These Locally Made Hard Seltzers Offer Flavor, Not Just Fizz

A flight of four wildly different hard seltzers made at Anaheim’s bustling Brewery X. Peach mango, lime, blackberry, and huckleberry. Photo by Greg Nagel

 

There is nothing adventurous or romantic about snagging a mixed 12-pack of hard seltzer. We all know the mental checklist we all go through gazing into the grocery store beer cooler: What can I bring to the holiday party that’s a crowd-pleaser, gluten-free, and has a bit of flavor?

Of the few widely available options I blind-tasted, the $15-$18 price tag for a 12-pack of flavored hard seltzers is absolutely astonishing considering the cost of production and utter lack of flavor. My blind tasting consisted of (Mike’s Hard) White Claw, (AB InBev) Bon & Viv, and (Samuel Adams) Truly, and came away with less of an opinion of hard seltzers than I thought was humanly possible. Most have thinly veiled natural flavor essence, suffer from a fairly harsh carbonic acid bite, and all lack any memorable or pleasurable dinking experience. Even if you’re funneling some in a college dorm, there are certainly better options in 2019.

Brewery X Head brewer Trevor Walls shows that even their plain hard seltzer out of the tank is delicious. The final product goes through a process of filtration and fruit addition to make it even tastier. Photo by Greg Nagel

 

This weekend while beer tasting, I was shocked to taste some hard seltzers from several local O.C. breweries that not only have color, some perceived body, and depth of fruit flavor from actual fresh fruit purees that I though a PSA was in order. You must go to these local breweries and pick up some 32-ounce crowlers (can to go) of these bomb seltzers for your weekend party:

Brewery X in Anaheim has several to choose from, most notably the Huckleberry Seltzer that is rich with the violet fruit berry flavor yet is crisp and dry on the finish. The four other options have complementary flavors, such a peach and mango, or strawberry pomegranate. Do a flight of all five and decide on one to go. They’re all 5% ABV. 3191 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim. brewery-x.com

Black Fang at riip beer co, top and center. Photo by Greg Nagel

 

Up in Huntington Beach, riip beer company says, “it ain’t no thang when you’re drinking the Fang,” with their fresh grapefruit seltzer at 5.7%.  17214 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach. riipbeer.com

In South County, Gamecraft Brewing does a stellar prickly pear seltzer with fruit from concentrate called Rage Quit! that is clean, earthy, and delicious. 23301 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills. gamecraftbrewing.com

Will these drinks do battle with beer? Probably not, but they’re so much better than the mass-produced supermarket stuff. Give them a try!

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