I was so excited when I saw this on the shelf. Sarsaparilla! Vanilla! Cider! So many things I love all in one bottle! Having picked it up at the same time as Crispin’s Venus Reigns, I couldn’t decide which of the two looked more promising.
All of which is by way of saying: this was not the life-changing experience I’d built up in my head. Much like ciders I’ve had with maple, there’s something about certain flavors that I expect to be at least a little sweet, and dry ciders like this one which disconnect the flavor from the sweetness are somehow disorienting.
As you might expect, the aroma has that characteristic root beer aspect, though it’s quite light, and it pours the kind of tall, foamy head you get from root beers.
The Washboard does have an easy smoothness to it from the vanilla, alongside the spice of the sarsaparilla, and at 5.5% ABV it’s mild as ciders go. I’m sure that this is right up the alley of some folks, and I still think the idea of a sarsaparilla vanilla cider holds promise — this just isn’t the execution that works for me.
You can locate some Sonoma Cider for yourself on their website.