Review of Joker from Ace (California Cider Company). This is the driest variety from Ace, and probably one of the driest commercial ciders out there. I’ve had a number of their other varieties from Ace such as Pumpkin, Pineapple, Blackjack 21, Apple-Honey, Apple, and Berry, which for the most part are tasty, but pretty juice-like and commercial tasting. The Blackjack 21 was a special release of drier cider aged in Chardonnay barrels for their 21st anniversary. It was honestly a bit disappointing as it was very wine-like, and pretty pricey at about $16. However, it was popular, and they are planning to make it a yearly thing.
Cidery: Ace (California Cider Company)
Cidery Location: Sebastopol CA
How Supplied: six pack of 12oz bottles
Availability: Semi-wide release, year round
Cider Description: Our Ace Joker is our driest cider yet and is made from 100% apple juice; it has champagne characteristics, a bit yeasty with a 6.9% ABV. It has won many awards and recently took the 2013 San Diego Cider and Beer Festival by storm! It even grabbed the Gold Ribbon for “Best Cider” in the competition. Ace Joker is popular with beer and wine drinkers and makes a great base for Mimosas, Snakebites, or Black Satins. Ace Joker first made its appearance in 2008 and has rapidly become our second top selling cider. It is available in 6 packs, 22 ounce bottles and kegs. The Joker tastes great on its own, ice cold in a champagne flute, or with cheese and apple slices.
Cidery Description: We have been making ACE ciders since 1993 in the beautiful Sebastopol area of Sonoma County in California; right along side some of the world’s most renowned wine makers. Thanks to Ace Cider – America’s Best – the cider business in America is growing rapidly. There really is a refreshing alternative to beer and wine and it’s ACE! Unfortunately, some ciders never see an apple and are poor representations of the category. They’ve really given hard cider a bad name. Many ciders are far too perfumy (almost Jolly Rancher-tasting) and are quite a put-off to those seeking a crisp alcoholic refreshment. Some ciders are very dry and barnyard tasting, especially some of the imports. We challenge you to take a taste test of your own if you don’t believe ACE ciders are truly America’s Best! Our Award-Winning ACE Ciders are very pure, clean, and refreshing because we use ONLY the best eating apples for our juice and the best ingredients we can buy. There is a big difference between ACE Ciders and other brands on the market, we guarantee it! We realize that the cider industry in the United States has been weakened in the past by some poor quality ciders on the market and some consumers have been turned off. Now is the time to try something new and exciting to drink! ACE Ciders are great refreshment, chilled on their own and elegant enough to bring to the dinner table, pour in your favorite glass and have with a variety of meals.
Price: ~$2 for a single bottle (runs $10 a six pack in my area)
Where Bought: Total Wine
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing. I’ve had my eye on it for awhile, and now that I’m open to drier ciders, I decided to give it a try.
First Impression: Little carbonation but significant tiny bubbles. Champagne hue. Smells dry, slightly musty, with a hint of honey.
Opinion: Definitely dry. Moderate tartness, acidity, and astringency. No bitterness or detectable tannins. Slightly mouth-puckering. Very clean, refreshing, and nice and light. Citrus notes (but I didn’t pick up the honey I smelled). Not very appley however. A small amount of complexity. Light bodied. Nice alternative to champagne although it isn’t very carbonated. Quick finish.
Closing Notes: Not bad, especially for commercial cider. My husband especially liked this cider. Not sure that I believe the 3 carbs per 12 oz on the label, but its definitely dry. I ended up picking up a six pack of this mostly for my husband (who can’t have a lot of sugar so usually doesn’t get more than a sip or two of my ciders). I’d recommend this for anyone who wants a drier cider but has trouble finding craft cider in their area, as its pretty widely available. Its my favorite Ace cider so far. For awhile I was really into their Pineapple, but my tastes have moved away from it.
Have you tried Ace Joker? What did you think?