Saturday, August 17, 2013

Crispin Original Hard Apple Cider review

Crispin Original Hard Apple CiderHard cider or beer? Sometimes the choice is difficult. Today I'm doing a change of pace from craft beer and doing a review of an American hard cider. This one comes from Crispin Cider Company of Colfax, CA and Minneapolis, MN and is their Crispin Original Natural Hard Apple Cider. I spotted a 4-pack at my local store and wanted to try a hard cider I hadn't had before.

Crispin Original came in a 12oz clear glass bottle and a bold blue label. This beverage is 5% ABV and has just 170 calories (less than beer) with 12g of carbs and 10g of sugars per serving. It's also labeled as Gluten Free.

While beers tend to have 4 main ingredients, this hard cider had fermented cider, apple juice concentrate, natural apple essence (what exactly is that?) as well as some malic acid and sulfites (gotta love chemicals). So given that bill of materials, how would this beverage compare to a beer in overall satisfaction? Let's give this a Fermentedly Challenged review...

Appearance: Crispin Original poured a very pale straw yellow with a big amount of effervescent bubbles. What little of the white head was there quickly fizzled away. There's really no lacing on a hard cider either. The beverage had excellent clarity, with absolutely no sediment in the entire bottle whatsoever. I poured this hard cider into a New Belgium glass and the laser etching on the bottom of the glass gave this hard cider a constant fountain of bubbles.

Aroma: Apples, apples, apples! The aroma was unmistakably that of a cider. It had the same aroma as a non-alcoholic sparkling cider, but with just a hint of booze. The scent was faintly reminiscent of champagne, but more fruity. I drink a lot of apple juice for breakfast, but this was not anything close to the aroma of apple juice. There was just a hint of sulphur in the nose also.

Crispin Original close-upTaste: For a hard cider, this particular brand seems quite tame. There wasn't any sharp alcohol bite, rather, it tasted nearly non-alcoholic. The apple taste was there, but it felt very light. This brew added back some apple concentrate after fermenting to give it back some sweetness. This is NOT a dry hard cider, but rather a sweetened cider, with a very bubbly mouthfeel and without any bitterness. Crispin Original was only moderately crisp, and tasted a bit watered down. It's got a very subtle alcohol about it, and if I compared it to sparking cider (non-alcoholic) it might just fool you.

Overall: I've had several hard ciders before including Woodchuck, Colorado Cider Company and Angry Orchard. Compared to those other brands, this version is quite tame. It needs to be a bit bolder to satisfy. Crispin Original may even benefit from being a bit drier and taking out some of the apple concentrate. While it has a satisfying taste, it left me wanting a bit more out of a hard cider. Granted, I'm a beer enthusiast and I don't drink many hard ciders, but when I do, I like them to have a bit more boldness to them. I might try their Artisanal Reserve or Barrel Aged series next as they probably have a bit bolder taste.

If you're looking for something different that's light and semi-crisp, yet still has some sweetness and a hint of alcohol - give this a try. It would work well on a hot summer day. But for those colder months, you might want something a bit stronger and bolder.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store.

Related articles:
- Woodchuck Hard Cider Reviews (Fall Variety Pack).
- Angry Orchard Hard Ciders review.
- Colorado Cider Company Glider Cider Dry.
- Hunters Moon Meadery Sweet Mountain Berry review. (Mead)

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