Gridlock Extreme Red Energy Drink (Aldi)

Can of Gridlock Extreme Red Energy Drink, from Aldi
"Extreme red" tells me nothing about what this is supposed to taste like...

One thing I can’t stand, and I’ve mentioned this at least one previous time through the years, is when energy drink companies name their product after a color, with no allusion to the actual taste contained therein. I guess “Red Bull” might be partially to blame for that, but I’m not really referring to the name at the “brand” level - I’m more referring to the name of the product itself. Another example of this apparent trend is Gridlock, who here deliver up a beverage known only as “Extreme Red”. 

Now, I don’t even know what “red” tastes like to begin with, let alone what an extreme version of the color would entail. Strawberry? Cherry? Those are varying shades of red. Oh wait, but it’s “extreme”, too: Human blood? Chili peppers? “Extreme” strawberry? 

Well, after having a few sips, I can say - with definitive certainty - that I still have no idea what the hell this is supposed to taste like. It’s very, very sweet, but it doesn’t quite hit the same “sweet” notes on the tastebuds as, say, a candy would. Instead, it just tastes like a candy machine broke and the contents fell into a vat of regular Gridlock, and they just rolled with whatever flavor came out of the accident. Another blogger says it’s a vague flavor like a “fruit punch”, but I love fruit punch, and this ain’t it...maybe it’s a fruit punch without character - a lifeless impostor of a fruit punch that’s been sapped of its soul by some nefarious villain looking to test out his new “Lifesucker” device on an inanimate object, before attempting it on a human subject. It’s almost like they intentionally took out any familiar flavors at all, for a reason that I can’t possibly 

This stuff isn’t very good, but it is good enough that I get it a couple times a year, simply because it’s cheap, somewhat different, and (somewhat) drinkable. There’s also no real hints of bitter taste, or weird metallic aftertaste, two things that seem to plague most energy drinks; it goes down relatively smooth. There is a light weirdness to the flavor as it goes down - probably brought on by the It would go down smoother if it tasted better, but at least I didn’t have to choke it down. That’s actually saying a lot, considering this is completely sugar free (although I’m sure I’m paying for it somewhere else in the ingredients list). 

In terms of performance, it works. I like my caffeine a little bit more...concentrated, so the 140 mg contained (IN THE WHOLE CAN?) is a lot less than what I’m used to (although, to be fair, I don’t usually drink full cans of the “heavier” stuff all in one day), but it still gave me a noticeable kick that seemed to dip after about 30 or so minutes. Again, the kick wasn’t all that intense, but it was enough to be noticeable, while the sugar-free nature prevents noticeable tiredness or any form of “sugar crash” after.

One other thing I will note, which is entirely just a personal anecdote and may vary wildly from the experience of others: It gives me a paranoid energy rather than a productive one...that is, I tend to feel more nervous and jittery than in a rush to get things done, so I don’t necessarily like that. I’ve actually noticed this is the case with most non-shot energy drinks...maybe my body is just so used to concentrated doses that it doesn’t know what to do with smaller amounts of caffeine stretched out into 16 oz. cans. But hey, at least that's a sign that it's working! It’s also the reason I mostly stick to shots.

Overall: 5.5/10. Nowhere near my list of favorite energy drinks, but it goes down easy with minimal weird aftertastes, costs just $.99 per 16 oz. can (a price it has maintained despite the cost of energy products seemingly going up everwhere else), and it works to give me a little boost of energy when I need it. It’s more of a “paranoid” energy than one that gets me focused, but I’ve noticed that’s the case with most canned energy beverages that I’ve tried the past couple years. I don’t get these very often at all, but I grab them from time-to-time when I’m tired of everything else, which has to count for something.