It’s that time of year again: the leaves are transitioning from a bright green to an earthy orange, and the scent of pumpkin spice permeates the crisp air. Yes, autumn is upon us, and with it comes the long-awaited season of hot apple cider.
As our gift to you, the Bulldog Tribune has compiled a ranked list of the five biggest store-brand ciders on the market; keep reading to see which beverage you should cozy up with this October based on our ratings out of ten.
Watered-down and bland, Giant’s apple cider did not measure up to its prestige. The average score of the drink was a scathing 2.3. Expecting a rich, autumnal flavor, the beverage (quite literally) put a bad taste in the staff’s mouths, leading to its ranking as the worst of the lineup.
“It tastes like there’s no apple in it,” Editor-in-Chief Tina Mai said. “It’s so bad, I don’t even know what to say.”
Just barely outranking Giant with an average score of 2.9, Safeway’s cider was described by our tasters as rotten through-and-through. Completely devoid of tanginess and spice, Safeway lacked that crucial punch that makes cider such a staple in the months of autumn. Even served hot, the drink wasn’t anywhere near good enough to be considered for our higher rankings.
“As it goes down your throat it gets worse,” Staff Writer Lizzie Henry said. “It’s not even the texture, it’s just the taste.”
Boasting a strong, tart flavor, Wegmans’ cider certainly got part of its formula down; however, the staff found its taste to be a bit too intense for a top-ranking position. It was unanimously considered more enjoyable than Giant or Safeway, scoring a 5.1 average score. However, it still didn’t satisfy the makings of a truly delicious apple cider.
“It’s not very sweet. It’s kind of bitter,” Staff Writer Addy Cowley said. “I expected better of Wegmans.”
2. Food Lion
Similar to Wegmans, Food Lion’s cider packed an equally intense flavor with a more harmonious blend of ingredients. With a 5.3 average score, Food Lion suffered some of the same issues as Wegmans, but it ultimately edged its way into our #2 position. The staff cited too sour a taste for the drink to be our top choice, but enjoyed it nonetheless.
“I liked it,” Staff Writer Zubair Mahedavi said. “I did, however, find it to be a little bit acidic and strangely salty.”
1. Harris Teeter
Harris Teeter reigns supreme in the realm of hot apple cider. Its taste is equally piquant and yielding, giving it a rich flavor without overpowering the senses like Food Lion or Wegmans. The average rating of this drink was 6.6, the closest to a 10 out of all the surveyed brands.
“Not bad,” Website Manager Hunter Berjansky said. “It was the perfect balance between bitter and sweet.”
You’ll have to try these brands for yourself in order to truly judge whether or not they’re up to snuff. Our staff is not expertly trained on the nuances of apple cider, but we’re happy to share our opinions if it helps someone find what we believe to be the best fall beverage!