Jason Draper (2751 reviews)

Jason plays bass in Failures' Union and owns/operates a screen printing shoppe called Wooden T-Shirts. He also eats veggie dogs by the gallon.

Sound Sparkling White Tea With Peach + Ginger

Sound Sparkling White Tea With Peach + Ginger

I am done with winter. I’m sick of it. It’s snowing yet again and it looks like more than a foot of the nonsense is going to pile up around my house yet again. Guess what? I am just not leaving the house today. Forget the world. It’s not important anyway. I will just cuddle up with my cat, my dog and this bottle of sparkling tea. Not a typical cold weather drink I know, but it’s here and it’s tasty so it’s what I’m clinging to underneath piles and piles of blankets.
Let me say I don’t get the combo of peach and ginger. I have come across it in teas a handful of times, and I enjoy it, but it is always a bit strange. I love both flavors, but they don’t mingle the way I want them to. Perhaps peach just shouldn’t be mixed with non-fruit flavors. Still, this is quite enjoyable, even though it throws me for a loop a little. It’s very peachy with the ginger hanging around the edges. There is no burn in here, which would have been a bit wild. I think it is ultimately better without it though.

I have grown to love these sparkling teas. They are a bit more than seltzer, but don’t make me feel the guilt I’ve been getting from soda lately. Hey, I’m about to turn 40, and I’ve worked hard to keep myself slim and non-slovenly. While I do love a nice soda, I’ve learned that they are meant to be treats and not for everyday consumption (at least for me). This way when I have them I appreciate them a lot more. In the meantime I will consume mass amounts of water, seltzer, and unsweetened tea, both sparkling and still.

Website
http://www.soundtea.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
No Sugar Added
Categories
Iced Tea, Sparkling
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on January 29th, 2019
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Arteasan Green Tea Passion Fruit Elderberry Peppermint

Arteasan Green Tea Passion Fruit Elderberry Peppermint

Dear Readers,
I have to be honest with you, I am sick to death of stevia. Yes, I know it’s the healthier zero-calorie sweetener, but a majority of the time it is in a beverage it becomes 60% of the flavor. I’m all for less sugar and calories, but I would rather forgo a sweetener altogether than have to taste this nonsense all the time. It’s been a big part of the slowdown of Thirst Dudes (at least on my end). Almost every time I come across a new beverage that looks like it would be great, the S sweetener is listed in the ingredients. It becomes a heavy task to try to ignore the flavor and write a proper review for beverages.

This drink really jumped out at me though. Passion fruit is a definitely weakness for me, and elderberry is nothing to slouch at either. I just had to take the chance. Did it pay off? Well, not totally, but more than I expected. The stevia makes up maybe 35% of the flavor instead of the expected 60%. The fruit flavors are on the lighter side, as I believe they should be when they are just flavoring a tea. Sometimes I wonder why companies make teas instead of “juice drinks” when they go overboard with the flavoring and you can’t even make out the tea. This is a green tea at its heart with some flavoring added to enhance it. I really don’t taste peppermint at all, but I’m fine with that. Really, if it weren’t for the stevia and they had just left this unsweetened I would have given it 5 bottles and raved about it. Unfortunately, all of the wonderful natural flavor gets muddled into a diet aftertaste. Who wants that?

Website
http://arteasan.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Stevia
Categories
Diet, Iced Tea
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on January 4th, 2019
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Rockstar Boom Whipped Strawberry

Rockstar Boom Whipped Strawberry

I don’t know what type of Rockstar who would choose this nonsense as their “drink of choice,” energy related or not. It always blows my mind that energy drinks seem to be made mostly in flavors that would be of interest to mostly children. Is this like cigarette companies making their ads attractive to kids? I’m pretty sure it is. In 15-20 years I can only imagine there will be a crazy spike in the number of heart attacks due to organs being weakened over time from people constantly drinking these things.

You know those strawberry candies that come wrapped in foil/plastic that is supposed to look like a strawberry? This tastes like a watered down version of that with some skim milk in it for some reason. I know it says it’s whipped, but that is still a little unnerving to me. It’s like a liquid strawberries and cream that doesn’t taste even remotely natural. I really chose poorly with this one.

Website
http://www.rockstar69.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Energy Drink
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on December 31st, 2018
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Nomad Energy Plant Based Energy Drink

Nomad Energy Plant Based Energy Drink

I really appreciate when companies do things the “right” way. Nomad makes their product with very few ingredients and they are all sustainable. They are a company that cares about this world that we all share and they are taking efforts to make as little impact on it as it seemingly falls apart. The essentially turn the waste from coffee farming into caffeinated drinks. In addition to that they care about your bodies and have created an energy drink that it natural and not full of chemicals. To combine those two ideas I give it to you in their own words, “Imagine if Red Bull approached their products the way Patagonia approaches clothing. That’s us.” I can get behind that and I applaud them for their effort (they were also kind enough to send us a bunch of samples).

Everything is right on track here, well except the flavor. It is not gross, but it certainly is different and that all comes down to the cascara (coffeefruit). The base tastes like a coffee/plant hybrid. I’m pretty sure it will give new comers pause when they first try it. Mix that in with some lemon, maple, and salt and things get even stranger. The good news is that the more you drink the better it becomes. As with many new things, there is a learning curve here. Each of the six ingredients are present in the flavor and it’s an odd mixing, but one that I think people can grow to enjoy.

Website
http://https://nomadtrading.co/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Organic Maple Syrup
Categories
Energy Drink
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on December 21st, 2018
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Sound Sparkling Chamomile with Vanilla + Elderflower

Sound Sparkling Chamomile with Vanilla + Elderflower

This bottle says that, “We live in a world of flavors buried in sugar,” and it is not wrong. Somewhere along the line companies realized they could use inferior ingredients and just dump in a ton of sweetener and no one would be the wiser. People may have noticed, but a majority of them simply did not care and the forced it all in the face holes and people’s weight started to rise. I can’t lie, I do like sugar. Sweets are a rough spot for me because I have little control if they are in front of me. I oddly rarely think about them if I am not exposed to them but once I see them my body craves the sweetness. In beverages that is not really a thing anymore though. I much prefer little to no sugar in my teas and sparkling beverages. I like to be able to actually taste what I’m consuming and not have it be masked. Sound understands this so they grabbed their shovels and went back to the before time, when sugar was a treat and not a constant. Their sparkling teas are near perfection. They don’t skimp on the quality of their ingredients and you can taste them all. This is smooth, relaxing, and satisfying all in one gulp. The flavors are strong, but not overpowering. There is no sugar in here whatsoever, yet it still satisfies me in any sweetness that I may desire. This may not be for everyone but I have zero complaints and many accolades.

Website
http://www.soundtea.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
No Sugar Added
Categories
Iced Tea
Rating
5/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on December 17th, 2018
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Rockstar Xdurance Energy Ripped Red

Rockstar Xdurance Energy Ripped Red

I am not the raging human I once was. There was a time in my life where I would leave for a trip to Toronto at 9PM, get there, hang out for hours, get back in my car and drive the 1:30/2:00 home and arrive in my driveway around 5am. I was perfectly fine doing that. In fact it seemed like a completely reasonable thing to do, and I did it without the help of caffeine or any other upper. It would just be Mike, myself and what we would consider to be good music playing way too loud. These days, leaving at 6 on a December evening feels like I should just be crawling into bed and it is a complete chore. I knew there was no way I would make it back alive without some help, so on the way to the border I stopped at a gas station and picked this up. As proven by me writing this, it works. It more than works. There were no yawns. No heavy eyes. No problems whatsoever. Just complete alertness (to a detrimental effect as I couldn’t fall asleep once I made it home 6 hours after drinking this.

While there is no problem with the functionality of this beverage, the taste leaves something to be desired. I know it’s my fault, expecting something sweetened with sucralose to taste anything but chemical, but I keep hoping a company will crack the code that will hide that gross flavor. Ripped Red is a fruit punch of sorts that seems to be a mixture of cherry, strawberry, and cranberry; a strange, but interesting mix. I think I actually want more strawberry cranberry hybrid drinks. It’s sweet and tastes like a Wonka candy that I wished existed. It’s just too bad that it’s all hidden under a fog of diet. Still I keep buying the low calorie energy drinks when I need them to ensure I don’t pack on the pounds as I get older. No one wants a chunky Jay.

Website
http://www.rockstar69.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sucralose
Categories
Diet, Energy Drink
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on December 12th, 2018
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Bang Purple Guava Pear

Bang Purple Guava Pear

As soon as this washed over my taste buds I thought to myself, “This is the best tasting energy drink of all time.” Less than a second later the sucralose hit me and all of that was out the window. Yes, I know that high sugar energy drinks cause you to have the dreaded crash, where you just want to slump around. It’s just unfortunate that they taste so much better (well up to an extent that they become way too sweet). There is a balance that needs to be formed and I can say for certain that sucralose is not the answer. This beverage could be the poster child for that movement. It could be perfect, but after a few sips you taste more sucralose than anything else, and what is the point of that? In a perfect world that wonderfully fruity guava flavor that greeted me would be accompanied by the slightest amount of cane sugar that would amplify it and not distract from it as the current sweetener is doing. There is a little pear flavor in here, but it is also lost in the mix. This has the potential to be wonderful, but it falls short. Bang wants us to be(somewhat) healthier, and I applaud them for that, but there just has to be another way to do it.

Website
http://www.vpxsports.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sucralose
Categories
Diet, Energy Drink
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on December 10th, 2018
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Hydro One Bode Lemon Lime

Hydro One Bode Lemon Lime

I need to start polling everyone I come across like a crazy person and ask whether or not they A. like lemon lime and B. would ever purchase something that was lemon lime flavored for themselves if other options were available. I don’t mind the flavor personally, but I could not tell you when the last time was that I purchased something that was lemon lime (with the exception of things to review for this site). If I were forced to take a guess I would say that it was somewhere between 15 and 20 years ago. It’s just a boring, base flavor for me.

This is a solid, albeit diet tasting, lemon lime sports drink. I’m sure the company will roll the eyes at this but think Gatorade and you are pretty close. I’m sure if I drank them back to back I could pick out the differences, but from memory they are close, and that is a good starting point. A big difference is that this is sweetened with a combination of cane sugar and a stevia extract, so it’s at least somewhat healthier than corn syrup and sucralose. It’s got a little bit of a thickness too it, but it doesn’t venture into the land of the syrupy. Overall it’s not bad, and a nice option to have.

Website
http://https://hydroonebeverages.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Cane Sugar
Categories
Sports/Dietary Supplement
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on December 3rd, 2018
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Monster Juice Pacific Punch

Monster Juice Pacific Punch

Sometimes I like to go into drinks blind and see if what I anticipate is what the beverage actually is without reading the description or ingredients on the can/bottle. With a name like Pacific Punch and the sailor flash art on the can I fully expected this to be some play on a pina colada. That sort of art just makes me think rum, and while I know it’s in other adult cocktails, I always think of the beverage made famous by an absolutely horrible song. I apparently purchased a one way trip to Wrongoville, because this is a wonderfully delicious tropical punch. It is a mix of orange, apple, raspberry, guava, cherry, pineapple and passionfruit. It’s a collection of wonderful all mixed together into a sum of its parts that is greater than the individual. It is clearly the taste o f a tropical Pacific island (even though half the ingredients are not tropical at all). If this is what was available to me, I would not mind being stranded on a desert island at all. No humanity, just delicious fruit juice? Yes please!

This really reminds me of something from my younger years, but I’m not exactly sure what. I want to say one of the original Sobe flavors (maybe the yellow), but it could be something else. It’s definitely something that I used to love though, and forgot that I was missing.

Website
http://www.monsterenergy.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Energy Drink
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on November 17th, 2018
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Maxwell House Iced Coffee Max 2X Boost

Maxwell House Iced Coffee Max 2X Boost

It’s been awhile since I have had a coffee beverage that was not a mocha. So long in fact that when I took a sip of this I just thought that the extreme sweetness of it was actual chocolate, but nope, it’s just sugar, coffee and milk. I will describe it with Hold Steady lyrics, “Well, you in the corner with the good looking drifter, two cups of coffee and ten packs of sugar.” That’s a ridiculous amount of sweetness in here, but you know what I liked it. It made it seem more of a dessert than just a vehicle for caffeine, which is what I had intended it for. I don’t know what was done to this to give it double the amount of caffeine that their regular beverage has. Did they brew the coffee, and then rebrew it through the same grounds a la The Descendents’ Bonus Cup?

I think I may be out of musical references to coffee, so I guess I’m done here. Oh wait, it does not taste like black coffee. There’s a Black Flag reference for you.

Website
http://www.maxwellhouse.com
Country
United States
Categories
Coffee
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on November 16th, 2018
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