The growth of cider sales in the US has been exponential and the leader of the pack continues to be Angry Orchard. Not wanting to rest on the laurels of their success, Angry Orchard has pushed the cider envelope again and just this month launched The Cider House Collection.
Both ciders pack a higher ABV and are packed in 750ml corked bottles. Angry Orchard Strawman is based on old European farmhouse techniques.
Iceman is inspired by traditional Quebec ciders, where the apples are frozen prior to fermentation to release richer flavors.
While both Strawman and Iceman stem from the same Italian heirloom apples and are both fermented on wood, they are two very different drinks.
These full-bodied ciders are a great substitute for wine and were fun to experiment with when we recently had friends over for dinner. Oddly enough, the ciders also drew a gender difference.
I tend to gravitate away from sweeter drinks, but Gary and I favored the sweeter Iceman, while Zoë and Terri favored the more crisp & subtle Strawman. If I had to wager those results before we tried them, I would have lost big time. The lesson here, like with anything else, is to not judge a bottle by its label.
Cider has a lot of complexity and although some if its flavors are similar to beer, it's still quite different. With the Cider House Collection, I've got another excuse to "think" while I drink. I've got some exploring to do.
Note: Angry Orchard provided me with the two bottles and as you can see from above, I'm out and need to go buy more.