On caffeinated beers

The title of this post refers to this article that reviews three energy drink "beers" (You got beer in my Red Bull! You got Red Bull in my beer!): Budweiser B-to-the-E, Tilt also from Anheuser-Busch, and Sparks from Steel Brewing Company.

Of the three products I tried, only Budweiser E is a beer at face value. Tilt (another Anheuser Bush product) and Sparks (Steel Brewing Company) bill themselves as a "premium malt beverage�." With ingredients including caffeine, gaurana, ginseng, taurine, and natural flavors in varying combinations, E is the only product that calls itself "a beer with something extra," although very small letters on the side of the Tilt can read "a flavored ale." Both the Sparks and Tilt also had "certified colors," whatever those are.


Of the three, only E has even slight beer characteristics, including a stale beer aroma, some light husky grain and corn aromas and a crystal clear, light straw color. Similarities fall off the cliff right there, though. E has a sweet, almost tropical fruit smell and the flavor is syrupy. Absent is the hop aroma, flavor or bitterness that defines most beers. Although light bodied, each product’s cloying sweetness made it seem fuller. E doesn’t list the alcohol content. Sparks weighs in at a significant six percent alcohol, and Tilt at a hefty 6.5 percent. By comparison, an American ale is considered strong when it exceeds six percent.


Sparks and Tilt share nothing with beer. Sparks poured day-glow orange with a brief, alien orange-green head that went flat quickly. Tilt was light, neon pumpkin orange with a dusty orange head and remnant lacing. I’m guessing the manufacturers intend consumers to gun this stuff straight out of the can because in the glass it looks like something that should be lubricating an engine. Maybe this is what "certified color" is all about. Sparks smelled like chewable baby aspirin. Tilt smelled like an orange creamsicle.

Anyway, I thought the review was rather amusing. I’ll avoid these types of drinks at all cost.

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