It’s hard to think of any other booze brand in recent memory that’s changed the way Americans drink quite like White Claw.
While it wasn’t the first hard seltzer to hit the market when it landed in 2016, White Claw soon came to quite literally define the category it now leads by a country mile. Whether you look at cold hard sales data, viral memes, or the newsworthy shortages brought on by the 2019 White Claw Summer, the brand’s place in American drinking culture is, for now, undisputed.
Unlike its main competitor Truly Hard Seltzer, White Claw has been slower to innovate with new flavors and line extensions. But after a slew of new products hit grocery store shelves in early 2021, plus the launch of its new “Surge” higher-ABV line, the time finally came to put them all to the test.
Here is every flavor of White Claw hard seltzer tasted and ranked.
Mango is one of White Claw’s most popular flavors, but it failed to capture our taste buds in the way that others from its lineup did. The aromas and flavors miss the mark of convincing fresh mango, and the palate would benefit from some added sweetness to provide balance.
This expression is full of tart raspberry notes, which are lively and persistent on the palate. But the flavor takes a disappointing, diluted dive at the finish.
15. Surge Blood Orange
One of the two flavors in White Claw’s higher-ABV Surge line, this seltzer has concentrated, juicy blood orange aromas. The extra booze shines through on the nose and palate — a little too much in the case of the latter.
14. Natural Lime
The essence of “Natural Lime” is delivered via vibrant citrus aromas and zesty flavors. Each sip is refreshing and the texture and finish are surprisingly full-flavored.
Given that watermelon itself is lighter on the flavor spectrum, most hard seltzer versions, including this one, offer a more candied, artificial take on the fruit. The results are good in this instance, with rich, juicy character balanced by a nice mix of acidity and sweetness.
12. Black Cherry
Black cherry can be a polarizing seltzer flavor and often leans too heavily into medicinal, almond essence notes. There’s a hint of that profile in this example’s aromas but not too much. The palate is tart with a nice citrus zing.
Where other strawberry seltzers are overly artificial and in your face, this expression is pleasantly low-key. Though muted, the aromas are fresh and the light flavor cleans the palate.
10. Surge Cranberry
Our preferred pick of the two Surge varieties, this seltzer’s berry notes arrive with tart freshness. It is noticeably boozy on the palate, but the flavor integrates a lot better with the alcohol. We’ve certainly had worse, less refreshing vodka cranberries in our time.
9. Iced Tea Peach
A tried-and-true flavor combo, the peach character of this seltzer shines throughout. Tea notes add complexity, and the sweetness never threatens to overpower. Our tip: Enjoy over ice with a fresh lemon wedge.
Delivering the quintessential vodka soda and lemon profile, this expression has a great depth and intensity to its aromas. The flavor profile is citrusy, with nice acidity that keeps you coming back for more.
If you’re looking for dark fruit but the almondy notes of the black cherry don’t do it for you, this may be your flavor. The berry aromas are bright and lively, while the palate is clean and easygoing.
6. Ruby Grapefruit
Convincing ruby grapefruit aromas invite you to take a first sip and the experience quickly delivers. The fruit flavor has depth and there’s a nice crisp, citrusy finish. Perfect for summer, this is also a great option to spike with gin, tequila, or even a splash of vodka.
5. Iced Tea Lemon
Of all the flavors in White Claw’s Iced Tea line, this is the least fruity and serves just a hint of lemon. There’s nice balance to each sip, though, and a pleasant level of sweetness. The texture is fuller than normal hard seltzers, and the tea flavor is very convincing.
Distinctive and complex tangerine notes define this seltzer’s alluring aromas. It’s a similar story on the palate, where a waxy pith note adds both flavor and texture. The concentrated profile continues long onto a crisp, dry finish.
3. Iced Tea Raspberry
This seltzer’s intense raspberry aromas provide a sweet, fruity core and also bring out a floral quality from the tea. The flavors are more subtle than the nose but the overall balance is on point. This is a lighter but enjoyable pick among the growing range of iced tea hard seltzers.
There are countless mediocre pineapple hard seltzers on the market and this is not one of them. The aromas might not be 100 percent true to the fresh fruit, but that hardly matters given their attractiveness. The palate is crisp and dry, yet never makes you crave sweetness. The flavor crescendos with a burst of tropical fruit.
1. Iced Tea Mango
This expression over-delivers on its promise of mango and iced tea and the combination is a hit from the get-go. With dazzling aromas that draw you in, the flavors combine seamlessly on the palate. This is a thoroughly enjoyable hard seltzer with concentration, depth, and the perfect level of sweetness.
Published: April 21, 2021