Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cider Review: Angry Orchard Rosé and Stowe Cider’s Local Infusion Snow's Raspberry Hard Cider

This week’s theme is Think Pink! Extra points to anyone who gets my Funny Face reference.


The weather won’t turn springy. It solidly refuses, though today is the Vernal Equinox. What the weather won’t do, I’ll try to do for myself. I want spring, so I’m sipping Rosé cider. What is Rosé? That’s actually not a simply question because we are borrowing and heavily adapting a wine term for cider here.

In the wine world, Rosé is reserved for wines made from red grapes that have limited skin contact such that the finished wine is a shade of pink, hence using the French word for pink, Rosé. Rosé ciders are pink, but not because of skin contact. Red apple skins do not impart a pink color. That tempting shade could be due to red-fleshed apples, contact with red grape skins, additional red fruits, or other additives. Today I’ll review two pink ciders and think of spring.  

Angry Orchard Rosé

I can share several previous reviews of Angry Orchard ciders but not all because there are too many to link back to all of them. Please consider these my favorites:

Probably the most interesting thing I’ve reviewed from them in a long while is the Walden
Hollow from the Research and Development facility: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/09/cider-review-angry-orchards-walden.html

I appreciate that the Stone Dry is a consistent drier cider from their lineup: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/10/cider-review-angry-orchard-stone-dry.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

Also fun, Angry Orchard’s Knotty Pear is a blend pears and apples: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/06/cider-review-angry-orchards-knotty-pear.html

Most recently, I reviewed their Spiced Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/cider-review-angry-orchards-spiced-apple.html

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

My first of two rosé reviews for today is  Angry Orchard Rosé. This cider has been taking the market by storm, so I was very happy to receive samples to taste. 

Angry Orchard's official description:

The red flesh apples in Angry Orchard Rosé are from France. Each apple is crisp, juicy and red to the core, adding an irresistible rosy blush and apple-forward taste with a refreshing, dry finish. Angry Orchard Rosé can be enjoyed outside with friends or at the dinner table.
FLAVOR PROFILEABV: 5.5% Apple Varieties: Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and red-fleshed apples sourced in France

Appearance: brilliant, intense rose pink, few visible bubbles

Look at this amazing color. It's beautiful! The cider just shines in the glass with a deep rose color and perfect brilliance.

Aromas: berry, hibiscus, apple candy

It's a shame that this cider is so often served in a narrow neck bottle because the aroma are much more apparent after pouring the cider into a glass. The Rosé smells zesty, sweet and fruity like berry, hibiscus, apple candy, and bubblegum.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

This is a sweet cider. I've seen it described as semi-dry, but I find it sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: medium acid, hibiscus, sweetness

There's a lot of ripe apple flavor but it doesn't taste fermented. The medium acidity never veers into sharpness or tartness, instead sweet flavors dominate the experience. Some specific flavor notes that came to my mind include: cane sugar, hibiscus, blueberries, watermelon, and bubble gum.

I think the Angry Orchard Rosé will encourage a ton of folks to try cider for the very first time, and that's fantastic. It has a lot of vibrant flavors and doesn't take simply like Martinelli's sparkling soft cider. This springy beverage will help folks to discover that there's more to cider than they knew.

Stowe Cider’s Local Infusion Snow's Raspberry Hard Cider

For a bit of background, Stowe cider was founded by a husband and wife team in 2013. Stefan Windler brought his background in chemistry, biology, and agriculture to the venture along with his wife Mary. They have a tasting room in the popular skiing town of Stowe, Vermont, and they participate actively in Cider Week Vermont. Since then, they've only grown and expanded their cider offerings. 

I visited Stowe cider on the first day of my Vermont Cider Tour in 2016:

Find out about the cidery on the website: https://www.stowecider.com

This cider isn’t marketed as a rosé, it’s described with its ingredients: cider with raspberry, basil, and honey. The official description is very simple, “Infused with Stowe raspberries, Craftsbury basil and Northwood apiary honey.”

Appearance: Brilliant, salmon, 

One of the fun things about rosé is the range of pink hues that all full under that blessed umbrella. Salmon, coral, and the peachier shades of pink definitely describe this Raspberry cider. 

Aromas: Fresh apple, watermelon, honey

The Snow's Raspberry Cider smells like fresh apples and watermelon primarily. I can definitely detect a tendril of wild honey sweetness as well.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

This is a fun cider with enough sweetness to keep things approachable, but not enough to push it over into semi-sweet territory. What sweetness is there is fruity.

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, high acid, sessionable

I love how intensely bubbly this cider is. This Snow's Rasberry Cider also bring some serious fruity acid to the party. The most prominent flavor is berry, followed by apple, and then honey.

The Snow's Raspberry cider remains fun and sessionable through the bottle. The raspberry flavor is almost subdued by so many bubbles. That's a plus in my book because I like medium fruity but super bubbly, and I don't think I'm terribly unusual in this regard. Overall, I found this cider floral, tart, and enjoyable. I didn't get much of the basil that was promised on the label, but that seems like a very difficult ephemeral bit of delicacy to capture. Overall, this is one pink cider I'd be happy to drink again.

So until we get spring, at least we can dream in rosé.