A quick scan of a bottle offers video tasting notes and recipe ideas.
While you’re probably familiar with wine pairings and craft beer pairings, cider pairings may not come as easily to mind—and Angry Orchard is determined to change that. Yesterday, the hard cider company announced the launch of an augmented reality (AR) app that helps users pair Angry Orchard ciders with different meals, as a means to help establish a food and cider culture in America. Ryan Burk, head cider maker at Angry Orchard, admits pairing is a high-level part of the industry that people don’t often think about, so the (free) app—dubbed Angry Orchard Cider & Food—is a means to make that more accessible and get the conversation started.
Cider & Food works with all of Angry Orchard’s core styles: Crisp Apple, Rosé, Easy Apple, and Pear. Each cider comes with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert recommendation, along with recipes, so you can try out the pairings at home. To work the app, simply take a can, bottle, or package of one of the four aforementioned ciders, and hold your phone about six to 12 inches away so it can scan—once it does, a video of Burk will appear on the label to guide you through the pairing. For each cider you scan, Burk discusses the different tasting notes (acidity, tannin, sweetness, etc.) and how to balance that with complementary foods—for example, the Rosé cider is sweet, so it works well with salty flavors, like melon wrapped with prosciutto. The Pear cider, on the other hand, is light and acidic, so it pairs with richer foods like baked brie. Many of the recipes contain the complementary cider in the ingredient list as well (the Thai chicken wings that pair with Crisp also have Crisp in the sauce). The full list of pairings is as follows, in order of appetizer to dessert:
- Crisp Apple: spicy Thai chicken wings, pulled pork sandwiches, ginger cookies
- Rosé: prosciutto-wrapped melon, bacon and arugula pizza, New York-style cheesecake
- Easy Apple: beef empanadas, maple cedar plank salmon, raspberry torte
- Pear: baked brie with cranberry preserves, brown butter gnocchi, rice pudding with poached pears
As Burk cycles through each meal to pair with the cider, the recipe appears at the bottom of the screen, which you can click to view in full. You can also take a 360-degree tour of the Angry Orchard Cidery in Walden, New York, by moving your phone around—the tasting explainer will stop, and you can get views of the apple orchard or the Treehouse tasting room, depending on which bottle you scan. Burk said the footage can change seasonally, too—so you might get a glimpse of a snow-covered orchard or a bright, leafy green one, depending on the time of year. (If you can ever make it in person, it’s worth the trip—the views are beautiful and you can try a flight of cider for free.)
Curious? The app is live now, available for iOS users. (And yes, you have to be 21+ to use it.) So, the next time you’re at the store and wondering what to eat with your cider, just take out your phone—Angry Orchard will take care of the rest.