I was in the mood for an English cider. At my local bottle shop in the back corner I saw Hogan’s Dry Cider. Proudly sitting on top of the bottle was a sticker proclaiming 1st Place at the Royal Bath and West Show. I thought to myself the competition at the Bath and West must be pretty stiff, this is in the middle of the West Country cider making region. That has got to be a good recommendation.
When I got home to I read the back of the label. I was shocked to find a full ingredients list. A Full Ingredients List!. This is not required in Europe, or Australia for that matter. Coupled this lack of labeling law with the fact that the minimum juice content to legally call it cider is only 25% mean that big companies have been able to get away with using very little apple juice making up for it with concentrate and still be able to call it cider. I reached out to Allen Hogan of Hogan’s Cider to see why he choose to put the full ingredients list on the bottle.
We chose to list ingredients because we have nothing to hide. The legal definition of cider in the UK allows a juice content of as little as 25% at a specific gravity. The sugar in our dry cider is added for reasons of taste not for a secondary fermentation. We filter before bottling which is not an approved process from CAMRA’s perspective. – Allen Hogan
It’s a ballsy move, but as Allen said, “if you have nothing to hide”, then I congratulate him. The more producers that put full ingredients on their bottles will help consumers make informed choices about what they drink.
Interestingly the filter process is not blessed by the UK’s CAMpaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
Even without CAMRA’s blessing it still managed to win the Bath and West 2 years ago.
The first thing you notice is the intense earthy, cider house musk that sits strong and proud on the top of your pint.
The label says this is a dry cider, it’s not lying. When you pour the Hogan’s Dry Cider a head quickly forms then dies down on top of the dark orange cider. A healthy dose of bitterness and acidity sit well together. Sharpness meets woody oak tones. There is a lot of flavour here, it’s enjoyable, it has nothing to hide so it stands proud.
Normally I would say cider and curry are a great combo, however, there is something about this particular cider and the takeaway butter chicken I had it with that leaves a slight metallic taste in the mouth. This is probably best as a drink best served with mates.
Final Thoughts on Hogan’s Dry Cider
I couldn’t be happier that Allen Hogan had the front to list all the ingredients on the side of the bottle. Knowing exactly what is in your cider is what’s going to make the cider industry survive and not be a passing fad. That being said, I know what 25% juice ciders taste like (not much) and I now know what Hogan’s at least 85% juice cider tastes like. I can’t help but wonder how much more intense this already wonderfully flavoursome cider could be if it was 100% juice. Or has Hogan tamed the beast to make this crisp dry cider perfectly suited to a session with the boys?
|Product||Hogan’s Dry Cider|
|Country of Origin||United Kingom|
May 28, 2014
This cider is available in the US as well. I wrote a favorable mini-review on Untappd not long ago. Both the Hogan’s Dry and the Hogan’s Medium are perennial medal winners at the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.