High Noon Watermelon Hard Seltzer is very much a flavored hard seltzer as advertised, but it sets itself apart from other options in the market with vodka instead of malt-based liquor and real fruit juice instead of artificial flavors. It’s not overly sweet and features bright watermelon flavors and a strong lime finish.
Style flavored hard seltzer
Company E & J Gallo Winery
Brewery Location Modesto, California
MSRP $11 per 6-pack
Well-priced hard seltzer with more flavor than most others on the market
Widely available at stores, bars, and restaurants
Not overly sweet and balanced by bright lime flavors
No booziness or chemical sweetener flavors on the finish
Fresh fruit flavors can come across as slightly off or rancid.
Long aftertaste that gives hints of spoiled juice
Some may find the fruity nose offensively strong.
Color: This hard seltzer pours completely clear with fine bubbles that jump and create a thin mist when poured.
Nose: The nose is positively bursting with watermelon aromas. Hints of watermelon rind, cucumber, and lime zest come through on the finish.
Palate: Unlike most hard seltzers on the market, this one has an unmistakably genuine watermelon flavor, which is buoyed by a bright kick of lime. The fine carbonation is refreshing on the palate without being too prickly.
Finish: Acidity lingers the longest on the finish, bringing the beverage closer to a basic mixed drink than a typical hard seltzer. Some of the fruity flavors fall a little flat toward the very end, and can taste of fruit juice that has gone slightly off.
In the world of packaged beverages, nothing has seen skyrocketing popularity quite like hard seltzer. But while many of the industry’s most popular products are malt-based, High Noon came on the scene as one of the first big players made with soda water, vodka, and real fruit juices. After forging a highly publicized media partnership with sports and culture website Barstool Sports, the brand entered the limelight and became one of the household names in its category.
What really makes this brand of seltzer stand out is its authentic ingredients. Side-by-side with other offerings in the category, High Noon tastes less like a bland, artificially flavored soda water and more like a proper bar-made beverage. To be clear, that beverage may be a hastily made highball with a lime wedge, but you can’t deny that it certainly offers more flavor off the bat than many of its competitors.
As such, High Noon proudly advertises its omittal of added sweeteners, a decision that is clear from the first sip. Fresh fruit ingredients make this beverage anything but a cloyingly sweet soda and give it an incredibly light mouthfeel. The watermelon option immediately brings to mind a bubbly refresca, in which watermelon flavors are buoyed by bright lime. It’s indeed a refreshing drink that won’t overpower the palate or demolish your sweet tooth.
However, fresh ingredients on a mass scale can always lead to strange defects in execution. The nose can come across as strangely artificial, somewhat reminiscent of Bath and Body Works lotions. The fruit flavors also hit a strange note in the finish that can taste like juice that has been sitting in the fridge for too long and is about to turn.
Overall, this product is a good option for the discerning hard seltzer fan who wants a little more from their beverage without having to squeeze the lime into it themselves. With “Sun Sips” right in the title, the company is clearly angling for a spot in your beach or pool cooler, where it would be a solid option in lieu of a proper mixed drink. Its availability in all 50 states and affordability for its quality also mean it will likely stand out on the shelf among the swelling sea of seltzer options.
Unlike many other hard seltzers on the market, High Noon employs real vodka in its product instead of a malt-based liquor.
The Bottom Line
High Noon Watermelon Hard Seltzer offers a lot more flavor than competitors in its crowded category, thanks to the use of real fruit juice instead of artificial ingredients and real vodka instead of malt-based liquor. This offering has plenty of smooth, freshly juiced watermelon and the brightness of lime; it might not replicate a high-end cocktail, but it at least tastes like a mixed drink made during happy hour rush. It’s a good cooler stand-in for anyone who doesn’t want to mix their drinks while poolside, on the beach, or at a party.