Review: Cellar Series Smoked Apple, Woodchuck

Cellar Series Smoked Apple
Woodchuck Hard Cider — Middlebury, VT

  • Style:  Smoked Hard Apple Cider
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Ingredients:  Hard cider, less than 1% of: natural flavor and sulfites.
  • Calories:  210 per 12 oz.
  • Sampled:  22 oz. bottle (provided by cidery)

Description: Apple pomace is smoked using a blend of maple and applewood chips. Our original small batch hard cider is run through the smoked pomace. The result is a full-bodied deep amber cider. Strong crisp apple notes with hints of vanilla are balanced on an applewood smoked backdrop.  — Woodchuck Cidery

Random thoughts:  Smoked Apple is the second in Woodchuck's Cellar Series line of experimental hard ciders. I enjoyed Dry Hop, the first release. In general, I'm not a huge fan of smoked beers, but I'm intrigued by how smoke will taste in a hard cider.

The tasting:  Reddish-brown in color and clear. From the first sniff, smoke (reminds me of damp wood) is prominent. Taste starts with bright apple, and is quickly followed by smoke in the middle. The level of smoke in taste is more subdued than in aroma, but is still prominent. Moderate sweetness and a  mild level of acidity emerge in the middle and provide a nice contrast. It's light bodied, has an effervescent mouth feel, and finishes semi-dry with notes of smoked wood and tart apple. 

Rating:  3 star.  Good. I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.  My biggest pet peeve is when breweries (or cideries) don't deliver their featured flavor(s). That's certainly not the case here. Smoked Apple does a good job of providing a solid level of smoke, without overpowering. If you're a fan of smoke or are  smoke-curious, give it a try. The Woodchuck Blog has a nice article that explains how the apple pomace was smoked and used to flavor this cider. Check it out.

Just yesterday, Woodchuck announced that Chocolate will be the third Cellar Series release.  Cocao nibs in a hard cider?!? That should be interesting...

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