Hello everyone, I’m the SonofHel, and welcome to another episode of Brews Askew, where I delve into the depths of a glass full of that most sacred art, brewery! Today’s selection is Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple hard cider. It was not what I expected.
So even though I am the son of Hel, the Norse Goddess of death, I do still have a bit of a mortal family. I came across this brew while at Olive Garden with my dad, enjoying a nice dinner after having worked nearly 16 days straight and not getting to see him in about as much time. I decided to treat myself to something local, but despite having that option on their menu, OG didn’t have anything so I went for the next best thing, trying a hard cider.
Now, my previous experiences with hard cider were that they mostly tasted like apple cider vinegar, so I wasn’t expecting much. Yet, to my surprise, this exceeded expectations. Let’s get to the review.
When I got it thankfully my nose was not a solid block that lets no air in, so I actually got to smell this one. I have to say, I like it. It was pretty much the exact same smell as a fresh, cold glass of apple juice. A drink I was addicted to growing up, and have missed greatly in the last few year. Sweet, clear, crisp (living up to its name), and reminding me of all the good glasses of juice I’d had in the past.
You can kind of tell in the picture above, and I apologize I couldn’t get it with the light coming through, but it has the exact same color as apple juice as well. There was a hint of carbonation in the glass, but it was clear, light, even airy in view. There’s not much I can say beyond that, except that I thought it looked rather nice, compared to some ciders I’ve run across that were a bit darker and much more cloudy.
If you’ve ever had one of those really hot days, and come inside to a cold glass of apple juice, you’d know how well this can taste. In this regard AO Crisp Apple did not disappoint. It was sweet, bubbly, and made me think of sparkling apple juice that you can buy during the holiday season. I instantly loved it…though I do have to admit that even this one has that vinegary taste that seems to run with ciders. I don’t know why that is, if its the way the alcohol taste just mixes with apples, or if its something in the brewing process, but it was in there. And it tarnished the wonder a little bit. Not enough to make a difference in my desire to have another, but enough that it prevented it from being the perfect flavor I want in a hard cider. It was the lightest I’ve run into though, which I counted in its favor.
It felt exactly like a lightly sparkling juice, sweet and tingly, while incredibly light. There are drinks that feel heavy, and that can be good, and there are drinks that feel light and that can be good as well. This is one of those whose lightness of feel works completely in its favor. Perhaps it was because they were doing a Crisp Apple rather than a heavier cider, but it kept with the feel that this was more a hard juice than a hard cider. Certainly, it worked wonders, and complimented itself and my meal well.
My gods, I can drink apple juice again! I can not express in typing how wonderful that is to me. The only reason it isn’t perfect in this regard is that vinegar taste, but otherwise the happiness at getting to taste apple juice again without risk is so wonderful I don’t really care.
Angry Orchard is a company that specializes only in ciders and I have to say, based on this one I want to try more of their product. Some of their drinks listed on Das Wiki look good, especially the Cinnful Apple, their fall/winter seasonal brew I’m going to have to track down. A company that makes nothing but apple based drinks I can enjoy is pretty awesome, and Crisp Apple leads me to believe they make a good quality product. Even as the drink warmed up to room temperature, it kept its flavor and mouthfeel, never falling flat. To me that is a mark of well crafted brew.
Total Score: 84/100
While this might seem like a B grade, believe me, this beer is only A grade in my book. I would have ranked it even higher, but I guess that the vinegar taste just really wove its way through everything and knocked it down a bit. Still though, go try this. It’s great for a quiet dinner or hanging out with friends, which is what a good brew is for.
Until next time, Hel Bless.