Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All IN Root Beer

Maybe it is the movie fan in me, but I find that many tasks in life go better with soundtracks. When walking through Seattle in the rain - it just does not seem right unless I have some good industrial-grunge to listen to. When flying across a city at night, nothing goes better than some nice electronic - spaciness in my ears while I gaze at the city lights through my airplane window. Same is true with drinks - as there are some experiences that are made complete with the right beverage. Football on TV requires beer - a bad variety that you could drink for four hours. A nice steak dinner requires more of a tall thick stout or porter - with a nice thick head and light carbonation. On long cold night where I need to work late - nothing perks the senses like a very strong hoppy IPA. And with card playing, if there is no tequila or bourbon, a strong powerful ale or malt Liquor will do very nicely. Card playing and beer go together like wine to chocolate. When your house is full of children, however, root beer with games of Go Fish, War and Garbage work too.

This is why it seemed a natural pairing between an energy drink devoted to card players and root beer seemed like an obvious choice - something to heighten your senses while complimenting the surroundings. Johnny Chan made sure of the pairing during the 2008 World Series of Poker Championships, getting an exclusive deal only allowing his All In Energy Drink into the WSOP. For those who did not want to drink energy drinks, All In also provided the players with All In Fortified Water ( not reviewed - but also for sale through their site) , a purified water with electrolytes, but uncaffeinated. Over 100,000 cans of the energy drink and 300,000 bottles of the water were served to players during the series. 10 time bracelet winner Chan is doing more than just being a spokesman for this energy drink, but has worked to put this brand in the spotlight for all who are into playing poker, or into watching it on TV. Unlike G33k B33r, where gaming and coding sessions aren't normally associated with root beer, Poker has a built in affinity for the flavor.

Taste:8
And fortunately, the flavor really works, for a sugar free drink. While certainly not a Virgil or even an A&W right fresh from the tap, it is certainly on par with most diet root beers you can find, strong with sarsaparilla and complex flavors - although the sucralose and Ace-K sweeteners come through very strongly. Of all the flavors of All In I have tried (I have reviewed the Citrus and Grape flavors too) the most tasty of them is this root beer - especially for the first couple of drinks. As you continue through this small 8oz can, the flavor does tend to get a little more sour, so I recommend just slamming this can in one or two drinks, so the flavor does not have time to settle. I would have liked this better if they went for less Root Beer Flavoring and used actual root beer ingredients, like molasses, vanilla, cloves and cinnamon, as this tasted pretty much the same as most diet root beers.

Nutrition/Buzz:7
This has basically the same nutrition as the other All In flavors. It has a very nice boost for a small can, around 80mg or so, estimating by the buzz it gave off. There are ingredients to help your mental facilities ( ginseng, astragalus, and schisandra), and all the Vitamin B and C you need in the day. I would say it is about as much boost as an average Red Bull clone. While not stellar, the addition of the nutrients and herbs does certainly give you an edge over Monsters and Red Bulls, where were not even allowed inside the WSOP.

Packaging:8
This is like the other cans, but the flames are brown to match the brown liquid inside. While there are the same great points in terms of style, there are the same negative elements to it as well. They devote a side of the can to nothing but promo text - and very goofy text at that. But they should turn their cap around, so the cool art would always face out to your opponent. While not amazing, the fonts are very poker-y, as well as the little heart, spade, club and diamond icons all over the can. The caffeine not being listed is also a drawback. There overall layout is nice though, and for card games, you really can not get much cooler than a dragon background and a big flaming poker chip.

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