This is the best cider I’ve had by Crispin…significantly better than the Crispin Natural that I reviewed previously. The difference is pretty stark–while both are crisp, clean, and come across as relatively dry, Browns Lane is woody, earthy, and bitter by comparison…but in the good way that only the bittersweet cider apples it’s made from can achieve.
It’s interesting to me that the Crispin Natural clearly has a lot of science behind its composition, in order to maximize the cider character of non-cider apples, but that despite this, the more straightforward, English-style Browns Lane blows it out of the water. As with cooking, ingredients matter…a lot.
Browns Lane has about 60% more sugar content, at 19g/12oz, than Crispin Natural–which if memory serves is around 12g/12oz. This is a bit interesting since it comes across almost as dry as the Natural, but the flavor profile is strong enough that the sweetness is less pronounced. At $9/4-pack of 17oz cans, Brown’s Lane is actually a better deal than the Natural as well, so it’s a no-brainer for me.
It pours noticeably darker than most ciders I’ve had–the caramelized nature of the sugars they’ve added likely contributes to this. They seem to be experimenting a bit with their back-sweetening agents–see their Honey Crisp (honey) and The Saint (maple syrup), for instance. I’m not sure how I feel about this approach, but I haven’t tried these yet, so I’ll reserve judgment for now and begrudgingly give them a try at some point. For its part, the caramelized sugar in Browns Lane seems to neither detract from or contribute much.
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