Battle of the Fall Ciders: Woodchuck Fall Harvest vs. McKenzie’s Seasonal Reserve

Fall time started it all. Back 10 years ago, most cider houses would create small batches of seasonal flavors. If you happened to take the trip to the cider house, you could indulge in the flavors of the season. Companies did not bottle and distribute seasonal blends. Today, you can score a special seasonal cider for each season in your grocer’s case and Fall started it all! Fall is exciting for cider houses because they like to showcase the tastes of the season, their expertise with the cider making process and apples are at their peak.

Woodchuck Hard Cider Company (Middlebury, VT), the ultimate nationwide cider house that produces Fall Harvest and Pumpkin (see our review), will square off in this review against lesser known McKenzie’s Beverages Inc. (West Seneca, NY). Let’s learn a little about our contestants.

Cider Name: Fall Harvest

Brewer: Woodchuck Hard Cider (Middlebury, VT)

Draft, can or bottle?: 12 oz (355 mL) bottle

APV: 5%

Color: Medium Amber

Available at: Publix, most grocery, big box (Target), and large liquor stores (ABC, Total Wine)

Manufacturer’s Description: This cider has a complex and elegant character full of apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg balanced out with a hint of American white oak

Our review: This cider is definitely sure to show you those fall flavors. When smelling it, you get a whiff of the cinnamon and nutmeg. After taking a sip, the bold spice of the cinnamon and nutmeg is noted with a bit tart apple flavor. Swallowing, the taste remains, keeping your taste buds happy for the next minute. The label on this cider states “Tastes like apple pie” and I agree with the statement.

Cider Name: Seasonal Reserve

Brewer: McKenzie’s Beverages Co.  (West Seneca, NY)

Draft, can or bottle?: 12 oz (355 mL) bottle

APV: 5%

Color: Hazy Golden

Available at: World Market and large liquor stores (ABC, Total Wine)

Manufacturer’s Description: Sip, smell and savor the rich, mulled spicy goodness of McKenzie’s Seasonal Reserve. Aromatic fall flavors warm you from the inside out, and chase away the chill on those cold nights.

Our review: This cider had the smell of fall when I went to breathe it in. I could smell the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little vanilla. Tasting this cider was a treat. It was full of fall flavor but not too bold. It does not taste like apple pie to me, but more like Pumpkin Pie. When posting our opinion originally on our Facebook, McKenzie’s was sure to tell us this was an apple pie cider (see our post). Their Pumpkin Jack (haven’t been able to find this one) is their pumpkin pie cider.


These ciders, both with their cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, weren’t even close in comparison. The Woodchuck in my opinion is very syrupy and overpowering with its flavors. McKenzie’s is very crisp, flavorful, and refreshing. Although the McKenzie’s wasn’t as apple flavored as anticipated, it wins our battle. McKenzie’s needs to be in more locations.

Winner: McKenzie’s Seasonal Reserve

– RyanT

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