Smith & Forge5/27/2015
Cider beers have been gaining mass-market appeal as the “beer for people who don’t like beer.” With the sweet apple taste, ciders make for a refreshing, light drink that hits the spot from the warm spring months to the chilly days of autumn. They satisfy beer drinkers who want something sweet and non-beer drinkers who want a cold beverage with a familiar taste.
Apple cider beers started out with a target audience made up of mostly women, but as more and more ciders pop up on the market, breweries are starting to think of ways to get men to drink more ciders, too. Enter: Smith & Forge.
“The brand started as a need for a cider that was not that sweet and appeals to men as well,” said Perry Reas, Iowa’s area sales manager for MillerCoors. Reas said men typically think ciders are too sweet, so MillerCoors wanted to create a new brand for not-so-sweet ciders. And that pairs perfectly with the brand’s old-timey theme.
“Cider sold more than beer at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s,” explained Reas. “It was a stronger, not-so-sweet time — like Smith & Forge.”
So far, Smith & Forge has only one cider on its menu, but Reas said that’s just the beginning. The company will release the Tennessee Barrel in August, and it will stay on the market through November.
The original Smith & Forge Hard Cider is a strong, sturdy beverage “made with juice from 100 percent hand-picked American apples,” said Reas. “It is moderately sweet with a clean, dry finish.” At 6 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), the Hard Cider is three times darker than Angry Orchard.The gluten-free beverage also stands out because it is sold only in cans. And while some consumers may prefer bottles or taps, Smith & Forge defends the use of aluminum on its website, saying, “Cans impede the onset of oxygen, so the cider stays fresher, longer.” It also adds that cans become colder faster, which is a major draw for those last-minute picnics and tailgates. CV
The stale flavor resulting from oxygen as the beer is exposed to high temperatures or aging. It can taste similar to wet cardboard, paper or rotten pineapple. CV
May 28 — Stitch and Bitch, 7-9 p.m., 515 Brewing Co., 7700 University Ave., Clive, 515brewing.com/events.html
May 30 — Cityview Brewfest, 2-5 p.m., Principal Park, 1 Line Drive, Des Moines, brewfest.dmcityview.com
May 30 — Helmet Hair Happy Day, noon to 11 p.m., 515 Brewing Co., 7700 University Ave., Clive, 515brewing.com/events.html
June 4 — Social Run with Fitness Sports and 515 Brewing Co., 6 p.m., Fitness Sports, 7230 University Ave., Windsor Heights,
June 8 — Women’s World Cup Game Viewing, 6 p.m., The Keg Stand, 3530 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines,
June 13 — Urbandale Craft Beer and Food Fest, noon to 4 p.m., Walker Johsnton Park, 9000 Douglas Ave., Urbandale,
June 13 — Samuel Adams Bags Tournament to Benefit LLS, 1 p.m., The Keg Stand, 3530 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines,
June 18 — Thursday Night Live! With Josh Davis, 7 p.m., Confluence Brewery, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines,
June 20 — Iowa Craft Brew Festival, 2-5 p.m., Court Avenue Bridge, Des Moines, www.iowabeer.org
June 26 — Putt Your Cancer Off Charity Golf Outing hosted by The Keg Stand, 1 p.m., Waveland Golf Course, 4908 University Ave., Des Moines, http://golfwaveland.com
When searching for the right foods to pair with a Smith & Forge Hard Cider, the short answer is: just about anything. But for something a little more specific, try serving it with smoked or grilled meat.
“Smith & Forge Hard Cider cuts through the strong, rich flavors to help clean the palate,” Reas said. To that end, the Hard Cider also pairs well with bacon, which works well to contrast with the slightly sweet profile of the cider.
Another option Reas recommends is slightly sweet foods. Smith & Forge Hard Cider complements grilled yellow or sweet onions on a burger or even a sweeter barbecue sauce.