Posted: February 11th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Cider, Commercial Brew, What's that in your fridge? | 6 Comments »
The first time I had a hard cider wasn’t in England. I was 16 when I was in England and in our academic program we weren’t allowed to drink unless we wanted to be shipped back to the states (which did actually happen to some kids). No, the first time I had a cider was at a British-style pub here in Portland, The Horse Brass Pub
. And the cider they had on tap was Blackthorn
, which at the time I thought was pretty tart and interesting! It seemed so dry and champagne-y, and quite different from the Guinness I usually ordered at the Horse Brass.
So now that I’m on the cider train, I decided to buy a bottle of Blackthorn over the weekend. We cracked it open last night, and much to my surprise it tasted really sweet and juicy, not dry like I remembered. Have my taste buds changed so much? Apparently so! The cider I made in the fall is far more tart and dry — think geuze — than this so-called dry cider. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s amazing what 12 years will do to your perception of flavor. Back then, I didn’t like cilantro or seafood, either.
Another huge change for Blackthorn is their branding! The branding I know and remember is semi-gothic and mildly druidic in nature. But if you go to the official Blackthorn site, you’ll see semi-clad Asian vampire lesbians and people with tribal tattoos! Even more awesome is that I recognize their “models” from a Photodisc CD called “Faces of Diversity.” And their new slogan — “piercing refreshment” — is supposed to make Blackthorn appeal to an alternative crowd? C’mon! In Britain, cider is a kids’ and ladies’ drink, not the preferred drink of hardcore alternaBrits. I really wish I could hear the marketing pitch on that one…
While hardly an extreme cider that will quench the thirst of a thousand angry rebellious tattoo artists, Blackthorn cider is a tasty refreshment and is definitely best on tap.
Or, you could make your own cider…
Posted: February 10th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Commercial Brew, Gluten-free, What's that in your fridge? | No Comments »
Redbridge Sorghum Beer
I finally succumbed to curiosity/beerlessness and bought a bottle of Redbridge
, Anheuser-Busch’s sorghum beer. Yes, I know, I don’t like A-B at all, and was really reluctant to try their version of a gluten-free beer. But it was the only “beer” option apart from the previously reviewed Bard’s Tale
, and given that I’ve been drinking mostly cider and wine, any beer was better than no beer.
The verdict is that Redbridge is OK. It kind of reminded me of Stella Artois, which I know people love but I really don’t like at all. The flavor is just strangely astringent/bitter, a little metallic, and lacking depth much like your usual A-B beer; it was fizzy and fairly light on the palate. It was pretty lightly hopped, and had little hoppy aroma or finish. It still didn’t taste like a proper beer, so I’m guessing it’s a beer replacement much like those “coffee replacement” teas you can find at some health food-oriented stores. It just ain’t right!
While the price on Redbridge isn’t awful at $7.99/6-pack, it’s not worth it for what you get. I think it might appeal to people with serious gluten allergies or Celiac Disease, who maybe haven’t had actually beer in years if ever. My tongue still remembers what a proper beer tastes like. I mostly tried the beer because A) I’d really like a beer and B) I wanted to support even A-B in their efforts to provide alternative beer options. I mean, that’s what they do best: give the people what they want, even if what they want is total crap.
So, I won’t be buying Redbridge again. I guess it’s more cider and wine for me! In other booze news, we bought some 12 Bridges Gin made by Integrity Spirits here in Portland. Interesting gin! Very different.