Woodchuck Rosé

Review of Woodchuck Rosé.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can 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:  Bubbly Rosé
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.1%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples with “red” (red-fleshed?) apple juice, and purple carrot for color

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Availability:  wide release

Cider Description:  A bubbly, fruit-forward blush cider made with a blend of red apples delivering a crisp mouth feel.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders for a variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (retails for $9.99-10.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Pink hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of strawberry with a hint of floral.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Fruity and easy to drink.  However, I’m curious if I really tasted fruitiness from red-fleshed apples (looks like their unfermented juice was used to back-sweeten a drier cider), or my brain saw the pink hue and assumed it would be fruity.

Most Similar to:  Angry Orchard Rosé

Closing Notes:  This is yet another rosé cider release – it looks like every commercial cider brand has now jumped on the trend.

Have you tried Woodchuck Rosé?  What did you think?

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Crispin Rosé

Review of Crispin Rosé.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Original, Pacific Pear, Blackberry PearThe Saint, Bohemian, Honeycrisp, Venus Reigns, Steeltown, 15 MenBrowns Lane, and Bourbon Char.

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Cider:  Rosé
Cidery:  Crispin
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from apple & pear juices, with rose & hibiscus petals

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Availability:  wide release, since Jan 2018 – see their cider locator

Cider Description:  Blend of 50% apple cider & 50% pear cider and. Rose petals and Hibiscus give a light tannic quality and “Provence style” Rose’ Wine color. Hints of fresh Strawberry and Honeydew with a tickle of sweetness.

Ingredient List:  filtered water, fresh-pressed hard apple cider, fresh-pressed hard pear cider, pear juice concentrate (finishing sweetener), natural flavors, malic acid, contains sulfites

Cidery Description:  Crispin® ciders are naturally fermented using the raw, unpasteurized juice of fresh-pressed American apples and pears. Through classic cold-fermentation and specially selected wine yeasts, we always stay true to the fruit with authentic flavors and unique aromatic notes that are only present in fresh-pressed cider.

Price:  ~$2 single bottle ($7.99-$8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Still.  Light pink hue.  Smells mild, sweet and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  No sourness, funk, tannins, or bitterness.  Notes of granny smith applies with hints of berry, floral, and dried pear.  Quick finish.  Low pear and apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was pretty average.  I liked that it was drier, but probably because of that, it was lacking in flavor.  I was a bit puzzled as the description said they used hibiscus and rose petals, but they weren’t on the ingredients list (only “natural flavor”).

Most Similar to:  a slightly drier and blander version of Angry Orchard Rosé

Closing Notes:  I think Crispin is a great cider option for folks who live in areas which only get mass produced ciders, as they are a bit drier and less commercial (more real) tasting.  Ace is a bit similar, a commercial cidery with offerings that include some on the drier side, and which taste less commercial.  Crispin’s Original is probably my favorite commercial cider.

Have you tried Crispin Rosé?  What did you think?

Anyday Rosé

Review of Anyday Rosé, 85% hopped cider with 15% rosé wine.  It is my first time trying this.

Cider:  Anyday Rosé
Cidery:  Anyday Brands
Cidery Location:  based in New York, but production is in Paso Robles CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from west coast dessert apples with Cascade & Citra hops and rosé wine

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Anyday Brands.  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.<<

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Availability:  online sales, to most U.S. states (all except AK, AL, DE, HI, KY, MS, OK, and UT)

Cider Description:  Our delicious Rosé cider is a masterfully blended recipe of West Coast apples, rosé wine and cascade and citra hops.  Our company is based in New York, but our rosé is crafted in the heart of the Central Coast Wine Region in Paso Robles, CA. Anyday is 85 percent crisp cider and 15 percent rosé wine with hops, creating the perfect blend of cider and rosé. Oh, and our rosé has an alcohol content of 6.9 percent (we know, nice).

Nutrition Facts:  From their website, per 12oz can – 125 calories, 6g carbs, 1g sugar.

Cidery Description:  Anyday Rosé was created by former NFL player Pat McAfee and former Barstool Sports advertising director Louis Roberts. The pair teamed up with winemakers Andrew Jones of Tin City Cider and Michael Zinke of Zinke Wines.  For more info, see here.

Price:  $32 (including shipping) for two four-packs [or less per can for higher quantities – they even sell a pack of 365 cans]
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the co-founder contacted me, Louis Roberts

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First Impression:  Medium red hue (more than I expected for being only 15% rosé).  Mild to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, only of hops.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness from the hops.  No tannins, funk, or sourness.  Notes of green apple, hops, citrus, and hints of floral & non-specific fruitiness.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity and hops flavor.

My Opinion:  This one really grew on me.  At first I wasn’t really getting why you’d mix a hopped cider with a rosé, but by the end of the can I liked it.  Despite this being dry and hopped, which you think would limit their market a bit as not everyone likes both of those, I could see this having more appeal.  It drinks like it is a bit sweeter, likely due to that bit of fruitiness.  It was plenty easy for me to drink even though I don’t usually go for a fully dry cider.  Plus it actually had some unexpected complexity.  I did however find it interesting that their marketing emphasizes the rosé part and nearly skips over that this is hopped, as for me the hops made more of an impact on the flavor than the rosé aspect.  Maybe because rosé is so hot right now?  At $4 / can for their lowest quantity option it isn’t the cheapest, but not super expensive either.

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Notes on Shipping:  As this product is only available online, unlike most of my review ciders, receiving it through the mail was part of the standard process, so I thought I’d add a bit about that.  They ship from Paso Robles CA and use FedEx, which is awesome as they are way more alcohol-friendly than UPS.  If you won’t be home during the day to sign for it, you can have the package held at a number of location options (like FedEx shipping stores), instead of only the main UPS facility (which for me is about 45 minutes away, so a big pain).  You don’t even need to have a FedEx account to do that (through the tracking number you can manage the shipment as a guest as long as you know the address info and such).  It was packaged in a cool branded box.

All 8 cans arrived intact, although a few had small dents.  I think the packaging was average – likely sufficient in the majority of cases, but I’ve seen better.  I received several order status updates by e-mail.  Overall everything went smoothly and it was convenient.  The only drawback to only online sales that I can see is the delay between ordering and receiving, plus unlike picking it up at a store, it won’t arrive pre-chilled (most stores around me have the majority of their beers & ciders in fridge cases), except maybe in winter I guess.

Most Similar to:  a drier version of Incline Compass Rosé, which is also a hopped rosé cider, although only available in the NW

Closing Notes:  This is a unique product in that it is only sold online, seems to be targeting younger folks / Millennials (very Instagramable), and they even have a guarantee of a full refund if you don’t like the product (I can’t think of any cidery which has that in writing, although I’m sure most of them would make it right if you contacted them about being dissatisfied.  Its a nice thing to have when spending $32+ on something new.).  I’m interested to see what they will release next – whether it will be another cider, or something else, like a beer or wine.

Have you tried Anyday Rosé?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard Rosé

Review of Angry Orchard’s Rosé, their newest release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Angry Orchard.  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:  Rosé
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Walden NY (their R&D facility)
Cider Production Locations:  Cincinnati OH & Breingsville PA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial rosé-style cider

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Availability:  wide release, year round, since February 2018 (they have a Cider Finder)

Cider Description:  The red flesh apples in Angry Orchard Rosé are from France.  Each apple is crisp, juicy and red to the core, adding an irresistible rosy blush and apple-forward taste with a refreshing, dry finish.  Angry Orchard Rosé can be enjoyed outside with friends or at the dinner table.

Apple Varieties: Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and red-fleshed apples sourced in France

Ingredients:  hard cider, water, cane sugar, apple juice concentrate, malic acid, natural flavor; colored with red flesh apples, sweet potato, radish, and hibiscus

Price:  n/a (retails for $7.99-9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I spotted it in a grocery store, then read about it online, then some showed up

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First Impression:  Moderate pink hue.  No carbonation.  Smells very mild, fruity and floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of watermelon, strawberry, floral, and green apple.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, its more on the easy drinking on a hot summer day end of the scale.  Also, I think this would have benefited from carbonation, as it was a bit flat and full bodied for not being too sweet.  I liked that they went all-natural on the color, but I wish the ingredient list as a whole was more natural as well.

Most Similar to:  This is much less complex and refined than something like Alpenfire Glow or Snowdrift Red (both made from red-fleshed apples) or Sea Cider Ruby Rose (with rhubarb and rose hips).  It was closest to Square Mile Rosé, except sweeter.

Side Note:  I’m getting annoyed with cideries advertising the cider was “made from/using/with X apples”, when very little of that cider apple variety was used.  I get why though – consumers are becoming better educated, and are pushing the market.  Data shows commercial cider sales are down and craft cider sales are up.

Marketing tactics are something all consumers should be aware of.  For example, if a cider says it is made from bittersweet cider apples but it is closer to clear than amber, then more dessert and/or heirloom apples were likely used than bittersweet apples.  The press release for this cider focuses on the use of red-fleshed apples, but from the ingredient list and low price, it is apparent that very few were used.  There is nothing wrong with that…I just think it is deceptive marketing.  Unfortunately it is quite common.

Closing Notes:  Rosé seems to be the latest cider trend, with all the big names releasing one – Angry Orchard, Crispin, Strongbow, and more.  However, the style isn’t yet defined for cider.  So far the term has been used for everything from a cider with fruit or hibiscus added, up to the good stuff made 100% from red-fleshed apples (like Alpenfire Glow, Alpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red).  In wine it refers to a white wine that receives color & flavor from red grape skins.  In cider, so far it seems to just refer to the color.

Have you tried any rosé ciders?  What did you think?