What hard cider were we served?
November 17, 2014 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Trying to identify the dark, sweet hard cider we had with dinner. Bar led us down the wrong path.

So a while ago, hubby and I went out for dinner at our favorite local bar, and we both ordered a hard cider. It was very dark brown, about like a Fat Tire. It was carbonated, and it was sweet. Not over-sweet, but most definitely not dry. We asked the server what it was, and they told us "Spire Mountain Dark & Dry."

Since then, I've bought Dark & Dry at the store several times (thinking maybe I just had a bad bottle) and it's always been, well, dry. Very dry, not at all sweet like what we were served. The cider we were served did not have any other flavors (no ginger or cinnamon, no smoky taste, etc.), it was just slightly sweet hard apple cider. I'm wondering if perhaps they'd just changed kegs, and what they had just loaded was Dark & Dry, but what we were served was left in the lines from the previous keg?

Any ideas what it might have been? I'm willing to sit down and drink a lot of cider to find out!
posted by xedrik to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Huh. I wonder if they have two different versions of Dark & Dry, one for kegs and one for bottles. My local alehouse has Dark & Dry on tap, and it was as you described -- quite dark, and sweet. I thought it was over-sweet, but then, I was expecting something dry. (I believe I came home and described it as cough syrup cider.) I haven't tried it in a bottle, because that's not how I like my cider. But at least as a data point, the cider I've had which was listed as Dark & Dry sounds like what you describe, if I set aside my initial reaction.

Woodchuck also makes a "Dark & Dry" cider -- maybe they just got the maker wrong? I'll ask at the alehouse tomorrow what theirs is.
posted by hades at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know. But maybe call up the bar and ask? Don't say you were told it was Spire Blah Blah; just tell them you had it there and are wondering what it is called. Describe it to them like you described it to us ("very dark brown, carbonated, sweet, not over-sweet, definitely not dry"), and see what suggestions they come up with. Also ask for a list of the ciders they serve, and work your way through, starting with what they think it might be based on your description.
posted by Flunkie at 4:48 PM on November 17, 2014

I think probably the difference is the keg as well. Spire only lists Apple and Pear as their other offerings. It might have been one of those, but the server wasn't aware.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2014

Wait, hold up. Fat Tire isn't dark brown, it's an amber.

But assuming what you drank was indeed dark brown: Crispin Lansdowne? They make it with stout yeast and molasses.
posted by clavicle at 4:54 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

The beer menu in your link to the bar lists Strongbow as the cider they carry. Is it possible that the bartender misspoke, or that you misheard?
posted by Sara C. at 4:59 PM on November 17, 2014

if it was the color of Fat Tire it could be Strongbow but if it was dark brown it could not
posted by clavicle at 5:11 PM on November 17, 2014

The menu for that bar lists Strongbow Dry Cider, or Wyder's Pear or Raspberry Cider. They also seem to rotate cider of the week, and the bartender might've accidentally said the previous one or something. If you remember what week it was, maybe you can ask the manager what their featured cider was that week. I'd probably just try the Strongbow Dry Cider, since you specifically mention it being dry. I'm sure it looked darker in a dim bar than it does in photos now.

I will say, I've had beers and drinks that tasted a certain way after I had been drinking or eating or was out. And then I buy the same thing and I don't like it as much. It happened to me with Pyramid Apricot Ale -- loved it in the bar, but too sweet at home.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:16 PM on November 17, 2014

A local place had Spire on tap for a while and it was really good, very close to your description ("It was very dark brown, about like a Fat Tire. It was carbonated, and it was sweet. Not over-sweet, but most definitely not dry."). I haven't had Spire in the bottle, but I've had some beers where keg and bottle versions were quite different, so that's not impossible at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:53 PM on November 17, 2014

Thanks for the replies. I did try calling the bar, but because they do rotate their selection, they weren't much help. I've been back several times since, and have not been able to replicate it. It's definitely not Strongbow. I'll see if I can track down the Crispin Lansdowne.

I've had some beers taste slightly different, keg vs. bottle, but the Dark & Dry was completely different, and very dry, so I'm thinking the server was just mis-informed. I know I heard correctly, cause I asked her to repeat it, and I wrote it down.

(And yeah, Fat Tire is an amber, but compared to the ginger ale color of most commercial cider, it's dark brown. ;) )
posted by xedrik at 6:00 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another possibility would be Woodchuck 802 (their version of dark & dry). To me, it's a bit less dry than Spire but also a bit lighter.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:37 PM on November 17, 2014

I've definitely noticed differences between draught and bottled dark & dry, for what it's worth, though even the bottled stuff does tend to be fairly sweet. "Syrupy" , is definitely not a bad description.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:28 PM on November 17, 2014

A homebrew forum thread suggests that a decent clone involves adding molasses after fermentation is done, which would make the name less discordant with the finished product -- fermented dry, sweetened (and darkened) later. So you might try getting a bottle of Spire, pouring a couple ounces into a glass and adding a teaspoon of molasses and mixing, then pouring in the rest of the bottle and mixing gently.
posted by hades at 10:35 PM on November 17, 2014

Ooh, good idea, hades. I'm up for experimenting.
posted by xedrik at 9:06 AM on November 18, 2014

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