The flavoured cider, perry and alcoholic ginger beer trend has been roaring away for over five years now and seems to show no signs of abetting. One producer with their ear to the ground is Wychwood, who excel at a mix of innovation and surfing the tide of change.
Wychwood Brewery (of Witney, Oxfordshire) have already ventured into this market with Ginger Beard (an alcoholic ginger beer), which was released at the back-end of 2012.
Now, whenever I hear the term “snakebite”, I think of the “Student’s Snakebite” (AKA “Snakey B”), which is a mix of Carling, Strongbow and blackcurrant cordial. Snake's Bite from Wychwood is described as a “blend of traditionally crafted beer infused with cider apples”; essentially, Snakebite in bottle.*
Nose: Strong, malty ale, plus creamy apple tart.
Taste: More malt to taste, followed by a burst of sweetness and then a bitter hops flavour. Finally, there’s some cream on the finish.
This improves the drink somewhat, but, for me, it is too sweet and the ice brings out an odd and unpleasant metallic quality in the drink.
I think that the quality of this product is obviously far better then the mix served in your average Students’ Union, but you probably wouldn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that it wasn’t really for me. It does leave me wondering what portion of Wychwood’s existing fans would drink this; it seems like it would to be too sickly for the ale drinkers and too hoppy for the fans of their cider or ginger beer.
* The blackcurrant cordial in the Snakebite recipe is technically optional.