Despite my previous intonations on hops, I recently found myself face to face with another of these hopped ciders. Though it seems to be more or less in vogue right now, the flavor of hops seems to be mostly contained in beer and is just now spilling over into cider. You don’t really hear about how hoppy a wine is, and you certainly can’t get a bottle of sparkling hop water (or can you?). As a humble, if biased reviewer, I have no choice but to explore these forays into the world where my beloved ciders and these strange hops are forced to mingle.
I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it a thousand times: Woodchuck Cidery knows their stuff. If anyone was going to make a hoppy cider that I’d enjoy, it would be my favorite cidery out of Vermont. I enjoyed Angry Orchard’s Hop’n Mad, but the Woodchuck’s Hopsation makes it look more like a first attempt. The flavor of the Hopsation is far more refined, the blend of the two major ingredients is masterfully created. The hops lend almost no bitterness at all to the cider, but instead enhance the latent sourness of the apple.
Woodchuck is probably the most prolific cidery in terms of the number of varieties produced, and I am continually impressed with the quality. Their reputation is such that, even in the case of flavors that I do not gravitate toward like the Hopsation (and the Pumpkin that I previously reviewed), I am more than willing to try one with the knowledge that it may not be my favorite, but it will be well-crafted and at the very least interesting. My experience with the previous five ciders on my list has led me to view that rodent of theirs as a stamp of approval.
The Ciderman’s Rating: 8/10