Here is a review of Anthem’s flagship / original hard apple cider:
Cider: Anthem Cider
Cidery: Anthem (by Wandering Aengus Ciderworks)
Cidery Location: Salem, OR
How Supplied: four pack of 12 oz bottles (or a single 22oz bottle, or apparently just recently a six pack of 12 oz cans)
Availability: year round (since 2010); widely available in OR, WA, & CA, and less so in ID, MT, MI, UT, IL, NM, NJ, TX, ID, TN, PA, VA, & WA D.C.
Description: Anthem Cider offers the tart acidity of the apple’s natural malic acid with a clean fruit forward finish. Anthem Cider is the foundation for all the Anthems. Semi-Dry. Medium Tart. We only use fresh pressed apples and other fruits, herbs sourced from the Pacific Northwest of known varieties – they are listed on every bottle and keg. To make great real cider, the varieties of apples, fruit additions and herbs matter. As does where the ingredients are grown and how far removed they are from their original form (degrees separated through processing from the farm to the bottle). The fresh pressed apples we use provide all the sugars for fermentation and the malic acid (source of the tartness). Any and all residual sweetness in Anthem is provided by the apples we started with or the fruits we finish with. The result is a line up of real ciders made the way you expect; apples pressed and fermented.
Cidermaker’s Description of Anthem vs. Wandering Aengus: Wandering Aengus Ciders are made from heirloom cider apple varieties that have traditionally been used over the centuries for ciders in French, England and pre-prohibition America. We grow these rare heirloom apples ourselves in Salem and have a handful of growers around Oregon that grow for us. These heirloom apples are pressed only once a year. The apples for Anthem are pressed and fermented year round from the common apple varieties that are grown on a large scale in Washington and Oregon. Anthem Cider is also finished with fresh pressed juices of other fruits or hops while Wandering Aengus Ciders are not blended with other fruits.
Price: $8.99 / four pack (although I bought a single bottle for about $3)
Where Bought: Total Wine
How Found: Browsing, wondering why I hadn’t tried this previously
Where Drank: home
Opinion: My first impression is this cider’s dry plain apple scent. My nose did not deceive me this time. Anthem Cider is described as a semi-dry cider, and I would mostly agree…I’d put it smack between semi-dry and semi-sweet, which may appear to a lot of folks as there isn’t much available in this sweetness range. The flavor was a bit “blah” for my tastes…it doesn’t have much complexity going for it. Even if it has been slightly sweeter (as my tastes tend that way), I still don’t think I would have been impressed. The most similar cider I’ve sampled is Seattle Cider Semi-Sweet, which has a similar sweetness and flavor. However, I think I’d have to give Seattle Cider the edge in the comparison, as it is a bit more clean & refreshing. I remember having the Seattle Cider on tap with some fish & chips awhile back and it was tasty, but drier and more plain of a flavor than I prefer. Overall, I found Anthem Cider to be fine, but not impressive.
Closing Notes: Anthem also offers pear, cherry, and hops varieties. I was surprised to find that most Anthem Cider reviews online are of their Hops variety. Note that each Anthem batch is slightly different based on what apple varieties they used (based on availability due to the time of the year), and their website will even tell you what is in a certain batch. I sampled batch 127, which was a blend of red delicious, gala, granny smith, pink lady, jonagold, & opal apples. Their approach seems unique, as most other cideries will name a cider different if there is a significant variation such as this (or clearly note a vintage).
Have you tried any Anthem ciders? What did you think?