Apples to Apples—Hard Cider Tasting

Hard cider has come a long way since the days when classic Woodchuck Amber was the only hard cider around. Now, in addition to a wide selection of classic hard ciders like that Woodchuck, you'll find a variety of flavored ciders like pink lemonade, blood orange or pear.

IMG 7841We noticed this trend, and as fall kicked in, decided ’twas the season to sample the quintessential autumn beverage. So, we rounded up eight hard ciders, from classic to eclectic and made an afternoon of it. We were not always in agreement about each cider’s traits, but we were able to put our differences aside and have a great time. In the end we favored the classic apple varieties the best, but found a few new flavors we’d try again. Here’s what we found.

 

angry orchardAngry Orchard’s The Muse
Alcohol by volume: 7.7%
angryorchard.com

Angry Orchard Says:
The Muse is a bubbly, effervescent cider made from culinary and bittersweet apples and aged on French oak.

Our Take: This cider had a decidedly champagne taste and mouthfeel. Jen remarked “It reminded me of being allowed to drink non-alcoholic sparkling ciders at a wedding.”

 

 

 

orange blossom


Strongbow Orange Blossom

Alcohol by volume: 7.5%
strongbow.com

Strongbow Says: Strongbow Orange Blossom says it finishes with a just the right citrus and floral notes for a delicious and refreshing taste.

Our Take: This tasted more like a summery wine cooler than a cider, but with its smooth feel and mild orange flavor it would be great on a summer night—or mixed in to a mimosa!

 

 

 

 

scrumpy

JK Scrumpy Hard Cider
Alcohol by volume: 6%
jksfarmhouseciders.com

JK Says: Scrumpy is an old English term for a farmhouse cider. Ours is made simply from the organic apples with their naturally occurring wild yeast, grown in our orchards.

Our Take: This tastes like fall! We considered this to be the best apple cider taste, though some found it a tad strong and vinegary. It topped our list.

 

 

beer 159258
Doc’s Draft Hard Raspberry Cider

Alcohol by volume 5.5%
wvwinery.com

Doc’s Draft says: Fresh raspberries are added and re-fermented to create a delicious spin on traditional cider.

Our Take: This wasn’t very flavorful, and was reminiscent of a seltzer water or mildly flavored champagne. It was one of our least favorites.

 

 

ace perry
Ace Perry Hard Cider

Alcohol by volume: 5%
acecider.com

Ace Says: This thirst quenching cider is refreshing and light. Ace Perry pairs well with spice foods and Asian cuisine.

Our Take: This pear-flavored cider was very fragrant, which turned some of us off. But it was smooth, with a light fizziness and would be great at a Sunday brunch.

 

 

ci 18535Crown Valley Pink Lemonade Cider
Alcohol by volume: 5%
crownvalleybrewery.com

Crown Valley Says: Summertime is the perfect time for this sweet pink lemonade with a slight tart bite. This seasonal classic will make new memories and traditions. Enjoy over the rocks with a twist of lime.

Our Take: This was very sweet, a little tart, and indeed tasted like pink lemonade.

 

 

 

pineapple
Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider

Alcohol by volume: 5%
austineastciders.com

Austin Eastciders Says: Golden, ripe, and delicious pineapples have been married into our dry cider to give you a refreshing pineapple experience!

Our Take: The pineapple cider tasted more like a light beer than a cider. But with its mild pineapple flavor it might be a good summer alternative to beer.

 

 

orange
Austin Eastciders Blood Orange Cider

Alcohol by volume: 5%        
austineastciders.com

Austin Eastciders Says: We blended blood oranges from Italy with bittersweet heirloom apples to create a cider with a zesty twist. With just the right amount of sweet and citrus flavors, our Blood Orange Cider is sure to brighten your day.

Our Take: This was bland and bitter with no apple notes to speak of.