Most alcoholic beverages taste like shit to me. I’m not a fan of the taste of most kinds of wine, most hard liquors taste like fucking cough syrup to me, and beer – well, let’s just say drinking the majority of the beers available in America is like having sex in a canoe. This makes it rare to find something that I can enjoy both for its taste and its ability to lead to hilarious inebriated antics, and Angry Orchard’s Apple Ginger Hard Cider fits the bill nicely.
I was introduced to Angry Orchard a few weeks ago, when my fiancée and I were invited to our next-door neighbors’ for sampling. Out came the little brown bottles, and I was skeptical at first: our neighbors brew their own beer and mead, and they’ve got a pretty refined palate when it comes to alcohol, so I was expecting some pretty exotic (or bizarre) flavors. Alcohol’s always been a means to an end for me, and while there are drinks that I’ve enjoyed tasting, for the most part it’s more about just getting to the next one so I can speed up the process of eventually losing my pants and vomiting off a second-story balcony.
Color me surprised when I took my first sip and I was presented with a smooth flavor with just a hint of bite at the end from the ginger. The bitterness of the alcohol was balanced out by the sweetness of the apple, but not to the point where it became syrupy or cloying; easily drinkable, the lightly-carbonated cider is eminently more flavorful than your typical pig-swill macrobrew while being much more mild than some of the craft beers you can find out there. This isn’t a condemnation of microbrews, by the way, as I’ll take a craft beer with actual flavor over some horrorshow like Miller High Life or (God help us) Bud Light, but more of a personal preference – if you like high-flavor beers, you’re more than welcome to. I’ll be over here in the corner with my Apple Ginger.
My experience with the hard cider was enough to convince me to actually go out and buy a case for our own consumption last weekend. This is a rarity, considering the price of alcohol, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a case of 24 bottles came out to around $37 or so – a little over $1.50 a bottle – and it has served us well in the week that has followed. There’s something incredibly rewarding about sitting outside on your patio, in the shade of a grapevine arbor, watching the barn cats play in the bushes in the heat of the afternoon and sipping one or two – or three – of these hard ciders after a long day, then gathering up your fallen soldiers once night falls and going back inside. Beats just about anything else you can do with your clothes on.