Cider Connoisseur Smith & Forge Score Card
Appearance - 7.5
Flavor - 6.5
Smell - 7
Mouthfeel - 6
Crafted & Bottled by:
Crafted & Bottled by:Uncharted Cider Co. (Memphis, TN - USA) owned by MillerCoors
Good to know:Guten free, only sold in cans
Predominant flavors:Tangy, bitter then sweet.
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.
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.