Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Beer >
Dec 2, 2011 06:01 PM

Cider Taste off

This year for T day we had a hard cider taste off instead of wine. First we had Annandale Atomic Hard Cider made in the lovely hamlet of Annandale on Hudson (home to my Alma mater, Bard College), Thin, tart in an acidic way and none to pleasing to my taste buds. Gimmicky packaging, mini mason type jar and being called Atomic just is plain gimicky. Then we had a bottle of Hudson Valley farmhouse Cider by Breezy Hill Orchards. Bit more body and roundness in flavor. Easily the best American hard cider I've had so far. The final cider was Dupont cider from Normandy. My fave cider of the night and my regular/go to cider. Good body, great bouquet, a beautiful roundness and what I judge most others against (except for the Basque ciders which are almost a different animal).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Great post. I'll definitely have to seek out some of the ciders you've mentioned here, especially the Dupont.

    1. The Dupont is great, I agree completely.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Shaggy

        I haven't had the Dupont organic/bio.

      2. I read that cider sales were up 25% in the last year. The next new "thing" in alcoholic beverages?

        19 Replies
        1. re: LStaff

          That's what all the beer industry newsletters have been saying. Strong increases on a very small base.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            Yup, but the bigger biys have been sniffing around for a while. Didn't Jim Koch have a label for a while and don't forget the Brits and their neighbors the Irish...

            1. re: MOREKASHA

              People have been toying with a cider at the craft level for at least 20 years. Jim Koch still sells HardCore Cider.

              1. re: MOREKASHA

                BBC also recently added a new cider line using the dba of ÔÇťAngry Orchard Cider Company". Can't find the article, but I think I've read that Hardcore cider sales are approaching those of some of BBC's best selling beer labels.

                (Don't quite know what market they're after with that brand name- you'd think they'd go "upscale", since they original cider is "Hardcore").

                1. re: JessKidden

                  Considering their web page shows a picture of a glass of cider with ice in it, I would think they are going after the 20 something market. - and more specifically, female light beer drinkers.

                  1. re: LStaff

                    That's the market I hear all the UK/Irish imports are after. That's almost a whole different product, or at least to my tatsebuds...

                    1. re: LStaff

                      Yeah, the ice cubes might suggest that market but (at the risk of stereotyping- something marketers don't avoid, so why should I?) I'd think going after a particular female market segment, they'd use some bottle design/color other than the standard brown long neck beer bottle (I don't know- is that what they use for Hardcore and Twisted Tea. too?), maybe something smaller than 12 ounces (and so, less calories "per serving" that 190-200). A nice select shape 8-10 oz. bottle- maybe an unusual color like blue or near opaque dark green.

                      And ditch that glass for a stemmed glass- and just one or two small ice cubes.

                      Sounds good, right?*

                      And "Angry Orchard"? WTF? Who does that appeal to? People who like the idea of a Halloween beer but don't care for liquid pumpkin pie?

                      Are these ciders that are sold as a substitute for beer carbonated?

                      * Jim Koch, call me. I work cheap, too - you can even pay me in Noble Pils.

                      1. re: JessKidden

                        Crispin markets itself as something to have with ice.

                        don't know if the law has changed, but it used to be that you couldn't put too much carbonation in ciders, or else you'd pay the champagne tax. That is what caused the big fuss between Bert Grant and the feds a while back.

                          1. re: MOREKASHA

                            Yes, he was a feisty old cuss, and much older than most of the people starting small breweries back in the day.

                          2. re: Jim Dorsch

                            I'm looking at a 16.9 ounce can of Crispin Brown's Lane Classic English Dry Cider right now and it says to "Serve Ice Cold" ...

                      2. re: JessKidden

                        Here's an interseting article. The brewer at Goose Island has moved on, and is looking at ciders:

                        1. re: Shaggy

                          Yeah heard that on a great NYC beer pod cast a while back. Though ,the GI beers havent thrilled me...

                          1. re: MOREKASHA

                            In general I agree that the commercial beers are just fine. If you ever get the chance to go to their brewpub in Chicago, it is worth it in my opinion. As much as the beers they sell in grocery stores are easily marketable, the seasonal and collaborative beers at the brewpub are way more interesting.

                          2. re: Shaggy

                            Thanks for pointing that out. I had wondered what Greg was going to do next.

                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                              You mean besides relieving himself in a glass while standing at the bar?


                              1. re: LStaff

                                They wont accept his apology? Seems fairly lame. Hes taking full responsibility and not offering any excuses. He was clearly drunk as a skunk and admits it and we all know what we are capable of when we are drunk enough. I know Ive been there. If he was an ass about it sober that would be one thing. They should have read him the riot act as they did and then moved on once it was clear he was contrite and especially when he sent them free beer. Frankly I would have made a joke of it if I was the bar. Seems like a much better business approach then holding a public grudge. Maybe made him join a publicity stunt where they make him drink a warm bud light or something (as a metaphoric joke...) then have him publicly and with great fanfare clean up the bathrooms at the end of a busy night.

                                1. re: Insidious Rex

                                  I have never been drunk enough, nor thought of myself important enough, to ever think it was a good idea to urinate in a bar anywhere but the bathroom. That includes my drunken college days.

                                  As far as not accepting his apology, showing up with that case of beer and an apology in person probably would have went a long way to making things right.

                                  1. re: LStaff

                                    The guy acted like an idiot.
                                    Anyone who gets THAT schnitfaced, enough to pull a stunt like that in a public place, should probably be in rehab.
                                    Bad judgement aside, the whole incident just shows a total lack of _class_ on his part.

                  2. I had to pour 2 bottles of Dupont Cuvee Colette down the drain last night because of a foul odor / taste. This was the 1st time that I've tried Normandy cidre. Could I have had 2 off / corked bottles or, is this an acquired taste? My wife likened it to the odor / taste of bamboo shoots although, I didn't find it quite that foul. Sorry to anyone who enjoys bamboo shoots.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JAB

                      French/Norman cider is quite different from American offerings (Woodchuck and the like). It has a flavor that is very redolent of apple skins and can be at once both exceptionally musty and sweet. I love the stuff but it is not to everyone's taste.

                      1. re: Ernie Diamond

                        The Cider from Spain is waydifferent from the French and the American

                      2. re: JAB

                        Just bought a four-pack of a British English Dry Cider called CRISPIN BROWN'S LANE [in 16.9 ounce cans] for $9 .... It is not as sweet as some American Hard Ciders [and is somewhat bitter], but definitely a great change of pace.

                      3. There's a new entry at Beer Marketers Insights website about the growth of ciders in the US (mostly based on the aforementioned Ad Age article).

                        Looks like the segment* will still wind up around 0.3% of the total alcoholic beverage market this year, with under half a million barrels sold (compared to craft beers' 5% and 10m bbl).

                        *Altho', regardless of state/federal laws, its alcohol content and how the product is marketed/consumed, to me "cider" is more wine than a beer- fruit-based rather than barley/grain-based.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JessKidden

                          You're correct, of course, that cider is more akin to wine, but for some reason beer drinkers sort of adopted it. It's sold in six-packs like beer, and also in single bottles like wine. Some ciders are chaptalized and emerge with higher alcohol content like wine. I suppose that as regards use, you could put it in both camps: Normandy cider with brie or Woodchuck with mozzarella sticks ...