Thursday, February 12, 2015

Calling all ciders

While I"m not a beer drinker (I don't like the taste and it makes me wildly sick), I do love me some cider! And with so many flavored ciders on the market it's never hard to find something to tasty to drink. So for our next taste testing it wasn't hard to decide on a style - hard apple cider. To make it all equal we made sure to stick with unflavored ciders - just plain apple.
The lineup:

Tieton Cider Works - Blossom Nectar Cider: A great sweet cider with a slight floral bouquet. Our 3rd favorite.

Angry Orchard - Crisp Apple: This was the most sparkling cider of the group reminding me of the ginger beers. At first I thought it was tart, but after tasting them all and going back and forth between my favorites I changed my mind and thought of it more as semi-sweet. My favorite of the group and, of interest, is made by Samuel Adams.

Henry Hotspur's Hard Pressed Cider: Chris found this one at Trader Joe's and upon the initial sip both of us wanted to spit it out. Teeerrrrible. It had a bad aroma and didn't taste like anything. Seriously, don't buy this. I dumped the whole bottle and most of the sample glass.

Woodchuck Hard Cider - Granny Smith: Very dry and tart. If Henry Hotsh*t's hadn't been in the tasting, this would have been my least favorite. I just don't like dry ciders, I like 'em sweet. So, if you need something dry and tart like your personality, this is the cider for you.

Crispin Natural Apple Cider - Honey Crisp: Had a nice honey aroma, was semi-sweet, but also a little bitter. I like it better than the Woodchuck, but didn't really need to drink anymore than my sample. Chris liked it as a mixer cider with the others. I rated this 4th out of the 6.

Ciderboys First Press Apple Cider: This was a new cider to us, never heard of them before, but that was our loss because this stuff was good! It had a sweet aroma and really was the sweetest. Very tasty, but when I did a back and forth between it and Angry Orchard I just liked Angry Orchard a little better. A very close second.

And yes, at the end of that the two of us had the "burden" of polishing off five bottles of cider! If only everything in life was that hard...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Battle of the Ginger Beers

We're spending our Super Bowl Sunday watching some foosball and doing some ginger beer taste testing. For the most part American ginger beer is a non-alcoholic fermented ginger beverage while the imported ginger beers are typically alcoholic. So far we've only bought, and loved, some non-alcoholic brands such as Reed's and Maine Root. This time we've added some imports into the mix.

The line up:

Maine Root Spicy Ginger Brew
Our favorite of the five beers, veeeery spicy (will clean your sinuses) with excellent ginger flavor. A non-alcoholic highly carbonated delight. Seriously, you must find and buy this stuff immediately!

Bruce Cost Unfiltered Ginger Ale with Pomegranate
Chris thought this said ginger 'beer' not 'ale' when he picked it out - so our bad, but still a good drink. Very cloudy because of its unfiltered sediment though you couldn't actually taste that it had pomegranate added. Our third favorite pick overall.

Bundaberg Ginger Beer
A non-alcoholic Australian ginger beer, this was our second favorite. A sweet drink with strong ginger flavor, just not as spicy as Maine Root. I think this makes the best mixer beer, for drinks like Moscow Mules, since it's not too spicy. In fact I'm using the leftovers in my Hawaiian Mule, pineapple vodka and ginger beer, as I type.

Crabbie's Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer
A British import, you can tell in the first sip that it's alcoholic. Great orange smell and flavor, but not as sweet as the first three. Our fourth overall choice.

Hollows & Fentimans
Another British import, this was a big disappointment. If we were doing a blind taste test I'm not even sure you would know you were drinking a ginger beer. Unappealing smell and lackluster flavor. Not worth the effort to seek out.