Cider from Here: Legend Valley Cider’s Sweet Apple

Written by on April 22, 2014 in Beer from Here, Cider, Gluten Free - No comments

Legend Valley Sweet AppleToday I’m taking a break from reviewing beer to give Legend Valley Cider’s Sweet Apple its time to shine. If you’ve never heard of Legend Valley Cider, then you aren’t paying attention, but that’s ok. There are several tasty reasons why checking Legend Valley out is an excellent idea. Like their other ciders, the Sweet Apple is probably unlike any cider you may be familiar with. If you only know Woodchuck and Angry Orchard, grab a bottle of Sweet Apple and prepare to enter a completely different world of ciders.

Ok, so starting things off, the aroma of this cider won’t probably be too far out of the expected realm. Apples are, of course, in your face from the moment the cap comes off, bringing a wave of tart freshness and fruit sweetness. Beneath the apple lurks an oaken kick, subdued and mild but with enough presence to contribute a nice breeze of vanilla and even a hint of barrel char. It’s nothing near that raw, smoky sharpness that comes from hanging out in a whiskey barrel for a year or two. It’s more like the essence of such aging – just enough to carry a bit of homegrown rusticness, as well as a lovely touch of character. As a cider, you’re not going to find layers of complexity within the aroma. And that’s fine. Bring on the apples, I say. And the apples of Legend Valley are most certainly brought, lingering in your nose with a potent oomph while your face is over the glass. But, perhaps the best characteristic of the aroma is its total transparency of ingredients. What do I mean? It smells like something any of us could make at home if we were trying to brew up some hard cider (just, 20 times more awesome because these guys are cider maestros). It’s a raw aroma, with no filtering, nothing artificial, and nothing added other than love, apples, and a pinch or three of drunken pixie dust.

This same vibe of pure hand-craftiness shows up huge in the flavor as well. Mildly sweet apples create the base, with enough tartness to bring a bit of pucker to your lips, but nowhere near enough to make your eyes water while you make that face that looks as if you’re trying to condense all of your facial features into the center of your head. You know the one. Go bite a lemon and watch yourself in the mirror – I bet some of you are even trying to replicate it right now. Anyway, along with the apples are the same hint of char and breath of vanilla, situated at the sides and adding subtle and changing flavor characteristics to each taste. The rawness of the aroma is duplicated across the palate by a massive alcohol strength that envelops the mouth and subjects it to the most brutal of fruit-based savagings since the Fruit of the Loom mascots mugged a dude on the bus. At 9.2% ABV, this cider is on par with many imperial stouts and double IPAs in the strength category. However, despite the muscle, the flavor remains pure apple to the core (I promise, that will be my only apple pun). The sister-characteristics of sweet and tart support the fruity freshness to ensure this cider is nothing but flavorful from start to finish. On the tongue, it sports a dryness that is reminiscent of a Chardonnay – a hint of juiciness that quickly gives way to a gentle, drying tingle across the tongue. It ensures the flavors don’t lose their crispness over time, while most definitely ensuring that you’ll immediately want to take another drink just to keep the flavor in your mouth.

Drinking Legend Valley Cider’s Sweet Apple is like graduating to the adult table from the plastic folding table that all the kids are forced to sit at during Thanksgiving. The food was ok, but your mom would always give you green beans and make you eat them, even when you told her that you didn’t like them, so the entire experience was tainted by those stupid green beans. Ok, maybe this analogy is a bit of stretch. I’ll go for the direct approach. Legend Valley Cider’s Sweet Apple is damn tasty! Sweet yet delightfully tart apples flex their muscle throughout the entire experience, while trace hints of oak and vanilla add a touch of depth without drawing the attention away from the locally grown deliciousness. Huge alcohol potency dries the flavors from the mouth rather quickly, allowing you a moment or two to feel the fruity warmth spreading throughout your chest. If you think you’re a fan of ciders, allow Legend Valley to expand your apple horizons. If you’re a fan of English-style ciders, rejoice! I’m sure you’ll find each bottle teeming with enjoyment. And, if you’ve never even had a hard cider before, start here. It’s what the apples would want.

About the Author

Paul is an English and creative writing graduate and homebrewer who loves beer, writing, writing about beer, and drinking while writing. When he's not browsing beer sections for hours on end, (or coming up with his own brew recipes) he can be found over at, inventing words and somehow managing to make sense.

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