Jason Draper (2745 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.

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 4 hours, 23 minutes ago
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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 1 week ago
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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 3 weeks, 2 days ago
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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 3 weeks, 3 days ago
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Summit Craft Wild Cola

Summit Craft Wild Cola

There is only one thing wild about this cola and that is the sweet pup that adorns its label. That little dude looks like he takes no guff. Unfortunately we, as drinkers, have to take some guff when we are consuming this soda. As my ladyfriend pointed out, “It tastes like someone was making a cola, got distracted and then forgot to finish it.” Yet somehow this unfinished soda made it to market. This tastes lower than store brand. That’s right I would choose a corn syrup laden generic can of soda over this glass bottled “craft” soda any day. This is weak and it only hints at cola without ever actually fully tasting like one.

Country
United States
Sweetener
Cane Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on November 2nd, 2018
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Polar Seltzer Hibiscus Cloudberry

Polar Seltzer Hibiscus Cloudberry

This is a flavor that delivers what it promises. What does it promise? Well, I can’t say for certain, but I can say that this tastes like what I would expect berries that grow on clouds in a cartoon to taste like. I’m not saying that drinking this will turn you into a cartoon and let you walk around on clouds singing songs and talking to birds, but I’m not not saying that either.

Like clouds is the only way I can think to describe this. It’s fruity without being fruity and floral without being floral. I’m pretty sure they captured magic and bottled it for mass consumption, but only for a limited time because there is only so much magic in the world and it will certainly run out.

Website
http://www.polarbev.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
No Sugar Added
Categories
Sparkling, Water
Rating
5/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on October 30th, 2018
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VitaLife Cold Brewed Tea Peach Ginger

VitaLife Cold Brewed Tea Peach Ginger

VitaLife is another brand that falls under the Aldi umbrella. Years ago that would have meant that is was probably chock full of corn syrup and other nonsense, but since the company went organic awhile back you are generally assured that you are getting a somewhat quality product.

Now if you have been paying attention to American society in the past five years you are probably aware of the trend of cold brew (which I totally back). It’s generally used for coffee and it makes the caffeinated beverage smoother. Some companies have expanded this practice into the brewing of teas as well, and it has similar results. This is a very smooth tea, especially since it is unsweetened. Okay, it has 3g of sugar in it but it comes from fruit and not processed sugar. This is so smooth that it kind of resembles a tea flavored water, but somehow is very flavorful. The thing is there appears to be no actual tea leaves used to make this and it it’s all herbal tea, which really doesn’t seem like tea to me. It has ginger, apple bits, hibiscus, papaya, rose hip, pink peppercorns, orange blossoms, rose pedals and peach juice concentrate in it. Overall it’s delicious. I do wish there was a bit of actual tea in there to give it a little bite. The more I drink the more the smoothness makes it seem like I’m not really drinking anything. It’s a strange beverage that I really enjoyed at first, but has diminishing returns. I will need to experiment more.

Country
United States
Sweetener
No Sugar Added
Categories
Iced Tea
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on October 29th, 2018
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Polar Seltzer Vanilla Zen

Polar Seltzer Vanilla Zen

While I’m not stoked that the Northeast will soon be a frozen tundra and most of the joy in life will be stolen from me, I am very excited that the new Polar Winter line has been released. I wasn’t even expecting it. I went down the water aisle in my favorite local grocer and there they were in all their glory. Right at eye level was this gem, Vanilla Zen. I’ve been saying for years that seltzer companies need to release more flavors that are not based on fruit (what happened to cinnamon? ) and while this is sort of fruity, it at least is mostly spice based.

From the packaging it appeared to me that Zen tastes like pomegranate drizzled with honey, or maybe some weird honey flowers. As far as I can taste though, it’s just a combination of vanilla and pomegranates though., with the pom being very light. The gold kernels were a misdirect, and there is no honey to be found. I don’t know how that could be pulled off without it being sweet anyway.

This isn’t the second coming of the savior that I had hoped for but it’s still really great and I will enjoy a lot of it while it’s still on the shelves.

Website
http://www.polarbev.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
No Sugar Added
Categories
Sparkling, Water
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on October 25th, 2018
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Summit Craft Root Beer

Summit Craft Root Beer

Summit is an Aldi instore brand, and my has Aldi come a long way since their discount beginnings. When Mike and I moved into our first apartment together we shopped way too much at Aldi, because it was all we could afford. The food was mostly trash, but we survived and hey they had cheap produce. In recent times I believe Aldi has made it a policy that all food stuffs sold in the store must be organic. As a result the quality has skyrocketed. There are a variety of different veggie burgers, fancy juices, almond milk, and who can forget that delicious white bean basil hummus that I cannot get enough of. They have also stepped up their beverage game with some cane sugar sweetened sodas.

Now there is nothing wrong with this root beer. It is perfectly serviceable. It is also pretty mediocre. I don’t drink much soda these days, so when I do I want to make sure it’s worth the stress on my aging body. This doesn’t really pass that test. When I was younger I would have ate this up, because the quality to price ratio is just right. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t mind paying a little bit more for something that is of the highest quality. The thing that is great about this though is that hilarious dog on the label. I can’t tell if he’s a bi-plane pilot or a biker dog. Either way I would totally give him some treats and belly rubs.

Country
United States
Sweetener
Cane Sugar
Categories
Root Beer, Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on October 23rd, 2018
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Teas' Tea Organic Mango Yuzu Green Tea

Teas' Tea Organic Mango Yuzu Green Tea

Teas’ Tea, and their parent company Ito En, have been long time favorites of us here at Thirsty Dudes. They make quality products that taste like real tea and not some strange powder. After years of their standard flavors they seem to be expanding their line a lot over the past bit of time. As long as the staples stick around you will hear no complaints from this guy. I bought this bottle when Mike and I joked about walking from downtown Brooklyn to JFK and then ended up walking half of the way before we realized we were being ridiculous and we should just get on a train, whose stops we had passed the entire way. We ended up walking 35 miles over a few days and never complained once. That was a good hang. Anyway, we walked. I was thirsty. We hit up a bodega, where I was planning on grabbing a Guayaki, but instead happily ended up with this. I wasn’t disappointed at all. This is one of the best teas I’ve had in a long time. It’s only slightly sweet, which is always a plus and the flavors really shined. Yuzu is a citrus fruit that I hadn’t thought I had tried before, but as soon as I tasted it I was immediately reminded of one of the original Sobe flavors that used to come in glass bottles. I drank far too many of those things in the back room of my first job at a supermarket to forget that flavor. Did I steal them when doing returns? I admit nothing. You do your research. I actually searched on my own the old Google and yuzu is definitely a fruit used by Sobe. So if you remember Sobe in the late 90s you probably can imagine what this tastes like. Man I miss those drinks, they just aren’t the same now. Okay, back on topic, this is really delicious and I can’t encourage you enough to get out there and try it.

Website
http://teastea.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
Organic Cane Sugar
Categories
Iced Tea
Rating
5/5
Reviewed By
Jason Draper on October 19th, 2018
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