April 26, 2006

Cider Wars

Cider is quite a popular drink over here in the United Kingdom, moreso than in the States anyway. I normally don't review alcoholic beverages, but in this case I will make an exception since, well, the alcohol level is fairly low anyway at about 4.5%. Anyway, apple cider is the main brand over here with many companies putting it out. It's one of these things that is marketed to younger drinkers because it is cheap and is a way sweeter thing to drink compared to beer. In Cork, Ireland we were introduced to Kopparberg Premium Pear Cider, and a few days later I found Kopparberg Mixed Fruit Cider in a supermarket. This is how it all went down...

The pear cider was given to us a gift from a man named Owen who helped us get a show in Cork. The bottle was quite classy, definitely more than a lot of the ciders I've seen out there (especially any "hard" cider with the word "ice" in the title) It features a picture of a pear just ready for a cider'n a gold, classy font. Okay, now there has been some controversey recently about whether you can actually make "real" cider from a pear, and the answers have been a mixed bag. I did some research online and while pear cider isn't made exactly like traditional apple cider, the process is so indistinguishable that it might as well be the same. I thought this was going to impair my thoughts about pear cider, but I've decided to go ahead and review it as if pear cider is as pure as the apple stuff.

Wow. This beverage really made me look around the room and say, "wow." Just smelling the nose of the bottle made my nostrils extremely giddy. The cider tasted amazing. It was super, super sweet, but it tasted very natural and not syrupy at all. Some said it was "a bit too jolly-rancher like" and while I agree to an extent, it had too much of a natural flavor to write it off as just a sweet drink. This wasn't just a good alcholic drink, but a great drink in general. This is the kind of thing that parents accidently would give to their kids as "juice" and then be all surprised when their 7-year-olds are fucking trashed. Then the other kids parents would be all like "Yo, you got my kids drunk." And the other parent would say, "What, don't blame this on me, your kid has probably gotten drunk from your liquor cabinet plenty of times, 'cuz you are an alocholic!" That's harsh, parent one, that's harsh...The cider is the real one to blame because it's that damn good.

9.5/10 Yes, that damn good.

Ufortunately the same could not be said about Kopparberg's "mixed fruit" variety of cider. Made with an apple cider base, this mixture of blackcurrant, raspberry, and other miscellaenous berries was advertised as "extra strong" at a stronger than average (duh) 7% alcohol. This was probably the beginning of the poor qualities of the cider. It had the same bottle as the pear cider, of course with pictures of berries this time, so nothing was inherently wrong with the packaging, except for the fact that "extra" strong was spelled like "Xtra" strong. Fucking X-games generation.

So, for some reason before I bought this one, I believed that it could very well top the pear cider because it had even more fruit. How wrong I was. This tasted somewhere between one of those really card hard candies with a wrapper that looks like a strawberry (awesome) and a medicinal throat losenge that is trying so hard to taste good, but it just doesn't cut it (shitty.) The extra alcohol does immense harm to the aftertaste of this beverage and the medicinal taste from the beginning doesn't help either. It's not all terrible though. I could definitely see myself drinking this again as an alternative to many of the even worse apple cider brands, but it was quite the dissapointment after the tremendous pear brand. Not berry good, not berry bad. Terrible ending.



johanna said...

hey - just want to make you aware of the fact that kopparbergs is swedish and very untypical of how, well, european cider tastes...

(i work as a freelance writer and just got yor record for revewing purposes. ill probably give it a 4/5 rating. will you be in scandinavia soon?)

johanna, karlstad, sweden, etc.

Katie said...

My dad drinks that pear cider, he also drinks cherry beer: have you tasted that?

Anonymous said...

Next time you around the Somerset area try some of their cider, especially the pear, it's leathal!