As avid cottagers, we like to think we are pretty experienced when it comes to lounging lakeside with a cold one in hand. But over the past few years—thanks to an influx of hard seltzers and premixed cocktails in cans—our ideas of what that ideal “cold one” has changed.
One of the newest canned beverage companies to hit the shelves of the LCBO is White Claw—a mix of seltzer water, gluten-free spirit base, and natural fruit flavour—a.k.a. the La Croix of hard seltzers. At only 140 calories per can (and that’s for a tall boy size), White Claw delivers a five per cent ABV with no artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.
When we saw people lining up outside the LCBO to get their hands on the three flavours (lime, black cherry, and mango), we knew we had to do a taste test—if anything so that we could provide you with some solid advice for your next dockside dinner. Tough work, we know.
Here’s what we thought:
Our First Reaction
Everyone immediately wanted to know why White Claw is making such a splash in the U.S. Could it be the modern logo? The social media push? The fact that the States isn’t drowning in hard seltzer options the way we are at the LCBO?
Michelle Kelly, editor-in-chief, seems to think it might have something to do with packaging. She noticed the flavour-coordinated coloured tabs on the top of each can, making it easy to choose your favourite flavour when there’s a cooler on the dock packed full of everyone’s ice and drinks.
And then the cans were cracked.
The general consensus? This tasted a lot like Sprite or 7Up, but without all the extra sweetness. Some thought there wasn’t enough lime flavour, and others thought too much more and it could go wrong.
“Sometimes lemon- or lime-flavoured drinks can taste a little cleaner-like,” said Jackie Davis, managing editor. “This one doesn’t do that.”
It was easy enough for most to sip, although the word “artificial” came up a few times. People floated ideas like adding juice, ice, or a lime wedge to enhance the sparkling drink’s flavour.
Overall: It definitely didn’t come with all the hype we had heard so much about. However, Michelle Kelly did crown it her favourite of the three.
The immediate reaction was that this flavour was a much bigger hit than the lime one.
“It doesn’t taste too strong or too watery,” said Alysha Vandertogt, associate editor. “And a lot of them do. Trust me, I’m a pro.”
Similar positives seemed to echo throughout the staff. Liann Bobechko, deputy editor, who is normally not a fan of vodka-based drinks, even agreed it was nice and refreshing.
However, the “fruity” and “candy-like” smell and taste threw some off:
“This tasted like the cough medicine of my youth,” said Michelle Kelly.
“It’s a little cloying,” said Blair Eveleigh, senior editor. “It needs to be colder, maybe on ice.”
Overall: There were more fans of Black Cherry than Natural Lime, but there was also a bigger divide between the “love” and “hate” groups. Choose this flavour if drinking jolly ranchers sounds ideal to you.
Turns out we saved the best for last without even knowing it. It was unanimous that this mango flavour should be crowned the winner, with seven out of 10 choosing it as their favourite.
There wasn’t a lot of chatter around this one, just a lot of sipping and enjoying. We picture it as the perfect accompaniment to a beach day or a day on the dock. This was the perfect combination of not too sweet, but sweet enough, plus refreshing and invigorating.
But, in true Michelle Kelly fashion during this experiment, she disagreed with almost everyone’s taste-buds, calling it her least favourite flavour.
Overall: We’ll let you decide who to listen to when it comes to this one—70 per cent of the people polled, or our against-the-grain EIC.