urinating thousands of times before you hit the field. I even hate the name - a bad mispelling of "beaucoup" in a sad hipster Monster Garage styled font. This is a bad idea in marketing, not to mention bad taste. ** (out of 5)

Pure Power Shotz
contains: Not enough
So, I apologize to Boo-Koo. For the same price I got 24 ounces, here's a mini-can of 5.75. The two cans look cute together - like a mini-me version of the Big Guy. But is it worth it to pay $4 for what's basically a fourth of the bigger can? Sure, I've paid that much in a bar to tequila, but that's because I was hanging out withy friends and trying to get laid. Chugging a tiny little shot in the privacy of my own home brings up all sort of alcholics anonymous issues that I'd rather not think about. They get bonus points for can design - the thing's fun to open. And the taste is ok, though far too carbonated for the "slammable power + killer taste" written on the can. I also scoff at the other slogan on the side, "Small Can BIG Punch". To that I'd add, "High Price, Pointless Exercise". **½ (out of 5)

Mad-Croc Energy Drink (Sugar Free)
contains: Caffeine, Tarrine, and Vitamin B
Has it come to this? Sugar free? So, while you are pouring strange chemincals in your body, untested by the FDA, heaven forbigd you'd want to add *sugar* to the mix. Not that the tiny cans could hold much sugar, or the fact that the missing sucrose makes the buzz slower. The result is a worse-tasting-that-usual bitter drink that I hope I never have to choke down again. It seems pretty pointless to me: if you didn't want any carbs DRINK SOMETHING ELSE than an energy drink. Water, for example - I've heard they still make that, and it come it small carrying bottles now. Check it out, and avoid this can. * (out of 5)

Invigor8 Energy Boost
contains: Guarana and vitamins A, C, B6, B12, and Niacin
I was ready to hate this drink from the start, based only on the cutesy name. "Invigor8". Yes, I Woold Die 4 U, 2. Luckily, the awful taste didn't let me down. So, I am perfectly jsutified in my scorn and disgust. It's a rancid grapefruit flavor, entirely unlike the "100% juice with a refreshing citrus flavor" broadcasted on the side of the can. They get bonus points for trying a taste sensation entirely like all other energy drinks. But maybe there's a reason nobody has travelved down that road before - the flavor is absolutely repulsive. * (out of 5)

Mad-Croc Energy Drink
contains: Caffeine, taurine, and vitamins
This is a Red Bull clone. I mean the flavor is the same, the can has similar color and style, and the name even follows the "adjective animal" format. So why would this one score higher than the original? Because they didn't come up with the stupid idea in the first place. They're just cashing in for a quick buck, and you have to admire that. Plus, clones are usually cheaper at cut-rate grocery stores. Wait about three months, and I bet this crap is slice down to four-for-a-dollar. * (out of 5)

Orange County Choppers High Octane Fuel
contains: Absolutely nothing
When I think of the Discovery Channel, I think of some great educational programming. And then there's "Monster Garage", a monster of repetitive dull gear-head masturbation. I want to smack Paul Sr. and Jr. upside the head for their whining and monotonous psycho-drama. So now they've come out with an energy drink, too. Anything to cash in on their soon-to-be-canceled TV show. Unfortunately, this stuff taste almost exactly like blue toilet water... not that I would know what that would taste like, mind you. They seem to have forgotten to add any ingredients - it's a funny windshield-wiper-fluid-looking undrinkable mess. I'd give this a lower score, but i think Paul Sr. is kinda cute, and I'd bend him over one of his bikes and have sex with him *anytime*. ** (out of 5)

Boo-Koo Energy
contains: Sugar, and lots of it
This one is much better than the sugar free version - but then again it would be hard to be any *worse*. And the added taste comes at a high price: this can is 330 calories in 24 fluid ounces. That's more than a McDonald's cheeseburger tossed into a blender. The can says, "Accept no substitutes", although you could swap this drink for anything else and not notice the difference. It's big and indistinguishable... will that be their new marketing campaign. It also says, "Triple hit X3 in one can". Maybe the triple treat is big, indistinguishable, and most likely to vanish from the market in less than two months. ***½ (out of 5)

Pure Power Energy Drink
contains: More water at the same price
Don't confuse this with "Pure Energy" from Go Fast. Though they have a similar name, this is a different drink. And don't confuse it with Pure Power Shotz. Because it's... um.... *more*. I think it's just the shotz drink watered down and put into a bigger can. More thought went into the slogans on the side ("Energize Your Spirit", "Enhance Your Stamina", "Enliven Your Sensitivity", "Enrich Your Attitude", "Unbridle Your Spleen"... I added the last one myself). "Serviceable"? Is that a put-down if I say that this drink is completely generic? It's at a good price... usually two-for-one at my local 7/11. So it's serviceable and not much else. "That's Pure Power!" *** (out of 5)

Invigor8 Nutrition Boost
contains: Vitamins A, C, E, B6, B12, niacin, calcium, and potassium
Puke-orange (literally), so it looks like a cross between carrot juice and the liquid that accumulates at the bottom of a trash bin at the county fair. Recently, I discovered that this drink is made by the makers of V8, and it all made sense. This is the dirty dishwater that results after they wash all their fruits and vegetables for the other, more popular drink. It's the only thing I could think of to explain this bizarre repulsive mixture. ½ (out of 5)

Source Burn Energy Drink
contains: Caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, B6, B12, A, C, and E
Finally, a semi-passable sugar-free energy drink. I'm so glad that the new beverages are using a grapefruit base instead of the sickly Red Bull medicine flavour. This one has a nasty aftertaste, but that's to be expected in a diet soda. The side of the can is obnoxious: "Faster Stronger Harder Longer Quicker Better Hotter Wetter Rev It Up Twist 'N' Turn Let 'Er Rip Energy To Burn". Wasn't that the lyrics to a song by Radiohead? I would have this again, but not relaly on purpose, if that makes any sense. ** (out of 5)