Hornsby’s Hard Cider Review


Hornsby’s Hard Cider brand is legendary in the hard apple cider community. So does it live up to it’s name? Let’s find out

First off, let’s give credit where credits due. That signature rhino logo is pretty cool, eh?

It was designed to encourage people to ‘break away from the herd’ and try something a little different in their offerings.

And if you want to try something REALLY different, click here.

Now that we got that out the way, let’s talk about Hornsby’s Hard Apple Draft Cider.

Recently Hornsby released a press release committing to updating it’s packaging and recipe to reflect the wave of new generation ‘youngsters’ looking for alternatives to beer and wine.

They listened to their core drinkers and created a renovated look and taste while maintaining it’s strengths and improving their weaknesses.

For example, in the picture below the label keeps the traditional Hornsby’s shield (which we love), while updating the rhino, and adding California’s coastline paying homage to the brands roots.


Now we are going to review Hornsby’s hard apple cider selections — Crisp and Amber – to help you decide if it may or may not be a good choice for you.

Hornsby Crisp Hard Cider 

According to their official website Crisp Hard Ciders golden hue with the sweet smell of apple juice has a taste of rich apple notes and a slight effervescence making a well balanced mouth feel mixed with a bit of tanginess.

From the average consumers perspective, ‘Crisp’ is noticeably lighter than it’s partner-in-crime — ‘Amber’ — packed with loads of flavor. GOOD flavor. It actually taste like your biting into a crisp fermented apple if you can tell the difference it’s so uncanny.

Here at Blake’s Hard Cider we recommend drinking responsibly, so if you find yourself drinking more than two or three bottles consecutively because of the near-addictive quality of their green apple flavor, slow your role cowboy (or cowgirl).

Although slightly on the dry end of the spectrum, it’s not nearly as dry as Hornsby’s Amber draft.

Comes in singles, 6-pack and 24-pack at 5.5% ABV per serving.

Hornsby Amber Hard Cider Draft 

According to their official website Amber Hard Cider draft is a medium bodied cider with a delightful taste of ripe fruit notes throughout with full apple flavors. It’s striking golden color is a wonderful contrast of green apple on the nose. Balanced finished, smooth with a tart dryness.

From the average consumers perspective, ‘Amber’ is made from fresh, red apples, and is supposedly Hornsby’s driest cider to date.

Sadly, ‘Amber’ shares little in common to it’s brother. Not that it’s expected as it is a totally different flavor after all, but the quality is not up to the same standard.

Consumers say that it’s neither good nor bad. It doesn’t strike any particular chord either way. It attempts to safely walk on a tightrope bound to snap in hurricane-like winds. Taste like rubbing alcohol; unpleasant, along with a vinegar aftertaste. Tolerable, but not a fan favorite.

Comes in singles, 6-pack and 24-pack at 5.5% ABV per serving.

** Conclusion ** 

Both selections – Amber and Crisp – are best served chilled. It’s a great party beverage to serve to friends and family at gatherings. You can enjoy it alone behind a fireplace on a cold winter day or on the beach overlooking the sunset. You can also mix their ciders with the lager or stout beer of choice for a fun twist. Both selections are available year round and are 160 calories per serving.

Personally, we like it. Particularly Hornsby Crisp. We feel Amber could use a little more tinkering in the brewing process, but we also realize what we may not find particularly enjoyable, you may. Both selections are worth trying at least once if not for the experience. Who knows. You may be pleasantly surprised and you could write up your own review about your drinking experience with Hornsby.

Having said that this review wouldn’t be complete without a shameless plug about our own hard cider because we enjoy our creations as much as we enjoy and respect Hornsby’s.

Janis O Klavins said, “Fantastic beverages!! Just finished a cigar event featuring 3 variants and this is an exceptional “tree to can” company!”

(Elvis Presley voice) Thank you…thank you very much.

Megan Theunick said, “Flannel Mouth is my favorite hard cider. We’ll have to bring more back when we come home again.”


If you thought Hornsby’s Crisp Hard Cider is good, wait till you get a load of flannel mouth! Frankly speaking, it’s JAW dropping…

…so we’ve been told (smiles).

And if you’re wondering if we cater our selections to those with Celiac disease, the answer is, “Absolutely!” We have a motto, “No hard cider drinker left behind”.

Valerie Jason Tucker said, “I had a great time! We live pretty far from here. But worth the trip. Can’t wait for our next visit! It was nice having so many things to try, even with having Celiac Disease. Thank you for thinking of those who need to be gluten free.”

Last but not least we have Leah Murphy who gave us a shout out (quite literally) with this statement while wolfing down a couple of turkeys…

…turkey ‘burgers’ that is.

“So…I really WANTED pizza (nothing new) because, it’s Friday. Opted out for my favorite turkey burgers and chopped salad to stay on track with my eating. AND…holy moly thank you Ohio for stocking this great Hard Cider beverage from Blake’s Hard Cider Co.

It’s a stay inside kind of night…this weather stinks (tell us about it)! Movie it is…I hear CREED is amazing!”

We hear it’s pretty kick butt, too. (Rocky voice) A YO LEAH!!! ENJOY YOUR APPLE CIDER! (smiles)

If you’re in the area come on over and stop on by at 17985 Armada Center Rd. Armada, MI 48005 , give us a call at 586-784-9463 or shoot us an email at  info@blakefarms.com if you have any questions or inquiries.

Until next time, my friend, have a glass on us.

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