Big day for Bad Rider reviews: our first freebie! The kind folks at Schilling messaged us on Twitter recently to express their appreciation for our reviews, and even comped me a bottle of Spiced Cider from Schilling Cider House in Fremont after I mentioned wanting to compare it to the Chaider in last week’s review. Many thanks to Marc at the Cider House and to whoever manages Schilling’s Twitter account!
It is a little unseasonal to be drinking a Spiced Cider in February, but I’m hardly one to turn down free booze — especially when it’s For Science. And sure enough, now that I’m trying them side-by-side, the Chaider and the Spiced Cider really do have a lot in common.
Where the Chaider was cloudy, the Spiced Cider is a quite clear, a bit lighter in color, and a slightly stronger 6.9% ABV to Chaider’s 6.5%.
The aroma and flavor of both bear strong similarities of cinnamon and clove, though oddly I find the aroma and flavor of the two are in opposition when compared — the Spiced Cider smells more peppery than the Chaider, while the Chaider tastes more savory and complex.
I suppose it’s good for balance in either case: let the sweetness and cinnamon come through early in the aroma of the Chaider to balance the earthiness and spices to come in the taste, and let the Spiced Cider hold some kick in its aroma to offset the greater sweetness of the flavor.
Perhaps it’s just the associated of certain smells with pumpkin pie and eggnog and general holiday festivity, but there’s an aspect to the Spiced Cider that’s almost a little — eggy? Custard-y? It’s hard to capture and put down on paper. Perhaps it’s just the pumpkin notes mentioned on the bottle copy. In any case, it’s a smoother, softer, round-er sort of taste overall than the Chaider.
Both of these are good and interesting ciders — though my personal preference would be for the Spiced Cider more specifically during the winter holiday season and the Chaider as a more season-agnostic option. You can get either at Schilling’s Fremont location, or find a more local option via their site.