Sunday, January 24, 2016

Gridlock Ultra White Energy Drink (Aldi)


Definitely worth grabbing, if you can find one.
I’ve already taken a look at regular Gridlock (gross) and diet Gridlock (better)--now it’s time to take a gander at the most elusive member of the Gridlock family…Ultra White.

I say it’s “elusive” because finding this at my local Aldi is hit-or-miss, to the extent that I thought it was only a Special Buy--my wife and I picked up a couple of cans about two months ago, and haven’t seen them since.  But then on a recent trip, around two months later, there were three cans of this left on the shelf, so we grabbed them all.  Curiously, the price tag only alludes to the regular and diet versions, with no mention at all of “Ultra White”.  Maybe this problem is just limited to our local store, but if it is a consistent offering, it seems to be sold out more often than not.

I would not have even known what product this was ripping off, had it not been for my wife--she tried the national brand version, and fell in love with it.  I guess it’s pretty similar in appearance to the product it’s knocking off, even down to the etched, textured can (which is a nice touch).  Unlike her, I’ve never actually tried the national brand, so I can’t compare the two, but I do have taste buds, and can at least review it under its own merits.

When I first cracked the can open, I was pleasantly surprised by how much carbonation there was--it seems to be a lot more than similar energy drinks, which I feel are more in the realm of “lightly” carbonated.  This has almost as much fizz as a typical soda pop; the bubbles quickly rose to the top, creating a sizzling sound that was much stronger than most energy drinks.  This could be a problem for some, like those that might like chugging their energy beverages down, but I thought it was a welcome change and a breath of fresh air from the norm.  The smell reminds me of a certain lime and grapefruit soda that is geared toward adults--one that could fall off the face of the Earth, and very few would even notice (I actually happen to like it, but you never really hear about it, and so I forget that it exists).  Not surprisingly, the taste follows suit, offering up a crisp, refreshing citrusy flavor that tastes very similar to the “upscale” soda.  Again, no complaints from me on this, either--it goes down so easy and smooth, that it’s easy to forget it’s an energy drink.

As all of you probably know by now, I hate diet drinks of just about any kind.  As a rule, they always tend to have a fakey, artificial sweetnes to them, and/or a terrible metallic aftertaste.  But this surprisingly doesn’t have either of those things.  There is a tartness to it, but unlike the regular Gridlock, it’s not so exaggerated so as to become offensive and nearly undrinkable.  It’s just a nice blast of tartness that’s welcome, and adds depth to the flavor.  Honestly, this might be the best zero sugar/zero calorie energy drink I’ve ever had, and that should be saying something.

At $.99 for a 16 oz. can, the price is on par with the other items in the Gridlock energy line.  While a dollar is a good price point for this kind of product, most of the drinks around here end up tasting like garbage. Thankfully, this is the best offering I’ve had yet from the Gridlock brand name.  I just wish I knew if it was something that’s offered all the time, or just as a Special Buy, or Seasonal Special Buy; I don’t want to get my hopes up for something that might only occasionally be around.  As far as I’m concerned, they can axe everything else in the line, and only carry this, and I would be more than happy.

Overall: 7.5/10.  Despite it being a zero sugar/calorie energy drink, there’s a surprisingly heavy amount of flavor in Gridlock Ultra White energy drink, and without the disgusting artificial taste of most diet energy drinks.  It has a grapefruity taste, which is different for an this kind of beverage, and also has a lot of carbonation--it’s almost like a soda masquerading as an energy drink.  Caffeine content is pretty low, so this isn’t something that will get you jacked up, or something that will energize you for long stretches of time, but for a quick pick-me-up, this provides a decent amount of energy, and a whole lot for flavor, for a relatively small price.

NOTE: After doing a little research (i.e., going to Aldi way too frequently), I'm ready to announce that this appears to be a year-round offering.  I did glimpse one lady ahead of me on one visit purchasing (no exaggeration) TWO CASES of these at once, so that seems to answer my question: it looks like these are just really popular, at least at my preferred location.  Curiously, the signs still don't even mention these, so unless you know to look for them (and I generally have to dig to find any), they can be easy to miss.

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