I was out grocery shopping for supplies for an out of town buddy that was visiting us for the week. This was also the same buddy I used to work with and that started tasting all of these crazy energy drinks with me several years ago. We were walking down the soda aisle at my local Save-A-Lot and he spotted a new energy drink!
It was Save-A-Lot's own Bubba brand, which I think is a hilarious name for a tasty brand. They have excellent Mountain Dew, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper knockoffs, and their root beer and ginger ale are also excellent. I had high hopes after seeing this, so we got a couple cans of each flavor energy drink to try.
After chilling overnight, we tried the first one: Red Flare.
Immediately we were impressed with it's not-awful flavor. In fact, it was pretty good.
The first smell after opening the can was an artificially-sweet berry flavor. We were shocked at the color after pouring into our glasses. The color was the color of pink lemonade. I tried to adjust the colors as best I could in the image above to correctly show the color in the glass.
On first taste I was impressed. It tasted like something I had before, something else that was good. It wasn't until I had another can a couple of weeks later that I realized this tasted almost exactly like Monster Zero Ultra, which you may have seen in the grey and white etched and frosted can. This is a good thing, as this is a very popular drink among the no-calorie energy drink connoisseurs. Save-A-Lot did a top notch job in replicating this one. To note: I have not tried many of the new Monster Ultra line in the past years, and I don't remember what the Ultra Blue tasted like. I recently had the original Zero Ultra, so that is all I am going off of at this time for taste comparison.
This drink is sweetened with sucralose, so it has the much sweeter, more mild taste vs. other artificial sweeteners. The carbonation was excellent, it was as it should be for a Monster clone. There was no bad aftertaste. I was actually sad when I drank the last drop.
After letting it sit for a while, I did not get any noticeable side effects, such as jitteriness or headaches. While I used to drink these daily, I am down to one energy drink a week now, so these should effect me more than if I was still daily drinking these. About an hour after drinking this, I felt slightly more peppy and energetic. The Monster brand drinks give me the same feeling, so this is something I actually look for and enjoy. Not too strong, not too weak, and the taste is excellent.
While I do enjoy Monster Ultra, I prefer the original green Monster. If I was reaching for a $2.50 can of Monster Zero Ultra, and this was sitting next to it for $.99, I would not hesitate to buy Bubba Pure Energy Red Flare over Monster Zero Ultra. That is really saying something, since energy drinks are so difficult to get just right.
I am not sure who actually produces this drink, as there are no manufacturer names on the can. It states it is distributed by Save-A-Lot. Their regular Bubba soft drink line is made by Cott Beverages, which was sold to Refresco in 2018. Refresco appears to manufacture energy drinks, so I inquired with them to find out more information on this product. If I find out after this article is published, I will update it when I know more.