Derek Neuland (496 reviews)

After 4 years, 6 cavities, and 2 pulled teeth, Derek has decided to hang up the bottle opener. You can keep up with his (mostly) sugar-free writing and photography at derekneuland.com.

Rhino's Energy Drink

Rhino's Energy Drink

When I first sipped this, it tasted exactly like Red Bull. As most people know, Red Bull is an acquired taste and I happen to enjoy it. But I was hoping this drink would be different. I was really disappointed.

But then the aftertaste kicked in. It burned my throat, but not in the usual acidic energy drink way. This burn was similar to ginger beer, but not as intense. It was really surprising in a good way.

Website
http://www.rhinos-energy.com/en
Country
Austria
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Energy Drink
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on February 4th, 2011
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Rhino's Sugar Free Energy Drink

Rhino's Sugar Free Energy Drink

I already have a hard time drinking most energy drinks. When you give me a diet/sugar free energy drink, there's no way this is going to be good. The first sip of this was pretty horrible, like swallowing battery acid. The next couple wasn’t too bad. Perhaps I've already acquired the taste for this drink? Nope, around the fourth sip the first couple sips finally hit my stomach and it feels very similar to the time I had food poisoning. For three days straight, I lied on the couch while my stomach felt like it was eating itself. It was easily in my top five worst feelings I have ever felt. Any drink that can give me that same feeling is not one I want to consume.

Website
http://www.rhinos-energy.com/en
Country
Austria
Sweetener
Aspartame
Categories
Diet, Energy Drink
Rating
1/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on February 23rd, 2011
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Trojka Energy Drink

Trojka Energy Drink

I can safely say this is the first energy drink from Austria I've ever had. My friend Rita brought it back from her travels and gifted it to me. I could tell before I even opened it that it was going to be a Red Bull clone. Was I right? Of course! As far as Red Bull wannabe's, this one leans on the better side, but still not as good as Red Bull.

I expected more from you Austria.

Website
http://www.trojkaenergy.ch
Country
Austria
Sweetener
Sucrose
Categories
Energy Drink
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on January 3rd, 2012
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Brazil Gourmet Premium Nectar Guava

Brazil Gourmet Premium Nectar Guava

All three of us have reviewed a guava drink today; so let it be known that July 6th, 2011 will now be known as Guava Day. I, for one, welcome our new guava overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted blog personality, I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

They have bestowed onto me a bottle of guava nectar to sample. I don’t think I’ve ever had a guava nectar drink and I must say it’s quite good. It’s not as thick as other nectars I have had, but that’s a good thing. I often find nectar to be way too thick and hard to drink. This is the consistency of a juice/nectar mix and it’s perfect.

**Disclaimer: this review was in no way influenced, edited, or forced by the almighty guava overlords.**

Country
Brazil
Sweetener
Evaporated Cane Juice
Categories
Juice
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on July 6th, 2011
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Buy Now
Brazil Gourmet Guava Nectar case of 6/10oz Bottles

Allen's Tropical Grove Mango

Allen's Tropical Grove Mango

The first thing I noticed about this was the kind of odd packaging, it being in a small carton, with a screw top lid, kind of like a medium sized orange juice container. Upon opening, I was pleased that this wasn't like mango nectar (which tends to be heavy, and overly sugary), it passed the smell test, and it was a nice orange color. All seemed well, and at first it was, the initial taste was awesome, until I swallowed it. Then came a strange mild body odor taste (which you can get with a unripe mango). As I continued to drink it, the taste got more and more powerful. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn't get over the after taste. It has hints of grape and peach, which doesn't help the taste at all. Its only plus is that it's cheap (about a dollar), but I still have half of it left and its been a week and a half. I would pass on this if I were you.

Country
Canada
Categories
Juice
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Allen's 25% Real Mango Juice Case Pack 12

Crush Soda Mousse Cream Soda

Crush Soda Mousse Cream Soda

Growing up in Buffalo, going to Canada was no big deal at all. It was closer than most suburbs and all you needed was a photo ID to get in the country. On one of my first trips there, I came across a bottle of pink cream soda. I love cream soda, so it really intrigued me. After the first sip, I fell in love immediately. It became a staple for every trip to Canada after that (as well as 'all dressed' flavored chips and Coffee Crisp (before I was vegan)).

It had been far too long since I had a bottle of soda mousse. It is impossible to find in the states, and Portland is not conveniently located 20 minutes from the border. Two weeks ago as I was planning to come to the Chicago Zine Fest, my friend Amy Leigh from Toronto asked if I wanted her to bring me anything from the Great White North. I took her up on the offer and requested a bag of all dressed chips and a bottle of soda mousse. Not only did she deliver on her offer, she brought two of each! I couldn't dream up a better friend.

The taste is just as I remembered it, truly amazing. It's not the creamiest cream soda, but it's really smooth and delicious. My mind is trying to play tricks on me and think that it has a hint of strawberry flavor, but I think it's just due to the pink color. Maybe it's a good thing that I can't buy this at any store, because it's a wonderful treat every few years.

Website
http://www.crushsoda.com
Country
Canada
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on March 28th, 2011
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Pink Energy Sugar Free Pink Grapefruit

Pink Energy Sugar Free Pink Grapefruit

I recently moved back to Buffalo from living in Portland, OR for 2 years. When I got back, fellow Thirsty Dude Jay gave me some drinks from his stash to get my queue going. He pawned this drink off on me, presumably because he wasn't looking forward to it. I don't blame him, it has all the characteristics of a horrible energy drink: no flavor listed, company you've never heard of, diet/sugar free/0 calories, bad artwork, etc... Oh, the pull-tab says "buzz" on it too. Ugg.

After a little research on their website, I found out this is pink grapefruit flavored (or should I say flavoured since this is a Canadian product?) This was good news to me since, as I've said many times, I love grapefruit flavoured drinks. But it's still a diet energy drink so I was still skeptical.

Here is my thought process after opening it:
Hmm, smells like grapefruit and not like chemicals.
*takes first sip*
Definitely tastes like grapefruit, now lets wait for the chemical aftertaste.
*it never comes*
Wait, really?
*takes another, bigger sip*
This diet energy drink is awesome! It tastes like Squirt and doesn't taste gross at all. After a half dozen sips, I already feel energized and can't wait to be productive the rest of the night. Once again, the fine folks of Canada have made a great product.

Website
http://www.damgoodenergy.com/
Country
Canada
Sweetener
Sucralose
Categories
Diet, Energy Drink
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on May 28th, 2011
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Vintage Soda Orange Cream

Vintage Soda Orange Cream

I saw Jimmy Eat World play last night. I've been a fan of them for many years, but had never seen them live. Being the music nerd I am, I found their set lists for this tour so I knew what to expect. It was a good mixture of Bleed American, Clarity and Futures, with a splash of Chase This Light and Invented.

They started the set with "Bleed American" followed by "A Praise Chorus", which was their standard opening on this tour. What came next, I wasn't expecting at all. "Today is the 10th anniversary of the release of Bleed American so we're going to play the whole album". The show I already knew was going to be good, just became amazing!

What does this have to do with this pop? That is exactly how I feel about this orange cream. Jason has given two other flavors by Vintage Soda great reviews, so when Mike gifted me this can (because he doesn't like orange cream soda. Crazy, huh?) I knew I was in for a treat. The first sip was good, tasted like a standard orange cream. It wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd sip that it hit me: this has a tangerine taste to it! Sure enough, tangerine extract is in the ingredients after orange extract.

Call me crazy, but I love tangerines more than oranges. In addition to the citrus medley, it has a really nice vanilla taste. It's not the smoothest orange cream, but it compliments the tangerine/orange flavor so well. To top it off, this soda is clear and is made with real sugar which is great seeing as they actually live by their "100% Natural" label, unlike some drinks.

Website
http://www.vintagesoda.ca/
Country
Canada
Sweetener
Natural Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
5/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on June 2nd, 2011
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Rage Shot Tropical Punch

Rage Shot Tropical Punch

Jimmy was a huge Rage Against The Machine fan. He got into them when he was in high school. Right around the time Evil Empire came out. He thought every other band paled in comparison. He loved them so much; he got "Bombtrack" tattooed in old English on his stomach. All of his friends tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn't listen.

When RATM reunited last year, he booked the first ticket to LA he could. There was no way he was going to miss this show. He also brought along a case of these Rage energy shots. He thought the band secretly endorsed it. The company even sent them a copy of their masthead to prove Zach De La Rocha didn't have a hand in their product, but he still thought it was true. He thought this all the way until he met Zach before the concert.

Being the crafty person he is, Jimmy found out where the band was eating before the show and introduced himself to them mid burrito. He told them how big of a fan he was, showed them his tattoo, and then asked if they would sign his box of energy shots. Zach laughed and told him, just like everyone else, that they had nothing to do with the company and refused to sign it. He then went on some diatribe about the indigenous people of Canada (where the drink is made), but Jimmy was in tears and ran out. His dreams had been shattered.

What better way to drown those tears than to drink the entire case of Rage energy shots. One after another, he drank them. Each one tasting just like the last did, fruit punch Kool Aid energy drink. The taste never changed, and never left his mouth for months after that night. He also had a heart attack from all that caffeine.

So let that be a lesson for everyone. Rage Against The Machine would never own an energy drink company, and don't ever interrupt Zach De La Rocha when he's eating a burrito.

Website
http://www.rageliquidenergy.com/
Country
Canada
Sweetener
Sucralose
Categories
Diet, Energy Drink, Shot
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on December 31st, 2011
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Buy Now
RAGE SHOT, Fruit Punch, 2oz bottles,12-Pack

Pop Shoppe Got the Blues Raspberry Soda

Pop Shoppe Got the Blues Raspberry Soda

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True raspberry soda love in all thy sons command.
With carbonated hearts we see cans rise,
The True North cold and delicious!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we drink the soda for thee.
God keep our soda glorious and free!
O Canada, we drink the soda for thee.
O Canada, we drink the soda for thee.

Translation: This blue raspberry soda is amazing, one of the best I’ve ever had. Other countries take note: Canada knows how to make delicious soda.

Website
http://www.thepopshoppe.com/
Country
Canada
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on December 31st, 2012
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