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I Tried Bud Light’s Pumpkin Spice Seltzer So You Don’t Have To


Lindsay Lohan once said her motto is, “Live every day to its fullest – in moderation.” It’s a good maxim to live by, but especially during the excessive temptations of pumpkin spice season.

As soon as Starbucks rolls out its Pumpkin Spice Latte every September, we are all tempted to put on our sweaters and boots and live our precious months of seasonal beverage flavor season to its fullest, but moderation is key to truly enjoying cozy season. It’s far too easy to get burned out on nutmeg, thus ruining the holidays to follow.

Such is the case with Bud Light’s new limited-time “Fall Flannel” pack of seasonal flavored seltzers. Would we like to try a sip of a pumpkin spice seltzer given the chance? Absolutely. YOLO. Live life to the fullest. Do we need a 12-pack of 12-ounce tallboys for a whopping $14.99 in every Bath, And Body Works-inspired body wash flavor? No, Bud Light, we do not.

Yet here we are. Amid the skyrocketing popularity of hard seltzers, the light beer brewing company achieved something once considered a joke – a pumpkin spice hard seltzer – to transition us from summer Claws by the pool to college football tailgating. It is an admirable feat to be sure, but just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should.

I should warn you that these are either in extremely high demand, or Bud Light is not confident enough in their product to make it widely available. I struck out at four different locations (Kroger, Target, my neighborhood Walmart, and a gas station) before finally finding it at a Walmart Supercenter, where there were only two on the shelf. Obviously, this small hiccup did not deter me.

I do not regret purchasing and trying the variety pack of four different fall flavors, but it’s certainly not for a life of moderation. Even at only 100 calories per can, I could not bring myself to drink an entire serving of any flavor, but here’s my recap after trying at least some of each one.

Pumpkin Spice

Imagine smelling your favorite fall candle or a fresh-baked cinnamon cookie. Cracking this can open is an enticing experience. But then you have to drink it, and that’s where things get a little weird.

I’ve never tried an iced pumpkin spice drink from Starbucks, but there’s just something jarring about a cold spice drink to me. I tried this one also at room temperature as well (#WeBelieveInScience here) and enjoyed it much more than I did cold.

It’s not overly sweet, like PSLs tend to be, and doesn’t get too crazy with the nutmeg, but still captures the pumpkin pie spice flavor perfectly. I think it’s the aftertaste of the malted seltzer, not the pumpkin spice flavor, that keeps me from wanting to drink the whole beverage. Would 10/10 recommend it if it could burn as an incense in my house on a fall afternoon.

Apple Crisp

This was the flavor I had the highest hopes for, as it seems like the hardest to screw up. As the most fruit-forward flavor, it didn’t seem like too much of a jump from the fruity summer seltzer varieties. All Bud Light needed to do was adapt the popular hard apple cider beverage into its seltzer form. They did not do this, but if I were forced to drink an entire serving of one flavor, this would be the most manageable.

The flavor focuses on the “crisp” as much as the “apple,” so I guess they were going for the apple crisp dessert profile, not like the GMO apple variety. It’s the sweetest flavor of the four, and reminiscent of a caramel apple sucker – the kind that you only get from trick or treating.

I knew my tastebud instincts were on track when I looked at the ingredients and saw this is the only flavor made with cane sugar, while the other three all use stevia as a sweetener. It also tastes like drinking a candle or a product you might wash your body in.

Maple Pear

Maple Pear was probably my second favorite, again in the vein of being able to get behind a fruit-inspired beverage. The maple nearly overpowers the pear, but not to the point of feeling like you’re drinking a pancake. The pear is still detectable and brings a refreshing edge overall.

It’s not at sweet as the Apple Crisp, but more so than the Pumpkin Spice. Out of all four flavors, this one has the least gag-inducing malted seltzer aftertaste.

Toasted Marshmallow

Toasted Marshmallow is obviously the wildcard of the bunch, the one in which Bud Light felt they could push the envelope. How do you achieve an appealing toasted flavor and not one that just tastes like burnt rubber or smoke? I’m not sure, but they did it.

The flavor is not good, per se, but it does taste like a marshmallow. Definitely not the kind fresh out of the campfire, but perhaps the kind found melting in your Lucky Charms. The aftertaste is the strongest and the worst of the bunch, but I really can’t knock it too much because it tastes like what it claims to, and I’m the person who just spent $15 to try it.

If you are interested in trying the Fall Flannel pack as an all-things-fall connoisseur, then I would highly recommend trying them at room temperature. The flavors are more detectable and enjoyable at room temp than they are chilled. If you’re buying these solely to make your friends miserable, ice ’em down. It really heightens the burning sensation.

Bud Light deserves credit for their creativity and commitment to the accuracy of the flavors, but it still feels like someone in their R&D department took a joke a little too far. I love fall as much as the next basic girl, but let’s simmer down.