Cider Review: McMenamin’s Hard Cider

February 11, 2010

We recently went to McMenamin’s White Eagle, where they had a hard cider on their wine menu. They described it as, “crisp, sweet & delicious this fermented apple beverage is a bubbly alternative to wine… apple cider for adults!” It sells for $6.00 a pint glass, so I decided that I should give it a try.

The front of the taste was full of apples, but it finished highly acidic and unbalanced. It was not what I would call sweet. I recently read a discussion about making dry ciders, as since cider has a strong tendency to go dry, there are no residual sugars to balance the acids and tannins. Therefore, the cider needs to age a while to allow the acids to mellow out. This was not the case for McMenamin’s hard cider. I suspect they used inferior apples and rushed the process and then lightly force carbonated.

I tried looking up some information regarding this cider. According to Ratebeer.com, this cider is 6.5% alcohol, which is evidence to me that they let the cider go dry. Yet, the following reviews on that same page describe it as sweet apple flavor. Maybe my taste buds consider drinks dry when others consider them sweet? However, my husband the beer drinker agreed with me when he took a sip that it finished highly acidic and that it was unbalanced.

One other interesting piece of information I gathered about McMenamin’s hard cider came from The Register-Guard in 2005, where they reported, “Oregon’s drink empire McMenamins makes a cider that’s served on tap at all of its pubs. McMenamins started by making 200 gallons of cider in 1990, and now it’s fermenting 2,000 gallons a year.”

Overall, McMenamin’s hard cider fits in with what my husband perceives for McMenamins – they make average beer that won’t win any awards or really be rememberable. In this case, if you are going to spend $6 for an inferior pint of cider, you would be better off spending $8 for a 22 oz of Wandering Aengus Cider that would taste much better.

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