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Thursday
May152008

British Invasion: Samuel Smith Organic Cider?

Samuel Smith's NEW Cider
For me the release of Samuel Smith's Organic Cider comes completely out of left field. I've long enjoyed Sammy Smith beers and ales. Their Oatmeal Stout is one of my favorites, the Imperial Stout is tops, the Winter Warmer a Holiday favorite for sure and the Organic Lager and Ale always hits the spot. Let's face it for a larger independent brewer they represent consistent quality, and you can buy it absolutely everywhere and drink it most any time.

Sammy Smith's new cider holds true to standards set by it's hopped and malted forefathers. They call it an "Organic" cider and the label boasts the tag line "Produced from Organically grown apples.". That doesn't mean this isn't a cider produced from organically grown apples turned to concentrate. I haven't found any information that states whether or not it is or isn't. So who knows... The back label carries a USDA Organic logo up top. By Organic standards it looks legit.

I'd call Sammy's new cider a real solid medium sweet cider. It possesses nicely fermented apple flavors and was a lot bigger on taste and quality than I had expected. The sweetness is pleasantly backed up and balanced with a wee bit of tartness and acidity which I find absolutely necessary in a drinkable cider.

To sum it all up Samuel Smith's Organic Cider isn't as dry as I would like (not much is), nor as complex as I'd like (ditto) and I'd love to see a bit of tannin zip and zing to it (amen). It is however a really great "Daily Driver" and for what it is, what it costs and who it is competing against it is a terrific addition to the growing number of quality ciders on the market. If you like the Strongbows, Blackthornes, and Magners out there or if you are even just starting to look into enjoying ciders you are sure to enjoy Samuel Smith's new organic cider and I whole heartedly recommend it. This could be your "gateway" to real ciders.

Enjoy and if anybody out there is able to find it and give it a try, I'd love it if you would drop on back by and tell me what you think.

Got suggestions or even review requests? I'd be happy to oblige and/or add them to my list of "to-do's". In the not to distant future I hope to review 2 of my absolute Northwest favorites... Westcott Bay Ciders from San Juan Island Washington and Wandering Aengus from Oregon. Not to mention a couple bourbon recommendation.

Thanks for reading.

Update: Ran across a new post about Sammy Smith's new cider here http://blogs.timesunion.com/dowdondrinks/?p=504

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Reader Comments (15)

No way we'll get this here in Quebec, but wow! Interesting. I'll look for it next time I'm in Vermont.

May 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRS

Yeah I was shocked to read about it for the first time to say the least. I was lucky enough to have a couple bottles within a 2 weeks of first hearing about it.

Anyone in Seattle should be sure to check out Bottleworks. They have a humongous selection of top notch beers and a pretty nice selection of ciders when they can keep them on the shelf.

May 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteroldtimeydave

Sorry to put a damper on the excitement but I tried it this so called organic cider once in a Samuel Smiths pub and didn't like it very much. There may be some organic apples in there, but it tastes just like indutrial cider to me and I believe the ingredients listed concetrated organic apple juice, organic sugar and water or somesuch. No better than the cheaper draught cider they sell. It's a shame because the packaging makes it look really promising. As a caveat I'm not really a fan of Sam Smiths beer either. The fake belgian white beer is the only one I resort to if pressed to meet in one of these pubs, which are often beautiful old classic pubs by the way.

Welcome to the ukcider.co.uk blogroll

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Roberts

Don't worry you aren't dampening anything here... In fact I hear what you are saying and I respect and appreciate your opinion.

Most of the cider we get less a few quality local makers is industrial cider, lots from Bulmer's too. If you knew how hard it was to get something of quality here in the States you could appreciate my angle on it. Moreover I'm just trying to get people to try cider here. With out a doubt the first ciders Americans try are ultra sweet syrupy alcopop made from concentrate as well. This Sammy's Cider is a far better and tastier option than these.

You UK guys need to start educating and exporting. The only real UK cider available to me that I know of is Oliver's it's hard to get. French ciders are easier to find but only maybe 4-5 types readily available. As for Spanish ciders there are none. Cider could be on it's way to breaking big here. For the most part Cider makers lost their way here long ago I suspect around prohibition. You all might be our only hope for salvation, standards and real cider.

Thanks again.

May 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteroldtimeydave

I really enjoy cider. I used to live in MA and they used to serve a locally made cider at a small brewery there - it was fresh, dry and delicious. When I went to Ireland and Scotland it was all I drank (except for single malt whiskey in Scotland of course...). I would love to learn more about it! So glad to have your blog as a resource!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Dave, as a Scottish cider drinker living in Los Angeles, I was delighted to find the Sam Smith's organic cider on the shelves of Wholefoods. Given that I lived on the Wiltshire/Dorset border for a while, I've had my share of astonishing West Country scrumpy and cider.

Finding decent cider over here is very difficult, and the Sam Smith's was a pleasant surprise. I wanted a wee bit more complexity, but at last I have a solid cider to sip as I listen to my Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull albums.

Wholefoods also stocks beers from the Wychwood Brewery, so maybe they'll offer their Green Goblin cider, about which I've heard good things.

Cheers

Rob

August 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob Hamlyn

Just found this website as I was looking for a place to buy some Samuel Smith's hard cider. I haven't had the pleasure of trying it yet, saw it on the shelf at a Whole Foods when I was on vacation in Chicago.

Figured you might like to know what is going on in the world of hard cider here in Michigan.

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfred

Fred,

Thanks so much for the link. I've seen that website before and I've read a bit about the Michigan cider scene. I was even been contacted by one of the J.K.'s Scrumpy folks in regards to adding badges and link to my site. There is lots going on there it seems. When I get a chance I'll add a badge for the link you sent as I am trying to cover all the North American cider info the best I can.

Sam Smiths... Its pretty good it was exciting to see them put it out. It is a nice slection for the someone wanting more than just sugar in their ciders. It is not the best cider out there but it is a very reliable choice as all their products are, and most folks in any metropolitan areas should be able to find it.

Thanks again Fred I always appreciate great feedback... Please leave a comment any old time.

October 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteroldtimeydave

I've tried a good number of American ciders and have been unimpressed with their syrupy, cloying nature. However I keep hearing that there is such a thing as "good" cider but is hard to find in the states (even in Los Angeles). So, when I saw the Sam Smith's at "Whole Paycheck", um I mean "... Foods" I bought a bottle and actually liked it so I can't imagine how good "great" cider must be.

October 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMick

Very new to the cider scene. Had what I thought was a nice one when I was in Sweden on a layover. Dry, tart and not overly sweet. Now with the Celiacs diagnosis, cider is just a great way to go, though it's elusive as a good gluten free beer. More for a lack of just finding places that stock them. In the Philly area, the unfortunate cider of choice is Woodchuck which might as well come in a juice box. Though I'll give credit to the Eagles for having it as an option at the Linc instead of beer. I found that out by accident as I saw a lone one in the glass fridge at halftime one game. Better than diet pepsi all the time.

Have tried Magners and Strongbow, both of which are better than Woodchuck but definitely harder to find. And it's a shame I can walk into a bar and find 45 beers on tap and twice that in a bottle, but can't find a couple decent ciders.

Glad I found this place and look forward to seeing cider make a bit of a comeback.

January 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

If you are looking for gluten free beer and cider near Philly try Stephanie's in Doylestown. They have five types of gluten free beer and Magner's, Strongbow, and Sam Smith cider.

February 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeerguy

I just finished a bottle of Samuel Smith cider and was not very impressed. It was smooth, but did not have much flavor. I am still a fan of Strongbow and Oliver Winery's cider. I also had a bottle of Original Sin cider last night and it was decent.

The first cider I had was near Worcester, England during the summer of 2001 and I have been hooked ever since!

November 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Just opened a Sam Smith Organic Cider purchased from Whole Foods in Chicago. I also have my first 10 gallons of homemade cider fermenting away in the basement. The Sam Smith's is pretty dry, too carbonated for my taste (label says carbon dioxide is added) but it's a nice tart appley flavor, medium finish, no off flavors, very nice really. It's different than the Original Sin that I've had as it is more complex and less sweet. It's really very good and I will buy more while I wait for mine to mature (it's still got 4 weeks in the primary fermenter before bulk aging.)

Also picked up a J.K.'s Scrumpy Hard-Cider to try at Whole Foods.

Howard

November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHoward

Tried Sam Smith Organic Cider last night, twice. This was my first cider, so I am glad you say it is one of the better industrials. I would have hated to try one of the worse. This Bud Select drinker from AB territory in Southern IL is impressed and I am going back in for more.

December 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndy M

It is a good place to start and get a foot hold. In my estimation cider selection quality is on the rise so one day soon you may have plenty to try and explore.
If you check my cider map I think you'll find a couple of local producers close to you.

December 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteroldtimeydave

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