We Tried Bud Light Seltzer's Hard Soda & It's Basically Boozy Coca-Cola

Bud Light Seltzer is turning the spiked seltzer trend on its head.

Courtesy of Bud Light Seltzer
Courtesy of Bud Light Seltzer

Hard Seltzer went from cutting edge to overly common quick, with nearly every brand in the booze business cranking out their own iteration. In the years since that first White Claw Summer, the industry has been tasked with a new challenge: keeping the trend fresh. Truly tried its hand at a seltzer lemonade, White Claw tapped into spiked tea, and now Bud Light Seltzer has hard soda. 

On Thursday, the company announced the debut of its latest innovation, a seltzer-soda hybrid pairing the boldness of your fave pop with a crisp bubbly water finish. The launch marks an exciting pivot in the hard seltzer world and is something fresh for the ready-to-drink booze scene. But we couldn't help but wonder (sorry, I've been watching And Just Like That...) whether the spiked soda was actually any good. Thus, I did what any decent writer would do. I got tipsy during work in the name of journalism. 

When and where can you get the Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda? 

Bud Light Seltzer is launching its Hard Soda nationwide beginning January 3, 2022, and on a permanent basis, which means it just might earn a spot on our regular seltzer rotation. 

What flavors does it come in? 

The variety pack features four flavors: Classic Cola, Cherry Cola, Orange Soda, and Citrus Soda.

What do they taste like? 

Going into the taste test, I was a little apprehensive about the thought of a boozy soda—and that's coming from a stereotypical midwestern girl with an appreciation for Diet Coke. I cracked open all four flavors, each of which has 5% ABV, just 100 calories, and zero sugar, and sampled them one by one.

  • Classic Cola: Cola is arguably my favorite of the pop world. While I'd relate this Bud beverage more to a Diet Coke than a sugar-filled cola—after all, this too is zero sugar—it is distinctly close to the real thing. It mirrored that same bubbly, vanilla-cinnamon soda flavor but with a malty finish.
  • Cherry Cola: This one adds a dash of fruitiness to the same flavor profile as the Classic Cola.
  • Orange Soda: Here, it diverts from the cola family. The taste is reminiscent of a Fanta—you know, the sugary kid-favorite treat—but with booze, and Ii has less of the bitter maltiness than the others. 
  • Citrus Soda: This one was the only one that produced genuine disdain from my tastebuds. It was overly sweet and syrupy, so much so that it detracted from the intended tanginess and pairs poorly with the malt.  

Final thoughts

The Bud Light Seltzer Hard Soda is a game-changer for pop fans—at least, the Classic Cola, Cherry Cola, and Orange Soda, that is. You can skip the Citrus altogether.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.