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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Strongbow Honey & Apple Hard Cider

Whenever I'm out at a bar or restaurant, I order Angry has become my "go-to" drink. It's found everywhere and it tastes pretty darn good, and it's not too strong, so I can drive after having one. I've tried a few other brands of hard cider - Portland Cider Company, Woodchuck, and Original Sin come to mind - but my taste buds insist that none of these other brands have displaced Angry Orchard.

So as I walked through the grocery store last night, the bold, colorful packaging of Strongbow Hard Cider caught my eye. Of the two varieties present, Gold Apple and Honey & Apple, I chose the latter as it seemed like a great "Reviews for the Sweet Tooth" candidate.

Click through to

Strongbow Hard Cider is the number one global cider brand. It is claimed to have "over 125 years of cider-making heritage", but H.P. Bulmer has only been making the Strongbow brand since 1962. Heineken USA, which acquired import rights to the Strongbow Hard Cider brand in January 2013, has phased out the original Strongbow Hard Cider recipe in favor of the two new varieties. Strongbow Gold Apple Hard Cider is said to deliver a perfectly balanced, crisp apple taste that hits the "bull's-eye" by capturing the sweet and tart notes of the Golden Delicious apple, along with hints of Honeycrisp apple and pear, while Strongbow Honey & Apple Hard Cider is a blend of fresh apple taste and silky honey. Had the Gold Apple brand been primarily Honeycrisp with hints of Golden Delicious, I probably would have tried it instead, but I'm not a big fan of the Golden Delicious apple.

Both Strongbow Gold Apple and Honey & Apple are gluten-free, contain 5 percent alcohol by volume, and offer less than 200 calories in each 11.2-ounce bottle. Additionally, the hard ciders feature new packaging, which sets them apart from the original Strongbow. The new packaging is upscale, modern and emphasizes refreshment. It works, too - it is really eye-catching on the shelf, as I mentioned above.

But how does it taste? Well, it's definitely sweet. It almost has a light apple juice flavor. The problem is, there's an aftertaste. Maybe it's apple rinds, maybe it's honey, maybe it's an added sweetener like glucose that doesn't belong, but it's not pleasing. Don't get me wrong, the cider is drinkable and won't go to waste, it just won't be replacing Angry Orchard as my favorite hard cider. It reminds me of a macro brew built for the lowest common denominator.

For more about Strongbow, see this post.

My hard cider rankings so far, from most favorite to least:

Angry Orchard
Portland Cider Sorta Sweet
Original Sin Pear
Portland Cider Kinda Dry

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