Ballantine Beer Leaderboard
THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
Signup

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
5 Thanksgiving Drink Pairings for Your Holiday Table
A New Way to Get in the Holiday 'Spirit': Boozy Advent Calendars
The Drink Nation 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 25 Gift Ideas for the Enthused Drinkers on Your List
2 Gingers Below Features
From Around The Web

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:
 
The Drink Nation 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 25 Gift Ideas for the Enthused Drinkers on Your List

The Drink Nation 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: 25 Gift Ideas for the Enthused Drinkers on Your List

With the holidays creeping up on us, The Drink Nation wanted to offer up some unique gifts for those who imbib...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 24, 2014
Home Bar Project: How to Make a Whiskey Sour

Home Bar Project: How to Make a Whiskey Sour

Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing home bar, filled with bottles you actually use and the tools you need to execute a finely crafted cocktail?...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 24, 2014
4 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Eve is Biggest Drinking Night of the Year

4 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Eve is Biggest Drinking Night of the Year

Why is Thanksgiving Eve a big party night? It's the perfect storm for drinking fun. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 25, 2013
SPONSORED
Perennial Funding - rectangle
Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Writers and musicians have a long, storied history with alcohol, and that intimacy with the bottle shows through in the memorable lines these artists ...read more ›

by Jenny An Sep 3, 2013
Countdown to Christmas Like an Adult with a DIY Beer Advent Calendar

Countdown to Christmas Like an Adult with a DIY Beer Advent Calendar

The only chocolate you'll find in this advent calendar is in a Double Chocolate Stout....read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Nov 20, 2014
Beaujolais & Burgers: A Successful Pairing

Beaujolais & Burgers: A Successful Pairing

Almost everyone loves burgers, but what about burgers and wine? Chilled red wine at that!...read more ›

by Swabreen Bakr Nov 18, 2014
Home Bar Project: How to Make an Old Fashioned

Home Bar Project: How to Make an Old Fashioned

Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing home bar, filled with bottles you actually use and the tools you need to execute a fine crafted cocktail? E...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 17, 2014
Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrive!

Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrive!

Beaujolais Nouveau isn't expensive; actually, it's pretty darn affordable....read more ›

by Melissa Auman Greiner Nov 17, 2014
The Drink Nation Presents: The Home Bar Project

The Drink Nation Presents: The Home Bar Project

Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing home bar, filled with bottles you actually use and the tools you need to execute a fine crafted cocktail? E...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 14, 2014
Kentucky Bar Mocks Pappy Seekers with Pappy Van Winkle Jell-O Shots

Kentucky Bar Mocks Pappy Seekers with Pappy Van Winkle Jell-O Shots

Pappy Jell-O shots. Just what the doctor ordered....read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Nov 14, 2014
SPONSORED
Read The Drink Nation Anywhere You Are
View all Articles

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

Close