Cheers to Apple Season

Photos by Jeff McSweeney

Photos by Jeff McSweeney

by Nicole Watts (with a little help from her friends)

In honor of apple season, we sampled a variety of apple ciders and ales at our Labor Day BBQ. Our findings were interesting. Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple Hard Cider and Smith & Forge Cider were the favorites. Mike’s Hard Smashed 

Apple Ale and Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider were among the least favorites. 


Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple Hard Cider was the favorite hard cider overall. It is described as tart with a perfectly strong apple flavor.

Smith & Forge Hard Cider comes in a can, so if your event is “glass free” and you want a hard cider, this is your best choice. It’s a lighter cider that is described as sweet, smooth, and refreshing.

Woodchuck Hard Cider was a close third, but was considered a watered down version of Angry Orchard’s Hard Cider.

Redd’s Apple Ale was light and very sweet with high carbonation. Some thought it had more of a green apple or apple pucker flavor.

Mike’s Hard Smashed Apple Ale had serious banana undertones. It seems that everyone was sidetracked by that, but it was mentioned that it had a dry malt flavor. Some liked it, most didn’t. 

Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider is my personal second favorite on this list. It is tangy and tart but most felt it was too tart with some apple pucker tendencies.

Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider was the unanimous loser. It was described as weak, icky, watered down, dry, bland, and yuck!