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Jul 31, 2012 07:57 AM

Beer Drinkers let me ask thee a question...............

Let me start with this fact I am NOT a beer drinker...........yes from time to time on a hot summer day after doing yard work or playing golf nothing goes down as smooth or refreshing as an ice cold beer. But other than that I rarely partake in beer drinking.

My question is this......last night a bartender let me try Sam's Cider(?) Sam Adams is putting out some sort of apple cider beer? It was served through a draft.......what exactly is this? It tasted more like cheap champagne to be but I can't really figure out if it's fish or foul? Is it considered a cider or a beer?

(Oh I will tell you this much though I did recently get turned onto Blue Moon which is a delicious orange based beer. I found it to be a GREAT chaser for Grand Marnier!!! This is something I have recently started enjoying!!)

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    1. re: BiscuitBoy

      For reasons unclear to me it is customarily served with a half slice of orange. I order it "unfruited".

      1. re: Veggo

        yep, fruit and beer is Corona is lime based then...HA!

        1. re: BiscuitBoy

          Now, lime is different - I like a good chilada or michelada, but not with Corona.

          1. re: BiscuitBoy

            "An old tradition in the Senne Valley of Belgium, the center of lambic production, is to steep fruit in the beers, most often cherries to produce kriek, or raspberries to make framboise. The fruit renews the fermentation as the yeast in the brew devours the sugar in the fruit. The result is a beer of stark, penetrating dryness in which the essence of the fruit rings out in a kaleidoscope of bitter, mineral, earthy flavors."


            1. re: BiscuitBoy

              Although I am far from being a beer snob, I, too, find the pairing of beer and fruit to be somewhat a turnoff. As far as I'm concerned, never the twain should meet.

              1. re: njmarshall55

                Try a good Belgian-style sour fruit lambic and tell me that,

                  1. re: njmarshall55

                    I'll put in my $.02 worth. The most poplar is Lindeman's Framboise. It is dry and while fruity, the raspberry does not make it overly sweet.

                    Other fruits included in lambics: peche-pear, kriek-cherry, cassis-currants, and apple. I've seen banana and some other tropical fruits but have not pulled the trigger.

                    Lindeman's is by far the most common. People with more refined palettes tell me it is not the best. I enjoy it. Boon is another I have seen around. Also very good.

                    An aside: I have found lambics, especially the kriek and framboise, a great way to win a bet with someone (usually a woman) who tells me they don't like beer.

                    1. re: njmarshall55

                      I suggest trying Floris Apple Ale.

                      1. re: njmarshall55

                        Fruit beers can come in a wide range of styles from quite sweet and fruity to bone dry, or hoppy or even sour. A hoppy fruit beer would be Dogfish Head Aprihop which uses apricots as you might imagine. A sweet dessert style fruit beer would include (in addition to the aforementioned Lindeman’s Framboise etc) Dogfish Head Fort. This is a favorite of mine for after dinner and could be viewed as an alternative to a port wine. Includes sweet raspberry with other deep boozy flavors. On the drier end sour end there are the fruit lambics form Brasserie Cantillon. Very aggressive tartness and just a hint of fruit. Others I enjoy include Lindamen’s Pomme (apple), and New Glarus Raspberry Tart and Wisconsin Red. All make pleasant brunch beers having a balanced sweetness and tartness and not being heavy.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          I'm gonna have to try the Dogfish Head Fort. Their Raison D'Être is one of my favorite thing on this big blue marble we all share.

                          1. re: hambone

                            Fort is definitely a sipping beer. 18% abv, warm, sweet and boozy. Comes in a 750ml bottle. Wouldn't serve more than four ounces at a time.

                        2. re: njmarshall55

                          Based on your comments earlier, I wouldn't suggest starting with any of the sweeter fruit beers (like Lindemans or Floris). If you find it, I'd suggest trying Russian River's Supplication. Other good ones are Hanssens Artisinaal Kriek, Drei Fonteinen Kriek, or Cantillon's Lou Pepe (either Kriek or Framboise).

                          If you like cider, then another interesting fruit beer is Unibroue's Ephemere made with apples, though it's a bit unusual, and not really like any traditional beer I can think of,

                  2. re: BiscuitBoy

                    BB Like I said I'm not a beer guy so perhaps I mis-spoke by saying it is orange based but this is the Wikipedia

                    "The beer is orange-amber in color with a cloudy appearance because it is unfiltered. Blue Moon has a more pronounced orange flavor than many other beers of the style, and also has a slightly sweet flavor. The grain bill for Blue Moon includes malted barley, white wheat, and oats.
                    Some weiss and hefeweizen beers are commonly served with a slice of lemon in North America.[citation needed] Blue Moon is traditionally served with a slice of orange, which its brew masters claim accentuates the flavor of the brew[3]"

                    I am a Grand Marnier drinking and enjoy it as an after diner drink. However during the summer months I find it too "warming" after a big meal to drink it so generally I save it for the winter months. As I said after a friend of mine turned me onto Blue Moon I had the brillant idea to try the combination.......I nice smooth sip of Grand Marnier....with the warm burn of the orange liquor......followed not to quickly by a swig of the Blue Moon orange "flavor based" beer was a delightful combination.

                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                      Blue Moon contains coriander and orange peel. Thus, the orange slice garnish. Orange/orange peel is a surprisingly (to me at least) fairly popular additive in modern "craft" beers.

                      As noted elsewhere, cider, even carbonated cider, is cider not beer.

                    2. So from what I've read "Angry Orchard" makes the cider. Angry Orchard are a Sam Adams brand. I gather it wasn't your cup of tea. Which are your favorite ciders?

                      And as for Blue Moon, if you enjoy it I'd suggest other similar styles such as Hefeweizen and American Wheat beers like Troeg's Dreamweaver Wheat and Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chinon00

                        Sam adams now has two cider lines - Angry Orchard and Hard Core with AO being the "premium" line. I think both are pretty much targeted to the cider over ice crowd, so I would imagine they are pretty sweet.

                      2. Most "mass" produced commercial cider is sweet and targeted to the tastes of a younger audience. For the "real deal" find an artisinal cider maker which will end up being a bit drier in finish (and can be found in still and carbonated versions and different degrees of dryness) - a 750ml bottle will set you back somewhere around $13 -$15. In the new england area Farnum Hills seems to be available at most decent liquor stores - not sure what's available in the NY/NJ area.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: LStaff

                          I like Jack's Hard Cider out of Pennsylvania too. Tastes like a true agricultural product.

                          1. re: LStaff

                            Angry Orchard also offers a drier cider that is quite good.

                            Just a day or two ago, I had a taste of Long Trail brewery's new cider and it was delicious.
                            It's true that most American hard ciders tend to be on the sweeter side and often lack the dryness and especially the tang that comes from proper cider when made with a healthy proportion of tart apple varieties.
                            Long Trail's is definitely worth seeking of the best out there, really.

                            1. re: The Professor

                              I'll have to check out the drier version. With the label graphics, I just assumed it was for the youngsters.

                              LT now too? Cider is about to blow up - maybe it will bring craft beer back down to earth...

                              1. re: LStaff

                                "...Cider is about to blow up - maybe it will bring craft beer back down to earth..."

                                god...I certainly hope so.

                                1. re: LStaff

                                  An update, LStaff...
                                  The delicious cider I tasted wasn't from Long was from Harpoon!
                                  Maybe I had too much of it, but I apprently remembered totally wrong (and was proven so by a picture shown to me this evening, taken that very night, with me holding the bottle and the label clearly reads HARPOON.
                                  So I had the maker wrong...but not my assessment of the was quite fine!

                              2. re: LStaff

                                One local brand I've seen in Northern NJ stores is Doc's Cider made by Warwick Valley Vineyards:

                                1. re: LStaff

                                  I am not a big cider drinker. I've had it from time to time, but usually prefer beer, and in fact until about a week ago it has been a few years since i have had any. Anyway while sitting at a bar having a beer I got a sample of Wandering Aengus Anthem cherry cider, and it was great. These guys appear to be out of Oregon. It was on tap. I'm not sure if you buy bottles or cans, as i've not seen it in the store. It was very dry with a slight cherry flavor, but the cherry was not overpowering like some cherry flavored beers that i have had in the past (Sam Adams cherry wheat to name one).
                                  Evidently this is an apple cider finished with cherry juice. They look to have multiple different flavored ciders. I'd definitely give them a try again.

                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                    Sam Adams Cherry Wheat tastes like cough syrup. I am pretty sure there is no cherry in it.

                                    1. re: eethan

                                      > I am pretty sure there is no cherry in (SA Cherry Wheat)....

                                      BBC claims "Cherries are added during the mash to add a distinct sweet and slightly tart cherry flavor..." and lists "Michigan cherries" and honey as an ingredients on their website for the beer and on the label claim "Wheat Ale with Real Cherries and Natural Flavors added".

                                      Most beers with "non-traditional" ingredients need to have their formula approved - the TTB would not allow that label and similar advertising if there were no cherries in the beer.

                                      1. re: JessKidden

                                        Your research makes a more compelling case than my recollection w.r.t. the inclusion or absense of cherries, but I'll still assert that it tastes bad, and the 'natural flavors' dominate.

                                2. Above is all (mostly?) interesting and right but the short answer to your question:

                                  What you had is fermented apple cider, not beer.

                                  FYI- In the old days it was called "hard cider." If you take hard cider and freeze it, skim off the ice, repeat a few times you get the alcohol content up. That is "apple jack." (If you go to Cortland State and have a room mate who grew up in the area, he may teach you how to make your own. (Nowadays the internet is also a good source.))

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: hambone

                                    Ahhh thank you for the information and direct answer to my intitial question. I was confused because I guess it is kegged and they were pouring it like a draft beer. It was "tasty" all things considered.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      In London it seemed that every pub I went into (and I went into a bunch this past May) had at least two dedicated taps at the bar for cider. I agree with the Professor above, I think cider is really going to catch on. If it's available where you are, give Scrumpy's a try (

                                      1. re: HeBrew

                                        I'm originally from the UK. I grew up in the southwest, where cider and scrumpy are mostly made. There's a few pubs dotted around that are dedicated cider bars and they serve the good stuff. The commercially produced stuff is kinda ok, but once you've tried 'proper' cider, you'll never turn back. On the small chance anybody comes across Dragon tears from Clyst st George or Cornish Rattler, they're a must try.

                                      2. re: jrvedivici

                                        hard cider is pretty common all across Europe - especially in the northwest part of France, where it's served like beer with meals.

                                    2. It is hard cider. I like the Angry Orchard version with the blue label. Very tasty. There are other brands as well like Woodchuck.