So we took a one week break. Don’t judge. We had to sober up from writing the premiere of our Hard Copy liquor column. But we are back. And with some damn fine pickings for your Easter weekend choosing: Angry Orchard’s Traditional Dry Hard Cider and Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA.
Yup. A brand new cider and a RyePA. Something for the whole family — from your wife to your father to the teenagers stealing your booze — to get down on.
Forgive us now?
Angry Orchard Traditional Dry Hard Cider
Like cider? So do we. Especially in the winter, fall and summer. And also when we try to give up beer (amateur move) for Lent in the spring.
So when our downstairs liquor store surprised our afternoon beer browsing with a brand we had not seen before, we were quick to snatch up a six-pack.
Now, like with most ciders, it’s all in the taste. When you pour, there is, of course, the quick and obligatory fizz that comes with carbonation, but that quickly evaporates, leaving the apple-connoisseur with a golden-colored elixir.
The nose is sweet and sugary, not unlike a filtered apple juice.
But the taste! Well, the taste we describe as an apple-juice mimosa. And good apple juice. None of that too-sweet stuff you buy on the cheap. When it first hits the palate, the Angry Orchard Traditional Dry is not as sweet as the nose would suggest — the dry in its name comes straight through. It feels light and fizzy, like a good warm-weather cider should. And you catch that delicious sweet flavor on the sides of your tongue as the cider rolls out, exiting with a crisp, refreshing taste.
While we usually sample our beers slowly and deliberately, this six-pack was gone in 20 minutes. We blame the ladies. They loved it. But in truth, the menfolk loved it too, and when Deputy Editor Billy Rahn asked for more, we regretfully had to inform the gentleman that we had crushed it. All of it.
Food pairing, you ask? Easy. Vanilla ice cream. In the hot afternoon. (Or the morning. It’s none of our business if you eat ice cream in the morning.)
This English style cider is no wuss, either. At 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, it makes for a decent morning commitment. Also, it’s gluten-free, so your friends who are allergic to beer can drink it alongside the amateurs who gave up beer for Lent. (Free hint 1: When making fasting choices, avoid those that make coworkers and dates wonder if you’re an alcoholic.) (Free hint 2: Or just wait until Easter.) (Free hint 3: Don’t take life advice from TheDC.)
We found out six-pack for $8.99. Not so bad these days.
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
This beer is ruthless. And in a good way. While cider is for everyone, from kids to grandma, to you, Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA is not. And it is deliciously exclusive.
Poured into a glass, this rye beer does not lie in wait, quickly producing a thick, creamy head that sits atop an amber color not unlike the brown seen in maple syrup.
The nose does not hold back either, with strong citrus notes. And as one expert researcher at The Daily Caller put it, you know you’re drinking an IPA when you take a sip and taste the “flavor roller coaster.”
And he was right, this beer is good. Rock solid, even. Beginning with the bitterness hop heads crave, we quickly picked up on the peppery spice of the rye, followed by a burn on the tip of the tongue and that citrus flavor lingering as it mellows out.
For only 55 international bitterness units, this beer packed some punch. And at 6.6 percent alcohol by volume, that punch can weaken the knees. At $9.99 a six-pack, we’ll take it.
TheDC suggests the following Easter plan: Vanilla ice cream and Angry Orchard Traditional Dry Hard Cider for breakfast; some chewing tobacco and a glass of water for lunch (don’t mix); and a large glass of Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA with… well, we don’t know. We’re eating pork right now and it goes great with that.
And have a happy Easter!