Good day to you! It is time, my friends, to take another stroll through the alcoholic haze together. Today, we’re going to be taking a trip over the pond to jolly old England. We’re also going to depart from the grain and hop, and move solidly into Johnny Appleseed’s territory. Today’s offering is Strongbow hard cider.
Let me start with a one word description: yummy. I know that’s got all the sophistication of an episode of Honey Boo Boo, but bear with me here.
For me, a glass of Strongbow takes me into a nostalgic trip in the avenues of my mind to Headington, and the Royal Standard Pub. This is the first place I ever had Strongbow, unchilled and on draught.
We visited the Royal Standard, just a short jaunt from a house with a fucking shark sticking out of its roof, on the first day of our trip. A good dry cider, it turns out, is a fantastic way to tell your jetlag to “buggar off”.
No, really, a fucking SHARK.
The cutest little bartender greeted me when I sidled up to the bar, a lovely brunette who schooled me on the methods of tipping at British pubs…one doesn’t tip money, one offers to buy the barman or barmaid a half-pint of their own. When I asked for her suggestion for a warm summer day, she pointed to the Strongbow tap. She poured my cider and with an overly bright smile said “Here you go, guvnah!”
Despite Wifefish’s presence not 11 feet from me, I fell in love for a moment. Then I sipped my cider, and it happened again. I bought the barmaid a half-pint in lieu of a dozen roses.
Fortunately for me, Wifefish has a forgiving soul, so she forgave me my trespasses and chalked it up to jetlag, and jokingly told me I was free to date the dispenser of my drunk-nectar. The family laughed it up at my expense, which really was just fine by me…I had a full pint of crisp apple goodness in a glass.
It may well be nostalgia that gives my taste buds so much to say about Strongbow; the fine folks at Beer Advocate score this one with a paltry 14, due to the use of artificial flavors. I was surprised to discover this, actually. For my part, I find the flavor crisp, a bit dry, and just sweet enough. It’s my favorite cider thus far, and let me tell you I’m a samplin’ sumbitch. Toss something new and boozy in front of me, and I will try it, within reason. (If you serve me something called a “sweaty crotchfruit”, I will push it back to you unsipped.)
Here in the States, the ‘Bow is available both in pint cans and lower capacity bottles. Why anyone wouldn’t opt for the full pint is beyond me, but some cretins prefer bottles just because they’re bottles, and whereas they are far better for hand to hand combat once you’re deep in your cups, I’ll take the can every single time. I urge you to do the same!
Strongbow Cider: give it a try, and Bottoms Up!