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PC Patrick Alejandro

Hit in the face by The Crowbar

booze cluesHard ciders are inextricably tied with sweetness, some of the most common flavors being apple and pear. The folks over at Sonoma Cider seem to have a far different idea of what a cider should or could be and with their ominously titled organic cider “The Crowbar,” they have taken things to a new level of weird.

The Crowbar’s can attractively points out its flavor – habanero lime – in bold orange lettering against a black background. The whole presentation is flawless and at six percent alcohol by volume content, a cost of around $10 for a four pack and a frankly bizarre flavor profile, it would seem criminal not to give it a shot.

Surprisingly enough, after prying the can open, one is met with a strangely sweet smell probably brought on by the apples used to make the brew. The more you bury your nose in the opening of the can, though, the more you realize that sweet smell is accompanied by a strong whiff of hot habaneros.

Upon first taste, I can only imagine the look of confusion and slight disgust that crawled across my face. For a brief fraction of a second, The Crowbar feels smooth and tastes sweet, but quickly begins to burn one’s mouth in an all-too-familiar way. The habanero flavor is definitely there, they sure succeeded in that, but it’s unclear whether or not that’s a good thing.

The aftertaste is much more appealing, giving off a kind of refreshing lime taste. It almost reminds me of taking tequila shots and chomping down on a lime afterwards — it burns like hell for a bit and then eases off in a relaxing way. Still, the habanero flavor is all too powerful for this to be anything close to enjoyable.

The side of the can provides some insight as to why they would pursue this beverage madness, with “The Crowbar Commandments” listed out. The first one tells it all: “Sweet ciders are meh.” Personally, I think that’s far from true. Sweet ciders are awesome, and considering that two of Sonoma’s flagship flavors are apple and pear, it seems that they are also invested in sweet ciders.

What Sonoma Ciders have attempted to do is try something different. It’s a spectacular failure. It’s interesting for a few minutes, then slowly becomes a dredge to finish drinking. If you’re really, really into habaneros, this might work for you. If the idea of a habanero flavored drink sounds gross to you, as it probably does to most drinkers – and human beings – steer clear.

With that all said and done, Sonoma Ciders’ The Crowbar is a limited run cider that won’t be around forever. If you’re into spicy drinks or just want to satisfy your morbid curiosity, pick it up and give it a try.