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Beer vs Hard Seltzer

Charl Joost
Last Updated: August 7th, 2023

When it comes to alcohol, many variations are considered healthier for whatever reason. Beer and Hard Seltzer are both low-alcohol beverages that are produced by many different brands.

In this article, we are going to look at beer vs hard seltzer by looking at their differences and popular brands to help you decide which is better suited for you.

Beer vs Hard Seltzer


Beer is an alcoholic drink made with grains and hops that has a yeast and bread flavor. Most drunk during sports events, this beverage is a low-alcohol alternative for someone wanting alcohol but not wanting to become drunk.

Some countries like Germany have classifications for beer, with their definition describing a drink made with malted barley, yeast, and hops. There are various types of beer including lager, India Pale Ales (IPAs), Pilsner, Pale Ale, and Stout Beer.

Hard seltzer is an alcoholic beverage that combines alcohol with normal seltzer, which is carbonated water. These hard seltzers can come in a wide variety of flavors including tropical fruit (mango and pineapple), rock fruits (apricot), and citrus fruits (lime, lemon, grapefruit, etc.).

hard seltzer

This beverage is made with carbonated water, leaving the final beverage bubbly, and refreshing. It has a lower alcohol content than most alcoholic beverages and is a healthy option for most drinkers. This is due to the low sugar content and the lower calorie count within the beverage.

How Are They Made?

Beer has been produced for centuries in a similar method, with some brands altering it slightly. This can lead to the beer changing in terms of aroma, taste, and color. However, the basic brewing process remains the same.

The first step in making beer is harvesting and fermenting the barley or grains that have been selected as the base ingredient. These grains contain natural sugars that, when combined with water and yeast, are converted into alcohol. This is like most alcohol, with a base ingredient fermented to create the alcohol base.

Next, the barley is mashed and placed in a copper pot. This starts the process of distilling where the water evaporates leaving a high concentration of sugar. Hops are added to the solution which adds character to the beer. The solution is then aged or bottled and sold at a low alcohol by volume (ABV).

In comparison, hard seltzer is made by fermenting cane sugar, by adding yeast and other nutrients. This is due to there not being enough sugar in cane sugar to ferment on its own, so additional nutrients are added to feed the yeast.

Once the cane sugar has been fermented, the solution is filtered to produce a flavorless and clear alcohol base. This is when the flavors are added to create the unique taste of hard seltzer. These flavors come from citrus fruits, stone fruits, and more tropical flavors. Finally, the carbonation of the beverage occurs.

Carbonized water is added to the solution to create the bubbly drink, after which it is bottled and packaged at a low alcohol content.

What Are They Made of?

beer made of

The basic ingredients in beer are water, yeast, hops, and barley. By combining these ingredients in a specific order and through certain processes, you can make a delicious beer. Malted barley, or other fermented grains, is the base ingredient that creates the signature taste of beer.

To make hard seltzer, the base ingredient is fermented cane sugar. This is made by combining water, yeast, cane sugar, and additional nutrients. Aside from these ingredients, flavoring comes from natural fruit juice or fruit flavoring with carbonized water added to create the seltzer element.

How Are They Similar?

hard seltze made of

Both beer and hard seltzer are made by fermenting a grain or base ingredient, like barley or sugar cane, using yeast and water. The steps used to make the beverages are similar to harvesting and fermentation starting the process, followed by filtration and distillation.

However, the beverages differ in many other ways. The tastes and aromas differ although both are carbonated, leaving a beverage with bubbles as the result. Beer has a yeasty taste while hard seltzer is usually flavored with fruit, and beer smells more like bread while the seltzer carries the aromas of the fruit flavoring used.

Direct Comparison of Beer and Hard Seltzer

Item Regular Beer Hard Seltzer
Average Calories 153 per serving 100 per serving
Average Price $4,75 per serving $5,03 per serving
Alcohol Content 5% ABV (10 proof) 4% to 6% (8 to 12 proof)

Hard seltzer is healthier than beer as it contains fewer calories on average than beer, with 100 per serving compared to 153. Similarly, there is less sugar in hard seltzer than in beer, making it a healthier option.

Light beer is a healthier variation than regular beer, as it contains 103 calories on average compared to the 153 in regular beer. Craft beers can contain even more calories, with the average being between 170 and 350 per serving.

Popular Beer Brands

popular beer brands

Across the world, many brands sell this beverage so let us look at some of the most popular brands available. Budweiser is a popular brand and contains 145 calories per serving, while Budweiser Light contains 110 calories per serving. Finally, Corona contains 148 calories and is a light gold pilsner.

Type Average Price Alcohol Content
Budweiser $2 per 750 ml 5% (10 proof)
Bud Light $2 per 750 ml 4,2% (8,4 proof)
Corona $4 per 750 ml 4,5% (9 proof)

Popular Hard Seltzer Brands

popular hard seltzer brands

There are many brands available on the market that sell hard seltzer following its rise in popularity. Flying Embers has a wide range of hard seltzers available (all containing 95 calories), like White Claw which contains 100 calories per serving. White Claw is sold in 12-ounce cans and has 1 gram of sugar per serving.

Hornitos is another brand of hard seltzer that uses tequila in some of its offerings with these flavors including lime, pineapple, passion fruit, and mango. These beverages have a clear coloring and subtle notes and aromas of the fruit and tequila.

Type Average Price Alcohol Content
Flying Embers Botanicals and Bitters $3 per 750 ml 5% ABV (10 proof)
White Claw Hard Seltzer Surf $4 per 750 ml 8% (16 proof)
Hornitos Mango Tequila Hard Seltzer $6 per 750 ml 5% (10 proof)

How To Drink Beer and Hard Seltzer

Beer is consumed on many occasions, particularly when watching sports or when one is looking for something casual to drink to take the edge off. To drink it properly there are many things to consider. You need to store it correctly to ensure that when you drink it the temperature is ideal.

You want to drink beer from a tall glass to allow the full can or bottle to fit and you should not add ice to the beer as it will water the beverage down. Pour the beer into a room temperature glass, as frosted with kill the carbonation of the drink, and wait for the foam to settle.

With hard seltzer, there are many ways to drink it. Hard seltzer should be drunk cold so ensure you refrigerate it first, and it should be drunk from a glass to allow it to aerate. Pour it into a wide-rimmed glass to allow it to breathe and add ice to further cool it if you so choose.

You can garnish the hard seltzer with fruit that matches the flavors of the beverage to add an extra visual element to the beverage. These could include lime wedges for a lime seltzer and grapefruit for a grapefruit seltzer.

About The Author

Charl Joost

Charl is a trainer, public speaker, and professional writer. While he has been coached to niche down, he has many passions. These include golf, gardening, technology, and a decent cup of coffee or two. Charl loves to learn about new products and tries everything he writes about.

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