Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cider Review: Angry Orchard's Spiced Apple

Last posting day, March was roaring into town and since then we've been warmed by the sun, drenched, snow covered, and blow dried. I think of Spring as a season of worry and  hard work tempered by the excitement of change and glimpses of gentleness. I feel like we've already covered that in a week.

There's a nice upside to crazy weather like this if you're a cider lover: beyond even just a good reason to spend evenings indoors with a glass of something delicious. Cider can be a strongly seasonal beverage I've talked about this before on the blog. But getting all the seasons in a week means having very different ciders in closer proximity than usually makes sense. 

It snowed twice unexpectedly in the past week, so I went back to my store of spiced ciders. Tonight I'm sharing the the most recent spiced cider a company has shared with me: Angry Orchard's Spiced Apple. This is one that can found in their Winter Orchard Sampler Variety 12-Pack, but folks were kind enough to send me one in the mail. Thanks! 

Angry Orchard has been developing in multiple directions as the cider market is maturing and changing. They've not grown in 2016 the way they did in previous years, but this is still a company that's making and selling cider on a truly massive scale. Today's review is part of push for more seasonal variety in their 12 ounce bottles. The other direction of change is higher end ciders coming out of their research and development facility in Walden, New York. 

As always, you can find out tons more at Angry Orchard's website: http://www.angryorchard.com/

I have lots of previous reviews of Angry Orchard ciders. I'm only going to share a few of my favorites because there are too many to link back to all of them.

The Stone Dry is a nice reliable cider that's notably drier than most of their offerings: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/10/cider-review-angry-orchard-stone-dry.html

Walden Hollow from the Research and Development facility: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/09/cider-review-angry-orchards-walden.html

Knotty Pear which is a blended perry and cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/06/cider-review-angry-orchards-knotty-pear.html

Back in 2014, I shared a roundup review of a few of their ciders Strawman, The Muse, and Traditional Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/05/roundup-of-angry-orchard-reviews.html

These new releases are designed for winter: Tapped Maple and Spiced Apple. You can find these ciders in the Winter Orchard Sampler Variety 12-Pack which is being sold only through April 2017. Today, I'm sharing my thoughts on the spiced apple; you'll see the Tapped Maple in the coming weeks. 

Angry Orchard's official description says this about it.

Angry Orchard Spiced Apple was Inspired by the spices in this classic dessert and connection to the American cider making tradition. This hard cider achieves its balanced profile by combining bright and festive warming spices and a blend of culinary and bittersweet apples. This new limited release style is perfect for evenings with friends and family during the last months of winter.
The coolest part of the description is a list of apples used in this cider: "Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Gala French." All dessert apples and relatively familiar varieties that often make for aromatic, mildly high acid ciders without much tannic presence. Though the description hints at cider apples. The ABV is listed at 5%.

Alrighty, on to the cider!

Appearance: brilliant, dark red-orange

There's no denying that this is a pretty cider with a lot of color. Its brilliant and a deep reddish orange. I don't see much bubble.

Aromas: spicy, sweet, apple 

The Spiced Apple smells very much as the name would suggest of spices and apples. The spices are the classic baking or mulling spices with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. It smells sweet.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet.

This is a sweet cider. This makes some sense for a cider that uses dessert spices. There's plenty more going on than just sweetness, but it is there. Don't look here for dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: mellow, baked goods, lactic acid, balanced

Initial taste is sweet followed by one half-hint of bitter and a half-hint of sour. It reminds me of lactic acid. The more sips I take, the more a mellow cinnamon dough impression creeps forward. I keep thinking of a number of pleasant autumnal desserts, cinnamon rolls, apple muffins, etc.

Everything spicy happens in the middle of each drink of this cider. Now that I'm thinking more precisely, it reminds me of Apple Stack Cake, which for me is a special family recipe handed down more than three generations. Definitely notes of brown sugar But there's also some tannin, I can taste that they are now using some cider apples- maybe what I was interpreting as Gala french is Gala apples and a blend of french cider apples. It's not clear. 

The spice isn't hot. it reminds me of apple pie ice cream actually. There's enough acidity to keep things in check but acidity isn't the star of the show. I'd say the star is the long sweet  finish that just keeps rolling across the palate again and again.

 So, March, what's next? Will it be time for the Tapped Maple this week or will I get some time for springy ciders before we visit winter again?