There’s no law that says you have to drink White Claws. The bubbly hard seltzer is nearly synonymous with the category, but it’s hardly the most refreshing version on the market. White Claw has dominated, and essentially created, the hard seltzer craze that’s seen seemingly every beverage company come out with their own version. It’s so hectic now it’s hard to know who isn’t making one.
Sure its easy to pick up a pack of Claws, Truly and a smattering of AB InBev-owned seltzer brands, but there’s so much more out there to explore.
OK, so it’s an AB InBev brand. But it’s one that still has an air of independence to it — it’s from Hawaii after all. For starters, the variety pack has a POG (passionfruit, orange, guava) flavor, that’s unbeatable. The other three aren’t bad either: Starfruit-Lime, Strawberry Guava, and Tropical Punch. Truly one of the more refreshing collections of seltzers out there, with little artificial backend to it.
Michigan-based Founders Brewing has built an empire on its All Day IPA session beer and a portfolio of tastebud-busting barrel-aged beers. Now an agave-based seltzer has emerged and … it’s delicious. Be warned though, unlike the 100-calorie booze waters, Founders does add sugar to Mas Agave. The lime, grapefruit, and strawberry flavored seltzers do still come in at 110 calories.
As noted in the intro, pretty much every beverage company is putting out a seltzer now. Enter: Arizona. Famous for the giant convenience store ice teas and Arnold Palmers, the company couldn’t hold back from capitalizing on the seltzer craze. With flavors like Mucho Mango, Cherry Punch, Lemon and Grapefruit, it’s worth a shot.
Well, Hawaii has great refreshing flavors. Like Kona, Maui — an awesome brewery on its own — also launched a seltzer line complete with a POG flavor. The variety pack also includes Citrus, Acai and Dragon Fruit. Tropical flavors are a win-win in the seltzer game.
OK, this one is a bit of a novelty. The fast food chain Sonic touts its happy hour for refreshing slush beverages at its drive-thru’s. Why wouldn’t the eclectic flavors like Ocean Water translate to hard seltzers? Sonic unveiled two variety packs: Tropical and Citrus. A summer pool party gets a hair more fun with a goofy beverage like this.
A partnership between Harpoon Brewery and Polar Seltzer, this really tastes like it could just be another Polar can — because it’s made with Polar! Like a good non-alcoholic seltzer, the flavors are subdued and in the background, and the carbonation is just enough to tickle the tongue.
Topo Chico is a gem of a sparkling mineral water. While the hard seltzer isn’t served up in the brand’s nearly iconic tall green glass bottles, it’s tasty. Weirdly, the flavors — Tropical Mango, Tangy Lemon Lime, Strawberry Guava and Exotic Pineapple — aren’t syrupy but still are reminiscent of soda.
Oskar Blues is a quintessential craft brewery, so their foray into craft seltzer is a welcome sight. For starters, the branding is colorful and attractive with the Colorado Mountains prominent. Beyond that, the clean flavors of unique combinations help set Wild Basin apart. Some of those flavors? Strawberry Coconut, Mango Blueberry, Yumberry, Habanero Pina Colada, and Mango Mai Tai.
Ranch Water is probably the cocktail of 2021, traditionally made with tequila, lime, and Topo Chico. But brands are jumping into a canned version. Enter Lone River, a fast-growing canned Ranch Water seltzer brand that just entered 21 states. Pick up and try the variety pack with these agave-based seltzers that just make a whole lot of Texas sense: Original, Spicy (with jalapeño), Rio Red Grapefruit and Prickly Pear.
Wine brands are also entering the hard seltzer market, from budget wines like Barefoot to higher-end wine brands like The Duckhorn Portfolio. Decoy Premium Seltzer is a wine-based seltzer tht clocks in at 5.5% alcohol by volume and just 80 calories — lower than the fairly standard 100 per can for most seltzers. The flavors are interesting, too: Chardonnay with Clementine Orange, Sauvignon Blanc with Vibrant Lime, Rose with Black Cherry, and Chardonnay with Lemon & Ginger.
Willie’s will wet your whistle with a nice smooth seltzer made with real fruit. The line has tasty flavors like Ginger & Lemon and Pineapple & Lime, and since it says real fruit, a drinker can feel a little healthier. Willie’s sometimes gets funky, too, like with its Seltzer Unleashed: Juicy-Hazy-Hopped Seltzer. It’s the seltzer world’s spin on a big juicy hazy IPA, complete with mango, pineapple, guava, and lime and dry-hopped with citra and mosaic hops.
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