Review of a Strongbow variety pack with four of each of Original Dry, Rosé Apple, and Pear Secco, in 8.5 oz cans. I’ve previously tried the Original Dry, but not since it was re-released in the U.S., and I’ve not tried the other two.
Ciders: Original Dry, Rosé Apple, & Pear Secco
Cidery Location: Belgium
ABV: 4.5% or 5.0%
How Supplied: 12 pack of 8.5oz cans
Style: imported commercial cider from primarily dessert apples (Rosé also has some red-fleshed apple juice and Pear also has some pear juice)
Availability: wide release
Original Dry: Distinctive golden color and less sweet with a crisp apple flavor for a balanced, dry finish.
Rosé Apple: A clear, light-coral pink appearance and sparkling rosé-wine-like effervescence with apple notes. Light and refreshing taste with a pleasant tartness balanced by fruity notes of red-fleshed apple and pear.
Pear Secco: A mildly sweet pear-apple cider with a light dry finish.
Cidery Description: Strongbow is the #1 import cider in the US. With 50% conversion to usage, shoppers who buy once, buy again. Exclusively available in this 100 Cal variety pack, we think Dry Pear is a great addition to the award-winning line up of flavors in the 100 Cal Slim Cans. It’s a one-two punch; a popular, refreshing new flavor in a package that’s on-trend. To find all Strongbow flavors near you, please visit our product locator at http://www.Strongbow.com. Strongbow recommends enjoying its hard ciders served over ice, for a crisp, refreshing taste.
Price: $11.99 / 12 pack of 8.5oz cans
Where Bought: Target
Where Drank: home
How Found: browsing; it was my first time spotting the re-released Original Dry in the U.S., so I was going to get a 4 pack of that, but then I saw the variety pack which also included 2 others which I haven’t tried
Original Dry: Moderate gold hue. Light carbonation. Smells very mildly of apple juice. Semi-dry. Light bodied. Low tartness and acidity. No bitterness, sourness, or funk. Notes of apple juice and pomace, orange, and lemon. Moderate finish with a hint of tannins. Moderate apple flavor. High sessionability. Low complexity. Low to moderate flavor intensity. Similar to Crispin Browns Lane and Blackthorn, but I prefer this.
Rosé Apple: Medium pink hue. No carbonation. Smells very mildly fruity. Semi-dry to semi-sweet. Light to medium bodied. Low to moderate tartness and acidity. No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins. Notes of green apple and white grape with a hint of strawberry. Quick finish. Low apple flavor and complexity. Low to moderate overall flavor intensity. High sessionability. Similar to Rosé offerings from Angry Orchard, Crispin, and Woodchuck.
Pear Secco: Medium straw yellow hue. Low carbonation. Smells very mild. Semi-dry. Light bodied. Low tartness and acidity. No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins. Subtle notes of canned pear, green apple, and champagne. Quick finish. Low complexity, overall flavor intensity, pear flavor, and apple flavor. High sessionability. Most similar to Woodchuck Pearsecco, which is also a commercial tasting drier sparkling pear cider (apple & pear).
My Opinion: I liked all of these. Definitely commercial tasting (ie. slightly less natural tasting, likely due to the processes used, such as adding sugar instead of back sweetening with juice), but plenty drinkable, with some flavor and not too much sweetness, and far from the worst I’ve had. I also liked getting a smaller variety pack (as its 8.5oz not 12oz cans), although ideally it would have only been 2 instead of 4 of each.
Closing Notes: Although I typically prefer craft cider, I think commercial ciders are underappreciated. It seems that most people (including myself) started their cider journey with an easily available sweeter commercial cider, and over time their tastes evolved towards drier local craft selections. However, there are still parts of the U.S. where craft cider is difficult to find. Thankfully the offerings from commercial cideries (such as Angry Orchard and Woodchuck) have improved in recent years, tending towards more complex, drier, and/or more innovative offerings, as they struggle to compete with growing regional craft cideries.
Have you tried Strongbow? What did you think?