Discoveries from Our Blind Hard Seltzer Taste Test
By Mary Small
As people become more mindful of their health and consumption habits, coolers are increasingly being lined with hard seltzers, rather than the typical crisp beers. If you stuck your hand into the ice and fished around, I’d place a hefty bet that you’d pull out a White Claw before you find an ice-cold lager. Your hand might even turn blue before you find that dated brew. As people are turning in their hops and barley for the lighter fare, I feel more pressured to cave and crack a can of hard seltzer for my koozie.
If I am sans-beer when I am wading waist deep in a cool pool or watching the tide beachside, a refreshing margarita is usually the jam to my peanut butter. However, my friends groan that the four-step process to mix one up is too cumbersome for my impatient crew. Conveniently, they opt for the “just pop a top” seltzers. So, what do I do? I succumb to their peer pressure faster than Cady Heron wearing pink on Wednesdays (Mean Girls reference).
Lime flavored seltzers seem like the natural choice for a smooth transition, but there are so many different brands; it was difficult to choose which to try. So, being the rational person that I am, I made the obvious decision - to try them all! Well, I narrowed the list down to four: White Claw (duh), Truly, Bud Light Seltzer and Corona Hard Seltzer. I did not want my preferred pick to be influenced by the brand name, so I forced my husband into helping me with a blind taste test. It was definitely against his will, but it’s fine (let me remind you there are very few sports currently on TV). I very kindly asked him to pour one of each hard seltzer into four identical glasses while I waited patiently in another room. When he told me to come back, I slowly sipped each one, jotting down my thoughts. Then, I ranked them in order of my favorite to my least. I was really shocked to see which one I liked most.
Sample 1: It smelled very refreshing. It was sweeter, so it didn’t have a tart kick to it. The lime taste was more subtle than the rest and it was easy to drink. This one had a nice middle-of-the-road balance between sweet and tart, so I think it may be the best for pleasing many palates.
My guess: Corona Hard Seltzer
Sample 2: I think this one had the least amount of sweetness, which is probably why it was my personal favorite. I am a more savory than sweet person, so the less sugary flavor, the better for me. Personal preference. This seltzer was very crisp, and the lime flavor tasted more natural.
My guess: Truly
Sample 3: If you like the sweeter things in life, this one is for you. It had a sweetness to it, but maintained a more natural lime taste. This one was my husband’s favorite, but he did not go into sampling these blindly.
My guess: Bud Light Seltzer
Sample 4: If your favorite flavor of Runts candy was lime, then this would be your drink of choice. Its lime flavor is more candy-like than natural and it left a bit of a lingering aftertaste. It was still refreshing, but seeing as I don’t have a sweet tooth, this one wasn’t necessarily for me.
My guess: White Claw
So are you curious about the results?
You are going to discover a theme to this test and the results: which is that I am undeniably, a terrible guesser. I thought sample 1 might be Corona Hard Seltzer because the very specific lime taste reminded me of adding lime to a Corona. Wrong. Sample 1 was actually Truly and sample 2, my personal favorite was Corona Hard Seltzer. To continue with my flawed conclusions, I reversed the last 2 samples and it was revealed that sample 3 was White Claw and sample 4 was Bud Light Seltzer.
I confess that going into this blind taste test, I assumed all four brands would all taste the exact same. I figured there is only so much you could do by adding lime flavor to seltzer. But as I went through the entire test, I was wrong. Each of the brands had their own take on the taste of lime, and I could see any being a personal favorite depending on the individual’s particular palate. Knowing I am not one for sweets, my favorite turned out to be Corona Hard Seltzer. My initial hypothesis was that I would taste either the White Claw or Truly and pick that as my preference due to their popularity. I guess Corona has made a reputation for crafting beverages that really complement lime flavors, and that has not ended with their hard seltzer. It appears next time I am icing down a cooler poolside with my pals, it will be filled to the brim with Corona Tropical Lime Hard Seltzer.
Want more easy-to-drink options to stock your cooler? Find premixed cocktails, canned wines and more here.