Maker: Blake’s Hard Cider, Armada (ar-MAY-duh), Michigan, USA
Style: Dry cider
Purchased for $10/6 pack (cans)
Appearance: At first pour has a big, fizzy, soda pop head. Light gold and slightly cloudy.
Nose: Homemade applesauce, medium sweet aroma.
Palate: Semi-dry. A little apple character and minerality. Tannin on the back end.
Finish: Tannic and bone dry. Apple core, fresh picked apple, gravel dust. Progressively less apple and more dryness as one moves throught nose, palate and finish.
Parting words: I reviewed Blake’s (semi-) sweet cider Flannel Mouth a couple weeks ago. It was fine as an entry level cider or something for the casual drinker. Beard Bender is drier but still very accessible. Drinkers who are used to sweet corporate ciders might be taken off guard a little, but by the time they finish it, they’ll love it.
Beard Bender is an ideal table cider as well. It works best with the sort of cuisine that naturally pairs with dry white or pink wines, but no need to get picky. I had it with a porterhouse steak once and it still did very well. Not as well as a big dry red wine or a porter, it still did well. $10 is a solid price, too. Beard Bender is recommended.