When fruit first met alcohol it must have been love at first site because you can’t move in any modern bar without seeing at least one offspring of this great mix. While cider firmly owns the market for bottled fruity alcohol, Liefmans is very much the classic Belgium fruit beer. So how does the new muscle, Pimms Cider Cup, compare against this beer classic?
Colour and Smell
Liefmans suffers a little from looking like a brown and gloopy lager but has strong baked ripe cherry on the nose that’s intoxicatingly sweet. That is all as unattractive as it sounds, which is unfortunate given the beer’s reputation.
Pimms Cider Cup on the other hand is as bright and light as you may expect from a fruity cider, but it’s a slightly off-berry colour with pink-orange hues. Actively fizzy it suggests lighter body too, which is just how cider should be – fit for the summer. Smells like a perfectly mixed Pimms no.1 cup cocktail.
The winner for this round has got to be Pimms.
On the palette Liefmans is so rich. It’s like the drink version of cherry flan. Juicy, tart and very, very full. There’s literally no fizz so it’s all or nothing with every mouthful, which can sometimes be a little too much.
Nonetheless, Liefmans is something different and very approachable – like a cross between your favourite juice drink and a stout, but in a nice way. It’s probably also the first time I’ll say a small bottle is a good sized bottle.
In a larger bottle is the Pimms Cider Cup. While there is some cider-like note to it, the potent cucumber and summer fruits bring that classic Pimms no. 1 character. To be honest, while that’s very delicious and everything, it scores no points for originality. There’s not really anything to make it stand out, it’s simply ready-mixed bottled Pimms. But that is lovely.
For a pure matter of originality, Liefmans wins this one.
Despite the originality issue, Pimms have done a pretty great job to bag all the flavour of their most popular liqueur in one cider blend. That is impressive. And when it comes down to overall winner, with fruity bottles of alcohol the last thing most of us want is a gloopy drink. Fruit brings sun and relaxation, which calls for a chilled bottle of cider. So that means the new boy wins.
Pimms Cider Cup.
Written & photographed by Ben Franks, www.benfrankswine.com, @Writer_Franks