Bubba Pure Energy: Solar Eclipse
After trying the Bubba Pure Energy Red Flare, I was really excited for this version. I saved it for last, as I get the most excited about the possibility of finding an original Monster Energy clone.
Based on the green color on the can, and that it doesn't signify it is sugar free or state anything different, I thought it was trying to copy the original Monster.
After cracking open the can, the taurine smell is immediately noticeable. I had high hopes for this.
Pouring it into the glass produced a nice carbonated champagne effect with heavy bubbles that stayed for a while before dissipating.
I was expecting a green tinted liquid to come pouring out, but the color golden amber instead. It had strong notes of taurine and an almost sickly sweetness to it.
My first impression was that it was was not Monster. It was somehow off. It definitely did not hit the comparative mark that their Red Flare version did.
The taste isn't bad, but it's not really good either. It's sweet to the point that it makes this chilled beverage taste warm. Looking at the ingredients reveals that it's sweetened not only with HFCS, but also sucralose. That's what I was tasting, was the sucralose cutting through the HFCS. That's saying something if one sweetener can cut through another sweetener.
I did enjoy this drink to some degree, but as I kept drinking it I really wished I had an original Monster Energy instead. The aftertaste does not leave anything unpleasant, as sometimes artificially sweetened drinks do. About 30 minutes after drinking the last sip, my stomach wasn't upset, but just had that too-much-sugar feeling. I don't know if that's from the HFCS or the sucralose.
Overall, it wasn't terrible. It was drinkable, just way too sweet. If I was buying Bubba Pure Energy only, I would reach for the Red Flare can instead, which mimics Monster Energy Ultra Zero perfectly. The Solar Eclipse version doesn't hit it's mark of being an original Monster clone.
For what this cost, you can often find Monster for only $.50 more. If drinking once in a while, I would rather spend the extra money on a Monster. If daily drinking and needing to cut costs, I think there are better options out there.
Where to Buy: Save A Lot
I wouldn't buy again, but would try again with a friend. I would rather have something else. If it's the only thing around, it will suffice and I would still drink it and enjoy it as the only option.
Here are a few bonus images of the older version of the can from I don't know how long ago. I had a box of old cans in the garage I was saving for some purpose. Also, these are the new photo format going forward, I upgraded my light box since I took the original photos above.
My wife surprised me this weekend with a breakfast run to Wawa. I went with her and perused the energy drinks. I decided to give the new Reign brand a try.
Reign is Monster Energy's new brand. According to Reign, this product is aimed at fitness, active lifestyles and is better for you than other energy drinks. They state zero calories, zero sugar and zero artificial flavors and colors, all while still loading each can with 300mg of caffeine. Reign also has a different energy supplement mix than Monster.
What does all this mean? Not a thing to those of us who just enjoy drinking them!
The cans stand out on the shelf, like a phalanx of energy, protecting you from other sub-par brands. It's easy to their sharp design with bold contrasts among other brands. The cans have a raised texture to them as well, and feel like the Monster Ultra cans in your hand.
I had no idea what any of the flavors were, so I just grabbed two that seemed appealing. The first one I am tasting is Melon Mania.
After cracking open the can, I immediately smelled Jolly Rancher - maybe watermelon, maybe sour apple.
I didn't know they were not using any artificial colors, so we were guessing what bright fun color it might be and were disappointed that it was perfectly clear.
Having a clear drink really messes with the flavor if you can see it. Drinking right from the can won't matter as much, as there's no visual aspect aside from the can design to persuade your taste buds.
It was well-carbonated and bubbled nicely when poured.
My first impression was that this was a watermelon Jolly Rancher. It changed a little with each sip as I tried to pinpoint the exact flavors. It shifted more towards watermelon combined with sour apple Jolly Rancher, like a Jolly Rancher cocktail.
The flavor was soft and artificially sweet tasting from the sucralose. There wasn't a crispness to the taste. I definitely prefer energy drinks that are sharp and crisp on the tongue.
I had my wife try a few sips as well. Her initial reactions are always entertaining as she does not like the taste or smell of energy drinks.
After her first swig she said it smelled fake and had a nondescript "what is in this?" bubbly flavor. Then she said, " No, this tastes like the dentist's teeth cleaning polish. You know the pina colada flavored one?"
She followed up a few minutes later with, "It's coating my tongue! BLECH! I'm going back to my coffee!"
About 20 minutes later, I got the wake up effect. I was really tired, having only slept four hours that night, so this was a good test to see what the caffeine jolt would do. I suddenly felt very alert within a few seconds time. My legs started bouncing and I got very chatty and started talking my wife's ear off. My eyelids felt like someone was pulling them wider open.
I wouldn't say this effect was native to this particular drink, but mostly because I just drank 300mg of caffeine in one sitting.
While I plan to try the rest of these flavors over time, I don't know if I would pick Reign over the original Monster. I think that I might pick Reign over the Monster Ultra lineup as it offers more descriptive flavors and is only slightly better for you.
Where to Buy: Nearly Anywhere
Cost: $2ish/can ($2 for $4.25 seems to be the new price of energy drinks as of this writing)
I would only buy this again if I was reaching for a Monster Ultra. I prefer the original Monster flavor over all else, though.
Bubba Pure Energy:Red Flare
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.