Summer Seltzer Showdown

It is safe to say that Hard Seltzers have taken the beer world by storm. With so many choices out there, it is hard to know which one to pick to satisfy your pallet. We decided to take some of the guesswork out of it by conducting a blind tasting of a few seltzers currently on the market. While it would have been incredible to try every seltzer out there, we were able to taste through 19 varieties that are readily available for you at Liquor Barn – Party Mart.

For this “very scientific, super intense, and exceptionally important test”, the seltzers were broken into 6 categories: Lime, Citrus, Berry, Tropical, Cherry, and “Wildcard”. Each seltzer in the category was blind sampled against each other and a favorite was selected. Once there was a winner in each category, all 6 winners were blind tasted against each other and ranked from 1 to 6. Each person’s top choice earned 6 points, 2nd place received 5 points, and so on. In the end, we tallied the points for each seltzer. The seltzer with the most points was the overall winner.

To help me with this arduous task, I enlisted the expertise of three other seltzer enthusiasts. Amy McIntosh, our Private Label Wine, Spirits and Tobacco buyer who has also been known to bust out some gangster rap after a few seltzers; Brian Price, our National Brand Wine Buyer, Yacht Rock enthusiast, and Lawn Mowing Seltzer Connoisseur, and Ashley Olson, our resident Pool Float Expert who has unbelievably trained her dog, Gravy, to fetch her a seltzer from the cooler right down to the specific flavor she wants! She also happens to be our Marketing Manager.

The first category was Lime. We blindly sampled Bud Light Lemon Lime Hard Seltzer, Corona Tropical Lime Hard Seltzer, and Wild Basin Lime Hard Seltzer. Corona Tropical Lime had the most authentic lime flavor with a crisp and light finish. Bud Light Lemon Lime Seltzer had a great scent, a clean flavor, and was mildly sweet. Wild Basin Lime was the tartest of all three and had a pleasant finish. Unanimously, we agreed that Corona Tropical Lime had the favored flavor of the three.

Next up was the Citrus category. We tried Bud Light Grapefruit Hard Seltzer, Mighty Swell Blood Orange Hard Seltzer, and Michelob Ultra Citrus Organic Hard Seltzer. Bud Light Seltzer had a great scent and a mild citrus flavor, which we all guessed was grapefruit. Mighty Swell Blood Orange had a very mild scent but a great Sweet Tart candy flavor. It finished very clean and refreshing. None of us could pinpoint the exact flavor. Michelob Ultra Citrus Seltzer was the mildest of the group, both on the nose and taste. Once again, we made a unanimous decision that Mighty Swell Blood Orange was the favorite flavor of the group.

For the Berry category, we had quite a wide range of flavors. We sampled Quirk Strawberry Lemon Basil that we all agreed had a dominant citrus flavor. Michelob Ultra Organic Mixed Berry Hard Seltzer was very mild in flavor and scent, but it had a nice crisp finish. New Belgium’s Fruit Smash Berry Blast was next. This one threw us for a loop. It was the only seltzer we tried that was pink in color. We thought it had a great flavor but was the most acidic of the group. Lastly, we tried Truly Wild Berry Hard Seltzer. It had a pleasantly sweet scent and a slightly sweet berry flavor that finished clean. Truly Wild Berry won this category getting 3 of the 4 votes. Michelob Ultra Organic Mixed Berry received the other favorite vote.

The Tropical category was difficult to judge. All of the seltzers were clean, pleasant, and very drinkable. Mighty Swell Pineapple had a perfect acid/sweet balance with a great scent and crisp finish. White Claw Mango was also very drinkable with a slightly sweeter flavor. Bud Light Pineapple had a very mild acidity level and not much of a scent. It was difficult to identify the flavor of Bud Light Pineapple. Overall, we all agreed that Mighty Swell Pineapple had the best flavor and was the most drinkable.

The Cherry category was the 5th category to be blindly tasted. White Claw Black Cherry smelled sweet and had a great black cherry taste to match the scent. Corona Cherry Hard Seltzer had a very mild nose and exceptionally mild flavor. We all agreed that Bud Light Black Cherry had the most authentic cherry flavor. It was fruity, crisp, refreshing, very drinkable and was our unanimous winner. 

The final category was Wildcard. These were all seltzers that did not fit into any one category but were unique in the segment on their own. First up, we tried Quirk Pear & Yuzu Hard Seltzer. This had a great nose with a unique, but pleasant flavor. We had a rough time identifying the fruits but were able to pull the pear out. Like the other Michelob Ultra Seltzer’s that we tried, Mango Apricot had a very mild scent and flavor (remember, we tried these blindly). White Claw Watermelon baffled us. We thought it had a great scent, pleasant flavor, clean crisp finish and was very drinkable. A couple people thought it might be a cucumber flavor. Unanimously, White Claw Watermelon won the category.

If you think that blindly trying 19 hard seltzers sounds fun, you are absolutely right! We had a great time guessing what we thought we were drinking and what flavor combinations they were using. Some were straight forward while several left us scratching our heads. Once we established the winners of each category, we put all 6 up against each other (still tasting blindly). After going through the 6 winners, each judge ranked them from 1 to 6. Here are the results of our “Great Summer Seltzer Showdown of 2021”:

#1 White Claw Watermelon Hard Seltzer

#2 Mighty Swell Blood Orange Hard Seltzer

#3 Corona Tropical Lime Hard Seltzer

#4 Mighty Swell Pineapple Hard Seltzer

#5 Bud Light Black Cherry Hard Seltzer

#6 Truly Wild Berry Hard Seltzer

I highly recommend stopping by Liquor Barn or Party Mart and grabbing a few variety packs, getting some friends together to conduct your own blind taste test and seeing what you like the best! There are so many varieties already and more coming out every day!

Cheers,

Jessica Masterson

Beer and Specialty Buyer, Liquor Barn – Party Mart – DEP’s

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