Woodchuck Out on a Limb Hot Cha Cha Cha

Review of Woodchuck’s newest Out on a Limb release, Hot Cha Cha Cha.  The ciders rotate every couple months in the same six pack.  They were nice enough to send me a sample bottle.

hot cha cha cha

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Hot Cha Cha Cha (Out on a Limb)
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles

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Availability:  Wide release, but only for the next 60-90 days or so (as Out on a Limb rotates varieties).

Cider Description:  Hard cider made with bittersweet apples and infused with Bird’s Eye Chile Peppers. The peppers compliment the bittersweet cider apples and bring out a sweet taste up front with a hot and spicy bite at the finish. Lookin’ for some extra heat? Grab a bottle, take a sip, and let’s do the HOT CHA CHA CHA!

Cidery Description:  Here at the Woodchuck Cidery in Vermont, we handcraft every batch of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Our Cider Makers utilize the highest quality ingredients and meticulously oversee each small batch from start to finish. We reinvigorated American cider in 1991 and continue to lead the category through our commitment to craft innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (but it runs $9-11 a six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Orange-amber hue (which appears to be natural as coloring isn’t listed).  Very little carbonation.  Smells sweet and of bittersweet apples with a hint of spiciness.

Opinion:  Sweet (but it didn’t perceive as sweet as I was expecting with the listed 25g sugar content).  It starts off with a rich & flavorful bittersweet apple cider flavor (similar to their Gumption), then finished with a kick of spice, mostly at the back of the throat (instead of the tongue).  Low acidity and tartness.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  No to low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Longer finish with the spice presentation I described.

Most Similar to:  Other spicy ciders I’ve had, such as Schilling Sriracha Lime, Finnriver Habanero, and Sonoma Crowbar (Habanero Lime), except significantly sweeter and less spicy.  I also notice that the base cider has a lot of similarities to Woodchuck Gumption, both made using bittersweet apples (a flavor profile I really love).

Closing Notes:   Spicy ciders just aren’t my thing, and I think of them as more of a novelty.  A few sips was plenty for me, and the others I shared this with.  However, due to the additional residual sugar and less perceived spice of this one, this is probably a more manageable spicy cider for the average person.  Also, with the amount of calories (270) & sugar (25g), I’m not sure I’d want an entire bottle let alone more than one in a sitting.  I think it will be a tough sell to get folks to buy a six pack of this unless they really like spicy ciders, buy every Woodchuck variety, find it very intriguing, or are getting it as a gag gift or to bring to a party.  Thankfully a number of stores such as Total Wine sell singles of six pack ciders such as this, so you may be able to find a single bottle for around $2.  If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, you better hurry, as each Out on a Limb variety doesn’t stay on the shelves long.

Have you tried Woodchuck Hot Cha Cha Cha?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Local Nectar Makes it to Washington! (Plus Inside Scoop on Upcoming Woodchuck Releases)

Wednesday was tap night at Special Brews in Lynnwood WA, and this week was a special treat, with four ciders on tap from Woodchuck.  Their NW representative, Jen, was even on hand.  She brought plenty of giveaways (my husband got a sweet Woodchuck polo).  Gumption, Fall Harvest, Pumpkin, and Hopsation were listed.

However, as the night went on, the Pumpkin came into question, as it was reported as pouring a very light color and not being very pumpkiny.  After some taste testing, it was determined it was actually Local Nectar!  Yes, the 100% Vermont apple Local Nectar cider which Woodchuck only sells in Vermont (they also have a Michigan version though).  The keg must have got mislabeled.  So, this may have been the first time that Local Nectar was sold in Washington!

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I tried Local Nectar before at Ciderbration 2014, Woodchuck’s grand opening party for their new cidery, which we were lucky enough to win a free weekend trip to!  They are having a repeat this year by the way, Ciderstock, happening this very weekend.  Too bad I didn’t win their contest again this year…  Anyway, back to Local Nectar.  It is one of Woodchuck’s drier selections, pretty middle of the road as far as sweetness.  Its not one of my favorites as it has some bitterness on the tail end, but it is a very nice cider, clean & refreshing.  I had thought I liked it more, but after re-tasting it, I think I was thinking of their special-release Ciderbration cider.  Now that stuff was awesome!  Sweet and very sparkling.  Otherwise, I would have got a growler, as Local Nectar in Washington is rare indeed.

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Before we found out the Pumpkin was actually Local Nectar, I had ordered Gumption, their newest core cider which I recently reviewed.  Its even better on tap!  Of course, I also did some bottle shopping.  It becomes very easy to buy cider while drinking a cider.

We also chatted with the Woodchuck rep Jen.  She had some great inside scoop to share with us:

(1)  Woodchuck’s next Out on a Limb release (next month) will be a spicy cider, Hot Cha Cha Cha.  Woodchuck tested this variety out in April with a “Firkin” keg, per their Twitter feed.  I’ve had a few spicy ciders but haven’t been a fan so far, as the heat seems to overwhelm the cider.  I imagine it will be more likable though if it has more sweetness and less heat.

(2)  A Washington version of Local Nectar is in work.  This will be made at an unspecified cidery in Washington for Woodchuck, using 100% Washington apples.  Should be interesting.  I wonder if it too will only be sold in the state the apples are from (Washington), because if so, it has a lot of competition here.  No release date yet.

I’ll definitely be reviewing both of those once they are out, so stay tuned!  Be sure to follow Cider Says on Facebook, through Wordpress, or by e-mail (link in sidebar on right, or at the bottom of the page on mobile devices) to get blog post notifications.