Review: Cellar Series Dry Hop Cider, Woodchuck Hard Cider

Cellar Series Dry Hop
Woodchuck Hard Cider — Middlebury, VT

  • Style:  Dry Hopped Hard Apple Cider
  • ABV: 6.9%
  • Ingredients:  Hard cider, less than 1% of: natural flavor and sulfites.
  • Calories:  220 per 12 oz.
  • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle (provided by cidery)

Description:  Woodchuck Cellar Series Dry Hop represents our imagination at work. We start with our original small batch hard cider, then add an aggressive amount of Cascade hops to impart rich hop flavor and aroma. This extensive dry hopping process infuses the cider with crisp citrus and pine notes. The smooth apple character of our signature hard cider balances perfectly against the bitterness of the hops. A truly rare and very limited treat straight from the Woodchuck Cellar. Cheers! — John Matson, Cider Maker 

Random thoughts: Woodchuck Dry Hop is the first in Woodchuck's new Cellar Series of limited release hard ciders. In this new line, Woodchuck's cider makers will experiment with a wide variety of yeast strains, unique ingredients, and fermentation techniques. Each batch will be produced in limited quantifies and new styles will be released every few months.

The tasting:  Golden in color and clear. I was surprised to see a bit of white head actually linger. In most ciders, it seems to disappear very quickly. Aroma is full of tropical fruit and floral notes. With mango, orange, and guava, there’s a lot going on. Surprisingly apple doesn't come to mind when sniffing this cider. In taste, the flavor starts with tart apple, with tropical fruit flavors returning in the middle. Dry Hop is light bodied, softly carbonated, and finishes semi-dry with tart apple. 

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good! I want this again!  I loved this cider!  My biggest problem with most mass-market ciders is that they are too sweet for me. Dry Hop had some light sweetness, but it was not overdone or cloying. I easily put down a few glasses as I sampled this bottle with my wife.
I’m no wine expert, but its aroma reminded me of a Semillon or Gewürztraminer. I expect the dry hopping added much of the complexity in aroma and taste. Dry-hopped ciders are becoming more common, and I’ve enjoyed the few that I’ve sampled. Dry hopping works exceptionally well in ciders because they add loads of flavors without the bitterness. If you’re a hophead looking to explore cider, or if you prefer cider that isn’t overly sweet, I highly recommend you give Woodchuck’s Cellar Series Dry Hop cider a try.

I'm intrigued by this new line of ciders and hope to see future releases that experiment with barrel-aging and the use of wild yeast strains.

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