I’ve been saying for a little while now that cider is on the rise, one of the quickly-growing trends that fits naturally (if a little strangely) into the craft brew movement—particularly with the advent of dry-hopped ciders and (I just recently read about) a barrel-aged one.
The big breweries are getting in on the act as well, and the latest offering from Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top line reflects this: Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat. It’s a blend of the base Shock Top Wit-style beer with sweet cider to produce something akin to a snakebite. Here’s their blurb:
Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat is a unique, hand crafted brewed hybrid of Belgian wheat beer and sweet cider, with natural Honeycrisp flavor added to produce an innovative new brew that is crisp, refreshing and flavorful. This unfiltered brew is the perfect beer to welcome the warming Spring days.
I did of course receive the six-pack of Honecrisp Apple Wheat from A-B, and additionally observed that as well as being 5.2% abv, it’s “brewed with spices and finished with Belgian candi syrup” (on top of the cider+beer fusion). And I have to say, this is an interesting beer, not bad at all.
Appearance: Hazy, straw-colored gold, with a fizzy head that fell quickly.
Smell: Apple juice that’s super fragrant—very sweet with a fresh-pressed quality to it, like a sweet (unfermented) cider. Really, really fruity—it’s apples all the way down.
Taste: The sweet apple juice character is prevalent on the tongue too, and it’s actually pretty tasty—essentially it’s a snakebite, though lager is the usual base rather than Wit. In this case, the Wit really works well with the cider. Mostly cider/juice character rather than beer [which makes me wonder how much the cider actually fermented out]; it’s super sweet and juicy though a little muddled.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and sweet through and through; a yeasty texture without the flavor of the yeast.
Overall: Actually pretty good, and fairly unique for what I’ve had out of a bottle (as opposed to mixing up my own snakebite).