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February 24. 2015 5:36PM

Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Happily, Angry Orchard gets Hop'n Mad


Remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” It wasn’t about apples. It was about drinks made from apples, to be sure, which the French have been making from time immemorial.

As you know from reading this column, pretty much any fruit can be fermented, grapes being the most common. But not all grapes make good wine. Some just aren’t cut out for the task, and belong in a bowl on the table, where they do just fine. (Just don’t feed them to your dog — it’s bad for their kidneys.)

Pretty much all the other fruits of the world have been tried, too. Some ferment into delicious drinks, and some, well, it was worth a try — one that no one has to repeat.

Angry Orchard has been with us for a number of years now, and they’ve invented a new cider, Hop’n Mad Apple. The name is taken from the fact that this cider is made with hops. That’s typically the case with beer, but this isn’t a beer at all. It’s made with Angry Orchard’s Green Apple and Cinnful Apple ciders plus and American culinary apples: Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. Quite a blend. It’s a gluten-free hard cider at 5.0% alcohol by volume, retailing for $7.99 to $9.99, depending on location.

Now, the hops: The makers didn’t want the hops to overwhelm the apples, so after some experimenting, they settled on Strisselspalt hops, which can yield citrus, herbal and some floral notes. It’s light gold — pale actually — with good carbonation that’s initially as bubbly as Champagne. There are citrus and herbal notes at the front of the nose, then green apple as it starts to open up. The palate is medium-plus and has a rich array of flavors, the hops combining nicely to give citrus and herbal notes, as well as some weight to accompany the white and green apple with a sense of earthiness.

And here’s an Angry Orchard that’s been on the market for a number of years and that continues to sell well: Angry Orchard Hard Cider – Crisp Apple. It’s bright and golden in the glass, with good carbonation. The nose comes up strong, with red apples and hits of green apple behind them. The body is medium for a cider; that is to say, it’s got some weight, but isn’t thick or heavy. Refreshing citrus and apple flavors travel along the palate and remain for a long finish. Delicious, and a taste of spring — and who doesn’t need that right about now?

The Crisp Apple makes for good drinking on its own, while the Hop’n Mad could pair well with food. The makers recommend barbecue stuff like ribs, and hard cheeses that have fruit notes in their flavors.

You can check out for details, and for info on other ciders they make.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at

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