Thatchers Gold English Cider

Review of Thatchers Gold English Cider.  I’ve previously tried Green Goblin from Thatchers.

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Cider:  Gold
Cidery:  Thatchers
Cidery Location:  Sandford, Somerset, England
ABV:  4.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 11.2oz bottles
Style:  English medium dry cider

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Availability:  Unknown.  Thatchers Gold launched in September 2014 in the U.S. with plans to roll out to 20 states.  I read its the second best selling cider in bars in the UK.

Cider Description:  Thatchers Gold is a full flavored medium dry cider with a smooth and refreshing taste made using traditional techniques and expertise gained since 1904. Enjoy chilled.

Thatchers Gold tastes as good as it looks. Using the best of our traditional approach and modern techniques for a refreshing cider with a smooth appley taste and a bright sparkle.

10 grams of sugar per 11.2 ounces.  I read its made from cider apples including Dabinett, Redstreak, and Porters Perfection.

Cidery Description:  For generations we’ve been perfecting our orchards, our craft, and our cider.
Today we’ve got a whole range that takes you from fresh, vibrant and modern, to traditional, vintage, specialty and single variety

Price:  ~$2.25 for a single bottle (runs $7.50-$9.00 for a four pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  Previously I’ve only seen (and tried) their Green Goblin cider.  English cider is one of my favorite varieties, so I was game to try a bottle.

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First Impression:  Pale gold.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles.  Smells like champagne, dry, of yeast and must, with only a hint of apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Moderate acidity.  Low tartness.  Hints of bitterness, funk, and tannins.  No sourness.  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Light butterscotch notes but otherwise low in flavor.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.

My Opinion:  I thought this cider was pretty average.  It overall tasted very commercial and was lacking in flavor (seemed watered down).  Plus the flavor seemed a bit odd, starting with the smell of champagne.  Definitely don’t let this one warm up.

Most Similar to:   I’d guess Magners and/or Bulmers, but I haven’t tried that one yet.  From those that I have tried:  Stongbow British Dry, plus Crispin Browns Lane (although less flavorful), Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider (although it had more cider apple flavor), and Dan Kelly’s Irish Cider (although not wild fermented).

Closing Notes:   This was nice to try, but I was a bit disappointed.  It seems to have good reviews online though.

Have you tried Thatchers cider?  What did you think?

Strongbow Gold Apple, Red Berries, and Ginger

Three for one!  Review of Strongbow’s Gold Apple, Red Berries, and Ginger varieties.  These were freebies from a friend, along with a can of original recipe Strongbow, the kind they no longer sell in the U.S. (which will be a future review).  These are relatively new cider varieties from Strongbow, supposedly made for the American palate.  It looks like the can of Gold Apple is from Canada by the way (which is where my friend got the original recipe Strongbow), although I’ve had it here.

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Cider:  Gold Apple, Red Berries, Ginger
Cidery:  Strongbow (Bulmer’s, Heineken)
Cidery Location:  Edinburgh UK, Aubel Belgium, Aubel Belgium
ABV:  4.5%, 4.5%, 4.5%
How Supplied:  15oz can, 11.2oz bottle, 11.2oz bottle (Gold Apple also comes in 11.2oz bottles).  The Gold Apple comes in 4 packs of 15oz cans, 6 packs of 11.2oz bottles, or as part of a multipack of 12 bottles.  The Red Berries and Ginger varieties appear to only be sold as part of a multipack of 12 bottles.

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Availability:  wide release, year round

Gold Apple Description:  Sweet and golden with a crisp kick, a hint of green apple and a long, bittersweet finish.
Red Berries Description:  Hard cider with Strawberry and Elderberry flavors, a hint of lemon notes, and an apple finish.
Ginger Description:  Hard cider with just the right hint of Ginger, floral aroma, and light muscato notes, and an apple finish.

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 (but it runs $7 for a 4 or 6 pack and $14 for a 12 pack in my area)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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<I didn’t bother with photos of the ones in the clear glass bottles, plus I only had one sip of each of those>

Gold Apple:  The most drinkable of the three, but still definitely among my least favorite ciders.  It starts with a sweet strong fake apple scent.  The fakeness continues with the flavor, which is overly apply, syrupy, and sweet.  I didn’t even pick up any noticeable acidity or tartness.  Only the lightest carbonation level.  It goes down easily though.  I’ve had this one before at events that had free drinks and this was the only cider, but I won’t pay for it.

Red Berries:  Tastes like what I would imagine a strawberry wine cooler tastes like, although admittedly I’ve never had one.  Way artificial tasting.  However, it wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting (although definitely sweet), and it wasn’t overly syrupy.  No complexity though.  One sip was plenty.

Ginger:   The ginger remains mild, more like an aftertaste, but is still ginger.  However, I’m just not a ginger fan, so one sip was plenty.  This one like the Gold Apple was a bit syrupy, and like both, was fake tasting, but a bit less so.

I wouldn’t recommend any of these at all.  They give cider a bad name.  These are aimed at folks who like their alcohol well-hidden and sweet.  Even as an introduction to cider / inexpensive option / easily available option, I think Angry Orchard, Woodchuck, Crispin, etc, are better.  Apparently some folks like them, but there is a lot of talk online of folks being disappointed they can no longer get the original drier Strongbow here in the U.S.  Its pretty bad they import cider this bad.

Have you tried any Strongbow cider varieties?  What did you think?