Ahhhhhh…the infamous STRONGBOW. We put them to the test in this no-holds-bar comprehensive review…
Strongbow’s commercial motto is, “Bestest Over Ice”. Their start-up began in 1962 by HP Bulmer Co. And was recently purchased in 2008 by Heineken nicknamed by many Strongbow Heineken.
But forget about the ‘techie’ stuff. You want to know if Strongbow’s Hard Cider selection can satisfy your taste buds and give you the best bang for the buck. We encourage you to try our specialty selection and compare them for yourself.
In this Strongbow Hard Apple Cider Review, we’re starting with their flagship selection:
** Strongbow’s GOLD APPLE Hard Cider Review**
Strongbow’s Gold Apple Hard Cider contains 5% alcohol, 172 calories and 11.2 oz or pure deliciousness, but who’s counting?
To preface, unlike traditional ciders, Gold Apple has additives to help sweeten and artificially flavor this beverage, yet most ciders on shelves do for the American palate. To be fair, there is a lot less added compared to ‘sweet drinks’ such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Moving on. The first thing that hits you like a sack of bricks is when you get the first ‘whiff’ of fresh red and golden apples as if they were just picked from the branch. Stand back a few feet and the aroma penetrates the entire room.
Although a variety of apples are involved, you’ll get an eerie feeling that Honeycrisp apples is the staple choice to lift your spirits with a sweet, slightly tart, yet lovely and bright taste. It goes down smooth, but quickly reminds you that you’re ‘not in Kansas anymore’ with it’s boozy aftertaste.
It’s refreshing texture gently balances it’s acidity, sharpness and sourness, followed by a touch of sweetness with a mellow softness to give you a nice finish that lingers long after each sip.
We feel the aroma is Gold Apple’s strongest selling point. It taste good enough, but is quite pale in comparison to the unique taste of — Blake’s Flannel Mouth Apple Orchard Beer with it’s succulent combination of dessert apples giving it a sweet flavor that finishes incredibly smooth.
** Strongbow’s HONEY Hard Cider Review**
An import from Merry Olde England, Strongbow’s Honey & Apple Cider sits comfortably at 195 calories and 11.2 oz.
This cider is teasing to the human eye, matching your expectations of what honey cider should look like. Strongbows colors are usually pale and uninspiring, but this one has a rich, golden hue that reflects the rays of a sunrise on a cool summer day.
There are two kinds of hard cider: Sweet n’ Dry. Not hard to see where this one lands on the scale. Albeit sweeter than Strongbows standard fare, it comes at a slight surprise how the honey aspect is reserved for much of the aftertaste while the hint of apple takes the front stage.
It’s as if the labeling forces you to expect more honey notes, but it teases while simultaneously satisfies your desire; never giving you more than you can handle.
Although we’ve come to expect a strong tanginess, Honey & Apple contains very little. Tough to say if this is good or bad. We leave that judgment up to you.
One distinctive character trait you’ll notice is it’s mellow behavior. It’s quite reserved, even for a Strongbow.
In conclusion, the flavors blend well with zero bite. If you want something fairly similar yet stronger giving you the edge you secretly lust for, we recommend Blake’s Apple Lantern.
** Strongbow’s RED BERRIES Hard Cider Review**
Strongbows Red Berries Hard Apple Cider clocks in at 172 calories, 4.5% alcohol and 11.2 oz.
First, let’s talk about the nose. The moment you take a sniff it’ll make you go, “Holy Guacamole!”. Reminds you strawberry bubblicious bubblegum. It takes you back to your childhood – it makes you want a bite of candy.
Next, the taste test. Simply put, we’re not fans. To our palate it taste mass produced and artificial. Mechanical. It’s less of a hard cider, more of a Capri Sun, which is disappointing considering the potent aroma draws you in and seduces you to discover the inevitable let down. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the natural strawberry or any hint of apple.
On a lighter note, it’s an easy drink you may enjoy when you’re on-the-go. Maybe we’re biased being hard cider makers ourselves. We perfer well-balanced complexity over a hodgepodge of alcohol mixed with artificial berry flavoring.
In conclusion, it’s decadent berry n’ bubble gum aroma combined with it’s off-dry light-to-medium body that doesn’t give you a sense that any tender lovin’ care was put into it’s final production.
Sorry Strongbow. You struck out on this one. Back to the drawing board.
** Strongbow’s GINGER Hard Cider Review**
Strongbow’s Ginger Hard Apple Cider is 100% Kosher, 4.5% alcoholic content and 175 calories (for you weight watchers out there).
First things first, unlike the pleasant aroma of Strongbow’s Red Berries, the nose is overwhelmingly “gingerly” bordering on excess; unfortunately, the taste mirrors the overwhelming smell.
Although on their official website Strongbow says it has ‘just the right amount of tangy ginger’, we struggle to find any accuracy to the claim. In reality, it has a super sweet flavor that gives you a huge kick between the legs of Ginger that may cause you to gag simply as a reflex.
We want to recommend this selection along with Strongbow’s Gold Apple and Honey Hard Ciders, but sadly, we cannot.
There is one alternative offering the right balance of ginger we call Blake’s “The Tonic”.
Invigorate your tastebuds with freshly picked ginger root and cool cucumber mixed together to create a crisp, light elixir.
In conclusion, Strongbows has it’s hit’s and misses. Although Gold Apple and Honey & Apple are winners, Red Berries is quite the disappointment with Ginger being the worst of the two.
If we had to pick a favorite it would be Gold Apple, but according to Gino R. from Ann Arbor, MI (courtesy of Yelp.com), “Blake’s Hard Cider Co. beats the pants off any competitors. Period. Way better than Angry Orchard. You’ll see their cider distributed at a bunch of hipster Downtown locations, too.”
Hard to argue with that. Come on down at 17985 Armada Center Rd. Armada, MI 48005 and give our selection and food a try. Give us a call at 586-784-9463 to speak to one of our friendly Blake team members to make arrangements for special events.