Summit Gridlock Original Flavor Energy Drink

A can of Gridlock energy drink, sitting perched atop other such drinks, at Aldi
A Gridlock energy drink, in its native habitat.

One thing Aldi seems to be pretty well stocked on, are energy drinks.  They have a private label version for every can size and preference, from the small cans that “give you wings” (see above review), to the tiny multiple-hour energy shots; however you like to stay energized, they have you covered.  Well, what if your preference are the 16 oz. “tall can” energy beverages?  I’m happy to say they have that, too, in the form of Gridlock.

I actually prefer these larger cans.  Whereas most people seem to down them all in one sitting, I can generally make them last two days, which makes them a better value than spending two dollars on one serving.  Well, we just saw in the above review that the small-canned energy drinks are stellar representatives of the beverages they were trying to emulate, so how do the tall cans stack up?

The smell is very strong, but inviting.  It has a “typical” energy drink scent, but even stronger, with a little hint of tartness that’s missing from most.  I was pretty eager to dive in at this point, and that is just what I did.

The taste starts of pleasant and “familiar”, but then suddenly takes a turn for the worse.  There’s a tartness (hinted at by the scent) that sneaks in - but it’s not a pleasant “citrus tart” - it’s like a strong blast of fake sweetener that is not pleasant on the tongue.  It tastes similar to if you boiled a shoe into a liquid, and took a swig…it’s very off-putting.  Once you get it down, you’re still not out of the woods just yet, because there’s another taste you have to deal with…the aftertaste.  It’s very similar to the aftertaste you get after drinking something diet, a metallic flavor that sits in the back of your throat.  Only, this isn’t diet.  According to the label, there are no artificial sweeteners, with “sugar” being the only listed sweetening agent (and second on the ingredient list), so it’s weird that the sweetness goes down so awkwardly.

Onto the whole energy thing, which is the point of drinking these:  It did give me a kick that lasted for a couple hours, but that of course leads to the typical crash, so I usually feel even worse off than I did before swigging it.  Of course, that’s pretty standard with these kinds of drinks, especially ones where sugar is so high on the ingredients list, so it’s pretty much to be expected.  What it all boils down to is a matter of taste, and this one just completely, horrendously missed the mark for me.

Overall: 4/10.  It does what it’s supposed to do - give you a kick of energy - but the taste has an overly-aggressive “rubbery” tartness that I find to be a complete turn-off.  It’s like liquefied shoe remnants mixed with a blast of artificial sweetener that gives way to a diet-like metallic aftertaste, only this isn’t anywhere near a diet drink, being loaded with actual sugar.  Honestly, this has to be one of the worst-tasting energy drinks I’ve tried, which is truly shocking; Aldi’s other offerings have been pretty much spot-on.  Even at 99 cents (the price was recently raised from 89 cents), I’d pass this one by and stick to either their Red Thunder, or energy shot options.