Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cider Review: Shacksbury Dorset and Rootstock Rosé

It’s good to be home, cider lovers. I absolutely loved Scotland. The landscape is amazing, the cities are fun, and we ate so much good food. But, my cellar was ready and waiting for me when we got back! By total happenstance, two cideries that were reviewed together before, both came up again this week. I’m sharing my thoughts on Shacksbury’s Dorset and Rootstock’s Rosé.

These two cider companies came up together only last month during Cider Cans Crush It, here’s the link.


This time we have one canned cider and one lovely bottle.

Shacksbury is a Vermont favorite that has been expanding boundaries and trying new things since the company started making cider.   

You can find out lots of background information on Shacksbury online: http://www.shacksbury.com/

Here are the two other previous appearances of Shacksbury, a review and my experience visiting an orchard.

Shacksbury Classic: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/cider-review-shacksbury-original.html

And I visited one of the orchards: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

Today, I want to start with the Dorset cider. I picked up a package of these cans on one of my trips down to Cleveland to visit friends. I chose it not knowing much about this cider and associating it with Dorset County in the southwestern part of England. That was far from the actual naming inspiration for this cider.  

Here’s the real story.

Dorset wild ferment, dry and complex notes of red berry and slate named for Dorset Mountain in Danby, VT where many of the wild apples in cider were foraged blended in collaboration with Tim Prendergast of ANXO in Washington D.C.

Appearance: burnished copper, hazy, lots of bubbles

Lovely color. Burnished copper. Pour it out of the can to see! It's quite hazy, but shows off plenty of bubbles.

Aromas: applesauce, figs, volatile acidity

What an interesting array. This smells much more like a Spanish style cider than what I expected based on the name. There’s some sourness and volatile acidity, but I can also smell some fruity elements. The cider smells like figs and applesauce in ways that make me anticipate sweetness and richness. There are also some floral notes in there too.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi Dry

This is a semi-dry cider. There’s enough sweetness there to ampliphy other flavors and give the cider good mouthfeel but not much more.

Flavors and drinking experience: spanish influence, savory, citrus

This is a fascinating cider to drink as well as to smell. The initial taste features the acetic acid sour tingle that I expected from the aromas. The Dorset also has some citrus fruit notes that play with the sweeter side of lemon and tarter side of orange.

The cider brings some savory elements as well, reminding me of olives, leather, and salt. I suspect the fermentation methods let to some Lactic acid in the cider as well. It’s also a bit lighter in body than I expected based on aromas. The cider is lightly sparkling or petillant.

The whole experience reminds me almost of a summery mixed drink, like a shrub and tonic. I find the Finish is a bit bitter but not tannic. I had the Dorset on my porch with a smoked salmon salad and crispy wheaty crackers. 

Rootstock Ciderworks Rosé

My second cider for the week is  by Rootstock Ciderworks from the Rochester, New York area. This was a review sample, and the notes have been waiting to become a full review for some time. You might be able to guess that from the cold weather clues hiding a picture or two.

Read about the company on the website: https://rootstockciderworks.com/
ROSÉ Hard Cider 
A collaboration project—this rare cider delivers a unique taste experience resulting from the marriage of a heritage variety apple (Rhode Island Greening) and a classic Austrian grape variety (Blaufränkisch). Vibrant salmon color and bold tannin—hints of apricot fill the nose while flavors of ripe red gooseberry excite the palate. 
7.9% Alc/Vol – 1.5% RS
In 2017, this cider won a Silver medal at GLINTCAP.

Appearance: brilliant, watermelon, few bubbles

This is such a beautiful cider to see. I completely understand why it was bottled in clear glass to show off that rosy hue. I don’t see a lot of bubbles, but I appreciate the cider’s total brilliance. The color reminds me of super ripe watermelon flesh.

Aromas: dusty, rocky, red fruit

This smells very much like my hopes for any Rosé cider. It smells dusty and rocky in a way that leads me to expect some grip to the mouthfeel and acidity. I also smell lots of red fruit like strawberries, raspberries, and currants. 

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This cider definitely tastes semi-dry. There are perceptible elements of sweetness, but they are kept in balance by some real acidity.

Flavors and drinking experience: strawberry, fresh apple, high acid

On the dry end of of semi-dry, this cider really does bring plenty of acid to the party. But beyond just the high acid, there’s so much fun fruit in this cider. I taste tart strawberry, wild blackberries, rhubarb, and a solid backing of fresh apples. There’s no tannins but lots and lots of flavor. 

The cider has a zippy body and plenty of bubbles. I enjoyed this cider with a very brunch inspired supper: roasted red pepper and zucchini frittata with goat cheese and homemade biscuits. I enjoyed keeping all of the dishes light and simple for this peppy fun cider.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Cider Review: Citizen Cider's Wood and Kurant Spice

Greetings from Scotland! Hello, cider lovers. I’m writing from Scotland today, because that’s where I’m travelling right now. These ciders however are not Scottish, and all notes were taken before my trip began. Not to worry. I plan to write about some Scottish ciders in the coming weeks hopefully over at Cider Culture.

Let’s start today with my impression of a specialty from The Citizen Cellar, the experimental wing of Citizen Ciders. Citizen Ciders are based out of Burlington, Vermont but are growing in availability all over the eastern portion of the United States. This company has a fantastic local focus even as it grows! Today, it’s Citizen Cellar’s Wood.

As always, you can learn about Citizen Cider on the website: https://www.citizencider.com/

I have several previous reviews of Citizen Ciders. 

Wit’s Up: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/04/cider-review-citizen-ciders-wits-up.htm

Tulsi: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-fable-farms-greensboro-and.html

Companion: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/06/pickcider-review-citizen-ciders.html

Brose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/02/cider-review-citizen-cider-brose.html

Barrel-Aged: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-barrel-aged.html

And I had a fantastic time when I visited them: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-2.html

The Citizen Cider Wood’s official description reads, “A dry and bubbly cider made using two unique apples: Esopus Spitzenburg and the bittersweet Dabinett, from our friend Steve Wood at Poverty Lane Orchard in Lebanon, New Hampshire.”

Appearance: slightly hazy, golden topaz, no visible bubble

This cider looks distinct from most of what I’ve seen from Citizen. The usual clarity is replaced in this cider by a gentle haze. The color can easily be described as golden topaz.

Aromas: over-ripe apples, gasoline, dust
The Wood smells like mostly like overripe apples. There’s a warmth and softness to the aroma that’s very appealing. I get some hints of dust and gasoline as well. This is going to be super different from the company’s usual style.

Dyrness/sweetness: Dry

Though the Wood is fruity, this cider is dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: fine bubbles, yeasty, funky 

I love the super fine bubbles in the Wood. The gasoline aroma notes are still present as flavors but they remain muted. This cider offers up a lot of yeast character and tons of acid. It’s dry and fruity as well. This cider is all about the features brought by using bittersweet apples.

I enjoyed this cider at a friend’s house with dinner. We had homemade pasta and red sauce from local tomatoes. I found the cider seemed almost barrel aged because of the gentle funkiness and the bittersweet apple qualities. Very very nice.


Kurant is from Pennsylvania, so I don’t ordinarily get any access to these ciders. I did get to judge the PA Farm Show competition last year, and I was able to get some cans on that trip. I know the Spice might not seem super seasonal, but I’ve been wanting to share my notes on a cider by Kurant for some time.

The company describes their inspiration as coming from, “traditional French, English, and Spanish ciders.” The company makes small batch ciders and operates a tasting room and taproom (with food!) in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The ciders are made in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 2015, as best as my online sleuthing can tell.

Read all about the cidery on the website: http://www.kurantcider.com/

Today’s review is of the Spice. The cider’s official description reads,
Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice blend perfectly reminding you of your favorite cold weather treats. A touch of brown sugar in the finish adds just a tiny bit of sweetness for balance with notes of molasses and raisins. We let the apples shine as the highlight of Spice by keeping the seasonal additions light but noticeable and not overpowering. Spice is available through the end of the winter season.

PAIRINGS: Roasted Turkey, Graham Cracker Ice Cream ABV: 5.8% SWEETNESS: Off Dry / Semi Sweet

Appearance: hazy, bubbly, dried apricot

The color of this cider reminds me of dried apricots. It’s a warm tone somewhere between orange and gold. The cider looks bubbly and just a bit hazy.

Aromas: spices, homemade apple sauce, cloves,

Purrrr. This particular blend is full of deep dark spicing and warm cooked apples. It doesn’t really smell summery but on this quiet evening, it sure smells nice.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

This is a bright semi-dry. It has plenty of acid and less sweetness than I expect in a spiced cider. And that’s a very good thing in my view.

Flavors and drinking experience: clove, apple pie

The spices of apple pie do come out as I sip the Spice. I get notes of baking spices, especially cloves when tasting this cider. I do like how this is less sweet than you might expect. The sweetness that I can taste here reminds me of very much of raisins. I do get the spice notes more in aromas than in flavors. The spice brings plenty of acidity but no tannins.

The most unexpected feature is that the Spice ends with a very cola-esque finish. I find that totally unexpected but good. I had this cider paired with a “clean out all the vegetables from the fridge” salad, and it was an excellent experience.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Cider Review: Kite and String Cider's King of Hector and Star Cider Wild Child Rhubarb


Welcome to July! The month of fireworks, fresh tomatoes, and sweet corn is here. There are heat waves and cool lakes here in the heights of upstate New York summer. Even though I know I could cover dozens more canned ciders, I can’t neglect other formats. This matters to me especially because I know of some really special ciders never see the inside of a can. I promise to visit to the most summery format soon and often, after a whole month of cans, I do want to review two ciders I tasted in big beautiful 750ml bottles.

Quick geeky aside! Formats aren’t just an issue of convenience. Formats often imply serving size. A lot of folks don’t look at ABV when choosing a cider or pouring a drink. And cider ABVs vary wildly. One can often turns into one serving, whereas a 750ml bottle is more often treated as 4 distinct glasses of cider no matter the ABV. I think it’s awesomely strategy to be cognizant as either a drinker or host when dealing with a beverage that doesn’t have a standardized pour size, glassware, format, or consistent ABV. Read those labels, friends!

Kite and String’s King of Hector

Kite and String is the local cider at the heart of the Finger Lakes Cider House in Ovid, New York. They are also known as Good Life Farm as that's the umbrella farm that makes everything possible. The big news around her is that the Cider House made it into USA Today’s list of the the top 10 Cider Bars in America! That’s huge for a farm-based destination in rural New York. The place really is beautiful, fantastic, delicious, and worth a trip.

I've enjoyed Kite and String Ciders before. 

The Barrel Rye: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/12/cider-review-good-life-ciders-barrel-rye.html

The Cazenovia: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-good-life-ciders-cazenovia.html

I've enjoyed the Hickok at a few special dinners including:

Thanksgiving: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/happy-to-pickcider-for-thanksgiving.html

and a Finger Lakes Locavore Birthday Dinner:  

Read about both the Finger Lakes Cider House and Kite and String Cider on the website: http://www.fingerlakesciderhouse.com

Or see what the company (and the farm animals) are up to on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KiteandStringCider/

Today I’m reviewing a cider that I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get because the King of Hector was a special release for a pairing dinner and the Kite and String Cider Club. Luckily for me, dear friends of mine are in the club, and they were generous enough to bring this bottle over to share. 

Read the full write up with tons of background information here: http://www.fingerlake

I’ll share just an excerpt
Tasting and Cider Maker Notes: Gripping acidity typical of wild seedlings and crab varieties. Slow fermentation (2 months). Hands off approach with little intervention. High acid cider aged well over the winter with beautiful aromas and unique flavor. We were excited to keep this extremely small lot separate that  season and this cider was filtered and bottled as our last traditional method product of the year. 8.4% ABV
And the pairing suggestions:
We think this cider drinks like a dry, Spanish champagne style. It is crisp, long lasting, and acidic, and embodies the heat of 2016. Drink it as a starter to open up your guests’ palates and imaginations, with light appetizers like dried fruit or with lightly fried fish or potatoes.

Appearance: straw, translucent, no bubble 

This cider looks beautifully translucent, though not brilliant. I’ll call the color straw but it warmth and golden hue are more inspiring than the name strictly denotes. I don’t see any bubbles when I pour a glass, but I’m sure they’ll there once I taste the cider. 

Aromas: riple apples, bitter orange, meyer lemon, limestone

I smell citrus and apples, but having seen a few mentions of Spanish stylings (although of sparkling wine rather than Sidra), I did expect some sour notes or even volatile acidity in the smells. They weren’t there. The aromas were more fruity and restrained which suits my preferences well. I did get some fun salivary response.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a dry cider. Other features that I’ll describe later only enhance the perception of dryness. Super duper dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: dry, high acid, medium tannins, citrusy

The cider tastes dry and acid driven, but it’s not sour. The acid flavors I taste are more fruity and less funky. The cider doesn’t show volatile acidity or acetic acid. Instead, and more to my personal tastes, I get tons of citrus notes from the King of Hector. It tastes like Meyer lemons, Seville orange, and just a little bit of tropical fruit. 

The King of Hector does have some tannic presence. That’s notable and enjoyable. As the notes on my phone say, “Drrrryyyyy.” The combination of medium tannins, very high acidity, and a dry cider come together to emphasize a dry, zesty, tasting experience. The King of Hector tastes lithe and a little light. I didn’t necessarily expect that because of the 8.4% ABV, but it was seasonally perfect and very refreshing. 

This is a cider for wine and cider lovers. It’s definitely sophisticated and austere. It’s precisely the kind of cider that I like to have even before I put food on the table. The King of Hector has enough to say on its own to be a delightful conversation starter. 

Star Cider's Wild Child Rhubarb 

Confession time, I’ve had these tasting notes for too long! I tasted Star Cidery’s Wild Child Rhubarb for the first time in October of 2016 at a Finger Lakes Cider Week event. I met folks from Star Cidery and learned what I could about the operation. I liked it so much that I got a bottle for later. I consumed that with friends later that winter, taking tasting notes and squirreling them away. I must have hidden them too well, as I’ve just rediscovered them. 

Star Cider makes and sells cider in the greater Rochester, New York area. The company was founded in 2014, but the founders were home cider makers long before. Reading about Star Cider’s approach, I am struck by the focus on process. Cider gets described as a journey with an expectation of change and evolution. That’s appealing  in that’s both grounded in the realities of learning a new business but also in that openness to changes is how improvements happen.  This is my first review of anything by Star Cider.

Read all about the company and the ciders on the web: http://www.starcidery.com

Or check in with the Star Cider Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StarCidery/

Today’s review is of one of Star Cider’s seasonal releases, the Wild Child  Rhubarb.

Let’s start with the official description, “Rhubarb: Fresh heirloom rhubarb is hand-picked at its peak ripeness and blended with cider made from a mix of dessert apples. This cider is crisp, tart, and tastes like biting into fresh rhubarb.”  6.9% ABV

Unofficially I learned that this cider uses 1.5 lb of rhubarb per gallon of juice. The finished cider is back sweetened with sweet cider after being fermented to dryness. The flavor was inspired by the cidermaker’s grandmother and grandfather’s recipes.

Appearance: brilliant, warm canteloupe color, visible bubbles

I wish I had better pictures of this cider. The color really is lovely with a shade that reminds me of canteloupe and beauitful clarity. 

aromas: strawberry, celery, and candy dust

Oh my goodness wow! These aromas are so neat! I definitely smell strawberry, rhubarb and apple, but also celery! There’s also so sweet and powdery candy dust lurking in the background!

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This might be on the slightly sweeter side of semi-dry, but it has a powerful acidity that keeps all sweetness in check. 

Flavors and drinking experience: rhubarb zing, herby, strong sparkle

Like many of my favorite ciders both in the region and more generally, acidity orchestrates the whole experience. The Wild Child Rhubarb just vibrates with zingy acidity. But that’s not all that’s going on. I’m also completely sold on the herbaceous and vegetal notes. They integrate beautifully and really cement that rhubarb plus apple combination. This cider really works.

Part of what I enjoy about the Wild Child Rhubarb is the mouthfeel. Part of that owes to it’s powerful tartness. The cider feels fresh and medium bodied with strong bubbles. There’s also a nice backbone of apple behind everything. And I relish the long cold finish. My first tasting was in a varied set of ciders, and it really stood out. My second experience with this cider was with vegetarian chili, wheat crackers, and sharp cheddar. Both worked, but I’d love to try it with summery foods when I see this cider again. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cider Cans Crush It: AeppelTreow Blackbird Berried Cider and Farmhaus Cider Co. Classic

My last post for Cider Cans Crush It has arrived. I don't even feel like I've scratched the surface of what kinds of cider can now be found in cans. Yes, the eight I picked are all very different from one another, but I know have at least this many more that highlight other facets of the cider world in cans. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I do want to show off these last two ciders in the series!

Today we're starting with AeppelTreow's Blackbird Berried Cider. This is far from my first AeppelTreow review. The cidermaker, Charles, is a friend of mine within the cider world. He regularly does trainings on fermentation and on perceiving flaws in cider from a scientific view. The whole community of cidermakers and drinkers has a lot to thank Charles for. So, I'm always happy to review any samples from AeppelTreow.

Here are my previous reviews of AeppelTreow Ciders:

Orchard Oriole Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-aeppeltreows-orchard.html

Appley Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-appeltreow-winerys-appley.html

Sparkling Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html

Kinglet Bitter: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/09/cider-review-appletreow-kinglet-bitter.html

Barnswallow Draft Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/03/cider-review-appeltreow-barnswallow.html

You can read about many of the ciders, fruit wines, and spirits on the AeppelTreow website: http://aeppeltreow.com/ and also now http://appletrue.com

The canned line is AeppelTreow's Songbird Ciders. Blackbird Berried Cider. The ABV is 5.5%. I'll share what I saw on the can itself.

AeppelTreow Songbird Ciders are crafted in small batches from apples grown by farmers we know. They are named for the birds that live in and around the orchard.

Blackbird is our American-style berry-flavored cider, blended with the juices of black currants and elderberries. It's a little sweet and a bunch tart.

At AeppelTreow we are Apple True

Respect the land

Savor the fruit

Deliver unique flavors

Make it the hard way

Appearance: brilliant, some bubbles, mulberry

I'll call the color mulberry because it's to red to be purely purple and to purple to be purely a dark red. Though the color is dark, the cider is brilliant and shows of a host of bubbles. This one is too pretty to leave in the can! Transport it to your drinking destination, but then put this beauty in a glass!

Aromas: black currant, black berry, dusty, citric acid

The cider smells like citric acid, black currants, and dark fruity berries in general. The fermentation notes come across subtly in a very tantalizing way. It's mouth watering.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

I find this cider approachably semi-sweet. Though I tend to prefer dry ciders, I can enjoy the sweeter side of life when done well and with good balance. This is just such a cider. I like how the malic acid and citric acid keep that sweetness from getting out of control.

The cider tastes a little sticky and a bit foxy and oh so summery. I love the dark and foresty notes. The Blackbird is grippy due to black currant juice. They offer up pleasantly fruity tannins. The cider has undeniably high acid but low level bubble that keeps it from getting harsh.

This cider is very drinkable, even dangerously drinkable. Full bodied, coats but doesn’t clog. I am a big fan of the Blackbird's pert acidic finish. I find the whole experience lusciously balanced. I had this cider with homemade vegetable burritos, and it was perfect.

Farmhaus Cider Co. Classic

This company is the product of the fifth generation of a Michigan farming family. The current endeavor was founded in 2015 near Grand Rapids in Hudsonville. They even have a Cidergarten and tasting room now! I met the founders Megan and John at a cider event years ago, and I've been watching their progress and rooting for them. So, I'm happy to finally be reviewing the cider. This is a review sample shared with me.

Find out all about the company on the website: http://farmhauscider.com/

In the "About" page, there's a hilarious section dedicated to haters, even giving them a specail email address for negative feedback. I think that's so clever.

The Farmhaus Classic cider's official description follows.

Fresh. Bright. Halbbitter.

A semi-sweet cider with a fruity last and sweet aroma created using local apples and fermented in a Germanic style, giving it superior drinkability. Most often compared to a riesling or Moscato, this cider pairs well with soft & creamy cheeses, chicken dishes and your favorite pizza

Appearance: straw, transparent, very bubbly

This cider looks so bubbly! My sparkle-loving taste buds are now actively anticipating this one! I'd call the color straw and the clarity transparent.

Aromas: Stony, fresh apples, dust

I didn't get a lot of smell from the can, but I detected more aromas once I poured the classic into a glass. I can smell stones, dust, and fresh apples. These are very traditional aromas for a cider of this type.

Sweetness/dryness: right on the line between semi-sweet and semi-dry

This cider perceives as semi-dry, but only just barely. It's right on that semi-sweet/semi-dry line, but because the acid is on the higher side, I'll call it semi-sweet. The sweetness that's there is very apple-y.

Flavor and drinking experience: citrus, high acid, balanced

Like many modern ciders, the flavors are all driven by the high acidity in the Classic. It's fruity but tastes more like citrus than like pomme or stone fruits. My first impression was how very much the cider reminds me of fresh-squeezed orange juice. The cider comes across as reasonably balanced even with that high-ish acidity.

There are no tannins to speak of but it has some excellent refreshing qualities. I appreciate the nice strong bubble level. I'm always a sucker for strongly sparkling ciders. All the flavors combine to create a crisp, sessionable drinking experience. The cider has a light body and a clean finish.

One of the most interesting things I noticed about it is a floral finish and pear-like aftertaste. I had this cider with homemade popcorn and good conversation. It was a simple pairing for an approachable cider, and I enjoyed the experience.

This may be the last week of Cider Cans Crush it for June, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop covering canned ciders. What I learned in focusing on them for 4 weeks is that there really is an amazing breadth to this format. I want to keep exploring it and showcasing all the different kinds of ciders that people are canning these days. Cans really are perfect for Summer, and I have a feeling we have a lot more hot weather coming! Cheers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cider Cans Crush It Eden Heritage and Treehorn El Treeablo

Thunderstorms are rumbling across my region as I write this. It’s been the first unbelievably hot day of the season so far. But, technically, what season are we even in? Summer on the books doesn’t begin until Thursday, but in my mind we’re closer to the peak of Summer than its beginning. But, those are debates that I cannot resolve on my own. It is enough to say that summer drinking has been upon us, and the need for cool refreshing ciders might be greater this week than any for many months previous. 

Canned ciders are here to help. I’ve chosen two that were shared with me as review samples. They are from very different ends of the East Coast. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Eden Specialty Ciders’ first canned offering, the Heritage and Georgia Cidery Treehorn’s spicy El Treeablo. 

Let’s start with Eden Specialty Cider’s Heritage. This Vermont cider company is run by Eleanor Leger.

I’ve shared a few reviews of Eden ciders before.  

Imperial 11 Degree Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-january-2017-cidrbox-and-edens.html
This was my number one cider of 2017!

Sparkling Dry in 2015: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/06/cider-review-eden-sparkling-dry-cider.html

I also enjoyed the 2016 Sparkling Dry as part of my Thanksgiving and Birthday celebration in 2016: 


You can find out more about the company online: https://www.edenciders.com/

Eden Heritage’s Official Description:

More Flavor Less Sweet. Authentic Heritage Cider Aromatic. Generously sparkling. Off-dry. 
The cider in your hand reflects everything we care about at Eden Ciders. Heritage Apples grown in small, regional orchards. Fresh pressed at the harvest to capture the full flavor of the fruit just as it ripens. Fermented dry and blended with just a drop of our award-winning Eden Ice Cider to create an everyday cider with extraordinary complexity.

The coolest thing is that this isn’t all the info. 

Here are the apple varieties listed: Kingston Black, McIntosh, Empire, Bulmers Norman Gravenstein.

Here are the orchards they come from: Eden Orchards, Scott Farms, Sunrise Orchards, Windfall Orchard.

Plus, "No Sugar Added. Residual Apple Fructose 1.2% by weight"

Appearance: brilliant, bright corn gold, lots of bubble 

This cider is so lovely, it’s a shame to leave it in the can. I am happy to have poured mine into a glass, so I can see the warm corn yellow color and watch those active bubbles. It’s perfectly brilliant as well.

Aromas: ripe apples, cleanly yeasty, a hint of lemon

Wow, wow, wow. This cider smells amazing; I get tons of ripe apples balanced a little cleanly yeasty presence and some lemony citrus. These aromas are completely tantalizing.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry shading into semi-sweet

I know this is a semi-dry cider. It has tons going on, but it’s still so fruity and approachable. It does veer almost toward the semi-sweet end of semi-dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: complex, rich, balanced

I know I try to write more descriptively and not focus on my personal evaluations, but this might be the best canned cider I have ever had. That almost makes it harder to write about. The Heritage offers up medium tannins with lots of tartness. It really is all about balance. 

In terms of more specific notes, this cider tastes freshly citrusy, fruity, gently spicy, and oh so rich. I did drink the Heritage both out of my glass and out of the can. The format does make a difference. It seemed more yeasty  from the can and also drier. Interesting! It was delicious either way. I had it with salmon, smashed fingerling potatoes, and a green salad with tons of shredded beets and carrots. 

Treehorn El Treeablo

The Treehorn El Treeablo is my first cider from Georgia! That definitely means this is my first review of anything by Treehorn. I met folksbehind this company at CiderCon, and they were kind enough to share a couple of sample cans with me. 

This company Treehorn was founded in 2013. Treehorn has a tasting room in Marietta just outside of Atlanta.

Read all about the company on the website: https://treehorncider.com/

And this is the info I found about the seasonal release: El Treeablo.

Treehorn kicks it up a notch with its limited release three-chile cider infused with habanero, jalapeno and Hatch chiles harvested and roasted at the peak of the season. El Treeablo has just the right amount of heat, perfectly balanced by its tart, lightly sweet apple cider character.  
Anyone familiar with New Mexico knows that chiles, particularly Hatch chiles, inspire religious levels of devotion. Two of our founding partners (Mallory Law and Kathryn Pierce) have lived in Santa Fe, so fresh roasted chiles are very close to our collective heart. The lovely folks at Fox Bros. BBQ were kind enough to help us out with sourcing and roasting our Hatches. We’ve been doing two batches per year and this one usually goes fast. Make sure to grab it while you can. 
A delicious and complex drink on its own, El Treeablo also excels as a cocktail mixer, and pairs exceptionally well with smokey mezcals and smooth Anejo tequilas. The bold flavor of El Treeablo stands up well to rich umami flavors and pairs beautifully with chicharrones, braised short ribs and rich, meaty stews.
Fresh ChileSubtle HeatBright Apple

Appearance: transparent, straw, few bubbles

This cider shows a straw hue, transparence, and I can see some bubbles. 

Aromas: peppers, vegetal, tart, pineapple

Oh wow! This smells veggie-ful and spicy! I can very clearly smell pepper both in their spice and their green vegetal-ness. I also got some pineapple notes!
Dryness/sweetness: semi-sweet

This cider is enjoyably Semi sweet! I think the heat of the peppers almost requires a little bit of gentle sweetness. The sweetness I taste does remind me distinctively of cane sugar.

Flavors and drinking experience: apple, spice, sweetness, and vegetal

The same notes that appeared in El Treeablo’s aromas remain present in its flavors:
peppers, fleshy vegetables, tart fruit, spice, apple and pineapple. Whew! There’s a lot going on in terms of both complexity and intensity. This has high acid, no tannin, medium high sweetness, but also lots of other flavors. This cider is fun!

One of the most striking elements in drinking this cider was how much glass shape or can usage radically affects the spice-to-fruit ratio perception! Out of the can it tastes driest and sweetest in a wine glass. It seems that spicy notes and sweet notes go together, but that the ratio does vary a bit vessel to vessel. This might be one to drink straight from the can. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Cider Cans Crush It: 1911 Tropical Cider and Devil's Bit Mountain

Our weather is thrillingly beautiful these days, which means I want to spend time outside. We’re back to another two reviews of canned ciders which make the ideal beverage companion for outdoor sipping. These are two more shared with friends at an excellent birthday party.

I‘m starting this week with a new regional release: 1911’s Tropical Cider! 1911 operates in Layfayette, New York and supplies many varieties of cider throughout the region and beyond. The fermentations are consistently clean, and the focus is on using local fruit for well-balanced, approachable, sessionable ciders.

Find out more online: http://1911established.com/cider/

The Facebook is updated regularly: https://www.facebook.com/1911Spirits/

I have two previous reviews of 1911 ciders.

I couldn’t find much of an official description of the 1911 Tropical, but as it says on the can, “Tart Pineapple with Hints of Mango.” 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: pale straw, brilliant, some bubbles

This cider has a subtle pale shade of straw. It’s totally brilliant and shows some bubble.

Aromas: ripe pineapple and mango, very juicy

This cider smells so very richly juice. It’s blowing my mind with the aromatic intensity here! I can smell both pineapple and mango districtly but there’s also a more general tropical punch background.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This is a sweet and fruity cider. No question about that.

Flavors and drinkin experience: fruity, full mouthfeel, creamy, tart,

All of the juicy wow factor I sensed in the Tropical’s aroma is present in the drinking experience and then some. This cider has a big creamy mouthfeel and so much juicy, punchy, fruity flavor. I can taste the pineapple and mango but also plums and strawberries. I get some tartness to balance the sweet fruity flavors, but they are undeniably the major force behind this cider. This isn’t a tannic cider, but there’s a lot else going on here.

It has a relatively clean fermentation and powerfully lingering finish. I had mine with cheeses, crackers and a veggie tray, but I don’t doubt that it would stand up well to stronger flavors. I think I’d recommend something spicy and creamy like a coconut milk curry.

Devil’s Bit Mountain Irish Orchard Cider

I know almost nothing about this cider. I found a pack of cans in Ohio on my way home from GLINTCAP. In 2017 this same cider won a gold in it’s glass and was 3rd best in the category overall. That’s high praise.  I know it’s made by Adam’s Cider Company in Tipperary.

Find out more on the website: http://www.devilsbit.ie/

Here’s the official description.

Crafted from Dabinett, Michelin and Ashton Bitter apples from their own family orchards and pressed in their own Cidery in Tipperary, they combine the age-old technique of cider making with the traditional bittersweet cider apple to create this wonderfully refreshing beverage. 

This is an award winning, gluten free medium Irish Cider with a light golden colour and crisp flavour. 6% ABV.

Appearance: brilliant, bronze, few bubbles

Intense color typical of UK and European ciders. I’ll call it bronze. The transparency is totally brilliant, and the cider shows few bubbles.

Aromas: funky, fruity, tart

This cider does have some volatile acidity going on. THe aromas are funky, fruity, and tart. I could smell ripe apples, but the leathery and solvent notes were equally strong.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

This cider is semi-sweet but with lots of other flavor contributors. In the UK, this would likely be called a medium sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins, overripe cider apples, cinnamon

This cider offers up huge tannins. If anyone has never tastes a tannic cider or gets tannins mixed up with either dryness or acidity, this is a great cider to demystify. These are grippy tannins. I get some classic English bittersweet apple phenolics like olive brine, sweat and leather. I love these characteristics.

This one was at the same fabulous cider party, so i had it with raw veggies, hummus, creeses and crackers. But this cider would do well with a huge variety of foods. I have one can left, and my plans for it involve a frittata with blue cheese, caramelized onion, and swiss chard. That sounds delish to me.