Tasting Notes: Redd’s Apple Ale

Translation: "This is not an apple."

Translation: “This is not an apple.”

I recently heard about a new, um, beer called Redd’s Apple Ale from Redd’s Brewing Company in Albany, Georgia. Now, I had never heard of Redd’s, and first thought it might be an interesting new microbrewery for the state of Georgia. But it turns out, Redd’s is a brand being launched by MillerCoors. OK, nothing wrong with that. They don’t especially want you to know that. But nothing wrong with that. It is brewed at the MillerCoors facility in Albany, so – for you Georgia beer fans –  it does have that going for it.

MillerCoors was nice enough to send me a few bottles to try, and right after I received them,  I also started seeing Redd’s pop up in gas stations and grocery stores in Georgia and Alabama. Redd’s is also available in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana,  Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Maine (how did Maine slip in to this list, does lobster pair exceptionally well with apple ale???).

Just to be clear, this is an ale. Flavored with apple flavor. Colored with caramel coloring. It is not a hard cider (fermented apple juice). Now, you might ask, “why bother making an apple-flavored beer when you can brew a good cider from apples?” And I might answer, well, MillerCoors probably knows a lot more about turning grains into beer than they do about turning apples into cider. And that’s probably true, but it’s also true that they not too long ago snapped up Crispin Cider, who definitely knows a thing or three about turning apples into something liquid, delicious and mildly intoxicating (try their “artisanal reserves” if you can find them – in fact, maybe I’ll do some tasting notes on those soon).

Anyway, my intent is to share what I thought about the experience of drinking a Redd’s Apple Ale, regardless of corporate owner, regardless of state of origin, regardless of whether it’s an apple (cider) or an orange (ale… wait, that didn’t quite work…). As I said, anyway…

Redd’s Apple Ale
“Ale with natural apple flavor and caramel color”
5% alcohol by volume
Tasting Date: October 5, 2012

Redd’s Apple Ale is a lovely, moderately deep gold in color (in fact, it is downright caramel-y looking!). It pours with a nice fizz, but no head whatsoever, reinforcing that this is not going to be a typical ale.

On the nose, Redd’s doesn’t give too much, with a bare hint of green apple over dusty malt. Poured into a glass, the carbonation is lively, and it hits the tongue with a pleasantly smooth, bubbly fizz.

Overall, this comes across a lot like an easy-drinking version of a hard cider, not harsh or bitter at all. It’s very crisp and green appley, with an undertone of malt that comes on a bit stronger through the finish. Again, nothing particularly ale-like about this.

Redd’s goes down easy, and is definitely appealing at first, but manages to quickly become boring. I was nodding my head in OK-this-is-not-bad appreciation with the first few sips, but then realized I was not at all eager for more – not for any negatives present, but rather for lack of any sort of ongoing interest. While the apple flavor is the dominant note here, it really is that – apple flavor – rather than the apple characteristics that can evolve into something more in a good hard cider.

Verdict? Fair* – this is easy drinking, and offers a nice approximation of a hard cider – but why buy an apple ale when you can go for a real apple cider?

*******************************

* Thirsty South Rating Scale:

Wow – among the very best: knock-your-socks-off, profound, complex liquid gold!
Excellent – exceptional in quality and character, worth seeking out, highly recommended
Good Stuff – solid expression of its type/varietal, enjoyable and recommended
Fair – fairly standard or exhibiting obvious though minor flaws
Avoid – move away folks, nothing to see here, a trainwreck

Full Disclosure: this bottle was provided as a tasting sample

About Thirsty South

Dedicated to all things drinking well in the South.
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29 Responses to Tasting Notes: Redd’s Apple Ale

  1. Michael says:

    I absolutely agree. I bought this by mistake, assuming it was a cider. I enjoy ciders and am always willing to try something new. This apple flavored ale was bland and boring.

  2. John says:

    I’m a big hard cider fan, I’ve tried them all. I actually though Redd’s Apple Ale was pretty refreshing especially ice cold. Doesn’t beat Magners or Julian’s but I’ll buy them again. :)

  3. kenneth conn says:

    tarbender, tarbender, I have finished my sixth apple ale, with a woodchuck granny smith apple cider in between each one. That is eleven times five percent. which is only five percent whether it was one or eleven, except for the fact that my drunken buzz goes to ELEVEN, YES i am father drunking monk. Whoops, out of Redd’s. I suppose that another Woodchuck cider is in order. Did aye mention that I;ve had twelve bottles of five percent, which is five percent of this is where i came in

  4. Pete Runnels says:

    bought a single of this for schlitz and giggles, no way I’d buy a 6 cuz It was pretty obvious it was from a Macro due to the slick corporate packaging (and the fact that I was seeing it on billboards around town) I figured it would be lousy and I wasn’t disappointed.

    I’m a snob in that I enjoy “craft” ie: beers that actually taste good, but I’ll always be a sucker for trying any new beer once now matter how gimmicky even from BudCoorsMiller esp. when I can by them by the bottle on the cheap. at least it wasn’t “disgusting” or undrinkable, which is more than I can say for Lienenkugels Lemon (or perhaps Lemon dish soap)-flavored Summer Shandy which I bought on the same beer store visit.

    here’s a tip, if you can’t find Redd’s Apple Ale in your area, but would still like to try one fret not, here’s a simple recipe to make your own at home:

    all you need is a bottle of low quality Malt Liquor (preferably King Cobra or Olde English)
    and a bottle of alcoholic apple cider (Hornsby’s, Woodchuck…doesn’t matter these all taste the same)

    mix 2/3 malt liquor, 1/3 cider- BAM! drink up!

  5. JCM says:

    WOW…..very pleasantly surprised. Love the smooth green apple taste and is excellent cold.

    I would suggest this beer if you are trying to expand your basic beer palate.

  6. Jon says:

    I’m a Woodchuck Granny Smith fan. This is a close second. If it was as cheap as Nat light I’d buy it all day. I love cider and would gladly substitute this for a real beer any day.

  7. Marjorie Cox Fabian says:

    I normally don’t drink real beer because alcohol has a bad effect on me. But I do like fruit drinks or citrus flavored beers. So I tried Redd’s Apple Ale. The first taste was definitely apple flavor but also a sour taste…as opposed to tartness. After drinking more, that sourness disappeared. I found it a refreshing drink and would certainly drink it again. I didn’t get a headache from it, so for me that was also a good sign. Mind you, I would only drink one Apple Ale per sitting or per day.

  8. Cody says:

    Tried it… bought it at good ol wally world… i might have to buy another 6er to see if its worthwhile… dad & younger brother(21) had to try it too…

  9. Sara says:

    I like ciders but there’s half the calories in this! Ill keep drinking!

  10. LGC says:

    There’s a big billboard for this on the Eisenhower Expy (I-290) in Chicago area, bought some for the big game…everyone like it.

  11. Laila Bee says:

    Just bought this from good old Food Lion. I normally dont really care for beers but this is something that I can deal with. It doesnt give me that ” stale soda ” taste I get from the average beer.

  12. Pepe says:

    I always wondered if Redds would make it to the US after I had it in Poland about 10 yrs ago. Glad it did ;)

  13. Cwi says:

    I think it’s great. It is what it is if you don’t like it don’t drink it. I like it. It’s different and it has alcohol in it.

  14. HaasMan says:

    WoodChuck cider is a rip off taste that english pubs had woodpecker on tap 30 years ago ,the red apple ale comes in to a close second for me and will buy for years to come disregarding the expensive price,here in pennsylvania ive found this in great supply,and at a moderate price thirty one dollars plus tax here in greenville,pa

  15. eileen fabsits says:

    i think its delicious

  16. jeremiah says:

    I guess its been around for a while but I just started seeing the comercials for it a few weeks ago here in Pennsylvania. So I thought I would try it and im glad I did. Its a very refreshing drink and I will definitely buy it again.

  17. Kish says:

    I like to drink every BLUE MOON, but this…This I LIKE. I love the taste and how refreshing it is. And the buzz is just enough for me!! I’ve had 4 today and my husband just walked in with another 6-pack!! Good Times!!

  18. Lee says:

    wish it had a red apple taste not a green apple lover wish I could find some Baby Champ it was a drink I found back in the 70′s great apple flavored beer taste about 21% alcohol if I remember correctly great sweet apple taste

  19. Larry says:

    It taste like it is meant to. A beer with a hint of apple. It is not something you would want to drink a 30 pack of but you wouldn’t drink that much cider either so drink it for what it is, a good refreshing drink.

  20. Ted says:

    Tastes like beer. Want a real hard apple cider.
    Tried Somersby on vacation. It did not taste like beer at all really liked it but its not available where i live :(

  21. Greg Smith says:

    I would drink this with a date. There is no malty icky breath for the gal to put up with and the gal likes it too. A plus plus.

  22. Lisa says:

    I really like this Redds apple ale right out of the bottle. For a real treat pour it into a glass over ice and add a shot of fireball whiskey. That is delicious. I am not much of a drinker but I enjoy this ale.

  23. Travis says:

    I found this one super easy to chug. Yeah, its not a beer i would keep drinking one after another but i will say this: if you want to drink a beer and are experiencing cotton mouth, this is perfect. Chuggable like juice but a bit fizzy.
    I am thirsty right now and found slamming one was easier than some beers. Not a great but probably good to keep around for the ladies!
    Enjoy!

    • mark says:

      They should make it clear on the bottle or package that it is not a cider! I was served this and told it was a cider and had a very bad reaction to it. Very pissed off.

  24. Jim R says:

    Tried this tonight 11/17/2013 at dinner, I thought it wasn’t to bad for the first half of the bottle. My wife also had about 2/3 of a bottle before she started feeling hot and her face turned RED, then she started itching everywhere, thought I was going to have to take her to the ER for a moment, but she downed a couple of Benedryl and after about 10 mins it started easing up. Will never have any again in our house. Give this 4 thumbs down…On a scale of 1-10 I’d rate this “ALE” at about a 2.

  25. John Clayton says:

    I got a couple 6 packs as Christmas gifts. I tried it and I liked it, though I agree with the review here. I thought it was cider since it tasted more like cider than beer. I can’t find out whats in it. There is no cider in it. Its has fake color, artificial flavor, if its got beer in it, its pretty bland beer. It is crisp and refreshing. It seems to be the perfect alcohol delivery system. Doesn’t taste like much, has great drinkability. I’d feel a whole lot better if I just knew what was in it.If anybody knows, let me know. oomanopt@msn.com

  26. jon says:

    Seen the commericials of the guy gettin hit inna head witha apple, went to wally world got a 6 pack…taste damn good as i been a budlight drinker for years.Reading reviews opinions are the same as the waste hole of every human being, mine!….love it, its not to fruity dont taste like green apples…as if u real people that has teeth can sink your teeth into a red apple, thats my taste.At my local bar i frequent,everyone was like what are u drinking(had brought it in), ask later if they would order some.Now over half the bar drinks it,but they have caught there tollerence level these days or get ZAPPED by redds ZAPPLE ale

  27. ren burr says:

    Try Reeds with Doritos Sweet chili chips. My guests couldn’t stop eating them.

Comments welcome, y'all!