With a constant flow of newly released beers, ciders, wines, spirits and even kombuchas from the state's artisans, we thought we'd review one each Wednesday. Welcome to the Midweek Swig.
Our inaugural drink: Woodchuck Cellar Series Smoked Apple Cider, released at the end of October.
Cost: $4.39 for a 22-ounce bottle at Beverage King, West Lebanon, N.H.
Strength: 6.9 percent a.b.v.
The pour: A gorgeous coppery color with no head to speak of. It smells like a blend of bacon, apple jelly and lemons, with the barest hints of ... asphalt?
The taste: At first, the unusual meaty flavor wallops your palate, but soon treads a middle road between smoke and citrus, tinged with vanilla. The carbonation is faint but rough, and the texture is rich and round. It tastes like November, somehow.
Drink it with: Kielbasa, a smoked-cheddar grilled-cheese sandwich, chili or just on its own.
Backstory: This limited-release cider was made with pomace that was smoked with maple and applewood chips inside Vermont Smoke & Cure's smokehouse. It's the second release of Woodchuck's Cellar Series line.
Verdict: "Cider with a twist" is a growing category, and it's heartening that this grew out of a collaboration of two Vermont companies. However, its novelty may not appeal much beyond adventurous drinkers and lovers of rauchbier.