Hard Cider Review: Eight Ciders Available in Your Local Grocery Store

By Amanda Johnston

Photo by Amanda Johnston


One of the best things after a long day at work is an ice-cold beverage. Many folks over the age of 21 grab a beer out of the fridge or fill their glass with wine when they get home. My choice is always a bottle of hard cider. Nowadays cider has become a drink of choice for many adults and there are so many different kinds and brands to choose from. Two of-age friends, Brian Surman and Eric Griffin, and I decided to review a few different types of hard cider to find out what we liked best. We tried eight ciders that can be bought at your local grocery store and ranked them from least favorite to most favorite.

#8, #7: Citizen Cider – Wits Up, 5.9% abv; Citizen Cider – Unified Press, 5.2% abv

Both Citizen Ciders we decided tied for last place. We weren’t a huge fan of either of these, they both had a very distinct smell that wasn’t exactly pleasing. It crossed our minds  that maybe the smell came from the fact that these two ciders were in cans as opposed to bottles, but we can’t be 100 percent sure on that.

Both of these ciders were dry and lacked the sweet taste we all were looking for. Wits up didn’t have much flavor to it, Surman said that it tasted like seltzer water to him. Unified Press had a spice or bite to it that isn’t for everyone. Griffin was a fan of the Unified Press and said he would drink it if it was given to him, but definitely wasn’t toward the top of his list. I felt as though both of these ciders lacked that crisp fresh apple flavor that I look for and was too carbonated for my liking, I also strongly disliked the distinct bite that the Unified Press had.

#6 1911 – Original Hard Cider, 5.5% abv

The 1911 cider was sour. Griffin said it made him pucker and Surman claimed it gave him the bite in his jaw that happens when you eat sour candy. I felt that this one had more of an ale taste to it and wasn’t very sweet. It was a dryer cider and wasn’t very carbonated, but it did have a good apple taste. It definitely could be a favorite for those who prefer ale over cider, but wasn’t a personal favorite for us.

#5 Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders – Gold Apple 5% abv

This one was pretty good, it had that apple flavor we desired, but the flavor was very mild. Surman said it tasted like adult apple juice while Griffin said it tasted a little watered down compared to his favorite ciders. This one wasn’t carbonated as much as I desired either, but I definitely didn’t mind it at all.

Photo by Amanda Johnston

#4 Johnny Appleseed – Hard Apple Cider, 5.5% abv

Johnny Appleseed lived up to its name. After the first sip, Surmans reaction was “That’s good!” He was immediately pleased with the taste. Griffin didn’t have too much to say about this one, but his sample was gone relatively quickly leaving us to believe he enjoyed it. I liked the initial crisp apple taste that this one had. The taste wasn’t too strong but also didn’t leave you disappointed. The one thing we weren’t such huge fans about with this one was the dry aftertaste that it left you with.  

#3 Stella Artois – Cidre,  4.5% abv

Stella Artois cidre left us all happy after our few sips. It was a little less carbonated than we would have preferred but overall it was delicious. I felt as though it tasted like biting into a slightly more sour apple like a McIntosh apple as opposed to a sweet apple like a Crispin. Surman enjoyed the fact that this cider didn’t have the ale flavor that some of the others did. Griffin felt that this one had a slightly different taste than some of the other ciders but that it went down smoothly. Overall we enjoyed this one and were impressed.

#2 Angry Orchard – Crisp Apple, 5% abv

Angry Orchard is one of the most popular hard ciders on the market. We tried the original cider and were all fans of it. Surman said it had a strong apple flavor and was very sugary. I liked the crisp sweet taste that it gave and enjoyed the amount of carbonation in it. It was very pleasing to the taste buds. The only downfall we found was that it left a weird feeling on your teeth after as Griffin pointed out. Maybe because of the amount of sugar? Regardless, you can never go wrong with an Angry Orchard.

#1 Woodchuck – Amber – Refreshing Red Apple, 5% abv

Unanimously we decided that the Woodchuck Amber Refreshing Red Apple was our favorite hard cider. None of us had tried this one before and we were pleasantly surprised. It had the perfect amount of carbonation and the perfect balance of sweet, sour and dry. Surman described it as “a hard cider soda.” He was a huge fan and bought a six-pack of this cider not long after the tasting. Griffin described it as being not bitter, perfectly sweet and having a slightly different maybe even vinegary aftertaste. He enjoyed the carbonation of it and said “I would definitely drink this.” The only thing I didn’t like about Woodchuck is it’s slightly higher calorie count, but I guess you have to sacrifice something for the deliciousness!

Photo by Amanda Johnston

Cider is becoming even more popular as an alcoholic drink and more and more bars are starting to sell some type of it. It’s one of the first drinks I look for when I’m going out with friends. Hard cider will definitely be a staple drink at this year’s Christmas and New Years Eve parties for my family, maybe it can be one for your parties too!

Let us know what your opinions on these drinks are and if there are any ciders you like that we should try. I’m always game to try new hard ciders!

*Please drink responsibly.

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