Taste Test: Hard Seltzer

Since last month, I’ve been a BeerMenus Database Witch (a.k.a. Consultant), meaning I get to fix all the mistakes people make when they add new beers to the system. (Thanks, but we’ve already got Miller Lite in there. Just go ahead and choose it. You don’t need to say it’s canned.)

I get to merge duplicate entries, and for those missing info, I add descriptions, ABV, style, and a photo if I can find one on the brewery’s website or social media.

My favorite thing to do is add info for brand new beers — ones that have just come out that day or that a brewery hasn’t even released yet. I feel like I’m right there with them, celebrating their baby. (It’s also wayyyy easier to find info on Facebook when it’s new.)

So when I ran across hard seltzer, I was thrown into turmoil. There is no such style listed in the system, and I’ve never seen it in my life. What IS it?

A malt beverage, I soon learned, due to the malted rice. But again, what IS it?

I ran into a few cans sold individually at Trader Joe’s and decided to give them a try. Yes, I realize it’s Big Beer. Bon & Viv, which makes Spiked Seltzer, is owned by AB-InBev, and Shell House is Trader Joe’s version. However, I’ll do anything once for the writability of it (like that time I tasted Trump wine) and to see who these dang people are who keep adding them to the BeerMenus database.

Bon & Viv

IMG_1947At 4.5% ABV, 90 calories with 0 grams of sugar, and flavors like Cranberry, Pear Elderflower, Clementine Hibiscus, I wondered who might drink this stuff.

Answer: The La Croix set.

I’m not a fan of flavored seltzer water, but I can see why someone who is would love Bon & Viv’s Spiked Seltzer. The Clementine Hibiscus just tasted like orange to me but was my favorite, with Cranberry following closely. The Pear Elderflower tasted a bit like apple and was the most artificially flavored of them all.

These would be great mixers in cocktails, or you could enjoy them at the beach, pool, or lake. They’re easy to drink fast, so watch out.

Just don’t drink them with a meal. Trust me.

The buzz felt really weird and unpleasant with all flavors, probably because it’s low carb. But that also means they could be a good way to lose the beer belly I’ve been working on since last summer.

Still, it felt really good getting back to my beer, and you don’t have to worry about a beer getting slightly warm.

The Shell House

These are MUCH better than Bon & Viv. The buzz is less intense, probably because they’ve got a little bit of sugar (5 grams). I loved the Meyer Lemon flavor much more than I thought I would. It was like a light lemonade with alcohol. I didn’t like the Pomegranate. It just tasted weird to me.


It’s got slightly higher ABV (5% vs. 4.5%) and more calories than Bon & Viv (120 vs. 90), but the difference is negligible in my mind. Out of all of these, I’m definitely going to buy the Shell House Meyer Lemon at Trader Joe’s again just to sip on its own.

So if you use the BeerMenus app, feel free to log your hard seltzer. And think of me: The Beer Database Witch who used her magic to update the entry.



    • That’s right, as are the Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer. I updated my post with the “Bon & Viv” name (rather than “Spiked Seltzer”) to reflect that. Hopefully it makes more sense. They’re both categorized as malt beverages because the malted rice is what makes them spiked. 🙂


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