Bite Hard Apple Cider is the cider Smith & Forge secretly wants to be but falls short of.
Dry, crisp, quite tart, and clean, Bite Hard packs a bitter bite that reminds me a bit of a milder version of Wickson by Wandering Aengus, with a bitterness that more closely resembles a hard, crabapple snap than the softer, fuller, tongue-coating tannins found in many of the European cider varieties. This particular bitter character is a bit risky in a cider this dry and acidic–with no counterpoint to balance it–but it’s not overpowering, and overall I find this cider to be quite refreshing and interesting.
Bite Hard pours very light and effervescent, with a green apple aroma. The acidity lingers on the tongue longer than the bitterness does, scouring your palate clean. This would pair well will rich foods that you’d like your beverage to cut through…pork in a cream sauce, for instance.
Bite Hard is made by Boonville Cider House of Boonville, CA. It’s made from primarily from heirloom apple varieties association with the American cidermaking tradition, including various Russets and Pippens, as well as Arkansas Black. It also contains Gravenstein, which has a cider history as well, due in part to the acidity and aromatics it brings to blends.
At 6.9% ABV, Bite Hard is fairly typical of full-strength hard ciders, with no perceptible harshness imparted by the alcohol. I feel this cider could be a lot more balanced with the addition of just a tiny amount of sweetness, but as-is it’s still a good cider with a distinctive character. I look forward to Boonville’s next creation, should they expand their lineup.
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