There are certain curse words and phrases in the beer world. “Beer Snob”, “Dark Beers Are Strong”, and “Gateway Beers”. I get the whole gateway beer concept but it’s too general. One size does not fit all people! Look, I have turned newbies into beer lovers through imperial stouts, abbey doubles and saisons. I agree, a double IPA may turn off a drinker forever but it really boils down to choices and an open mind.
Risking sounding like a hypocrite, I am sure converting a beer drinker into a cider drinker could be achieved through a similar ingredient, hops. Now, maybe not all beer drinkers, but probably pale ale or IPA drinkers. So it makes sense a cider laced with hops would be (forgive my French) a “gateway cider”.
Christopher Lehault, a cider columnist from Serious Eats, wrote an article called Six American Ciders For Hop Heads. Please check out the article here. I figured American cider makers would hop up their ciders soon enough, which is fine for me.
A couple of weeks ago, in Philly, I found Anthem Hops Cider, one of the ciders mentioned in the article. I didn’t know it would be there but doesn’t that make it more exciting! I love surprises.
Anthem Hops was created by Wandering Aengus Ciderworks in Salem, Oregon, in the center of Willamette Valley, Oregon’s hop country.
What I was expecting from Anthem Hops was a dry cider with citrus notes and forward bitterness. More like an IPA.
What I got was a dry cider with incredible tropical fruit, a little citrus, and subtle bitterness, more like an American pilsner with west coast hops.
Here is the breakdown:
Anthem Hops poured perfectly light gold with tight aggressive bubbles. Champagne like rim with belgium lace, probably helped by the hops.
The nose blew me away, light hop aroma, full of tropical fruit, guava, pineapple, grapefruit and apricot. A nice sweetness came through, I believe it was honeysuckle. According the their website they used cascade hops but they told me later they sometimes throw in other hops. So I think this was that day.
The flavor profile was just as rewarding: Medium bodied, intense fruit flows through entire pallet with more tropical notes, followed with a bone dry and clean finish. The acidity was perfectly balanced by the light tannins.
This cider was so well-balanced and drank so easy and crisp that I will make this a favorite and keep plenty on hand all year.
Will dry hopped ciders be a gateway choice for craft beer drinkers? I still detest that word, but I think it will be fun to try.
For more information, visit Anthem Ciders online.
Have you tried hopped ciders yet? Please share your experiences.