Tasting rather like poison and urine fell in love, got married, and had a kid, Dagan is a weak drink with an unpleasant undertone. Lacking the hearty beeriness of a good American cider, the crisp notes of a good English cider, or the interplay of sweet and bitter that characterizes a good French cider (it’s also worse than Swedish and German cider, but I don’t want to go long), Dagan is like an insult, underhanded and increasingly unpleasant the more you mull it over. In its defense it is super cheap, especially considering I got it as an import (no idea if they have a US brewery).
Avoid Dagan Cider like you would avoid Dagon, HP Lovecraft’s fictional god of the evil fishmen.
2/10 (And I drank it right after I watched Wolverine, too!)
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.
The last time I tried Woodchuck I wasn’t totally thrilled with it, but after some of the substandard cider I’ve been saddled with lately, I figured I’d try again. Woodchuck Granny Smith is the counterpart to the Hornsby’s I tried a few reviews ago, and it’s much better. The flavor is much more natural (a look at the ingredients reveals far fewer, which is good in any drink) and the fizz and taste are just right. As you might expect from an American cider it’s kind of beery, but also light and refreshing. It’s not quite a Strongbow or a Bulmers, but the difference is that you can find Woodchuck just about everywhere.
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.
Woof. I tried this when I couldn’t find a British cider at the store. I should have waited. Hornsby’s Crisp Apple doesn’t taste like apples or alcohol- it tastes like apple candy. The taste of apple flavoring is so thick in this drink that it kills the freshness you normally associate with cider. The result is a sacchrine drink with very little body that still tastes funky. The packaging makes a show of how you should serve it as cold as possible (a reference to the European over-ice trend?) but it doesn’t help. A cheap, nasty cider that tries to taste fruity by faking it. Skip this one.
3/10 (it would be lower but there are some REAL nasty ciders out there)