The kind folks over at Crispin accepted my challenge and sent a variety of bottles to try. First observation: Crispin is classy. The bottles, some of them unexpectedly large (22 oz.), featured an etched apple tree logo and script font noting the flavor.
Honey Crisp, one of the “Artisanal Reserve” offerings, was the first to catch our eye. The taste was hearty and beer-like, similar to the beers you may have garnished with an orange slice before going gluten-free. Crispin Original, a member of the “Blue Line,” came in an average-sized bottle, perfect for one. The taste still gave the essence of beer, but had the sweet apple taste we expect in a cider (and the benefit of being naturally gluten-free, of course). It was lighter than the Honey Crisp, but that’s not to say it was watery. Flavor was not lost on this bottle.
Our favorite, however, was Fox Barrel Pear Cider, one of two bottles that stood out from the rest. Featuring a fox on the label, the bottles looked more pub-ready than the high class Crispin bottles (turns out, Crispin Cider acquired the Fox Barrel brand back in January 2010). A quick sip of the green guy revealed a lovely pear flavor: fruity, but not too sweet. Fittingly, it’s the perfect cider to enjoy at, well, a pub.
So the bottom line: For the holidays or New Year’s, break out Crispin Cider for a different (but still sophisticated) glass of bubbly. If you’re watching the game, Fox Barrel is a gluten-free brew that will make even your beer-swilling friends jealous.