So, when you think fall what do you think about? I'm guessing crispy leaves, pumpkins and pie, crisp air, and hillsides in varying shades of crimson, orange and gold. Or some combination thereof.
Oh, and there's apples. Fresh, crunchy apples. Apples that snap when you bite into a slice. That are so juicy and flavorful that other apples pale in comparison. And not only apples, but apple cider, too. The non-alcoholic kind. And hard cider too - sweet and bubbly.
Okay, so I know it's available year-round, and I drink it fairly often throughout the year, but I will always associate that tart and bright flavor of hard cider with autumn. Always. It's like, embedded into my memory banks or something.
Which is really why I was excited to find and add the Woodchuck Special Reserve Pumpkin Cider to my fridge recently. Because I hadn't tried it before. Friends kept telling me it was delicious - but I was skeptical. How does pumpkin make hard cider taste?
The answer? Amazing. First, it's got this lovely, dark amber color that honestly reminds me of browned butter or caramelized sugar. The nose is all fall. Apples and warm spice, a hint of pumpkin. It definitely reminded me of bonfires and jumping into leaf piles as a kid - it's a drink that brings up so many memories before you've taken a sip.
But the taste? Oh the taste. It's sweet, and the cider is not overwhelmed by the pumpkin at all. It starts out with a light and crisp tartness that I only associate with ciders, but it's richer than a normal cider. The pumpkin adds a little bit of body to the mouthfeel that makes the drink taste special. The ending is very very smooth and sweet. It's like a Thanksgiving dessert, almost, and I could totally see serving this alongside cranberries, turkey, and rolls, as well as pie. Lots of pie.
Now that I've tasted this amazing cider, I totally get why so many folks love it so. It's delicious and just different enough from other ciders to make it stand out. The orange label is hard to miss, and the drink is definitely one to savor. I'm almost sad I didn't buy more.