The Casual Runner

Hammer Gels (More Flavors!)

Product Review: Hammer Gels
Finding the Tastiest Way to Fuel Up for Casual Running Adventure.

This is the latest installment in the Casual Runner Team’s look at products that can help you in your own Casual Running journey. For a look at our other product reviews, just click here

Energy gels are a very popular form of in-run fueling.  They are designed to be readily available carbs to help you keep your energy levels high and your muscles pumping during endurance races. We are continuing our search for great tasting fueling options. For this we assembled our crack panel of experts. You already know Candace, Tracy, and Mike, but we decided to include Tracy’s fiance Tim on this panel because, well, he would have been sad had we had all of the fun without him. We all tasted an assortment of flavors of Hammer Gels and shared our thoughts.

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Keep in mind, while these taste tests were conducted during a race weekend, we did them while sitting in the comfort of an apartment. Why? Well, it would have been hard to keep track of everyone’s thoughts while running. But, more importantly, you never want to try anything new or be surprised by a flavor (especially if its not to your liking) while in the middle of a race. In the end, we learned that this experiment was all about finding the flavor that fits your particular taste palate. Here are the results.

The Flavor Line Up

For this taste test we would each be sampling the same 4 flavors: Peanut Butter-Chocolate, Nocciola (Hazelnut-Chocolate), Peanut Butter, and Espresso (With caffeine). Why caffeine? – you may be asking? Some gels have caffeine in them to give you a little extra pep during the race. Now that we said that, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

If you want to see our thoughts on some of Hammer Gel’s other flavors, check out our earlier review.

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The Panel Weighs-In

Espresso (With caffeine) – 50 mg of caffeine

Tim was an instant fan, saying that, and we quote: “This smells amazing. This is so good. Delicious.” Mike had a different take, finding that the coloring was “black as death” and that, while the flavor was not bad, it left a bad aftertaste. He would steer clear of this one on race day.

Tracy found it to have almost a chocolate taste to it and she liked both the texture and the consistency.  She disagreed with Mike, saying that she did not find it to have a bad after taste at all and would use it in a race. Candace concurred with Tracy on all points.

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Nocciola (Hazelnut-Chocolate)

Candace did not like this one, finding that it had too gritty of a consistency. Tim said it tastes a little syrupy, not as smooth as the espresso. While he prefers the espresso, he would definitely use this in a race. Mike really liked it: “Great flavor. Good consistency. No bad aftertaste.” Tracy did not hold back: “I’m a huge fan of this. Reminds me of Nutella, which I eat straight from the jar.” Candace was the only one who said she would stay away from this one on race day while the other 3 said they would use it in a race.

 IMG_7579Peanut Butter

The reviews for this one were pretty consistent, Mike said it tastes more like an organic peanut butter than a Jiff or Skippy. Candace said that it tastes like the peanut butter syrup you would put on ice cream, which means she would use it if someone handed to her in a race.

Tracy was a little more reserved, declaring it to be “not bad,” but added that she would use it in a race. Tim said its tastes resembles the PB2 powdered peanut butter, and that it was “pretty good.”

Peanut Butter-Chocolate

Tracy instantly liked this one than the peanut buter but Candace did not taste the chocolate flavor at all. Conversely, Tim did not taste the peanut butter flavor, instead finding it like a non-sweet ice cream syrup.” Mike found it to be a smooth, easy flavor that he definitely liked.

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Ranking the Flavors

Of course we had to vote on the flavors. We each ranked them 1 to 4, with 1 being best and the lowest total score being declared the winner:

#4) Peanut Butter, 13 points: 3 (Candace), 4 (Tracy), 3 (Tim), 3 (Mike)

#3) Nocciola (Hazelnut-Chocolate), 12 points: 4 (Candace), 2 (Tracy), 4 (Tim), 2 (Mike)

#2) Peanut Butter-Chocolate, 8 points: 2 (Candace), 3 (Tracy), 2 (Tim), 1 (Mike)

#1) Espresso (with caffeine), 7 points: 1 (Candace), 1 (Tracy), 1 (Tim), 4 (Mike)

Well, there you have it. As you can see, the choice of gel flavor really does come down to personal taste. We hope we gave you something to chew on as you look for the best tasting flavors for your race day!

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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