Beer of the Week: Angry Orchard's Cider Lineup

Staff Writer
Why we can't get enough of cider
How Cider Is Pressed

A visit to New York's Mead Orchards to learn the ins and outs of making fresh apple cider

 
 

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Each week, The Daily Meal shares a craft beer for the week. This week we're looking for something sweet. 

Yes, a cider isn't quite the same as a beer — but when we're looking for something sweet and refreshing, we'll take a favorite pick among the office, Angry Orchard Cider. While some in the office grimaced at the thought of a cider (a few too many overly sweet Woodchucks come to mind), we were pleasantly surprised with Angry Orchard's two staples.

Hard cider has exploded in popularity recently, growing 65 percent in 2012 vs. 2011, especially remarkable when compared to the growth of beverages like wine and craft beer, which grew 5.6 percent and 13 percent respectively (according to a Nielsen report). So it should be no surprise that Angry Orchard, which launched nationally in 2012, has quickly become a favorite among drinkers for its distinctly crisp and refreshing taste.The ciders are made with a unique blend of Italian culinary apples and French bittersweet apples for a distinct bittersweet, or "angry," taste. That means more of the tart and tannic characteristics of a real apple flavor than the overly sugary ciders we're used to. A release explains that these bittersweet apples are unique to cider-making, just like wine grapes are to wine making. Also similar to wine, Angry Orchard ciders go through a lengthy fermentation process and are aged on oak, resulting in a complex cider blend.

We tried the original Crisp Apple flavor and the Apple Ginger flavor; but Angry Orchard has also come out with a new elderflower flavor. There was a clear winner among the two flavors in the office: the Apple Ginger. For most of the tasters, the original flavor was still a bit too sweet to stomach. One said it reminded her of Martinelli's, and that the sweetness got harder and harder to tolerate the more she drank. But the ginger flavor was a nice change of pace. The ginger flavor contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the cider, giving it a more nuanced and balanced taste that everyone could stomach. In fact, the more our tasters drank of the Apple Ginger flavor, the more they found they liked it. Now we know which flavor of Angry Orchard to pick up at the store. 

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