Tonight I'm reviewing my second cider by Julian Hard Cider. You can see their website here: http://julianhardcider.biz/ and my first review of their Harvest Apple Cider here: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/05/cider-review-julian-hard-cider-harvest.html. I include more brand background and information there. I'd been curious about this cider ever since I heard that they make a cider with blackberry and blueberry juices. I eventually ran across a few bottles in a New York City Whole Foods. I nabbed one and saved it for a rainy night.
When reading about this cider, I found this official description on the Julian Hard Cider site: "Get ready to rumble with our new Julian Hard Cider Black and Blue! 100% fresh-pressed, with no apple juice concentrates, we make all our hard cider from the freshest apples in the United States. This gluten free, 100% natural hard cider is infused with the juice of American-grown and sustainably farmed Blackberries and Blueberries. All our recipes have their roots in the rich, Colonial American tradition of cider making. Julian Hard Cider’s Black and Blue is bringing the fight to the present day! At 6.99% ABV, this cider definitely packs a wallop!" This isn't a lot of useful information, but I'll judge the cider by its taste. I do love blackberries and blueberries, so if it isn't overly sweet, this cider could be just exactly up my alley.
Appearance: deep blackberry, visible bubbles
I had trouble photographing this cider because the color is very difficult to capture. The Black and Blue Cider is a very dark red-purple. The color obviously comes from the blueberries and blackberries because it simultaneously has the reddish and blueish notes of each juice. A fascinating color. I couldn't really decipher the clarity because of the color and the bubbles, but I can say it looks beautiful in the glass.
Aromas: blackberry, blueberry, apple, citrus
The smells don't surprise me, but I love how much fresh fruit is coming through. No notes of candy or anything articificial here! It is easy to smell both berry types and fresh apples quickly followed by a ghost of citrus. This cider smells promising.
Sweetness: semi-sweet, complex, bitter
The Black and Blue Cider tastes darkly bitter and also sweet. This is so interesting! I imagine the cider comes across this way because of the different sugars and acids at play together, but I love how it works.
Flavors: fresh blackberries, citric acid, apple
Julian Hard Cider has made a fruity cider so freakin' delicious. This is not my usual thing, but the acidity dark fruit flavors make it soard above average. Bitter, sweet, and zingy! The flavors are all fruit. This probably limits the cider a bit in terms of food pairing, but I don't even care. Yum.
Drinking Experience: For desserts and snacks
I had this with double-chocolate cookies while listening to rain drizzling against my windows. I am in love. As for more traditional pairings, I would suggest this cider either on its own, with cheese, or with dessert. It isn't really a meal cider, but it does not need to be. In terms of activities, you could enjoy this cider while doing almost anything fun. I wouldn't pair it with doing taxes or chatting with dullards, but it sparkles alongside good conversation or peaceful loafing. I recommend the loafing.
This just in! I checked Julian Cider's Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/JulianHardCider) only to see that they have three more exciting varieties coming soon. So now, just on the heels of satisfying my curiousity so happily, I'm already excited for the next mystery cider. Such is life.