Craft beer is one of the largest growing segments in the beverage industry. With the recent explosion, craft ciders have now entered the race. One of the best known names in hard cider, Woodchuck was founded in 1990, in the town of Proctorsville, Vermont. The name is in reference to a “Vermonter,” someone whose family has lived in the state for generations, and they have recently begun a new line of ciders called the Cellar Series. One of their latest offerings is a smoked apple cider.
The cider pours a clear, dark rusty color with orange hues. The thin white head dissipates immediately and leaves no lacing. The carbonation is notable, rising in the glass but most of the bubbles disappear at the surface.
On the nose you are hit with exactly what you would have expected – apple and smoke notes. Sweet yet crisp apple notes are evident, similar to the “appley” aroma in most balanced ciders. The smoke notes are actually rather complex. At first it seems akin to a Speyside peat. Upon a second investigation it seems more like the deep, rich smoke of a campfire. After diving even deeper it becomes a meaty smoke note. This aroma is reminiscent of smoked pork (think bacon or ham) with evident applewood smoke lingering behind the meat.
On the palate you notice a tug of war between the apple and smoke notes. First it is all crisp apple notes, that show sweetness without being overly sweet or syrupy. Then there is a transition where you think you are drinking the juice of an apple roasted over a campfire as if it were a marshmallow. Then the smoke waves begin – sweet applewood, campfire and smoked meat all make an appearance. Tugging back at this point is the apple which makes another appearance starting with the roasted apple and then back to its pure and crisp form. The next sip shows all the same notes, but not in the same order as the tug of war carries on.
A very interesting cider from Woodchuck. As strange as it seems it is actually rather enjoyable. This would be perfect with extra sharp cheddar, smoked brisket mopped with apple cider vinegar or a grilled apple cobbler.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5
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