Type: Hard Apple Cider ABV: 6.9% Tried from bottle.
Their Description: “This is a ‘welcome’ and a ‘hello’ to all the beer drinkers out there willing to take a chance on hard cider. Reach across the aisle and experience this bright, citrusy, easy-drinking cider. This cider is made with fresh sweet cider pressed at Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury, Vermont and dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. We can all get along.”
The Reality: It starts with a strong apple scent accented by fresh hops. It is a fairly dry tart cider up front with some lovely floral and citrus notes, but before the tartness fulfills its tongue puckering the hops ride in and provide balance along with a clean finish and aftertaste. This cider is refreshing and even though it is dry-hopped, it’s never bitter.
Final Verdict: Many popular cider companies are putting out some type of “hopped” cider these days, and when done right it can be a very tasty addition to any cider lineup. Full Nelson is done right, where the hops play a balancing role not a dominant flavor roll, which provides your palate with a new refreshing twist on an already good cider. I’ve made it no secret that I like Citizen’s Unified Press (their flagship cider), which is a more traditional dry cider, and I find Full Nelson to be a great complement to it, offering something for whatever mood you’re in. Prior to having this cider my only experience with a “full nelson” was when Willie smoked a fat doobie and gave in to a bad case of the munchies.