Strongbow Red Berries Apple Cider

The first Strongbow was very good. The last two have been fairly middle of the road. I hope there isn't a pattern of the good one from England, and now that these are are being made in Belgium, they will all be trying to trade on the good name and be... kind of meh. They are shaping up to be the hard cider equivalent of the Westinghouse name brand.

For the first time that I've been trying these ciders, I can say that it looks nothing like apple juice. For starters, it's red. It's too clear to be a wine, but that's the kind of shade we're looking at. It may be the red of an apple, though, so I really can bring it back around. The aroma is sharp berries - raspberry and maybe strawberry, but the raspberry seems to overwhelm everything else.

First sip is like a lightly carbonated fruit punch. Well, a very watery, lightly carbonated fruit punch. It's not what I'd call mouth-watering, but it's relatively inoffensive. I'm pretty sure I've had punch like this at a few dozen parties when I was a kid. The ones when I was older tended to have more alcohol in the taste than this does. I could see this being the favorite drink of someone who also likes wine coolers.

Big sip, let's hope the taste is up for it. Tip-in is smooth berries - not sharp like the aroma, or maybe my mouth is more used to it as a result of the earlier sip. The middle does nothing to change the taste. The finish leads with a sharpness that echos the aroma and a tartness that nearly puckers the mouth. All the while, sweet berries trickle away.

Bottom Line: If a light drink like a wine cooler is your thing, this may very well fit the bill.



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