For most of us, the first time we’ve heard of Twisted Tea was in 2020, when a man struck another while holding a can of this drink. But what is Twisted Tea really? Is it one of those highly-caffeinated drinks that use tea as its base?
Twisted Tea is a self-proclaimed “hard iced tea” because it contains 5 percent alcohol. It also has 30 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce can. That’s significantly less than an eight-ounce mug of tea, which can contain up to 47 milligrams or more of caffeine.
Now that we know how much caffeine this beverage has, let’s go beyond the memes and learn more about this beverage.
Here’s another thing you probably don’t expect from Twisted Tea: it has 5 percent alcohol. It’s also a hard iced tea with real brewed black tea, fruit flavorings, and alcohol. It tastes closer to tea than any other alcoholic drink, but with a slight twist, hence the name!
So where does the alcohol come from? The company states it has a “fermented malt base,” similar to how beer is made but with lower alcoholic content. But most reviews mention it tastes closer to a sweetened iced tea and barely any beer-like or alcoholic taste.
If you’re familiar with low-alcohol drinks such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade and similar, then you know Twisted Tea’s general concept. It is primarily a sweetened tea with several different flavors, mixed with a malt-based drink for its alcohol content. It’s perfect for those who want a slight buzz without committing to something as substantial as a shot of spirits or hard liquor.
When you do find this drink in stores, you should be able to buy this in one of the following formats:
- 6-pack of 12-ounce bottles
- 12-pack of 12-ounce bottles
- 12-pack of 12-ounce cans
- 18-pack of 12-ounce cans
- Single 24-ounce can
- 10-liter bag in a box (perfect for parties!)
- 5-liter bag in a box
Please note that not all flavors are available in all formats, and not all stores carry all of them. However, one thing’s for sure: you can always count on retailers selling single cans to have your fix whenever you need it.
We can answer this question in two ways: the serious way and the silly way. They will both give you context about the beverage, but with very different natures.
For the serious answer: Twisted Tea is a brand launched by Boston Beer Company in 2001. They are the brewing giant behind well-known brands such as Samuel Adams lager and Angry Orchard hard cider. Founded in 1984, Boston Beer Company is the fourth largest brewing company in the United States.
If you haven’t seen Twisted Tea in your local stores, that’s likely because you don’t have it in your region. This beverage is mainly sold in the American Southeast, as it’s supposed to be reminiscent of a Southern-style sweetened iced tea. However, Twisted Tea’s website has a location finder to help you find stores that sell this drink.
Now for the silly answer: the Twisted Tea meme started after a man punched another while holding a can of Twisted Tea inside a convenience store. The man with the beverage is of African-American descent and was the subject of racial slurs and harassment during the incident. The drunk white man at the receiving end of the punch was making racist remarks.
Aside from the racist incident, the internet was mainly focused on the African-American man’s punching hand. At the time, he was clutching onto a can of Twisted Tea and used the beverage can to strike the other person. This led to a flurry of memes, propelling the beverage’s identity to notoriety.
Twisted Tea tastes like a sweetened iced tea in its basic form. The brand does have several different flavors – 8, to be precise, excluding the original one. Here’s a list of flavors:
- Half & Half (Half iced tea and half lemonade)
- Light (4 percent alcohol instead of the usual 5 percent)
Each respective flavor will have the accompanying taste of the fruit it’s supposed to be mixed with, aside from the tea itself. Also, the drink is not carbonated, so it’s just iced tea with some alcohol included.
However, keep in mind that Twisted Tea has 23.3 grams of sugar in each 12-ounce can, so people with diabetes should be careful when consuming one. The amount of sugar in each can vary depending on your chosen flavor. Those watching their sugar intake for weight loss or dietary purposes should also limit their portions if they wish to enjoy the drink.
Thirty milligrams of caffeine might sound like a lot at first glance, but it’s a small figure compared to the amount of caffeine from a mug of coffee. An 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee can contain up to 140 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the type of coffee used and how long it was brewed. Meanwhile, a one-ounce shot of espresso contains a whopping 63 milligrams of caffeine – more than twice the amount of a 12-ounce can of Twisted Tea!
Even a regular mug of black tea with milk can contain around 47 milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, eight ounces of brewed green tea contains about 28 milligrams of caffeine, which is closer to what Twisted Tea has.
With those figures in mind, it would take at least two full cans of Twisted Tea to start getting the caffeine jitters, especially if you’re sensitive to its effects. Those with a higher tolerance will probably feel little to no effects from Twisted Tea, considering how low the caffeine is. You’re more likely to feel the alcohol after drinking a few cans in a row.