Thirsty? Feeling a little worn out after a stressful day? Why not reach for a Red Bull?
Contrary to popular belief, you have two very distinct options here: you could grab a can of the omnipresent energy drink and get a boost from its potent mix of caffeine and cough-syrupy sweetness.
Or you could reach for a mammoth 40-ouncer of Red Bull beer and drown your sorrows in a tsunami of budget-priced malted amnesia nectar.
Well before Red Bull gave people wings, its hoppy predecessor gave people slurred speech and hangovers.
Red Bull beer is still available in Canada and the United States and, depending on what kind of day you’ve had, it might cure what ails you better than any energy drink.
So we’ve created this handy comparison guide to help you decide which kind of Red Bull — energy drink or beer — is right for you.
Country of Origin
Energy drink: Austria, via Thailand.
Energy drink: Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by a Thai energy drink called Krating Daeng and modified it to suit the tastes of westerners (more carbonation, a bit less sweetness) and partnered with Chaleo Yoovidhya to found Red Bull GmbH in Austria in 1987.
Beer: A few years after 700 workers went on strike at the Milwaukee Schlitz Plant, the beleaguered company was acquired by Stroh Brewery in Detroit. Sometime around there, they started making Red Bull. Hey, why not?
Energy Drink: 4.6 billion cans in 2011, in 161 countries spanning the globe.
Beer: A tad less than that, in two countries spanning North America.
Energy drink: Berry Robatussin, sweetened with essence of Mountain Dew and jet fuel. Scrumptious with Jägermeister.
Beer: Not relevant.
When to consume:
Energy drink: When feeling fatigued, unfocused or promoting your upcoming skydive from space.
Beer: Whenever you goddamned feel like it, no matter what the nagging missus says. You could quit any time you wanted — you just choose not to. Everyone should just get off your back about it — are we right or are we right?
Energy drink: original 8.4 oz. can, larger 12 oz. can, giant can mounted on VW Beetle.
Beer: 40 oz. bottle, 24 oz. can and, eventually, a 1.6 gallon toilet bowl.
Energy Drink: caffeine, taurine, glucoronalactone, B-group vitamins, sucrose and glucose.
Beer: Fermented stuff, liquid.
Energy drink: Original, Sugarfree, Cola, Total Zero, Red Edition, Blue Edition, Silver Edition, F1 Edition
Energy drink: alertness, concentration, reaction time, wingedness.
Beer: belching, comical stumbling, emotional numbness.
Recommended Drinking Vessel
Energy Drink: Straight outta the can, so everyone can see that you’re so productive and ambitious that you’ll fight through the fatigue of your busy, stressful life by guzzling energy drinks.
Beer: Brown paper bag.
Energy drink: A pair of red bulls (duh) charging head-first toward one another in front of a big yellow sun, implying some kind of impending bovine supernova.
Beer: A muscular red bull with flaring nostrils and rippling muscles. Or a beautiful lady in a slinky red dress, depending on how much you’ve already had to drink.
Energy drink: Red Bull Gives You Wings
Beer: Red Bull, A Schlitz Malt Liquor Brand
Energy drink: “The brand power that this company has created is amazing…. (but) it is truly painful to drink.” — BevNET.com
Beer: “This is the stuff domestic violence is made of; pours a clear pee yellow w/a tinge of kidney-failure orange. If you are looking for a gritty beer that makes you feel like you live in the basement of Tom Waits’ speakeasy, you can’t go wrong with Red Bull.” — BeerAdvocate.com
Recommended serving size
Energy drink: No more than two cans a day, give or take, according to the company’s guidelines.
Beer: Enough to forget about her.