Uncharted Cider Company
Smith & Forge Hard Cider
Uncharted Cider Company Smith & Forge Hard Cider has a steam punk image and the name and marketing evoke a time when mem were men and so were most of the women but it is all marketing conjured up in an office somewhere on the property of Miller-Coors and their consultants eager to tap into the craft cider market. If you read the ingredients list of a can or bottle of craft cider, the list will mention apples and very little else. The longer the ingredient list, the less likely you are drinking craft cider. This can's ingredient list includes apple cider, water, apple juice concentrate, natural flavor, malic acid and sulfites - it is an industial product made to look and taste like craft cider. Apple juice concentrate allows Miller-Coors to produce apple cider year round rather than when the apples are ready. Their apple juice can come from anywhere. Craft producers develop malic acid in their ciders through natural fermentation. Miller-Coors to adds malic acid to keep their "cider" from tasting like apple juice. They use "natural flavors" to make the juice concentrate when mixed with actual cider to taste something like craft cider. The term natural flavor sounds safe enough but according to the Code of Federal Regulations: "The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.” So how does this industrial product stand up? I does have a mild apple smell traces of acid and clean fermentation. There is evidence of carbonation on the poor and the resulting liquid is copper amber with a ring of small bubbles around the top. The cider is semi-sweet with medium carbonation and the acid and sweetness are in balance although it leans slighly to the sweet. The cider is fairly innocuous with nothing to offend but it lacks the nuance and character of fresh pressed apples and fermentation found in a craft cider. This should appeal to those new to alcohol looking without character that contains enough flavor to mask the alcohol. I rate it 65.