Much like Batman and Robin, Hall and Oates or Jordan and Pippen, Dayton students and Natural Light are a legendary, near-inseparable, duo. Walking up and down Lowes on St. Patrick’s Day, the bright silver cans in student’s hands are almost as iconic as the green clothes they are wearing. No matter how you look at it, Natty Light is undisputed king of drinks for UD students… until recently.
Last year, White Claw Hard Seltzer hit a surge in popularity for colleges around the country. This popularity only grew over this summer, with sales growing 283% in July, according to CNN Business.
Things were looking down for our old friend Natural Light, but like any hero, Natty wasn’t going down without a fight. Natural Light Hard Seltzer launched in early August 2019 to compete directly with the White Claw goliath and other hard seltzers taking over the market.
It’s time to settle this once and for all. Can you teach an old dog new tricks, or is Natty Seltzer just a desperate last attempt to stay relevant? With the help of one of my most trusted consultants, fifth-year senior Travis Brosnan, I have meticulously tested and evaluated White Claw and Natty Seltzer to tell you which is worth your hard-earned money.
Let’s get some logistics out of the way first. I decided that in the interest of my wallet, I would be getting the White Claw Variety Pack. This meant that two flavors of White Claw were left out of my evaluation: Mango and Pure.
The first thing that immediately pops out is the difference in price. Natty Seltzer is $12.99 for a 12-pack, while White Claw sits at $14.99. The two-dollar difference may not seem like much on the surface, but as college students, it could mean the difference between a sandwich from Au Bon Pan or ramen noodles for lunch.
With all of that in mind, let’s get into how the seltzers actually taste.
The White Claws:
The Raspberry White Claw was kind of what you expect when you pick a hard seltzer. It was nice, toned down raspberry flavor that was complimented nicely by the tonic. We were both impressed by the fact that the raspberry flavor was nice and natural, not overly-sugary and artificial. The raspberry White Claw definitely didn’t blow us away, but it was a flavor that I wouldn’t turn down on a hot day.
Black Cherry seems to be one of the most popular flavors along with mango, but I must say that I was a bit disappointed. Travis didn’t expect to like this one since he doesn’t like cherry flavoring, but I’m a huge fan of cherry and still thought the flavor was just okay. The flavor was almost too subdued, and somewhat watered down. Overall, I can’t say this is one I would seek out again.
You have all been sleeping on Ruby Grapefruit, and I am disappointed. When opening the can Travis immediately noticed the smell, “I would buy that smell as a candle. I want that scent of laundry detergent.” I have to agree, the smell is great, and the taste is even better. The Ruby Grapefruit White Claw is genuinely one of the most refreshing beverages I’ve ever had, alcoholic or not.
I really am not a fan of the Natural Lime White Claw. When you first open the can, it smells amazing so it brought my expectations up, before promptly crushing them. The flavor is strong, but it doesn’t taste like lime to me. It just attacks your taste buds with something. It’s not necessarily hateful but….
The Natty Lights:
Catalina Lime Mixer
On first sip, the Natty Seltzer immediately separates itself from White Claw as it is far more carbonated. This could be a matter of preference, but I prefer the crisp carbonation of the Natural Light. Catalina Lime Mixer is a combination of cherry and lime, and the two flavors compliment each other really well. You get a very light hint of lime along with a nice cherry flavor. Crisp, tasty and not too sweet – the Catalina Lime Mixer is a great hard seltzer.
The Aloha Beach Natty Seltzer is a mixture of mango and peach, and I certainly think the mixture was interesting. The peach is by far the most prominent flavor, and in certain circumstances I wouldn’t mind reaching for one of these. If you can imagine a candy peach ring but in liquid form, that’s what you’re getting here. On the flip side, the Aloha Beaches is VERY sweet, and even after the couple sips it starts to wear down on you. For Travis, the sweetness was way too much. Aloha Beaches Natty Seltzer is definitely not for everyone.
In conclusion, you can’t really go wrong with either the White Claw or the Natty Seltzer (as long as you’re drinking responsibly). While our consensus favorite was the Ruby Grapefruit White Claw, the Natural Light Catalina Lime Mixer was a close second. The number of flavors and brands of hard seltzer means there’s something out there for everyone, but in my opinion, the lower price and still great flavor of Natural Light Hard Seltzer makes it difficult to turn down. They tried to keep Natural Light down, but much like a phoenix, it came back better than ever.
Cover photo courtesy of Michael Crouchley