Crispin Original

Review of Crispin’s Original cider variety.  I’ve had this cider a few times, but this is the first time since I started blogging.  Actually, I’ve tried most of their varieties, from Blackberry Pear to Browns Lane to Venus Reigns.  Crispin is probably my second favorite commercial cidery behind Woodchuck.

Cider:  Original
Cidery:  Crispin (part of MillerCoors)
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV:  5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz clear glass bottles (or four pack of 16oz cans)

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Availability:  wide release, year round

Cider Description:  Crisp, refreshing natural hard apple cider.  Crisp over ice. A classically styled, but untraditional hard apple cider. Fruit forward, with a fresh, crunchy appley nose and a deliciously refreshing, crisp mouth feel.

Price:  $5.00 / bottle at a bar (usually runs $7 a four pack)
Where Drank:  The Point in Prescott AZ.  This was their only cider offering at the time.  Apparently they usually had some sort of Schilling Cider on tap, but were out.  I was excited to see Schilling (made in my area) all the way in AZ, so it was disappointing they were out.  The Point was a very unique basement bar/lounge in Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott to say the least (it was dark and smelled lol, but overall was trying to be a higher end classy speakeasy).  We were there for the whiskey selection for my husband and a friend.  I was happy just to find cider that wasn’t Angry Orchard.  Actually, that night I went 2/2, finding Woodchuck Amber (bottled) at Prescott Brewing Company.  The following night I was 0/3 on cider, but 2/3 on mead.  All in all those are above average odds on finding a beverage to my liking!

First Impression:  Shiny straw yellow.  Almost no carbonation.  Sweet kinda fake crisp apple scent.

Opinion:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  No bitterness.  Low acidity and tartness.  Tropical & pear notes.  A bit juice-like.  Medium bodied.  Quick finish.  Overall this is an enjoyable easy drinking cider which is less sweet than most commercial ciders (150 calories and 10 grams of sugar per 12oz).  I liked the level of flavor, but that seems to come with the territory of being a bit sweeter (this is nowhere near dry).  Its definitely “crisp & refreshing” as the bottle said, and it was quickly gone.

Most Similar to:  Probably Crispin Pacific Pear, as I picked up some pear notes in this cider and it is a similar level of sweetness.  Or maybe Stella Cidre or Spire Mountain Apple.  I haven’t found too many ciders with this level of sweetness…most craft ciders are drier, and most commercial ciders are sweeter.

Closing Notes:   This is a solid commercial cider selection.  I especially like it isn’t overly sweet (and for folks who like an even drier cider, they make a Brut variety).  However, the use of water, apple juice concentrate, and “natural apple essence” (whatever that is) disappoints me.  Their description of the cider is pretty sad too…  Appley?  Serve over ice?  No thank you.  Overall though I don’t hesitate to order this cider when it is available, and I think its a much better choice than Angry Orchard Crisp Apple.  If this was a craft cider, I’d probably keep some in the house.

Have you tried Crispin Original?  What did you think?

Smith & Forge Hard Cider

Review of Smith & Forge Hard Cider.  I haven’t got around to trying this one, so why not?  I don’t discriminate when it comes to cider.  If I like it, I drink it / buy it again.

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Cider:  Smith & Forge Hard Cider
Cidery: Uncharted Hard Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Memphis TN
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied: 12oz can (or 16oz can)

Availability:  wide release

Cider Description:  Presenting Smith & Forge Hard Cider, a sturdy drink for the hardy gent.  Launching nationally this month (March 2014), Smith & Forge is a hard cider fermented in the tradition of days gone by.  With a rich amber color, 6% alcohol by volume (ABV), a distinct, not-too-sweet taste and a fantastically crisp finish, Smith & Forge is built to refresh.

Cidery Description:  Smith & Forge is a MillerCoors product…nuff said

Price:  ~$2 for a single can (a six pack runs about $7-8)
Where Bought:  Total Wine (although its available almost everywhere)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I’ve seen it advertised and someone said they thought it was similar to Woodchuck, so I thought I may as well try one for research purposes…


First Impression: Deep bronze amber (is this actually real?  coloring isn’t listed though…).  Almost no carbonation.  Sugary fake apple smell.

Opinion:  Very sweet.  This has a syrupy sweet apple taste.  I actually like sweeter ciders, but I think because of the lack of carbonation, it made it seem even sweeter.  Its an alcoholic apple juice type of cider.  I don’t detect any tartness.  There is the slightest amount of bitterness in the finish.  Hints of a caramel flavor.  I wouldn’t even describe it as a smooth & crisp cider, as it is too syrupy & fake tasting for my liking.  Overall this is a very simple cider without much depth.  I think with a lot more carbonation and a bit less sugar it wouldn’t be too horrible.  I’m still curious about the color, as even barrel aged cider doesn’t often get that deep of an amber, and it looks like the color of the Woodchuck ciders which (unfortunately) add coloring.

Closing Notes:   I think people in their early 20s who want a “cider” which tastes like apple juice but has alcohol will like this.  Besides that, it doesn’t have much going for it.  MillerCoors is definitely marketing this stuff like crazy!  Their marketing it to men is an interesting strategy.  Sadly, this is another cider by “Big Beer”, and further, one that tries to hide that fact.  Of the commercial ciders I’ve tried, I find Woodchuck to have the best tasting ciders in general.

Have you tried Smith & Forge?  What did you think?