Review of Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) Hard Cider, which was released in June 2015. This is their first and currently only cider offering.
Cider: Hard Cider
Cidery: Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB)
Cidery Location: Portland OR
How Supplied: 16oz can
Availability: Year round, currently OR & WA only
Cider Description: With a goal of making a year-round cider with high-organic content, our cider is proudly made from 60% organic apple juice concentrate and 40% fresh pressed apple juice. The cider juice is sourced entirely from the Northwest. HUB Hard Cider is a semi-dry hard apple cider, straw colored with fresh apple aromas. Slightly tart with a Champagne-like acidity, HUB Hard Cider finishes slightly fruit-forward. The cider is naturally gluten-free and is 6.8% ABV. HUB will also offer HUB Hard Cider in 22 oz. bottles this summer.
Price: $3 / 16oz can (typically sold in a four pack)
Where Bought: Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: I had read online they were coming out with a cider, and was reminded of HUB when passing by their creative booth at the Seattle International Beerfest, where they turned a bike into a beer bar complete with taps and storage for kegs, so despite not finding an actual review online, I thought I may as well try it.
First Impression: Pale yellow. Fairly heavily carbonated. Apple champagne-like aroma.
Opinion: Between semi-dry and semi-sweet. Very champagne-like, in both flavor and mouthfeel (carbonation). For me it started off sweet but very quickly bitter & acidic. This is a rather simple straight forward cider that doesn’t reel me in with any interesting flavor notes. I imagine champagne / sparkling wine fans may like this for an intro to cider, but I have found I quickly get turned off to a cider which has bitter, acidic, or tart notes (although not to say that I can’t enjoy a drier cider).
Note that I wouldn’t consider this craft cider, due to the large percentage of apple juice concentrate (which is commonly used to cheaply develop a sweeter cider, and due to low availability of cider apples / time for an orchard to mature). If I’m going to drink commercial cider, I’d much prefer Woodchuck. Here is a cool writeup on the use of frozen apple juice concentrate and such in commercial cider, and what sets craft cider apart from commercial cider, which is something all cider consumers should be informed about.
Although I don’t exclusively buy craft cider (mostly due to cost and often I want a more easy drinking cider), the use of apple juice concentrate is something I am aware of, and think more of the commercial cider makers should be more straightforward about it (like HUB is). I find it interesting though that HUB couldn’t find anything more to say on the can besides 60% organic, gluten free, etc (not even a short description of the cider, sweetness level, etc). I like what HUB is doing with trying to be eco-friendly and using organic juice though.
Closing Notes: Unimpressed. I really don’t have much to say on this cider…
Have you tried HUB’s hard cider? What did you think?