By Andrea Riley and Morgan LemnerA typical day in the office doesn’t normally include drinking alcohol, but this Wednesday we put down the coffee and picked up the hard seltzer because we had a job to do. Sheboygan’s 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. released a new line of hard seltzers called Cloudless and was kind enough to drop off some samples. So it was our duty to drink them and tell you all about it.
The summer of 2019 – also known as “White Claw Summer” – is when the hard seltzer craze really took off. The cans were flying off the shelves and into drinkers’ hands. It seemed like everyone was drinking it.
The popularity of the drink makes sense, even to us beer-drinking Milwaukeeans. If you’re looking for a bloat-free alcoholic beverage without the alcohol taste or hangover, then hard seltzer nails it. And if you’re looking for a local iteration, then 3 Sheeps’ new lineup is a good place to start. The brewery has been developing these seltzers for a year and a half. Like White Claw, each can has 5% alcohol, only 100 calories, only 2 grams of sugar and is gluten-free.
So taking Cloudless’ motto “clear your day” to heart, we cracked open the cute pastel-accented slim cans in the conference room to get you the full scoop on these three new drinks. All of the flavors shared a few key (refreshing) qualities: light and bubbly – one taster noted pretty big, almost champagne-like bubbles – with a dry, very clean finish and a little bit of mineral or alkaline flavor.
The first Cloudless flavor we sampled was Tropical, with natural flavoring of passionfruit, dragonfruit and papaya.
Overall, we experienced a dry finish with the flavor coming and going quickly. One sampler said, “It’s there, it’s gone and it’s good.” We’d have to agree that this doesn’t leave that lingering flavor like most popular hard seltzers on the market. It also doesn’t taste like alcohol … at all. That’s what drew a lot of sippers to a positive reaction.
The flavor here was a little mysterious – and the most unique and the most restrained of the three – with none of the three fruit components jumping out. If you’re looking for a hard seltzer that’s different from one you’ve experienced before, this could be it.
This one brought back our child-like taste buds. While 3 Sheeps describes notes of raspberry and blackberry, we have something else to say: Nerds, Nerds and more Nerds.
No, really, we’re serious. The aroma brought us back to opening a fresh box of Nerds – the grape and whatever flavor paired with it. (Was that strawberry?) It tastes like Nerds too – pretty sweet (but still not cloying), a little artificial.
Most of us said we wouldn’t want to sit down and drink multiple of these, due to our lack of sweet tooth, but if you’re looking for something fun and spunky, we’d say give it a go.
The last Cloudless flavor to go around the table was Clearly Citrus, flavored with pink grapefruit and tangerine, and it definitely stood out.
While the first sip, with a pretty sharp pithy grapefruit note, turned off a few drinkers, – one taster noted it was like sucking on a Halls Vitamin C drop; “If I were sick, this wouldn’t taste that bad” – they came around on repeat sips as a warmer, sweeter tangerine flavor came through. This was the only Cloudless flavor to linger a bit on the palate; we didn’t find it unpleasant but it’s worth noting.
All of the Cloudless seltzers seemed like a better fit for a summer day – at the beach, on the boat, at a backyard barbecue – than a February Wednesday. It’s a a crisp, refreshing drink with a little bit of a buzz, a zip of flavor, a modest amount amount of calories and zero bloat.