10/1/21: Bud Light Seltzer's Pumpkin Spice

3:38 PM

Okay, so. This is a big one for me. No, not because today's the start of the blog's Halloween season. It's big because I've never before featured any Budweiser product on the blog. I hadn't intended to ever feature a Bud beverage really. This isn't snobbiness (I have featured, and will again, AB InBev beers and enjoy them regularly in my home life). I just don't particularly care for Bud. When I think of "foamy, bad macro beer" Bud's at the pinnacle of that list.

But last year I talked drank my first ever hard seltzer: Braxton's Vive Pumpkin Spice. I was immediately smitten. When I read that Bud's hard seltzer arm was doing a pumpkin spice offering, I knew I needed to try it, if only to solidify that not all pumpkin spice hard seltzers are created equal. Or, maybe to be floored and a convert to Bud Light hard seltzer. Which do you think will happen?

I'm not going to go into Bud's history. This is a principle thing for me. If you have a hankering for details, though, I have you covered. Here's a link to Bud's page on its clydesdales and values (or, as more commonly known, their "About Budweiser" page). The long and the short of it is that Bud's been around forever. They'll be around forever. You cannot escape them. Creepy, in a way. Fitting for Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month.

And, because Bud Light Seltzer is a separate division of the Budweiser entity, here's its official page, which details the five-step filtration process used in the seltzer's production. 

Bud Light Seltzer Pumpkin Spice (here's the page where I'm getting my info--you'll have to scroll to the second image in the carousel to see it) is part of the Fall Flannel Variety Pack. Ringing in at a modest 5% ABV, the seltzer promises flavors of pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg ("...literally the taste of fall"). Hoo boy.

The first note I get from my can's bouquet is oddly artificially citrusy--like a lemon drop. After I adjust to that aroma, it fades as suddenly as it appeared and I find what Bud Light promised: Vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg (all of this smacks of artificiality). A return waft gives me more citrus, though. Overall, it's not quite what I'd expected. The citrus makes it a bit less than that. Purrl (who I woke up from a presumably delightful nap for this) gave my can eight whiffs. She's more into the seltzer than I am.

Pumpkin Spice's flavor profile is too much. If Bud Light dialed back their flavoring additions just a tad, it'd be measurably better. I have a pumpkin spice beard oil that I love. It smells like you've wandered into mom and pop country store in mid-October, aromatic and kitschy. This seltzer tastes like how that oil smells (which isn't a good thing). That citrus from the nose is here (I get the feeling it's supposed to be linked to the pumpkin?), bold to a fault. The cinnamon is subdued, as is (to an extent) the nutmeg. The vanilla is omnipresent, from the first drop to hit my tongue into the surprisingly long finish. Again, all of this tastes obviously artificial.

Mouthfeel-wise, this is a hard seltzer. It's bubbly. Effervescent. Just how you'd hope it'd be.

I get why people sell candy corn for Halloween. Really, I do. I even enjoy it on occasion. But I'll never be able to fathom the reasoning candy companies have for making so much of the stuff--it's more of a "a lil' dab'll do ya" than anything else.

Last year, the day after Halloween, a local grocery store placed two (!) carts of unsold candy corn in its lobby with signs reading "FREE" taped predominantly to them. Nobody was taking any of these unsold bags. Once the Halloween season ends, candy corn doesn't seem to serve much use; it's relegated to being a sickly sweet ghost of the holiday. That's what Pumpkin Spice seems like it should be.

I'm sure there are folks who'll love this seltzer. But it's just not for me. Bud Light Seltzer Pumpkin Spice tastes more like expired cough syrup than something I'd enjoy. I'm giving my can a 2.5/10. If this is Bud Light's idea of the taste of fall, I'd hate to see how they perceive the other seasons.

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