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Tasting Notes: Stella Artois Cidre

To begin: someone made a mistake in this assignment. I don’t like ciders.

Stella Artois

To begin: someone made a mistake in this assignment. I don’t like ciders. They’re sweet enough to send me into shock. They have a flatness that makes my tongue feel ashamed. They attract large numbers of bees.

Stella Artois’s Cidre has a funnily spelled name and still manages to attract the odd insect, but in the end it managed to gain my approval. As a matter of fact, a similarly snobby colleague had this to say, after a long reluctant silence: “It’s good. I don’t know why I like it, and I’m not sure I want to, but I do. Maybe it’s the summer”.



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That’s impressive, coming from two guys who feel naked without a beer or two around. But Stella — you know, the “It’s not a glass, it’s a chalice” company — has put together a drink that finds good use as a change of pace from IPAs or wheat beers, or as a go-to for events with fans on both sides of the oat soda fence. And honestly, isn’t it time we embraced a drink that’s crisp, slightly sour and filled with pleasurable childhood taste-memories as the perfect fair-weather porch-sipper? The Europeans have.

Many major brands seem to think the cider boom is nigh. Woodchuck hard cider has long been a staple, and Crispin Cider and Angry Orchard hard cider are both gaining popularity. In fact, reports show that hard cider saw 110 percent growth in the U.S. over a four-week period earlier this year. It’s clear cider is fast escaping its “girly beer alternative” stigma — now how about sport wagons?

This drink is, as any cider should be, all about the apples. Stella makes it using hand-picked ones from wine-growing regions, and the resulting apple foundation is unexpectedly tasty. The drink is sour, within reason; medium carbonation works alongside the crisp snap of apple for considerable chops as a “refresher”, and it finishes without the teeth-fall-out sweetness of other candied competitors, instead sliding away with a less intense, quiet lingering of — you guessed it — apples.

If it’s supreme complexity you want, grab Kant and a vanilla-aged porter instead. With Cidre, you’re getting what’s on the nicely designed label: manzanas. There’s no spice, and the flavors, from start to finish, are one-sided. That, as far as this author knows, is inherent in this kind of drink, and should pair perfectly well with crispy chicken and creamy cheeses alike (see sidebar).

In any case, this beer drinker is still continents away from changing his tune. But he’s added an occasional apple-based beverage to his drink repertoire. The only thing he wonders is: should he drink it in a fancy glass, too?

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