Last year, Angry Orchard, the household name for hard apple ciders, decided to release a collection of ciders that offer an exciting alternative to craft beer and wine.
With a focus on tannins, acidity and sugars, the delicate blend of apple varietals challenges the way that we view traditional ciders, even those that think ciders are too sweet and syrupy. The beverages are crafted with heirloom apples from Italy and France, where the terroir or region has a palatable difference on the apples’ flavor.
Each has a distinct taste and character in 750ml corked bottles that offer a high alc, meaning a lot of warmth and body in small sips, similar to wine.
For celebrations: The Muse
Inspired by champagnes and sparkling wines, The Muse definitely tastes like something worthy of celebration. David Sipes, cider maker at Angry Orchard, says that The Muse is a product of nearly 20 years of experimentation with apple blends, wood aging and fermentation techniques.
What does that mean? It means that we get a uniquely juicy and bright cider that finishes dry, made of apples from the Alto Adige region (an area known for wine-making) of Italy, Normandy and Bretagne in France. The Muse is then aged in French oak staves to create a sparkling beverage that is not too tart and not too cloyingly sweet.
We loved The Muse’s super small bubbles in every sip. With a slight woody taste and subtle background hints of nutmeg and clove, we’re all convinced that this would make an acceptable and surprising twist on the usual champagne toasts.
For a post-meal treat: Iceman
Sweeter and more full-bodied than the other two, we completely see the influences Angry Orchard took from the traditional ice ciders of Quebec. Iceman (10% ABV) is only slightly effervescent, allowing more flavor to come through.
Made by freezing the juice before fermentation (hence Iceman), the resulting cider is concentrated— deeper and richer sweetness and flavor.
Iceman is a great choice for those who only drink on special occasions and those who want an intense apple flavor from their cider. With noticeable vanilla character, the cider would pair well with earthy cheeses and buttery desserts.
For the non-cider drinkers: Strawman
Our beer drinkers and autumn enthusiasts went especially crazy over Angry Orchard’s Strawman (10% ABV). Using centuries-old English and French countryside cider-crafting techniques, the cider achieves a slight bitter sweet oak flavor with hints of vanilla and citrus.
Strawman isn’t super sweet and is the least apple-forward, so it’s a great choice for a casual get-together. It reminds us of a dry Riesling with subtle fall flavor, perfect for the season!