Good Libations – Stella Artois Cidre

Last time, you got the review of a new (to me) hard cider. Today, I’ll review my favorite go-to hard cider: Stella Artois Cidre.

The first thing you notice about it is it’s very light in color–lighter than a lot of ciders, including, surprisingly, any Angry Orchard product. In fact, Stella seems to celebrate the color, as it’s packed in clear glass bottles which makes it look almost pale. But that clear light color is your first clue about what’s inside: a pleasant, light-tasting, drinkable, uncomplicated hard cider.

That’s why it’s my favorite: it’s dry and slightly sweet at the same time. It’s very smooth and refreshing, carbonated, but not overly fizzy. It is the perfect cider to just kick back and drink when that’s all you really want to do.

And that’s a complaint I have against a lot of ciders since they came back into fashion in America: there’s a drive to make them sweeter, dryer, hoppier, more complex, and fruitier. And while there’s a time and place for some of that, it’s detracted from the basic straight-forward cider base that’s just smooth and drinkable.

So there you go. Stella Artois Cidre. Drink it. It’s light and simple and tasty.


Good Libations – Sociable Cider Werks Freewheeler

Welcome to Good Libations–the occasional review or recipe share for drinks (mostly of an adult nature). I hope you enjoy it. You can follow my drink ratings for beers and ciders at Untappd

I love hard cider. Since trying my first a few years ago, it’s been my drink of choice. And I’ve been trying different ones as I’ve found them, seeing what I like and what I don’t like. So there was some excitement when I learned that a cider taproom was setting up shop not far from me. And I’ve been saying for months that I need to go to the Sociable Cider Werks taproom. After all, it’s only a mile or two from my house, buried on a dead end in a light industrial neighborhood abutting a large park. Yet I haven’t.

But I was excited to hear that Sociable has purchased the equipment necessary to can their ciders so that I could try out their stuff simply by going to my local liquor store. So last Saturday, I did just that: purchased a 4-pack of their first product to roll off the canning equipment: Freewheeler dry apple.

Let me start by saying my favorite cider is Stella Artois’ Cidre–it isn’t sweet, but it’s smooth and refreshing. It’s also carbonated without being overly fizzy (one complaint I have with brands like Crispin).

Freewheeler is, as its name implies, dry, but I think it kind of cheats to get there: it’s a hoppy cider, so it’s got that bitter edge that the hops provide. But it’s smooth, so it’s easily drinkable, though it’s fizzier than Cidre. The flavor isn’t terribly developed: it isn’t sweet, and instead it seems a little flat, and I’ve tried to decide if that’s due to the hops, but the end result is that there isn’t much of a bouquet to the cider when it’s in a glass. You usually get some of the sweetness, even from dry ciders, but this one just seemed a little lacking.

Does that mean it’s bad? Not by any means. It’s OK. It’s drinkable and after a while in a glass with ice, it got much better than it was right out of the can. But it’s not one of my favorites. Though I will buy some of their others as they roll off the line to see what else Sociable can make.