Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cider Review: Woodchuck's Gumption

Lately, I feel like I've neglected my reviews of ciders that are easy to find nationally. That's not something I want to do, because these ciders do a lot to introduce people to cider. From a cider nerd standpoint, reviewing a widely-available cider is helpful for readers because reviewing something other folks have tried gives readers great calibration for how they can relate to what I notice in a cider and how I describe it. Try a bottle of Gumption and read this review and see how our notes compare. And if you try this, please comment!

First, my research. Going back, I'm seeing a significant amount of re-branding on the Woodchuck website. It says craft in many places and certainly seeks to reinforce a brand identity of authenticity, especially with the new slogan, "real cider from a real cidery." If you want to explore a bit, you'll find quite a bit beyond the rebranding at:

http://www.woodchuck.com

I've reviewed several of Woodchuck's ciders before: too many to list here, but I'll include a few of my favorites just so I can steer folks to the ciders I think are Woodchuck's best.

Dry Hop: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/11/cider-review-woodchuck-cellar-series.html

Belgian White: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/cider-review-woodchuck-belgian-white.html

Winter: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/01/cider-review-woodchuck-winter.html

This bottle of Gumption came to me from the fine folks at Woodchuck as a promotional sample.  Nevertheless, I assure you this gets the same consideration as the ciders I buy for myself. The primary difference for me is that is that when I get promotional samples, I can sometimes get additional information that I do not have access to when buying from store shelves. And I love information! 

Woodchuck tells me to expect this cider to fall between a semi-dry and a semi-sweet, with a medium body, light carbonation, dry finish, and a sweet apple aroma. Okay, I can watch out for all of these characteristics.

Gumption is Woodchuck's newest core cider, which means this cider is available year round and sold in more locations than many of the seasonal or limited release products. This is how Woodchuck describes it:
"Legendary showman P.T. Barnum once noted, “everybody drank cider-spirits called ‘gumption’.” Our Woodchuck GUMPTION™ celebrates the spirit of P.T. Barnum and those with the gumption to follow their own path. We pair the fresh juice of common eating apples with dry cider apples to bring you a bold and unique drinking experience."

Graphic design nerd that I am, I really like the vintage-circus-inspired packaging. But I'm more excited by the posibilities implied by the words "dry cider apples." Cider apples do not inherently make a cider any drier than a cider made from table fruit, but I could certainly go for a more tannic cider and a drier cider from Woodchuck.



Legendary showman P.T. Barnum once noted, “everybody drank cider-spirits called ‘gumption’.” Our Woodchuck GUMPTION™ celebrates the spirit of P.T. Barnum and those with the gumption to follow their own path. We pair the fresh juice of common eating apples with dry cider apples to bring you a bold and unique drinking experience. - See more at: http://www.woodchuck.com/cider/gumption/#sthash.p7R9i7jf.dpuf
Legendary showman P.T. Barnum once noted, “everybody drank cider-spirits called ‘gumption’.” Our Woodchuck GUMPTION™ celebrates the spirit of P.T. Barnum and those with the gumption to follow their own path. We pair the fresh juice of common eating apples with dry cider apples to bring you a bold and unique drinking experience. - See more at: http://www.woodchuck.com/cider/gumption/#sthash.p7R9i7jf.dpuf
Appearance: brilliant, copper, some visible bubbles

In color, this cider looks nearly pumpkin orange.  My notes include the word sunset, and I stand by that.

Aromas: ripe apples, soft, sweet

Gumption smells appley sweet and soft, very much as Woodchuck prepared me for it to smell. I'm not going to expect very much acidity based on these aromas.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet!

Though I expected sweetness in this cider, I didn't quite expect this much. It is decidedly sweet, but I can taste the sweetness more initially after each sip.

Flavors and drinking experience: butterscotch, caramel, apple

The caramel and butterscotch notes really hit at first and mellow into apple.  This is not really much drier than any other Woodchuck cider, but there is a little astringence in the texture—moreso than in the flavor.  This is not tart or sour at all, but not so acidless so as to seem keeved like many french ciders. Lots of the flavors seem to hang out at end of the palate. It fits in well with the Woodchuck core cider lineup, because it has that initial burst of sweetness that many Woodchuck fans want, but it does develop into a more interesting texture because of that astringence.

As the photo shows, I had this with pizza. And I recommend that pairing. I think pizza and semi-sweet or sweet bubbly ciders going perfectly well together because of the interplay of breadiness, salt, cheese and sweetness and effervescence. 

9 comments:

  1. Great review, Meredith! I also was surprised how sweet it was based on how it was advertised. For me, Gumption didn't live up to the hype. I think you explained much better than I could why I think I didn't like it...astringence. To me it just didn't have that smooth taste.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The "dry cider apples" caught my attention as well. That's inexcusably misleading. Based on the comment from Cider Says, though, I can see why they didn't say "tannic" or "bitter" or "astringent" or "drying".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! Have you tried it? I'd be curious to see your thoughts.

      Delete
  3. They sent me a sample as well. It was far too sweet. Perhaps a hint of tannin behind all the sugar. I wonder if their European bittersweets are the same used in Magners? Same parent company.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I must say, your review was spot on with this cider. I enjoy a little dryer cider them this but that's my opinion. My only complaint is the looks of your pizza! Lol, you need to find a better pizza to pair this cider with. Great coder review though! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. As a frequent cider drinker, I was delighted to find your blog today! I love Gumption, but I am one of the unrefined palates who prefer sweet tangy cider with strong apple flavor. I sense this is Woodchuck's response to Angry Orchard Crisp domination. I like where Woodchuck is going lately. The Belgian White is a favorite of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Having enjoyed West Country English ciders as a young man I have say "Gumption" is the closest in taste (though not nearly as potent) to those fine draft and ancient brews as I have yet encountered! For me this has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience! Best regards, Richard

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just stumbled upon your review and first of all, I'm shocked to see Gumption has been around for much longer than I knew about. It must take longer to make it out here to the wild west (I live in Arizona). I love Gumption!! It's one of my favorite Woodchuck ciders, Cheers!

    ReplyDelete