Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cider Review: Julian Hard Cider Harvest Apple

This cider company certainly has an image in mind: a wild west hard cider that is very American and very masculine. Check out their snazzy website. While this is not exactly my scene, (it primarily reminds me of the old show Deadwood) having a strong identity is a good thing. Their design and copy establish them very successfully as the Gold Rush Cider Men, and it isn’t a bad look. The cider is made with American apples in Julian, California with no added sugars or any juice concentrate. Those particulars are some I can get behind. The brand makes a few ciders: Harvest Apple, Cherry Bomb, and Black and Blue. I’ve only seen the Harvest Apple in New York City, but I admit to a huge curiosity about the Black and Blue since it incorporates black berries and blue berries. Ooh! But, back to the review at hand…

The ABV for the Harvest Apple is listed as 6.99%. Their official description reads as follows, “Julian Harvest Apple Cider is lightly carbonated, slightly tart, perfectly blended cider with a clean, dry finish.” I will be on the lookout for all of these characteristics and see what I find.
Color and appearance: Bubbly, pale, good clarity

After I poured the Harvest Apple, the glass became lined with very tiny still bubbles. This cider is clear and very pale. The color is almost like white gold.

Aroma: beery, yeasty slightly minerally

Different. Not fruity. This is definitely not the cider for someone looking for a sweet beverage, but if one likes British style semi-dry ciders, I’m guessing that this will fit the bill. I love this style, so I’m excited.

Sweet-dry scale: semi-dry

If one reads reviews online outside of the hard cider community (do so at your own peril), no one can make up the internet’s collective mind on how sweet Julian’s Harvest Apple is or is not. Some folks find it unpleasantly dry in a white wine style and others call it sweet. I can see the white wine connection because it does have a tart mineral element, but it isn’t face puckering or bone dry. I’d call this a very friendly semi-dry.

Drinking experience and flavors: beer like, tart, zesty

Refreshing. This cider has a light mouthfeel. It is acidic with a tartness that borders on the pleasant side of sour. This is a convoluted way to say that It all really adds up to being very lively, refreshing, and crisp beverage. It is very summery in a wonderful way. Not very appley though. I might fault the promotional copy’s accuracy a bit on that score.

Finish:  sweetest part of the taste

Though the finish sweetened up the cider a bit, it remained very clean. Not a tremendously long finish.

Pairs with: spring soups, snacks, versatile

I had my Julian Harvest Apple with creamy red pepper and chickpea soup, and then again later with my version of trail mix (roasted almonds, cashews, craisins, then half servings or less chocolate chips and sometimes Reese’s Pieces). It went well with both, but I think it could be enjoyed with many foods. As for the ideal activity for this cider, I must recommend reading outside.

I’d heartily recommend this cider as one to bring to potlucks. Mind you, I’m also likely to buy a 22oz bottle and not share with anyone while I read all afternoon once the semester ends. This is why teachers love summer. The Julian Harvest Apple is a great cider for those who enjoy a crisp cider with some beery characteristics. I do, so I enjoy Julian Hard Cider’s Harvest Apple very much.