Ciderboys British Dry

Review of Ciderboys British Dry.  I could have sworn I’d tried something from them previously that I picked up traveling (as Ciderboys isn’t distributed near me), but per my list, this appears to be my first time trying anything from them.  I picked it up on a work trip along with a few others.

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Cider:  British Dry
Cidery:  Ciderboys
Cidery Location:  Stevens Point, Wisconsin
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American British-style cider

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Availability:  their website says year-round in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, VA, WA, and WI (but their locator says not within 75 miles of me in Western WA, so maybe Eastern WA?)

Cider Description:  Like a dry sense of humor, our English-style dry cider has a refined bite. Not sweet, but bittersweet in the best meaning of the word. Ripe apple aromas teeter on the edge with a crisp sharp zing. Blow the doors off with Ciderboys British Dry.

Cidery Description:  Two very refreshing guys.  One idea.  Create unique hard ciders blending unexpected fresh fruit flavors with the crisp taste of apple.

Price:  ~ $2 / single bottle (runs ~ $8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine (which was an awesome choice, as I mostly picked up singles of multipacks, which are the easiest to pack and allowed me to pick up more bottles)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Low carbonation with foam.  Smells of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of both bittersweet and dessert apples, orange, and rich caramel.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I’d guess 50% bittersweet cider apples and 50% dessert apples, so no, it doesn’t taste exactly like English cider, but its far better than most U.S. made ciders advertised as English-style, most of which don’t use any cider apples.  I’d say this is a more apple-forward English style which remains clean (no sourness or funk).

Most Similar to:  mixing an apple-forward U.S. made cider with an English cider

Closing Notes:  I wish they sold this near me, as its a really nice offering which I could see drinking often, especially with the price point being less than imported English cider, which is becoming more and more difficult to find in my area.

Have you tried English-style cider?  What did you think?

Left Field British Dry

Review of Left Field’s British Dry.  I picked this up at a cruise port stop in Victoria B.C.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Little Dry before.

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Cider:  British Dry
Cidery:  Left Field
Cidery Location:  Logan Lake, B.C., Canada
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider from B.C. apples, including bittersweet varieties

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Availability:  Year round, only in B.C. and Alberta Canada

Cider Description:  Our English Dry cider is dominated by bittersweet cider apple varieties which originated in the United Kingdom.  The result is a cider that balances bitter tannins and stringency with rich apple aromatics.

Cidery Description:  Family-owned and operated by sisters Theresa and Kate, Left Field focuses on a small batch approach to traditional cider-making which brings out the natural characteristics of the apples. We make handcrafted, artisanal English-style cider by blending English and French cider varieties with BC dessert apples.

They have a tasting room open seasonally.

Price:  $9.05 CAN (~ $7.35 USD)
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells acidic and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of juicy tart green apple, lemon, and mineral.  Moderate length acidic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked the juicy flavor.  However, I was disappointed by the lack of perceived bittersweet cider apple flavor and English cider qualities – it tasted more like a mix of dessert and heirloom varieties to me.  That said, I imagine the bittersweet apples added to the flavor of the final product, despite them not being individually identifiable.

Most Similar to:  Left Field Little Dry and Virtue Cider Michigan Brut

Closing Notes:  I’d recommend Left Field to fans of dry cider who live in B.C.  They remain one of the best choices for true craft cider in the area, along with Sea Cider, Tod Creek, etc.  Stay tuned for more reviews of B.C. cider here, as I picked up a number of bottles when I was there.

Have you tried Left Field cider?  What did you think?

Strongbow British Dry (Original Recipe)

Review of Strongbow British Dry, apparently the original recipe.  A cider buddy brought this back from Canada and shared a can with me.  Since early 2014 however Strongbow has only had a new sweeter version (Gold Apple) available here in the U.S.

Cider:  British Dry
Cidery:  Strongbow (Bulmer’s, Heineken UK)
Cidery Location:  Edinburgh UK
ABV:  5.3%
How Supplied:  500ml can

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Availability:  Year round in Canada, UK, etc

Cider Description:  A perfectly balanced English apple cider that is light in body, crisp and bittersweet.

Cidery Description:  From the orchard to the glass, we are inspired by the power of nature to deliver the golden, crisp refreshment in every drop of Strongbow Hard Apple Cider. And like our namesake, Richard “Strongbow” de Clare, who was legendary for his skill with the bow and arrow, we’re setting our sights and making our mark. Our cider’s crisp, refreshing taste sets the tone for the rest of the night. We’re the go-getters. The makers and doers. To us, every hour is golden.

After the ripest apples are harvested, they arrive at the mill where they’re washed and crushed. This pulp is pressed to extract pure juice, which is then concentrated and stored (with the apples’ natural sugars acting as a preservative). The concentrated apple juice is then fermented and left to mature, allowing smoother flavors to develop.

Our apples are grown to produce crisp and refreshing cider, and nothing else.  We have over 125 years of expertise in extracting their natural flavors.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a cider buddy brought it back from Canada

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First Impression:  Light amber.  Low carbonation.  Mild dry crisp acidic apple scent.

Opinion:  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No detectable bitterness, sourness, or funk.  No to low tannins.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.  I found it to be a pretty standard cider without too many other flavor notes, except maybe a bit of green apple…definitely crisp, refreshing, and fairly easy drinking.  I was hoping for a bit more bittersweet cider apple flavor, but it wasn’t quite there.  It is however fairly flavorful.  There are some hints of artificialness, but not nearly as much as sweeter ciders made in a similar method.

Most Similar to:  Other drier flagship commercial ciders.

Closing Notes:   I’d call this an above average commercial cider.  If it was available in the U.S., I’d much rather drink it when out at a bar than Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Strongbow Gold Apple, or a number of other more commonly available ciders.  However, besides that it is on the drier side, I can’t say there is too much that sets it apart.

Have you tried Strongbow British Dry?  What did you think?