Wow and welcome back to another round of SAD GIRL TASTE TEST! You may be more familiar with the times when I’ve eaten weird (oftentimes gross) fast food items for this column, but today we’re SHIFTIN’ GEARS. That’s right, we’re officially dipping our toes into alcohol territory, specifically of the Natty Light variety!
You may have heard that ye olde Natural Light was set to try its luck at the hard seltzer game earlier this summer. The rollout has been (IMO) incredibly slow (I’ve been scouring the planet, or at least all of the Brooklyn bodegas, for what seems an eternity), but both flavors, aka Aloha Beaches (“WHEN MANGO & PEACH GO BEACH MODE”, as if that weren’t already kind of a thing? Like, aren’t those both summer fruits?) and Catalina Lime Mixer (“WHEN CHERRY & LIME BECOME BEST FRIENDS”, as if cherries and limes hail from two rival street gangs, strictly forbidden until this moment to fraternize) finally landed on refrigerated shelves in the deli downstairs from my apartment. And obviously I bought them to try for this aforementioned SAD GIRL TASTE TEST!
To preface, Natty Light and I have a longstanding history. And to be fair, straight Natty Light never did me dirty during my four years at Denison University. (It was all the other diabolically disgusting shit, like Popov, and something lovingly deemed “crack juice”, that tended to result in me blorching in various corners of Granville, Ohio.) You knew you were getting a pleasantly watered down light beer experience, and I always knew exactly how intox (and beer-gutted) I was getting. Here is photographic evidence of me stanning Natty Light:
2006, what a time to be alive!
After college I moved on to greener pastures, aka new varieties of trash beer, like PBR, ‘Gansett, Genesee and Coors Heavy! I genuinely don’t think I’ve had a Natty Light in over a decade until now, so thank you to the hard seltzer craze for rekindling our non-romance!
“Great, Megan…we didn’t come here for your whole goddamn life story! TELL US HOW IT TASTES!” Okay fine, I won’t tell you all the secrets of my sorority! (Delta Delta Delta CAN’T help ya help ya help ya!) But in all seriousness, I genuinely didn’t mind either of these flavors. Because (and this is a revelation I had while drinking Aloha Beaches, the flavor I enjoyed less of the two) unlike fast food, which leaves you few if any benefits (apart from potential satiation) after taste-testing something that’s gone south, even the worst alcohol will give you the added bonus of feeling buzzed. And in this case, the seltzers clock in at 6% ABV each. So. (Fairly effective, I would say.)
And through this long summer of White Claw lawlessness (and we can also even reference the overall seltzer craze w/ La Croix, Polar, etc.), one thing has become very clear to me: seltzer flavor preferences are THE MOST subjective thing of all time. Just this past weekend I divided up a variety pack of White Claw with a friend of mine, and while she hated the grapefruit flavor, I thought it was pretty good! Meanwhile, I can’t stand raspberry-flavored things, and I happily passed that one over, and it was her favorite. And even if we break it down to just that basic seltzer level, I fucking love coconut flavors, while other people would rather perish than consume a can that tastes like that. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO PALATE!
In terms of my own personal flavor preferences, I would say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Aloha Beaches // I found the peach-mango combo slightly off-putting, a little like a Trolli peach ring that went full chemical, but it wasn’t so unpalatable that I would refuse it if offered one again. Meanwhile, the Catalina Lime Mixer was actually (in my opinion) pretty good! Was it a little like a watered down White Claw? Yeah, but I actually didn’t mind that? It felt slightly more refreshing to me than its more concentrated-tasting, borderline-cloying-feeling counterpart. I actually might buy it again in the right circumstances.
Of course, if this were college, I’d probably be ALL ABOUT IT. But since it’s not college (and I am a harrowing 31 years of age), and since summer is winding down, I think I’ll probably stick to other things. Overall thoughts, though? A valiant effort by Natty that (should you want to sample a 25oz can) ought to run you around $3 a pop. A solid budget option for those of us looking to explore the non-White Claw market, and a reminder that EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS