THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
Home Bar Project Leaderboard Below Navigation

Cider Review: Angry Orchard

Not your grandpa's cider
by Tara Nurin on Jul 23, 2012 in Beer
Cider Review: Angry Orchard

With sales of hard cider growing 27% in the U.S. last year, it makes sense that Boston Beer Co. would finally — after playing with recipes for 15 years — release its Angry Orchard family of ciders last fall. However, Angry Orchard is not a Sam Adams spinoff — owner Jim Koch is adamant about giving the brand a separate identity. The packaging and marketing materials, including the official press release announcing the launch, contain no reference to the parent company and claim Cincinnati, not Boston, as its home. Likewise, there seems to be no mention of the brand on Boston Beer Co.’s website.

Cider maker David Sipes has been quoted as saying, “Angry Orchard is a subsidiary of The Boston Beer Company, but a critical decision was made early on for Angry Orchard to have its own identity in every aspect from recipe development through packaging.”  

Koch’s distancing could be said to extend to his ingredients, which he sources far from home, buying apples for the trio of Angry Orchard ciders in Italy and France. Despite being idiosyncratic in an era when food suppliers climb on top of another to proclaim their commitment to buying local, after a few sips, the decision is understandable. The culinary apples from the foothills of the Italian Alps and the bittersweet fruit that originates in Normandy combine to make ciders so flavorful yet gentle that they easily compel a non-cider drinker to ask for thirds.

Completely unlike the sharp Irish styles typically available in the states before cider made its craft comeback, Angry Orchard’s Traditional Dry, Crisp Apple and Apple Ginger flavors are perky, at once slightly sweet and also dry, and eminently drinkable. The description on the Crisp Apple bottle applies to all three styles and is as true as any I’ve seen: “This crisp and refreshing cider mixes the sweetness of the apples with a subtle dryness for a balanced cider taste.”

The Traditional Dry is, not surprisingly, the driest. Offering a tempered whiff of a snappy hard green apple, it’s made in the style of England’s traditional pub drink. The relative lack of sweetness also makes this cider the tartest, snapping the drinker awake like smelling salts. This style maintains its dryness partially because no juice was added to sugar it up.

Crisp apple tastes the most like the juice you were fed with graham crackers as a kid. It’s not at all cloying but does derive some of its ripe, natural-tasting sweetness from the addition of Fuji apples. It has a sprightly carbonation that draws the mind to bottom-shelf bubbly — not that there’s anything cheap-tasting about in the cider. I combined this style with Goldschlager (yes, it’s still around, and the ratio is one bottle of cider to one shot of liquor) as a volunteer at a recent tasting event and delighted the participants with the taste of cinnamon apple.

There isn’t all that much ginger flavor in the Apple Ginger, though if you try hard enough you can pick some up on the finish. That doesn’t diminish the enjoyment, however, because if you close your eyes you can imagine you’re drinking a lightly fizzed and fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc or a glass of Welch’s white grape juice.

All of the varieties are low in alcohol and mix nicely. Play around by adding schnapps, hot cinnamon flavored spirits, muddled fruit (try peaches) and simple syrup. The Angry Orchard website also lists extensive cocktail-making possibilities. What works in one will probably work almost as well in the others, too — though there are subtle differences between the three, if you like one, you’ll probably like them all. Even if you don’t like cider.

Recent Articles

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
There Is Now a Non-Alcoholic Wine Made for Cats

There Is Now a Non-Alcoholic Wine Made for Cats

Ever wanted to share some wine with your cat? Thanks to Apollo Peak, you can now....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jun 21, 2016
A Spanish Winemaker is Producing Blue Wine

A Spanish Winemaker is Producing Blue Wine

We've all heard of red wine and white wine. But now, we can get what we've always dreamed of when looking through a wine list: blue wine. ...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Jun 21, 2016
Celebrate Negroni Week With Great Cocktails for Good Causes, June 6-12

Celebrate Negroni Week With Great Cocktails for Good Causes, June 6-12

For the fourth year in a row, Campari and Imbibe Magazine are rolling out the red-cocktail carpet for Negroni ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 7, 2016
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
The Essence of San Francisco Fog is Now in Vodka Form

The Essence of San Francisco Fog is Now in Vodka Form

Do you love the iconic fog of San Francisco so much that you long to imbibe it in alcohol form? Well, thanks to Hangar One Vodka and distiller Caley S...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jun 7, 2016
Enjoy History and Drinking on the Cruzan Rum Distillery Tour

Enjoy History and Drinking on the Cruzan Rum Distillery Tour

When people think of drinking the Virgin Islands, they often think of cocktails made with rum....read more ›

by Carrie Dow May 31, 2016
Saltwater Brewery is Debuting Eco-Friendly Edible Six-Pack Rings

Saltwater Brewery is Debuting Eco-Friendly Edible Six-Pack Rings

The craft beer world is flipping their lids thanks to a new invention being put to use by Florida craft brewers Saltwater Brewery. ...read more ›

by Erica Bauwens May 24, 2016
Carnival Vista Launches First Brewery on a Ship

Carnival Vista Launches First Brewery on a Ship

Carnival's newest and largest cruise ship, the 3,954 person Carnival Vista, has its own brewery called the Red Frog Pub & Brewery....read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 18, 2016
Building in Brooklyn to Transform into the Classic Ghostbusters HQ For a Weekend

Building in Brooklyn to Transform into the Classic Ghostbusters HQ For a Weekend

BBQ Films is recreating the Ghostbusters HQ for three nights only in Brooklyn....read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 11, 2016
Russian River Plans Mega-Brewery in Windsor, CA

Russian River Plans Mega-Brewery in Windsor, CA

Russian River already has a brewpub in downtown Santa Rosa, but now the company is planning to build a new one in Windsor, CA, and it's going to be 85...read more ›

by Alexander Frane May 11, 2016
Watery Beer-Like Beverage Wants to Appeal to the Stupidest Possible Citizens of This Country By Renaming Itself 'America'
by The Drink Nation May 10, 2016
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close