The dog days of summer have arrived. I find myself looking for ways to cool down and what better way then with an ice cold Angry Orchard hard cider?
Blending Italian culinary apples from the Alpine foothills with French bittersweet apples from Normandy, Angry Orchard cider makers have crafted the perfect flavor profiles through a lengthy fermentation process, including wood-aging for optimal complexity and balance. Unlike ordinary apples, bittersweet apples are described as “angry” because of the tart and tannic characteristics they impart. Culinary apples produce a fruit with a juicy, ripe apple character that, when combined with the bittersweet apples, results in an exceptional blend that contributes to the complex flavor profile of each Angry Orchard cider style.
The apple crop is harvested at the peak of flavor and ripeness. Because every crop has its own personality, Angry Orchard cider makers taste every batch of juice, blending varieties to achieve the signature Angry Orchard flavor.
“The apples in Angry Orchard are not ordinary apples that you would buy in the grocery store,” Sipes explains. “Our cider apples are grown specifically for cider-making to ensure only the best quality apples make it into every barrel of Angry Orchard.”
According to research from SymphonyIRI, hard cider sales grew 27 percent in 2011, making cider one of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage categories in the U.S. Angry Orchard was released earlier this year in New England, Colorado, Maryland and New York. As a result of the overwhelmingly positive response, it is hitting shelves nationwide this month. Angry Orchard Crisp Apple is already the best-selling cider package in the northeast states where it is available.
There are three varieties of Angry Orchard hard cider:
Apple Ginger – (5.0%ABV), combines the ideal blend of fresh Nigerian ginger and apples for a sweet, yet slightly tart taste, distinct ginger aroma and warm finish; and for those looking for a traditional European cider.
Crisp Apple – (5.0% ABV), balances natural apple sweetness with a subtle dryness for a hard to resist crisp and refreshing, fruit-forward taste.
Traditional Dry – (5.5%ABV), made in the style of English draft ciders, imparts bittersweet and slightly spicy flavors with a bright apple aroma. Its dry body makes mouths pucker and look forward to another sip.
I sampled all three of these ciders much in the way that one would sample wine at a wine tasting. I poured a small glass of each cider and began my sampling. I sampled the Traditional Dry first. It reminded me a lot of some of the other ciders that I have tried and yes, it does make the mouth pucker! The Crisp Apple was next. This cider reminded me of the perfect Granny Smith apple! I loved the flavor and I couldn’t help but go back for another sip. The Apple Ginger was the most unique of the three samples. It has a very distinct ginger undertone along with a tart taste. This cider would be perfect for pairing with a Thai or Chinese meal. My favorite of the three samples is the Crisp Apple! There is a really cool recipe page full of creative ideas using the Angry Orchard ciders.
Angry Orchard hard cider is now available in the US in 6-packs with a suggested retail price of $8.99. The cider is also available on draft in select restaurants throughout the US. To find the closest retailer or restaurant near you, check out the “Find the Orchard” page on the website.
Have you tried Angry Orchard hard cider? If so, what did you think?