There has been a huge explosion in the number of hard ciders available in the past ten years. I remember when they were kind of hard to find. Now, I can find a couple brands in supermarkets, and huge numbers more in package stores.
I decided to try Angry Orchard cider because of their cool label (what else is new, right?) A gnarly, pissed-off looking apple tree glares from the label like some demonic Ent. But despite the name and the graphics, Angry Orchard is refreshing, smooth, and carries over a lot of apple character with it (with very little actual sweetness - this is not an alcopop.)
There are three varieties in Angry Orchard's line: Traditional Dry, Crisp Apple, and Apple Ginger. I decided to go with the Crisp Apple for this initial tasting, because I wanted Lynnafred to give it a try. She isn't a fan of hard cider the way I am and I thought the Crisp Apple would have more raw apple flavor remaining to entice her, rather than the more abstract applish flavor that characterizes most drier ciders.
And there is no denying that Crisp Apple has that fresh apple thing going for it. While it doesn't taste anything at all like supermarket apple juice or apple soda, there is a subtle hint of sweetness in the background with, well, crispy apple and yeasty flavors wrapping around it. With its interesting combination of sweet start and tart, dry, beery finish, I thought Angry Orchard Crisp Apple to be a decent, middle-range hard cider.
PS - If you're wondering if Lynnafred liked it, that is a negative. She took a swig, wrinked her nose, and said, "I'm not a fan of hard cider."