Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cider Review: Woodchuck Belgian White

I'm reviewing a Woodchuck cider for the first time since my introductory post for Along Came A Cider. I begin this blog with a review of their Winter seasonal cider:  In that review, I give a more thorough introduction to Woodchuck as a brand, but as always you can check out their website too: But what I can has changed is that now Woodchuck has further diversified their lines and has not only the seasonals and the private and barrel reserves, but they also introduce a cellar series cider from time to time. Look for my review of their first Cellar Series, their hopped cider soon.

As for today though, I'm reviewing the Belgian White. This is one of their limited offering that focuses on fermentation experiementation, in this case both their choice of yeast and some additives in the style of a Belgian Witbier. In terms of beer that means that in the last 15 minutes or less of the boil dried orange peel and coriander are added. Since there's no heating in cider making, I'm curious about when these additives go in. Let's take a look at what Woodchuck says about their cider:"A handcrafted treasure, the ultra-limited edition Private Reserve Belgian White, is crafted with a classic Belgian beer yeast. Cloudy, with a rich, golden hue, it presents a delicate aroma and taste, with coriander and orange notes. It pairs excellently with seafood fare, mixed greens or sharp cheeses. Join the select few who get an exclusive taste of the fruits of our labor." I love these pairing suggestions, so we'll see how this cider tastes. 
Appearance: very hazy, warm apricot

The Belgian White is nearly cloudy but in pretty consistent suspension which makes it strongly hazy. The cider looks warm apricot in color. It didn't maintain a head once poured.

Aromas: dusty, sweet very little aroma

This doesn't have a lot of fruit aroma. I enjoy the dustiness of the smell, but I do wish it smelled more.

Flavors: citrus, apple, stone

Whatever creates the stony elements in this cider's aroma suites me fine! Minerality is a lovely element.

Sweetness: Sweet

This is definitely a sweet cider. It isn't too desserty and overwhelmingly fruity in its sweetness, but nonetheless the sweetness is probably a bit more than the style requires. 

Drinking Experience: perfect level of carbonation.

I had this with fish and chips. I enjoyed it plenty in that context. I'm not sure I'd try this cider without a food accompaniment, but I do think that Woodchuck provides a great list of food pairings. I think they are correct to choose seafood, sharp cheeses, and greens. This is defnitely a cider for a social weekend lunch. It is light and easy and fun.

Conclusion: Some folks knock Woodchuck. I admit I've grown less fond of some of their ciders over my time as a cider fan. I feel like I can taste the use of apple juice concentrate. But I genuinely like several of their seasonal and small batch ciders and this is among them. I'd not suggest trying to share it with serious fans of Belgian Witbiers. Allow it to be what it is: a cider with plenty of drinkability and some fun mineral notes.