Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cider Review: Anthem Cider

I think of Anthem Cider as the funkier more experimental sibling to the traditional and delicious Wandering Aengus since they are largely made by the same cidermakers in Salem, Oregon. Wandering Aengus uses cider apples, and Anthem uses dessert apples and sometimes additional flavorful ingredients like hops or cherries. You can read more about the company on their website. Anthem made their first ciders relatively recently, in 2010, but they’ve done very well for themselves so far, this cider taking a silver at the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) in its category.*

This is how the company describes the Anthem Cider, “Anthem Cider – offers the tart acidity of the apple’s natural malic acid with a clean fruit forward finish. Anthem Cider is the foundation for all the Anthems. Semi-Dry. Medium Tart. 5.0% to 6.5% ABV. GLUTEN FREE.” It doesn’t give very much specific information, but we’ll taste to see if we agree about dryness level, flavors, acidity, and finish. One thing to note is that Anthem ciders are pressed year round with a varying cast of apples, so each batch is somewhat different. This review may show some variance from what may find when you buy your own Anthem Cider. I tried Batch 28, bottled 4/4/12.

ABV: 6.5%

Color and appearance: golden hay

This cider pours with a lovely color, not too pale. It shows small amounts of bubbles, no foam, no head.

Aroma:  Fresh apples, peaches, rock candy

This has an extremely juicy scent. Anthem Cider smells positively mouth-wateringly of apples. The scent offers the cleanness mentioned in the bottle’s description.

Sweet to dry: semi-sweet

The sweetness makes this cider approachable. It is aromatic, balanced, and fresh. My weirdo husband compared this cider to a slightly more warm and caramelly watermelon rind, but what he’s getting at is a simultaneous impression of warmth and freshness. Though I’ve never had this cider before, it drinks like an old friend.

Flavors and drinking experience: balanced, fresh, golden

Drinking this cider brings to mind a very fresh fruit salad and warm bread just out of the oven. This is an indirect way to saying that it is a very foody cider with a substantial mouthfeel. The drinking experience is not slowed by either any sort of imbalance to the flavor or overly aggressive carbonation. Very delightful, but it can slip away almost too quickly and easily. I expected to make my 22oz bottle two separate tasting occasions, but I failed. Oops.

Finish:  finishes with a glow

The finish on this cider isn’t unusually long or short. The flavor goes a bit less fruity and more yeasty but again, in a balanced way. A pleasant finish but not necessarily fruit forward.

Pairs with: I had it with cheese ravioli and faux-chicken with a light tomato sauce (Yes, I confess. I am a pescatarian. Sorry animal eaters, I cannot help you with your pairing suggestions.).

This would be delicious with most anything. It is a flexible, easy-going cider. I could imagine it with bread and cheese, on its own, or with a complete meal. Because I find this cider pleasantly relaxing, I’d feel very comfortable sharing it with new people I’m meeting for the first time, or while watching Game of Thrones. Since that is what we are all doing every Sunday night for the next couple of months, right?

*If you've not looked up GLINTCAP or any other cider competition, I'd suggest giving it a try, that is if you're ready to tempt yourself silly with the number of fabulous sounding ciders you may or may not have heard about before. Try it, but be forewarned.