Angry Orchard Releases Orchard Glass

Angry Orchard announced a brand new glass designed just for hard cider: the Orchard Glass. Cider is a unique beverage that walks a line somewhere between wine and beer. And while there are many glasses out there, developed to enhance the flavor of wine or craft beer, the cider makers couldn’t find a glass they felt did the same for craft cider. With cider having a renaissance here in the US, the cider makers wanted to give those discovering the drink the best cider drinking experience possible.

The cider making team decided to enlist the help of several cider and sensory experts to create a new glass from scratch, specifically designed for the unique, fresh apple flavor profile of Angry Orchard’s (and America’si) most popular cider, Crisp Apple, made with culinary apples from Italy and traditional bittersweet cider apples from France. The end result of the project, the Orchard Glass, named for the cider maker’s new innovation orchard and cidery opening in the Hudson Valley of New York State later in 2015, enhances the cider’s crisp, fruit forward, fresh apple taste and aroma.

“We travel the world looking for the best apples for cider making, exploring different ingredients and cider making techniques, all to enhance the cider experience,” said Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard head cider maker. “To me, craft cider is all about apple expression and this glass really delivers an improved apple intensity, flavor and aroma, which is so important to most hard ciders but especially our Angry Orchard Crisp Apple.”

For years, craft brewers have been adopting specific glassware for their beer to be served because they care about what they’re brewing and know the drinking experience doesn’t end once a beer leaves a brewery. The same holds true for cider, and the cider makers were passionate that cider deserved the same care and attention.

To kick off the project, the cider makers drew initial sketches, tested more than 50 glass options with a vast variety of shapes and openings, and then had hand-blown samples made to test their ideas. A number of world-renowned sensory and cider experts dove into the process with Angry Orchard, including one of the world’s best cider makers and educators, Peter Mitchell of the Cider & Perry Academy in the UK; a leading sensory expert with more than 30 years of experience working with the global brewing industry, Roy Desrochers of Tufts University Sensory and Science Center; and Boston University Adjunct Professor Sandy Block, Master of Wine and Vice President of Beverage at Legal Sea Foods. The panel participated in tastings to evaluate the functional design features needed to best showcase the key flavor and aroma characteristics of the cider.

“The Orchard Glass has significant drinker benefits,” said Desrochers. “Our team of trained and certified descriptive sensory panelists evaluated the glass and determined the Orchard Glass improves the cider drinking experience from a flavor, aroma and ergonomic perspective when compared to a traditional pint glass or a bottle.”

The Orchard Glass incorporates four key features to enhance the cider drinking experience from a flavor perspective:

  • Nucleation seed – Small etching at the bottom of the glass to slightly enhance carbonation to improve flavor and aroma intensity without depleting the carbonation too quickly.
  • Rounded bowl – This design feature helps collect and concentrate the cider aromas: bright, fresh apple.
  • Chimney – The glass narrows from a wide bowl to a more concentrated opening for more intense aromas; cider aromas are subtle so it’s important for the glass to go straight up rather than tapering out to dilute the aromas.
  • Straight Lip/Beading – The straight lip places cider at the right spot on the palate, at the front/middle of the tongue, showcasing the balance between sweet and dry while the beading at the top of the glass releases a bit more carbonation to enhance the flavor as the cider hits.

In addition to flavor enhancement, this uniquely-shaped glass has additional features to help maintain the optimal temperature and also improve ergonomics.

  • Drinking temperature – The bottom of the glass, where it’s comfortable to hold, has a smaller surface area, so a drinker’s hand won’t warm up the cider as much as a regular pint glass. That way, the cider stays at an optimal drinking temperature longer.
  • Optimal comfort – The glass is very comfortable to drink from, with an easy grip, and the cider flows comfortably into the mouth. While this isn’t about flavor, it is part of the overall drinking experience.

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