Seattle Cider Co. Dry Hard Cider Review – Promises Not To Be Sweet, Does It Deliver?
Hard ciders have grown in popularity over the past decade, along with the craft beverage craze. As their popularity has grown, it seems to be harder to find "dry", less sweet options than the mainstream choices available. Brands like Strongbow have actually discontinued US distribution of their dry ciders to offer sweeter options that appeal to the masses. For folks that don't like the overly-sweet ciders that are widely available, there are a few options. One that is being marketed on a broad scale is Smith & Forge, which is notably drier than the likes of Strongbow and Angry Orchard, but it still has a fairly sweet finish for a dry cider.
While exploring a local liquor store's beer cave, I discovered Seattle Cider Co.'s Dry Hard Cider. Always interested in trying something new, I gave the can a look to see what I could learn about it. The can describes the beverage as having "almost no residual sugar", with "notes of green apple that lend way to a dry, pleasantly tart finish". At the bottom of the description is a chart that rates the sweetness of the drink somewhere between 0 and 1 degree on a brix scale, which is used as a sweetness/sucrose measurement scale in wine, sugar, juice, and honey industries. The higher the number, the greater the sweetness. Being the company claims to barely have any sweetness on this scale, I picked some up to give it a try.
As you can see in the photo above, it is packaged in one-pint cans, and packs 6.5% alcohol by volume. It is brewed in Seattle, as the name would suggest, and they use a blend of apples grown in Washington. According to their website, that blend includes Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Galaxy apples; all of which I personally enjoy.
Upon first taste, you do certainly get the expected cider flavor, only more subtle. It is very smooth tasting and the flavor is muted compared to sweeter options on the market. The subtle cider flavor is enjoyable for me, but for folks that prefer (or are used to) the sweeter options on the market, you may feel like "the high end" of the overall taste is missing; to use a audiophile analogy. The mellow start of the flavor is punctuated by a tart finish that is more like a a lager than any of the ciders on the market I've tried.
On drinkability, I'd give Seattle Cider's dry cider a 5 out of 5. This is a beverage you can have one or two of, and not feel overwhelmed by sweetness.
On flavor, I'd give it a 4 out of 5. While I enjoy the fact that it is not a sweet beverage at all, the overall flavor of the cider feels a bit muted. Still very good, but it feels just a touch lacking in fullness of flavor.
Overall, I give this dry cider a 4.5 out of 5. This is a sophisticated cider beverage that is a pleasure to enjoy on its own, or paired with a meal. Unlike others on the market, Seattle Cider's dry cider doesn't assault your tastebuds with sweetness, though I feel like the overall flavor is almost a little more modest than it should be to be a perfect cider. I would still call this one of the best ciders I've had to date. If Smith & Forge is still too sweet for you, give this one a try.