Angry Orchard The Muse

Review of Angry Orchard’s The Muse, part of their Cider House Collection (along with Iceman and Strawman).  I had forgotten about this bottle, as for some reason it was in with our champagne & white wine, instead of with my ciders.  So, especially since I didn’t know how long ago I bought it, I thought I’d better drink this one!

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Cider:  The Muse
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Cincinnati OH
ABV:  7.7%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle

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Availability:  wide release, year round

Description from Angry Orchard:  Our Cider House Collection includes rare and innovative ciders, harvested from our cider makers’ passion and creativity. To bring you these new distinct styles, we experimented with juice blends, wood aging, fermentation techniques, and other traditional processes learned from 15 years of cider making exploration and craftsmanship.

Inspired by the festive nature of slightly sweet demi-sec champagnes and sparkling wines, The Muse is a bubbly, effervescent cider made from traditional culinary and bittersweet apples and aged on French oak. The cider is sweet upfront with a juicy apple aroma and bright acidity, and slightly drying on the finish with a lingering sweet apple note. The French oak adds a subtle wood impression, imparting notes of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and hints of vanilla. 7.7% ABV.

Price:  ~$15
Where Bought:  Costco?  Its pretty widely available though, even at the supermarkets near me.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve had The Muse and Iceman probably a few times each.

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First Impression:  Darker amber.  High foam & carbonation.  Cooked apple scent.

Opinion:  Sweet to very sweet.  Tastes like a sparkling ice wine.  High carbonation.  Moderate acidity.  Medium bodied.  Effervescent mouthfeel.  No noticeable bitterness, tartness, or astringency.  I don’t pick up any barrel influence or the spices that are mentioned in the description.  I do however pick up some bittersweet apple, cooked apple, and vanilla notes.  There are some poor syrupy and juice-like qualities to this cider.  Longer length finish.  Slightly less sweet than Iceman.  In contrast, Iceman has a higher ABV, some discernible barrel influence, and less carbonation.

Most Similar to:  Angry Orchard’s Iceman.  Check out this post I did with mini reviews of all the Angry Orchard ciders I’ve tried.

Closing Notes:   This cider is pretty good, but I think much better can be had for the money.  Also, I’d really rather support a local craft cidery.  This is however a good introduction to a more craft-like cider product for those with limited cider availability and for those whose palates like a sweet cider.  I have tended towards drier ciders lately and this one is a bit too sweet now for me.

Have you tried Angry Orchard The Muse?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Traditional Dry, Elderflower, Summer Honey, Iceman, & The Muse

This is a mini review of the Angry Orchard ciders I’ve tried.  To be honest, I’m not a big of a fan of Angry Orchard…I much prefer Woodchuck in general.  Unfortunately, Angry Orchard is all there is to be had at many restaurants & bars, and is what you see at just about every grocery & liquor store.  As of last year, Angry Orchard had a 56.8% market share in the hard cider category (compared to 10.5% for Woodchuck, the second most popular brand), despite only being released nationwide in 2012.  Before Angry Orchard, Woodchuck was the market leader.

Crisp Apple: This is their most popular variety, and found everywhere.  It is quite sweet…I think moreso than Woodchuck Amber.  The flavor to me is a bit syrupy and fake tasting.  I won’t drink it unless its free!

Traditional Dry: I like this variety much better then Crisp Apple, and still wouldn’t call it dry, or even semi-sweet.  Without so much sweetness a bit more true apple flavor comes through.  Unfortunately this one isn’t found in restaurants & bars like Crisp Apple is.

Elderflower: This was their summer release in 2014 (this year it is Summer Honey).  It was actually quite good & unique.  I would almost call this dry, but not quite.  It has an herbal/floral flavor.  Woodchuck Oopsy Daisy is the most similar, which I think I slightly prefer.

Summer Honey: This is their summer release this year.  I wasn’t a fan.  Again, the syrupy flavor, except this time, honey. I didn’t pick up any floral notes as were described. Its not quite as sweet as their Crisp Apple though.  Thankfully I only bought a single bottle.

Iceman: This is part of their Cider House Collection, and runs around $15 for a large 750ml bottle, 10% ABV.  It is a barrel aged ice cider (made from fermenting frozen apple juice concentrate).  I think even for ice cider it is a bit too sweet, a small glass after dinner is pretty tasty.  The flavor is quite good, with a mellow oakiness and some vanilla.  The bottle is also quite pretty (hey, that is what people notice!).  However, I think consumers can do better for the price, as there are a number of good craft ciders available for less money.  For folks who don’t have much craft cider availability in their area, and want to try something different, this could be a good choice though.

The Muse: This is part of their Cider House Collection, and runs around $15 for a large 750ml bottle, 7.7% ABV.  It is reminiscent of sweet sparking wine (highly carbonated).  Again, very sweet, but not quite as much as Iceman.  It is also barrel aged, but I don’t really taste it.  Apparently it has spices in it, but I also don’t pick that up.  I like it though, even if I can’t really identify the flavors.  As my cider palate has matured to like slightly less sweet ciders, I prefer this slightly more than Iceman for some reason (maybe the bubbles?).  Again though, I think better can be had for the money…plus I prefer to support local cideries instead of Angry Orchard wherever possible, which is owned by the Boston Beer Company.

Angry Orchard’s other varieties (which I haven’t tried):