Are you familiar with twisted tea beer? If so, you’re likely already aware of its unique flavor and refreshing taste. But if not, now is a great time to learn more about this ever-popular beverage! Twisted tea beer has become increasingly popular over the last few years due to its light, fruity taste and ability to be enjoyed anytime. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of what is twisted tea beer distinct, as well as share some handy tips for purchasing it at your local store or online. So let’s get started – grab yourself a cold one and join us on a journey into the world of twisted tea beer.
What Is Twisted Tea?
Twisted Tea is a hard iced tea originally created by the Boston Beer Company, the makers of Samuel Adams beer. Launched in 2001, Twisted Tea was one of the first ready-to-drink hard iced teas on the market. The beverage has around 5% alcohol by volume, similar to many beers.
Unlike beer, Twisted Tea is not made from malted barley but instead starts with a fermented tea base. Natural lemon flavor is added for a crisp, refreshing taste. The end result is a sweet and tangy alcoholic iced tea that delivers a smooth, easy-drinking experience.
Over the past two decades, Twisted Tea has continued to grow in popularity and now holds a leading share of the flavored malt beverage market in the United States. Its unique combination of iced tea, lemon, and alcohol makes it unlike any other drink out there.
Varieties and Flavors Of Twisted Tea
Twisted Tea comes in a range of styles to suit any taste:
- Twisted Tea Original – The classic flavor that started it all, Twisted Tea Original combines iced tea with lemon for a refreshing balance. This amber-hued tea has a sweet, mild profile.
- Twisted Tea Light – With only 100 calories and 3.7% alcohol, Twisted Tea Light cuts the carbs while keeping the taste. It delivers all the flavor of the original with less sugar.
- Twisted Tea Half and Half – For those who prefer it sweet, this popular mix can be enjoyed as-is or customized with the lemonade ratio. The tart lemonade balances the tea’s malt base.
- Seasonal Flavors – Throughout the year, Twisted Tea releases limited-batch flavors for the season like Twisted Tea Wicked Watermelon for summer.
- Variety Packs – 12-pack samplers allow you to taste several flavors in one pack, from fruit teas to Arnold Palmer style tea lemonades.
What’s Inside Twisted Tea?
Twisted Tea’s ingredient list is surprisingly simple. Here’s what goes into each bottle:
- Brewed Tea – Black tea leaves are steeped to extract flavor. Twisted Tea uses a unique cold-brewing process to avoid bitterness.
- Sugar – Cane sugar adds sweetness to balance the tea’s natural tartness.
- Natural Flavors – Lemon is the primary flavor used to provide Twisted Tea’s signature citrus zing.
- Water – Purified or spring water makes up the base.
- Yeast – Brewers’ yeast is used for the fermentation process that yields the alcohol content.
- Caramel Color – A small amount of caramel color is used to produce Twisted Tea’s amber hue.
Brewing Twisted Tea: The Production Process
Twisted Tea is created through a unique multi-step brewing process perfected by the Boston Beer Company. Here is an overview:
- Tea Steeping – Black tea leaves are steeped in hot water then quickly cooled. This cold-brew method prevents bitter tannins from releasing.
- Fermentation – Brewers’ yeast is added to ferment the sugary tea liquid, converting sugars into alcohol. This usually takes about two weeks.
- Flavoring – Once fermented, the tea base is blended with lemon flavoring and cane sugar for taste.
- Packaging – The finished Twisted Tea is filtered, carbonated, and packaged into bottles, cans, and kegs.
- Quality Testing – Samples from each batch undergo testing to ensure optimal color, aroma, taste, and alcohol percentage.
While the ingredients are simple, careful brewing and fermentation results in Twisted Tea’s signature smooth, flavorsome taste. The tea itself provides the base complexity lacking in many ready-to-drink competitors.
Alcohol Content and Responsible Drinking
Like most flavored malt beverages, Twisted Tea has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of around 5%. This equals the amount found in most beers or a single shot of liquor. While not high in alcohol, Twisted Tea should still be enjoyed responsibly:
- Know your limits and pace yourself when drinking over time.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water between Twisted Teas.
- Avoid driving or operating machinery if impaired. Arrange for safe transport.
- Don’t feel pressured to drink excessively or participate in drinking games.
- Underage drinkers should never consume alcohol like Twisted Tea before the legal age.
Health Considerations Of Twisted Tea
When consumed responsibly, Twisted Tea can be part of an overall balanced diet. Here are some health notes:
- Calories – Twisted Tea Original contains 190 calories and 37g of carbohydrates per 12oz serving. The Light has 100 calories and 8g carbs.
- Sugar Content – While naturally sweetened, Twisted Tea does contain 24-26g of sugar per bottle depending on the variety. The Light version has substantially less at 2g sugar.
- Gluten-Free – All Twisted Tea varieties are considered gluten-free, containing no wheat, barley, or rye ingredients.
- No Artificial Sweeteners – Twisted Tea relies on real cane sugar rather than artificial sweeteners. But the sugar should be moderated by diabetics and calorie-counters.
Legal Drinking Age and Regulations
Despite having a tea base, Twisted Tea is still an alcoholic beverage meant solely for adult consumption. Important restrictions include:
- Must be 21 years or older to purchase and drink Twisted Tea in the United States. Identification may be checked.
- Twisted Tea cannot be sold to visibly intoxicated persons.
- Some states prohibit direct shipping of Twisted Tea and alcohol – check local regulations first.
- Public intoxication laws still apply when consuming Twisted Tea outside the home. Act responsibly.
- Parents should not provide Twisted Tea or make it available to underage drinkers.
Twisted Tea should be enjoyed legally and in moderation. Those not of legal drinking age or with alcohol abuse issues are advised to avoid it. Laws help promote safe, responsible enjoyment.
Twisted Tea-Themed Parties and Events
Thanks to its widespread popularity, Twisted Tea is now a staple at parties, tailgates, beach days, and other fun group occasions:
- Twisted Tea Pong – Beer pong gets a delicious iced tea makeover using Twisted Tea cans or cups instead of beer.
- Twisted Tea Cocktails – Mix up some creative cocktails using Twisted Tea as a base, like Twisted Tea Sangria or Twisted Tea Lemonade Mojitos.
- Twisted Tea Tasting Party – Host a tasting party to sample different Twisted Tea flavors and varieties. Rate or rank them.
- Beach or Poolside Sipping – Enjoy chilled Twisted Teas while relaxing poolside or at the beach for ultimate summer refreshment.
- Game Day Tailgating – Tailgates, barbecues, and game days pair perfectly with delicious, easy-drinking Twisted Tea all day long.
Any casual gathering can be instantly elevated with cold Twisted Teas. Fun themed parties also showcase fan creativity and passion for this iconic booze-infused tea.
Cooking and Pairing with Twisted Tea
Beyond sipping on its own, Twisted Tea can also be incorporated into recipes or paired with foods like wine:
- Use Twisted Tea to deglaze pans for sear chicken or shrimp, adding great flavor.
- Marinate meats like chicken wings or pork chops in Twisted Tea. Grill or bake them soaked in that tangy tea flavor.
- Mix Twisted Tea 50/50 with chili sauce for a sweet, boozy dipping sauce for chicken tenders or fries.
- Splash Twisted Tea into fruit salad dressing for a sweet tea kick. Berries, grapefruit, and melon work especially well.
- Sip Twisted Tea alongside salty snacks like nachos, soft pretzels, or buttered popcorn to balance flavors.
- Pair citrusy Twisted Tea with sweet BBQ dishes or spicy buffalo wings to help cut through the intense flavors.
The tea’s flavor profile lends itself well to cooking applications while still retaining its distinct identity. Don’t be afraid to get creative with recipes using Twisted Tea!
DIY Twisted Tea: Tips for Home Brewing
Want to recreate that signature Twisted Tea taste at home using tea, sugar, and yeast yourself? Here are some DIY brewing tips:
- Choose a Black Tea – Opt for a smooth, malty black tea like a Yunnan or Assam as your base for flavor.
- Control Sweetness – Brew the tea on the less sweet side since added sugars will increase sweetness later.
- Ferment Cool – Steady lager yeast fermentation around 60°F yields best results.
- Add Citrus – Consider real lemon juice or orange to mimic Twisted Tea’s citrusy tang.
- Carbonate – Force carbonation gives that fizzy mouthfeel expected from a hard iced tea.
- Experiment! Don’t be afraid to tweak and adjust until your homemade hard iced tea is tea-riffic!
While not exactly identical, you can come quite close to the Twisted Tea drinking experience through homebrewing. Just be sure to enjoy your homemade version legally and responsibly.
Conclusion: Is Twisted Tea Beer
With its appealing iced tea flavor profile and refreshing drinkability, Twisted Tea has carved out a special niche within the flavored malt beverage category and alcohol market as a whole. While not a true beer, its 5% ABV does provide a light buzz with lower calories and a smoother taste than many competitors. This balance helps explain Twisted Tea’s widespread popularity at parties, barbecues, beach days, concerts, and any fun group occasion. Responsible drinking remains paramount – but enjoyed properly, Twisted Tea offers a uniquely flavorful and sessionable alternative to beer, wine, or spirits alone.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.