JK Scrumpy has a sweet overtone that suggests a fruity wine. It lacks the beeriness of an American cider; you might initially think you’re drinking a french brew. However, Scrumpy is a bit different. As you drink you’ll notice a discernible cidery flavor, like the brown fall cider you get in stores. The flavor of soft cider is actually rare in hard ciders, which often have a harder apple taste, and the bite of alcohol merged with this taste give this cider a crisp, fall flavor that is unique and refreshing. It’s also noticeably less fizzy than most hard ciders, but that’s not really an issue for me.
The ingredients list tells the tale: Apple juice and yeast, nothing else. J.K. Scrumpy is a satisfying, refreshing cider with a unique character and great taste. An excellent break-in drink for soft-cider fans looking to try the hard stuff, this cider won’t let you down.
Woodpecker is possibly the most English American cider I’ve ever tied. It has a very clear apple flavor without much funk. However, it’s also a little less bold- It is to English Ciders what Corona is to Sapporo, if that makes any sense at all. Woodpecker is a great dinner cider but as an experience of its own, it doesn’t impress. If it were a little stronger, it’d be a 7/10, but it isn’t. As it is, I feel secure marking it above other cheapo US ciders like Woodchuck.
HardCore cider is a solid American style cider, a bit beeryer than English cider but still enjoyably dry. There’s a strong malty flavor to this cider, but an unmistakable pleasant apple tang throughout. I didn’t like it as much as a dryer cider, but it’s still a good drink. It also has a nice heavy character that a lot of ciders try to avoid. I usually drink ciders with meals, but I would say the strong character of HardCore makes it more of a stand-alone drink.
Harpoon is a pretty no-frills hard cider. It’s a little pricier than Strongbow, and for my money not as good: the flavor tends more toward the bitter, and the aftertaste isn’t so apple-ey. Strongbow is like a beer in some ways, but you could probably actually mistake Harpoon for a beer. Some people may look for this in a cider, but I don’t. Not a bad pick, but you can do better elsewhere.