Editor’s note: Welcome the 19 new Friends of Fingers who subscribed from Monday’s newsletter about labor organizing in the craft beverage industry. Glad to have you!
Bud Light Seltzer earned some sweet sweet headlines in late August by teasing the impending arrival of the Fall Flannel variety pack. The 12-pack hit shelves nationwide on Labor Day and includes four flavors: Apple Crisp, Maple Pear, Toasted Marshmallow, and Pumpkin Spice.
I have only the warmest of lukewarm takes on the existence of the Fall Flannel pack, which is basically: sure, no brainer, this is no dumber or less dumb than smoothie seltzer or Lucky Charms IPA or whatever. Like any mass-market CPG brand, Bud Light Seltzer constantly has to figure new ways to stand out in a crowded field, and you’re looking at their best bet for Fall 2021. That’s all.
Still, I don’t think I’d like to sip a Toasted Marshmallow hard seltzer. Would you? And while we’re on the subject…
What’s the worst hard seltzer you’ve ever had?
What brand was it? How much did it cost? What convinced you to try it in the first place? Most importantly: what flavor was it supposed to be, and what did it actually taste like? Inquiring minds (i.e., me) would like to know. See you in the comments!—Dave
There's a newish brewery near the beach we go to in Mass., which became our new post-beach spot after the bougie seafood spot across the street stopped letting us come sit at the bar in cover ups and board shorts (I'm still salty over this). Their beers, especially this nice clean helles they make, are all really good so you'd think this would translate to their hard seltzers, which they tout as being styled after some kind of German mineral spring water. But no. The seltzers all taste like Greek yogurt with fake fruit.
If it's allowed, I'd like to share an experience I had with a seltzer that sounded *even* worse than Pumpkin Spice or Toasted Marshmallow but turned out to be pretty magnificent. The folks over at Area Two, in the seltzer haven of Stratford, CT, have — or at least had — a Martini-inspired hard seltzer on tap. Dubbed "The Dirty" (great start, right?), the base alcohol matures in a mix of gin and vermouth barrels before it emerges in all its glory from a nitro tap at a SeSSionAblE 🤪 11 percent ABV, IIRC. Served in a Martini glass with a few green olives, it can only be described as a stroke of seltzer genius. Heck, barely a day goes by when I don't stop for a moment or two to think about The Dirty.
The worst hard seltzer I had was actually a THC infused seltzer. Tasted so chalky. Pretty expensive ~$8/12oz can and I don't think the 5mg hit me in fluid form as it usually does as an edible.
The second worst was the Blue Raspberry Warheads Artisinal Hard Seltzer. It poured a dirty coolant blue and tasted like something you shouldn't ingest. Mixed 4pk for $14 and the other flavors were more tolerable.
I have never tried hard seltzer. Maybe I was waiting for this toasted marshmallow moment.
Toasted Marshmallow and Maple Pear horrible!
Bud Light Seltzers especially the lemonade ones make me feel so sick and gross!!
Great South Bay on Long Island makes a "Spiked" Peanut Butter Cup seltzer. It's..quite disgusting. It tastes like bottled peanut butter cup flavoring extract, carbonated. Like if you took the oil that separates off of fresh peanut butter, and mixed that into a seltzer. And I say this as someone that typically likes regular sweeter flavor seltzers like coconut, Mint or white chocolate.
I don't need to call out a single seltzer, because I can safely say that all of the "worst" hard seltzers I've had have been made by small craft breweries in an attempt to appeal to the seltzer drinkers in their taprooms. Worst of the worst are the ones that use real fruit and pour as chunky fizzy messes.
The Cacti "Agave" seltzers are absolutely disgusting. Bought one, took a sip, and then dumped the rest
I'll probably catch flak for this, but I must speak my truth: Topo Chico Tangy Lemon Lime hard seltzer reminded me of the flavored dental fluoride I used to gag on as a kid. 0/10, do not recommend. If you disagree with me, that's cancel culture.
Budlight Pumpkin spice is hot garbage. Smells like a dollar store candle and has a weird plastic-y taste/mouth feel.