Energy drinks don’t have a great reputation in gaming circles, largely down to the high sugar content and general assorted chemical gunk that gets mixed in with them to give you a bit of pep in your step. So when Beyond NRG came to my attention, with its natural ingredients, total lack of sugar but the expected mountain of caffiene (taking this well away from being a kid’s drink) I was interested to see how it turned out. Would a seemingly less abrasive drink give that extra boost in energy and alertness that the folks at Beyond NRG would like you to believe, all without shredding your stomach lining?
If you want the short version, yes. Beyond NRG does a great job of not leaving you with a headache-inducing combination of caffiene hit and sugar high. The caffiene content is pretty epic – several cups of coffee in each full drink – but as the whole point of this is to give you a bit of a boost in your alertness and concentration levels, that’s what you sign up for with any kind of energy drink. There are things that I wasn’t overly sure about, but as you’ll find out in this review the outcome was very positive.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the flavours. We were sent a discovery pack which contained a range of different flavour sachets, most of which were surprisingly nice. Strawberry, Watermelon and Lime was probably my favourite out of the set, with the others being Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Wild Forest Fruits, Mango Pineapple and Orange, and Melon Grape and Raspberry. In terms of actual flavours, I was pretty surprised. I’ve never been a fan of energy drinks, partly because of how sugary they are (that’s not a moral choice, I just don’t like sugary drinks) but also because most of them taste horrific. These were quite nice though, although it was pretty obvious the sweeteners had made a strong appearance. I struggled to drink a whole drink because of that, although when I used less powder to the water it helped quite a bit (even though that also waters down the caffiene, which kind of defies the point). It may be that those people used to drinking “normal” Coke or other energy drinks won’t think twice about this, but as someone who so rarely has sweet drinks it came as quite an obvious hit. But generally they were enjoyable drinks, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed they were energy drinks if I’d been presented with them along with no explanation.
Making them up is as easy as mixing water with the powder, which comes in the afrorementioned sachets or in a larger tub (which makes it easier to choose your own strength). Powder, water, mix, done. But what if storring stuff isn’t your idea of fun? Who wants to use a spoon when making a drink? Well, step forward the Vortex Shaker. This is a battery operated shaker-type of container that, when you press the button, mixes the water and powser together by creating a bewilderingly fascinating vortex inside the shaker. When you first see it and notice the small plastic spinning part at the bottom you’ll wonder how it’ll ever mix anything together, but moments after you turn it on it’s created a crazy vortex in the water which mixes things up perfectly. Not only that, when it comes to cleaning you just put in the warmer water and a splash of washing up liquid and press the button again – hey presto, one clean shaker. If you’re likely to have a few of these, I’d definitely recommend it – not only is it very cool to watch, it’s a nice thing to drink out of as well.
So what else is in these drinks that make them different? Well, there’s a natural source of caffiene, putting one up on some other energy drinks that use synthetic caffiene-type chemicals. But in addition to that there’s a whole host of other natural plant-based ingredients that act as something more akin to a vitamin supplement than anything else. I spent some time raeding about some of these ingredients to see if official scientific info backed up the claims of providing improved brain activity, enhanced focus and so on. For each of the suspiciously-named ingredients, the claims absolutely checked out. I found numerous sources stating the positive effects of these as natural ways to increase certain body or brain functions, and each was labelled as totally safe by professional medical organisations. That’s a pretty good thing to have up your sleeve when people start to question the long words used on the packaging, that’s for sure. And as a result of all of this being natural, you won’t feel the sudden crash you often find with sugar-fuelled drinks, instead having a far more gradual curve of the drink’s effects wearing off after a few hours.
I was really impressed with Beyond NRG. I don’t think I’ll be chugging one down every day, and I still think they could do with taking their foot off the sweetener pedal when making the powder up, but the lack of sugar, enjoyable taste and knowing the plant-based ingredients are actually doing better things to you while you enjoy your next big gaming session certainly turn this away from more traditional energy drinks.
After some extra zing in your gaming? This could be your best option.
Find out more at beyondnrg.com