Boyfriends are the best. Especially when they are thoughtful and try their hardest to do nice things for you. My delightful boyfriend is one of these gems, and the other weekend he was getting ready for a shindig with all of his (beer enthusiast) friends. However, he knows that somewhere along the lines, my insides decided that beer was not so much its favorite thing, and I had to drop that sweet nectar of the gods from my diet in order to prevent much pain and suffering in my belly (though I still sometimes cheat, and it’s usually worth it). Because of this, while he was picking up some tasty beers for everyone else, he snuck a 6-pack of ciders into his shopping cart for me. I know, I know – terribly sweet of him.
“I know you like dry ciders,” he told me (indeed I do!), “but the liquor store was out, so I brought you this stuff.” He unveiled a 6-pack of adorable red and tan cans adorned with an old-timey pickup truck loaded with apples: Big B’s Harvest Apple Cider. The Harvest Apple is billed as a semi-sweet cider, so the boyfriend and I were both pretty nervous that it would be too sweet for me to really enjoy, but of course I couldn’t be mad, and I knew I would have to say I loved it and eventually finish the whole 6-pack, even if I kind of hated it, because sometimes that’s what you gotta do. Spoiler: I did not have to lie about liking this cider.
Harvest Apple: The Basics
Cidery: Big B’s Delicious Orchards (Hotchkiss, CO)
Harvest Apple: The Details
When I popped my first can of the Harvest Apple, the first thing to hit my nose was a really bold, fresh whiff of ripe apples. Immediately, I remembered my time living in New England, going apple picking in the fall – the smell of the fresh apples mix beautifully with the smells of autumn, dry leaves, and chilly air. Earthy smells sit below those fresh appley ones, which definitely remind me dry leaves sitting on the forest floor.
Tasting the cider was a similar experience. It was a lot less sweet than I was expecting, but still bold and fruit-forward. The flavor is bright, fresh, clean, and really very refreshing. The finish is similarly fresh and clean, lingering just a little bit on the tongue, the way the chill on the autumn air lingers just a little bit on your cheeks. However, despite the really clean and fresh apple flavors, there are undertones drifting below the apple flavors that I immediately wanted to describe as “dark.” I was again reminded of the forest floor in the fall, those deep earthy smells – that is what seemed to be lurking in the flavors of this cider. I wouldn’t say these “dark” flavors took away from the bold apple flavor of this cider, rather, they made the flavors deeper and more complex – definitely more interesting that your run-of-the-mill super fruity apple cider. It was these flavors that also cut through what would probably have been a too-sweet flavor for my tastes, bringing it right back to a place that makes this cider easy to drink and super enjoyable.
I think summertime is the wrong time to drink this cider. Yes, it is fruity, bold, and refreshing, but the flavors in this cider are begging to be enjoyed after a chilly walk with your main squeeze through a ripe apple orchard – “Harvest” is definitely an appropriate name for this cider. That said, I had no reason to be scared of the “semi-sweet” printed on the side of the can, as this cider, while definitely not without some sweetness, is really balanced and very tasty. It was easy to get through a 6-pack during the boyfriend’s party (even if drinking 6 ciders in a night is maybe not the best idea), and I was totally genuine when I told him I really liked the cider he picked out for me. It had definitely been awhile since I picked up a cider by Big B’s, but this cider reminded me about the good things these guys are doing out on the Western Slope, so I’ll be looking out for more of their tasty concoctions this summer. I recommend you do the same.