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:
 
This Late Night L.A. Restaurant is Serving Boozy Bowls of Classic Kids Cereal

This Late Night L.A. Restaurant is Serving Boozy Bowls of Classic Kids Cereal

Grab a boozy, late-night breakfast at L.A.'s newest concept....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Apr 19, 2016
Disney's Tower of Terror Is Getting a Bar

Disney's Tower of Terror Is Getting a Bar

Disney's Tower of Terror is getting its very own bar....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Apr 15, 2016
Bulleit Is Releasing a Barrel Proof Bourbon

Bulleit Is Releasing a Barrel Proof Bourbon

Bulleit is releasing a barrel proof version of their whiskey, at least to shops in Kentucky....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Apr 13, 2016
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Here's What People Really Look Like After 3 Glasses of Wine

Here's What People Really Look Like After 3 Glasses of Wine

Check out this revealing photo series about what people really look like after a few glasses of wine....read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 12, 2016
New Bill Paying App, Full Society, Is Helping Baltimore Diners Give Back

New Bill Paying App, Full Society, Is Helping Baltimore Diners Give Back

With Full Society, Baltimore diners can pay their bill, split the bill, tip, and donate to one of the non-prof...read more ›

by Jennifer Waldera Apr 4, 2016
Bar Rescue Host Jon Taffer Thinks Mezcal & Mescaline Are Made From the Same Thing

Bar Rescue Host Jon Taffer Thinks Mezcal & Mescaline Are Made From the Same Thing

Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue spends his days teaching people how to run bars, but seems to have a few gaps in his ...read more ›

by Nina Starner Apr 1, 2016
Top 20 'Guy Walks Into a Bar' Jokes of All Time
by The Drink Nation Mar 31, 2016
Bold Brewers Add Squid Ink to Experimental Beers

Bold Brewers Add Squid Ink to Experimental Beers

You've probably seen squid ink in pasta, but what about in beer?...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 29, 2016
Dock Street Brewery to Release Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Drumpf Beer Series

Dock Street Brewery to Release "Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Drumpf" Beer Series

Dock Street Brewery is (dis)honoring Donald Drumpf with a special series of beers. The Short-Fingered Stout, t...read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 23, 2016
Cannabis Vodka Is Now a Thing

Cannabis Vodka Is Now a Thing

Humboldt's Finest is a vodka infused with legally grown cannabis. The cannabis lends the spirit a botanical flavor, with negligible THC present, makin...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Mar 22, 2016
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close