We Sipped 10 Brands to Find the Best Hard Seltzer

Hard seltzer is the latest beverage craze. We tested 10 brands—including fan-favorite White Claw—to find the best.

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When it comes to hosting a party—especially an outdoor bash or pool party—guests are expecting more than just a decent beer in the cooler. They also want to see a great hard seltzer for something a little lighter and a bit more refreshing—like our favorite sparkling water with a kick!

White Claw is the big name in the world of spiked seltzers, but there are so many other brands popping up in stores. We had to see how they compared to this go-to, so we grabbed White Claw and nine other hard seltzer brands to test them side by side. For this test, we focused on citrusy flavors (lemon, lime and grapefruit) since those options were the common denominator among brands. Find out which we loved and will be sipping all summer and beyond.

Honorable Mention: White Claw

white claw, hard seltzerBrianna griepentrog/taste of home
Score: 7.8

We definitely weren’t surprised to see the biggest name in spiked seltzer place in this test. White Claw hit all the right notes for our panel’s sparkling water fans. First and foremost, White Claw was extremely fizzy—great for people looking for that effervescence. It also had just a whisper of fruit flavor—great for folks who are used to beverages like LaCroix and Polar. As for the flavors themselves—we tried lime and grapefruit—testers found both tasted clean and natural.

Overall, White Claw was a good option, particularly for sparkling water fans.

100 calories, 2 grams of sugar, 5% ABV; get a 12-pack here.

Runner-Up: Truly

truly hard seltzer brianna griepentrog/taste of home
Score: 8.5

Truly hard seltzer impressed testers with spot-on fruit flavors. Each of the citrus varieties—lime, lemon and grapefruit—tasted like the real deal (not some artificial approximation). Many testers compared Truly to the taste of a vodka soda with a twist, which is ideal for folks looking for their favorite cocktail with the convenience of a can.

Overall, Truly was somewhat less carbonated than White Claw, but had a bit more fruit flavor, which made it appealing to those who aren’t such big fans of sparkling water. This is a great people-pleasing option. Plus, Truly comes in 12 flavors, so there’s an option for everyone.

100 calories, 1 gram of sugar, 5% ABV; get a variety pack here.

Best in Show: High Noon

high noon, hard seltzerbrianna griepentrog/taste of home
Score: 9.6/10

While Truly and White Claw were definitely satisfying seltzers, High Noon soared above them both with a near-perfect score. This grapefruit spiked seltzer smelled absolutely mouthwatering. With the first sip, you got great fruit flavor that quickly dissipated to a nice, clean seltzer finish.

What really set High Noon apart from other spiked seltzers, though, was the alcohol itself. High Noon is a flavored seltzer blended with vodka—not malt liquor. That really gave this brand the cleanest, most refreshing taste that really helped accentuate the fruit flavor. It’s definitely a hard seltzer we felt good about sipping. Plus, High Noon was the only brand that had testers asking where they could get a pack for themselves.

100 calories, 4 grams of sugar, 4.5% ABV; try the grapefruit flavor here.

Try our other favorite vodka drinks here.

The Bottom Line

hard seltzer taste testbrianna griepentrog/taste of home
While we had a few favorites in this test, the takeaway is that the alcohol in your hard seltzer matters. The vodka in High Noon helped give the drink a cleaner, more refreshing taste over the malt-based seltzers.

That being said, we’d still highly recommend Truly and White Claw. They were both refreshing and had authentic fruit flavor. These brands, in particular, are highly recognizable, which makes them good options for parties and potlucks where folks are looking for something tasty and familiar.

Note: This taste test was performed by our staff and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own, and have not been influenced by advertisers.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.