Smith & Forge Hard Cider Review

Smith & Forge Hard Cider Review
I've been looking forward to trying a Smith & Forge Hard Cider for a while, mainly because I spot one in nearly every grocery and liquor store I go to. This fact alone really intrigued me because Smith & Forge Hard Cider strikes you as a craft brand of hard cider, with its masculine and bold font and logo undoubtedly meant to target market the male demographic (which is funny since at least half of cider drinkers in the U.S. are female). Over the past months I've come to learn a bit more about the business side of hard cider making, and figured Smith & Forge Hard Cider is either a very successful craft cider for having such a wide distribution, or they're well funded / backed by / part of a much larger brand. Lo and behold! I've come to learn that it's the latter. Smith & Forge Hard Cider is actually a product and brand of MillerCoors. Before I jump into the actual Smith & Forge Hard Cider review, let me just jot down my thoughts on big brands breaking into the cider world - I think it's awesome. The reason for that is because major brands have wide distribution channels, and that way they expose ciders to many people who wouldn't otherwise have access to them. Once hooked, people can get into more craft, original styles and such if they wish. Some big brands make very decent ciders, for instance I thoroughly enjoy Stella Artois Cidre. However in this case I was a bit put off by the fact that it felt like Smith & Forge Hard Cider was hiding that association. The cans and website point to Uncharted Cider Co. as the maker, and unless you do some research you'd never know the MillerCoors association. Gordie is wondering if the label matches the cider After all of that, it almost feels like MillerCoors is treating this as a marketing gimmick. Make it look craft, create a cool brand and website, market the heck out of it and get it in front of as many people as possible. While from a marketing perspective there isn't anything wrong with that scenario, the actual quality of the cider becomes secondary. I'm not saying that's what they're doing with this product, but it does feel like it a bit to me. Now to the Smith & Forge Hard Cider review. It pours nicely into a pint glass. Not much head and not much aroma right out of the can. The bit of aroma I got had tones of sweet apple juice with some orange peel zest to it (though I'm not certain there is any orange peel zest there). There was a tart bitterness in the first few sips. The bitterness gave way to the apple sweetness, though in this case not curbed by any dry or crisp factor. Smith & Forge Hard Cider crosses the sweet line for me. Drinking half of the can was okay, but the second half was rough because…

Cider Connoisseur Smith & Forge Score Card

Appearance - 7.5
Flavor - 6.5
Smell - 7
Mouthfeel - 6

6.8

Points

Crafted & Bottled by: Uncharted Cider Co. (Memphis, TN - USA) owned by MillerCoors

ABV: 6.0%

Good to know: Guten free, only sold in cans

Predominant flavors: Tangy, bitter then sweet.

Color: Golden amber

Click on Stars To Vote →      Your Score: 3.07 ( 45 votes)
7

I‘ve been looking forward to trying a Smith & Forge Hard Cider for a while, mainly because I spot one in nearly every grocery and liquor store I go to. This fact alone really intrigued me because Smith & Forge Hard Cider strikes you as a craft brand of hard cider, with its masculine and bold font and logo undoubtedly meant to target market the male demographic (which is funny since at least half of cider drinkers in the U.S. are female).

Over the past months I’ve come to learn a bit more about the business side of hard cider making, and figured Smith & Forge Hard Cider is either a very successful craft cider for having such a wide distribution, or they’re well funded / backed by / part of a much larger brand.

Lo and behold! I’ve come to learn that it’s the latter. Smith & Forge Hard Cider is actually a product and brand of MillerCoors. Before I jump into the actual Smith & Forge Hard Cider review, let me just jot down my thoughts on big brands breaking into the cider world – I think it’s awesome. The reason for that is because major brands have wide distribution channels, and that way they expose ciders to many people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them. Once hooked, people can get into more craft, original styles and such if they wish. Some big brands make very decent ciders, for instance I thoroughly enjoy Stella Artois Cidre.

However in this case I was a bit put off by the fact that it felt like Smith & Forge Hard Cider was hiding that association. The cans and website point to Uncharted Cider Co. as the maker, and unless you do some research you’d never know the MillerCoors association.

Smith & Forge Hard Cider Review

Gordie is wondering if the label matches the cider

After all of that, it almost feels like MillerCoors is treating this as a marketing gimmick. Make it look craft, create a cool brand and website, market the heck out of it and get it in front of as many people as possible. While from a marketing perspective there isn’t anything wrong with that scenario, the actual quality of the cider becomes secondary. I’m not saying that’s what they’re doing with this product, but it does feel like it a bit to me.

Now to the Smith & Forge Hard Cider review.

It pours nicely into a pint glass. Not much head and not much aroma right out of the can. The bit of aroma I got had tones of sweet apple juice with some orange peel zest to it (though I’m not certain there is any orange peel zest there).

There was a tart bitterness in the first few sips. The bitterness gave way to the apple sweetness, though in this case not curbed by any dry or crisp factor.

Smith & Forge Hard Cider crosses the sweet line for me. Drinking half of the can was okay, but the second half was rough because it got too sweet. The downfall was an almost metallic, earthy mouthfeel that followed the sweetness. Basically it goes from bitter, to sweet, to metallic.

Overall this isn’t my favorite hard cider, but I’m also not calling it a lost cause. The main take-away is if you liked this one you’ll really like more craft, expertly made hard ciders available in your local store (see if you find any of these). Have you had a Smith & Forge Hard Cider recently? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below if you have an opinion.

Cheers!



  • Craig

    Smooth taste and very refreshing with a nice kick,after drinking four 12oz cans i didn’t wake with a bad headache in the morning,great price point for a 12 pack,overall a nice change from beer.Hard to find in Washington state.

  • CupidsBeau

    As a fan of hard cider I can tell you my reaction to this in one word: DISAPPOINTED. In a longer form: It tasted like warm apple juice, ya know, like the kind you’d get in those white juice cartons at school lunch that looked just like the milk cartons? I was quite unimpressed. I will continue to buy Angry Orchard, Woodchuck or Woodpecker ciders over this.

    • Steve Timblin

      Agree I made the mistake buying a 12 pack drinking it now won’t buy again once I finish off this 12 pack

  • Triton

    Blehhh. Fuck this shit. I turned 21 today (not that I hadn’t drank before errr Imeanwhat), and I bought 3 Mike’s Harders at one gas station, and 2 of these Smith & Forge Hard Ciders as a follow up, and lemme tell yuh… Tastes wayyy too much like beer, and I hate beer. I was hopin’ for a more apple-ish tasting drink, and this did NOT taste the way I wanted it to. Oh well. I bought’em, gonna be drank. #FuckIt.

  • Ash Dude

    “…masculine and bold font and logo undoubtedly meant to target market the male demographic (which is funny since at least half of cider drinkers in the U.S. are female).”

  • Doris Mattson-Franks

    Had this for the first time, On Tap, at the BierWurst Hall in Fargo, ND and everyone who had it absolutely LOVED it! It was served in Frosted mugs.,…so delicious…everyone ordered another round because they couldn’t get enough of the first one!! Not sure what everyone else is drinking but we absolutely loved it!

  • grace kane

    Tried the Smith & Forge HC. Not a cider I would again drink half a bottle of…way too sweet – especially for the stores description of it having a dry finish, has a smell of mildew or mold that morphed to maybe rhubarb (I think it is the metallic than you found as a finishing flavor perhaps).
    My personal favorite today is Elemental – Oxygen. Brilliant full and not too sweet pomegranate toned hard cider. Try it SOON!!

  • Jerry Dodson

    Not at all hard. Hardly a cider. More like melted apple juice concentrate.