Though the title of this article sounds like one of Paul WS Anderson’s terrible Resident Evil movies, we’re not talking about Adventures in Mila Jovovich’s Asscrack today. No, rather than talking about a complete betrayal of something good from Jew’s childhood, we’re talking about the resurrection of something great from mine. After all these years, Surge is back.
Yes, Surge. World’s greenest beverage. All-night N64 fuel. The soda that my mom worried was doing permanent damage to my brain every time I drank it. It showed up in 1997 in a whirlwind of extreme sports bullshit and free branded swag, and then left us just as quickly six years later. It was essentially the late 90’s/early 2000’s in canned form, and while we here at RBX don’t buy into the “90’s kid” hype, for me no soda has ever measured up to its deliciousness (though Vault was a decent try).
In a lot of ways, Surge (along with contemporaries Josta and Jolt Cola) was the forerunner to the modern energy drink. Though Mountain Dew had more caffeine and filled a similar role on the market, it was a soda created by two Tennessee hicks desperate for something to mix their moonshine with. While Mountain Dew fell ass-backwards into XTREEM NRGY by chance, Surge was designed from the ground-up to give 2XTREEM 5NERGY to its drinker using the magic of maltodextrin and other additives. These additives gave Surge its ridiculously smooth finish and addictive drinkability.
The interesting thing about this is that when Coke rolled out Vault as a Surge successor in 2006, they swapped out the maltodextrin for more modern additives seen in other energy drinks. While this decision probably made Vault a better energy drink, it also made it a worse soda. Vault tasted almost exactly like Surge, but there was a cloying, sticky mouthfeel at the end of every sip that Surge, thanks to maltodextrin, did not have.
This is why I mainlined Surge so much back in the day, and why I’m doing the same now. I said to myself when I ordered the stuff from Amazon that I would ration it out, but as soon as I got my hands on it the old habits kicked in. And Jesus, was it difficult to get ahold of. Surge was rereleased as an Amazon exclusive on September 15th of this year, being used as a testbed for Coke’s new micromarketing strategy of selling niche products on-demand directly to consumers. I’d say the test has been a rousing success, as it sold out within minutes at launch, then again when it restocked a few weeks later, and then again same-day after another restock that I was lucky to get in on only due to fellow Surge addict and friend of the site Monica watching the Amazon page like a hawk. Hopefully this means that Surge will be sticking around for good, even if only through this Amazon direct-buy program.
But now we have to ask the big question: does it live up to the nostalgia? After all, a lot of things that I liked back in the day were utter shit. The verdict on Surge? Hell yes it lives up to the nostalgia. Coke made a point to use the exact same formula, and that formula holds up well. If all I had to drink was Surge for the rest of my life, I’d be fine with it (until Type 2 Diabetes set in). It’s legitimately delicious. The packaging is the original green and red explosion, with the same shitty Mr. Pibb-era scrawled font. I don’t think that a company could get away with releasing a soda that looks like this in the modern era, but like N64-era graphics its ugliness is just part of the charm. The only change that Coke made was to upsize the can from 12 ounces to 16, a move that both makes it easier to ship and subtly nods towards Surge’s role as the original energy soda. The soda itself is still the same incredibly deep Hulk-piss green that destroyed countless Pokemon T-shirts eons ago. It’s a living time capsule, and if I hadn’t gotten the package off of the UPS truck myself, I would swear that it was dropped off by a modified DeLorean.
Surge is back, and it’s as amazing as ever.