Going Out On A Limb: Woodchuck Chocolate Raspberry Cider

If Samuel Adams and Blue Moon are the gateway to craft beers, than Woodchuck is the gateway to hard cider. The flagship amber cider has long been a ubiquitous bottled offering at bars in Upstate New York, a nod to the fact that not everyone wants beer or hard liquor. The amber was my introduction to the genre, a luxury during my less-dignified freshman and sophomore years of drinking (I was on a budget, Woodchuck was expensive and I was going through a vodka phase at the time.).

As I developed my palate, I took a turn on Woodchuck. I still enjoyed the extra tart Granny Smith, and really liked the hard-to-find 802 dry cider, but was no longer a big fan of the Amber. It was heavy and filling. I would feel bloated after drinking one. Even The Wife found herself drinking one, nursing it through a meal or happy hour. She would eventually give it up, choosing a fruit beer or shandy over it. 

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I was mixing up a six-pack at Wegmans recently when I ran into the Out On A Limb series and the chocolate raspberry label. I grabbed one for The Wife because, well, I needed a sixth bottle and this looked different. Woodchuck already makes a raspberry cider year-round, as does Harvest Moon, Beak & Skiff/1911, and Doc’s Draft. The Out On A Limb label is Woodchuck’s new premium “handcrafted” line of ciders. By lending some cacao beans to the brewing and fermentation process, the cider gets a darker hue and faint chocolate flavor. 

It’s not an everyday cider, but more like an after-dinner or dessert cider. It would probably taste very good over a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream, like a float. On its own, it’s not quite ready for primetime. The bloat and fullness were resolved. Unless you like very sweet ciders, a six-pack will go a long way.

Brewer: Woodchuck Cidery
Beer: Out On A Limb Chocolate Raspberry Cider
Style: Hard cider
ABV: 5.0%   IBU: n/a
Container: 12 oz. bottle
Price: n/a (purchased as part of a mixed pack)   Point of Purchase: Wegmans, Syracuse, N.Y.
To The Eye: Copper with no foam.
To The Nose: As promised, berry with some bittersweet chocolate notes.
To The Palate: I tasted a hint of chocolate but the wife says its all raspberry. Very creamy, certainly creamier than any other raspberry cider I have tipped back.
Aftertaste: Sweet and fruity, but without that sickening, syrupy flavor.
Boozy Factor: Standard for a cider.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 7.5

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