Taste Test: Hopped Seltzers - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Of the veritable flood of flavored soda waters now on the market, hopped seltzer may be a relative newcomer. But the humble hop has been beer’s flavor backbone for centuries, offering notes ranging from crisp, herbaceous pine to juicy, tropical fruit. With the increasing interest in alcohol-free beverage options, it seems only natural to combine the two in a refreshing new direction. Whether adding complementary fruit flavors or highlighting the hop itself, these six options add delicious intrigue to the seltzer category.

Athletic Brewing Co. DayPack Having already made a name for them- selves in the nonalcoholic sphere with their excellent NA beers, Stratford, Connecticut’s Athletic Brewing Co. is venturing into seltzer with their DayPack lineup. The fruit-forward seltzers are infused with hops to complement flavors like mango, lemon-lime, and blood orange, though our preference is the vibrant black cherry, which takes on a slightly earthy complexity when paired with hops.

Hoplark Water Hitting the scene in 2018 at a Denver farmers market, Boulder-based Hoplark gained swift popularity with their unexpected, and delicious, HopTea. Their new line of sparkling waters takes a purist’s approach to the category with nothing but carbonated water and either Citra, Sabro, or Mosaic hops for flavor. We lean toward the crisp, mild flavors of pine and citrus found in the Citra variety.

Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher Better known for their range of IPAs, Bay Area brewery Lagunitas discovered a new way to utilize hops when they introduced the Hoppy Refresher in 2019. With a blend of Citra, Equinox, and Centennial hops, plus a dash of brewer’s yeast, the IPA-inspired sparkler opens with a heady aroma of tropical fruit. The clean flavor carries a hint of passion fruit–like tartness, while a subtle hop bitterness on the finish rounds it out to be very refreshing indeed.

Hopped Seltzer Co. Based in beer-centric Fort Collins, Colorado, Hopped Seltzer Co. was started by hop grower and home brewer Sam Cranshaw, who began experimenting with alcohol-free hopped beverages two years ago after he quit drinking beer. Utilizing a touch of yeast, the resulting seltzer has a crisp, substantial bitterness with a fresh, piney flavor for true hop lovers.

H2OPS Sparkling Hop Water One of the first entrants in the now-booming category, H2OPS was launched back in 2014 by home brewer Paul Tecker. Aiming for big aroma, H2OPS uses a blend of Northwest hops, including Citra, Simcoe, Centennial, and Amarillo, with two fruit flavors in addition to the original. With bright, citrusy aromas and a juicy appeal, the grapefruit flavor is a natural match to the bitter notes of the hops.

HOP WTR Sparkling Hop Water Aiming for both flavor and function, L.A.-made HOP WTR incorporates adaptogen ashwagandha root and nootropic L-theanine into their bubbly brew made with Centennial and Columbus hops. Though also offering blood orange and mango flavors, the Classic yields a refreshing balance of subtle citrus and herbaceous pine carried on a gentle, pinpoint fizz.

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