Food Junk food Liquids

Review: American Vintage Hard Iced Tea

American Vintage Hard Iced Tea, a new bevvie from the folks who brought you Palm Bay coolers.

While I don’t mind a glass of sweet iced tea from time to time, occasionally spiked with a wee bit of vodka for weekend sipping, it’s not typically a drink I reach for on a regular basis.

But an intriguing offer is hard to resist. When American Vintage Hard Iced Tea offered NEAROF! a three-can sampler, I figured I’d give their new premixed hard ice tea a try. The perks of food blogging, right?

The Pitch: They sent along a product info sheet that includes this basic summary: “Made from tea leaves that have been cold steeped in a neutral malt base for three days, plus the addition of cane sugar and natural lemon juice, and dry hops at the end, it’s about as authentic as you can get.” They’re really pushing the natural, homemade angle on this, selling the tea on its lack of tinkering. Again, from the supplied info: “American Vintage Hard Iced Tea contains no preservatives or artificial colour and is 100 per cent derived from natural ingredients.”

The Tea: I love it when a brand provides some detail about their product. In this case, here’s another quote from their media kit, this time about the teas used: “What makes our tea so unique? The tea, of course, which is a blend of three imported teas – Ceylon (a prized black tea from Sri Lanka which serves as the backbone of the drink), Chinese green tea (brings a fresh ‘top note’ to the tea) and tea from North Carolina. Thirty teas and numerous flavour combinations later, we arrived at the perfect blend.”

The Look: The cans play on retro-chic, with cute 1950s diner-style imagery. Orange, yellow, black and silver, with a touch of green. Neat. The tea is a dark, cloudy shade of copper.

The Taste: There’s a light aroma of tea and alcohol in the nose. The flavour is hard to pin down; you can taste the beerish base, and there’s no mistaking the alcohol, which dominates. The tea element tastes like real, honest-to-goodness brewed tea, and not like iced tea made with a powdered mix. The lemon provides a hit of citrus zing, and the soft sweetness is pleasantly moderate. The choice of upfront, malty alcohol base is my one quibble; it’s a bit more distracting than I’d like. I think I would have preferred a simple neutral-spirit approach, though even that might have yielded a similar result. It’s admittedly hard to bury the alcohol taste when your other ingredients have a light, natural-tasting touch.

This glass of American Vintage Hard Iced Tea looks darker in this photo than it did while I sampled it at my kitchen table. Go figure.


Cost: $12.99 for a six-pack and $24.99 for a 12-pack at Liquor Depot in Calgary. But I got my three 355-mL cans for free as a promo.

Value for cash money: Fine. On par with a whole lot of middle-of-the-road beers.

Availability: Just recently released, so not extremely widespread just yet. But they’re made by the same folks who make Palm Bay coolers, so it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to find them everywhere.

Nutrition?: It’s a hard iced tea. Go easy. Moderation is key.

Beverage strength: 5% a.b.v.

The verdict: A curious alternative to coolers and beer. Not nearly as sweet as most coolers, which I find makes it more refreshing and thirst-quenching. The natural flavours are nice, though they’re not overpowering enough to drown out the strong note of booze; the cooler crowd might find that off-putting, but it’s a reasonable trade-off. I’ll likely stick with beer, but I can see the appeal.


  1. I’ve tasted the American Vintage Hard Iced Tea today and found it very refreshing, especially cold after being out in the sun all day. I found it a bit too sweet (probably from the natural cane sugar used) for my tooth and maybe could be a little less sweeter, but it is very tasty. It went down very smoothly and could see myself drinking it a bit too fast, like cold lemonade on a hot day.

  2. Is this product gluten free?

    • Hi Kent, diagnosed Celiac here. I have been digging for research and not much is available online. I however bought these products and went through the ingredients list. To me, all ingredients are fair game, the last ingredient is colour (caramel) in which I am not 100% sure about but I drink these as well as the Barely Sweet cans and do not feel ill from them. Hope this helps!

  3. I am a big fan of American Vintage Hard Iced Tea, great with a fresh slice of lemon. i’ve always noticed the sediment stuck on the bottom of the can on the inside after i finsh. Today i bought a 12 pack and started drinking them out of a frosted glass only to find alot of flakes of sediment in my glass from the can. not to impressed anymore. Definitely off the American Vintage Hard Iced Tea

  4. I love this product but just the other day the price for a 12 pack went to $33.20 I live in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. This stuff can stay on the shelf for that stupidness!!!

  5. I love this tea but can only find it at one location and its outta my way anyone know any stores that carry it.

  6. Respectfully – I believe you’re ALL confused/mislead

    I’m looking for a HARD ICE TEA that contains CANE SUGAR

    You are all confused with “American Vintage Hard Ice Tea” as it has NO CANE SUGAR – It is sweetened with the “cheap” artifical sweetener “glucose – fructose” Please do your research on “glucose – fructose” (terrible stuff)

    American Vintage NEEDS to come out with CANE SUGAR for me to continue purchasing it. I hope they listen!

    P.S. READ THE CAN – Once again, IF you come across a Hard Tea with Cane Sugar; let me know 🙂

    • Colour me confused. Have you bothered to read the can yourself? It states quite clearly, in a little green leaf: “ALL NATURAL. PURE LEAF TEA & CANE SUGAR.” Am I missing something here?

  7. How much sugar are in a can ?

  8. Whoever changed the brewed iced tea formula should be fired. They had a good thing going.
    I lost a marriage because I couldn’t stop drinking their delicious product. Now that they have change the taste, let alone the logo I am finding myself having to rekindle that shit marriage because it’s better than the new product!!

    • I am disappointed that you changed the product inside the new can. I used to buy by the case but not now as it tastes like sugar and lemon without any tea.

  9. “Whoever changed the brewed iced tea formula should be fired. They had a good thing going”

    I agree, whoever changed this product should be fired!! We were drinking two cases a week and then BAM! They changed it and we had to return the product to the LCBO here in Ontario because it was just undrinkable.

  10. This is the best f***ing thing I have ever tasted. Thank you for making this. Could even say… Dangerously good! I forget I’m drinking alcohol. Gonna recommend to everyone, especially the peach. Not too sweet and not too filling either. Finally… Something just right.

  11. I can’t find a nutrition label for the American vintage Ice tea. How much sugar is in it and how many carbs? And I also preferred the old recipe . Not crazy about the beer flavour. They had a great thing going as a straight Icectea beverage.

  12. I like American vintage hard ice tea but it could use a little more lemon for me. I have to add a slice of lemon with it.

  13. I have tasted this before, so bought a case for summer, I just had a can of peach, I’ll swear it was moldy, or at least that is what it tasted like, very disappointed, have a case of this, hopefully the others taste better than this one, not impressed.