10/5/20: VIVE Hard Seltzer's Pumpkin Spice

3:56 PM

Okay. Here's the spookiest thing you might read on the blog this season: I'm about to crack into a hard seltzer. Don't worry, I don't have plans to drink another one for reviewing. In fact, Pumpkin Spice is my first hard seltzer. But, since it's out, you know I had to do it.

Last year I seriously expected a pumpkin hard seltzer to hit the market--it just seemed too obvious to not happen. I vowed that, when it did, I'd make it the first seltzer I'd drink. But, to my shock, a pumpkin seltzer never materialized in 2019. Thankfully VIVE's remedied that for 2020. Here we go: VIVE's Pumpkin Spice.

VIVE, if you've never heard of the brand, is local to the Greater Cincinnati area. It's, in fact, owned and operated by Braxton, a brewery I've featured more than a few times. See, the folks over at Braxton wanted to create an alternative to beer. They settled on hard seltzer and produce theirs without any artificial sweeteners or flavors. Each can of VIVE rings in at 100 calories with two grams of carbohydrates. You can head over to their "About" page if you want to read more about their product.

Unfortunately, I can't find a writeup for Pumpkin Spice on VIVE's website. That's fine, though. Braxton's store has us covered. The seltzer, hitting a modest 5% ABV, is "...a refreshing twist on your favorite Fall flavor."

I do get a Fall flavor on the seltzer's nose, but it's not one I'm immediately pegging as pumpkin spice. It's all nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. If you gave me this in a glass (or if you took the label off the can) and asked me to tell you what it was by its aromatics alone, I'd say it's an apple pie seltzer. Which is great. It's still autumnal, and apple pie and pumpkin pie share a lot of spices. There's just nothing in the bouquet that signifies it's pumpkin. I still like it. Purrl, who gave my can fifteen whiffs, likes it, too.

The pumpkin comes through swinging in the seltzer's flavor profile. Sure, I'm still getting hearty helpings of the spices listed in the bouquet, but here I'm finding something that's distinctly pumpkiny. What I don't know is the exact source of this. Did Braxton use pumpkin in the seltzer's recipe? Is it actually not pumpkin I'm tasting, but a mixture of those pie spices and the sweet acidity of the seltzer? I can't tell. But I will say Pumpkin Spice tastes less like your standard seltzer and more like what one might imagine of pumpkin juice from the Harry Potter franchise. By this I mean that the seltzer is very tasty.

Mouthfeel? Sparkling. Fizzy. Come on, it's a seltzer. Lifting.

I have to say, I'm struggling to find a memory of mine that associates itself with the seltzer. I guess, maybe, the first time Michelle and I went to the Moonville Tunnel. Moonville Tunnel is near Zaleski, OH and is all the remains of what was once the mining town of Moonville. It's an old railway tunnel (said to be haunted!) through which cars carrying coal and iron passed.

It was cold and night was falling quickly. We went to the tunnel on a whim. It's so far removed from any main road that we had trouble finding the area at which we were told to park and, even once we'd found it, we still weren't sure it was the right spot.

We hiked the short path to the tunnel, took some pictures of the graffiti, didn't see the ghost, and decided to head back to the car. I thought I'd be smart and tried to take a shortcut that consisted of me walking across a log spanning a creek instead of taking the trial the long way around. I fell into the creek and had to drive home cold and wet, making our initial trip out to Moonville all the more spooky and memorable.

I have to hand it to Braxton: VIVE Pumpkin Spice is good. Incredibly good. I still don't know if I'll do another hard seltzer but, if they're comparable to this,  maybe I'll give one a try. This is an easy 9.0/10.

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