Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Angry Orchard Hard Ciders review

Angry Orchard Hard CidersClever marketing sometimes gets you noticed and for this new start-up hard cider maker, their label graphics got my attention. Recently, I was contacted by the Angry Orchard Cider Company of Cincinnati, Ohio and was offered a chance to sample their products. Normally, I don't do hard cider reviews on this beer blog, but I am a fan of hard ciders and was willing to give these a try.

Angry Orchard Cider Company, it turns out, is an offshoot of the Boston Beer Company, makers of the Samuel Adams line of craft beers. During the last year, Angry Orchard test marketed three styles of hard cider in selected states. Colorado just happened to be one of them. Now their line of hard ciders are going national and soon you'll be seeing Angry Orchard hard ciders wherever Samuel Adams beers are sold.

Angry Orchard sent me a 6-pack sampler with 2 bottles each of the three hard ciders they make. These are: Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Crisp Apple, Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Traditional Dry, and Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Apple Ginger.

The ciders come packaged in brown twist-off beer-like 12oz bottles with a bright red cap and what I call some very clever graphics with human-like apple trees. The hard cider is marked as "Naturally Gluten Free" and all of them weigh in between 5% and 5.5% ABV. Each bottle is between 190 and 200 calories.

During the course of the last week or so, I sampled each of these products. While I won't do a long individual review of each beverage, I will point out some of the tasting highlights of each one.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Crisp Apple

This hard cider was probably had the freshest tasting apple flavor of the three. This hard cider was made from apples grown in France and Italy. The hard cider is only slightly dry, and yes, crisp is a good name for this drink. It went down very easy and tasted good both cold and as it warmed. Before I knew it, I had finished a bottle of this very quickly and was looking for more. This cider also had what I'd call a more fermented, almost yeast like side aroma that was very pleasant. This bottle had a blue label.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Traditional Dry

This hard cider had a green label and had a more classic dry hard cider taste. It was slightly less sweet than the Crisp Apple version yet was very smooth and drank very easy. If you like your hard ciders dry, this is the version for you. This hard cider was slightly darker in color than the previous cider.

Angry Orchard bottles

Angry Orchard Hard Cider - Apple Ginger

I was a bit hesitant on this one before I tasted it as ginger is not my favorite spice. Granted, I do like Ginger Ales (the soft drink that is), but I've had ginger beers and haven't always enjoyed it. To my surprise, the Apple Ginger hard cider was refreshingly different. It definitely reminded me of Ginger Ale, only with a kick and a dry, tart finish. The brew was darker than the other two ciders, more of a burnt orange color and appropriately with an orange label. It has a nice spicy aroma that luckily wasn't overpowering. I was pleasantly surprised by this taste and actually ended up thinking this was one of my favorites of the bunch.

Overall Impression

I've had hard ciders from other big cider makers before and these hard ciders from Angry Orchard compare well with them. All three flavors were unique in their own way and were very enjoyable. Hard ciders can be a nice change of pace to beer. Just be careful though, they tend to go down a lot quicker than beer and the alcohol can sneak up on you if you drink them too quickly. Yes, they will go down quick and easy and they won't disappoint. I might even be tempted to homebrew some hard cider at this point.

I'm wondering if this is the start of an off-shoot that other breweries will follow. I've seen some of the big 3 macro beer makers start to dabble in hard ciders and now the Boston Beer Company. Do you think hard ciders should be part of a beer breweries repertoire?

Look for these hard ciders in stores wherever Samuel Adams beers are sold. If not now, they will be soon. For more information on Angry Orchard Hard Ciders visit them on the web at: www.AngryOrchard.com.

Related articles:
- Woodchuck Cider Maker's Choice Variety Pack review.
- Colorado Cider Company Glider Cider Dry review.
- 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival highlights (cider review).
- Samuel Adams Imperial White review.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog.
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