During a brief break, I did get to try cider from a part of the United States whose ciders I know much less well. I found a bottle of AeppelTreow's Barnswallow Draft cider. AeppelTroeow comes from its own winery/cidery/distillery in Wisconsin. You can read a bit about the products and processes on the company's website: http://aeppeltreow.com. The website has some useful information, but it is a bit more perfunctory than inspiring. More thrillingly, they do have a tasting room, so one can go visit AeppelTreow when in Wisconsin.
In looking at how AeppelTreow describes its own identity as a cider producer, here is the bullet list of points they emphasize online.
- Use of locally grown fruits and crops.
- Use of special purpose, heirloom cultivars.
- A minimalist production approach
- A lighter style that lets the subtle flavors come through.
So the cider I'm trying today is AeppelTreow's Barnswallow Draft Cider.
Here's what they say about it: "Crisp and refreshing, Green apple, tart, slightly bubbly." Followed by another of their bullet point lists.
- Body: Smooth
- Sweetness: 2
- Tartness: 5
- Alcohol: 6%
- Apples: Red Delicious, Cortland, Ida Red, Greenings
- Available: 750mL, 5.16 gallon keg
Appearance: Brilliant, topaz, beautiful tiny bubbles on the glass
Apologies for the cheesiness of using my husband's music paper for a cider shot, but I couldn't resist. The cider shows total brilliance, not even a hint of haze. The color is an intense definite topaz. More yellow than many ciders but a shade more leaning into green than orange, still a relatively pale non-green yellow. This seems perfect for a November birthday girl like me. Though the photo doesn't show them perfectly, this cider does have tight little bubbles that cling to the glass.
Aromas: applesauce, overripe apples, sweet
Smells like one of the apples involved was brought in especially for aroma. I'd guess that to be one of the dessert varieties, either the Red Delicious or the Cortland. Both provide good aroma to cider. Perhaps yeast and baking smells are a distance second. Very approachable.
Sweetness: Semi-dry or Dry with a semi-sweet finish
I agree with AeppelTreow that their ciders tend dry, but so does my palate. The start of this even has some pleasant bitterness. But by the finish, I can taste a lot more fruit and it becomes a bit sweet.
Flavors and drinking experience: bittersweet, medium low acid, mellow
I know I said a variation of this before when talking about sweetness, but it matters here too. A first sip of this cider starts with a bittersweet note that unfolds into mellow fruits. I really enjoy how it develops even in one sip. The fruits are soft and warm yet tart: like a tart apple you've let warm in your jacket pocket while taking a spring walk. Sorry to get a bit imagistic, but that's what it made me think.
The finish and aftertaste are sweet but subtle. It really does balance tartness and sweetness well. The level of carbonation is not as aggressive as even some craft producers which should suit lots of cider fans quite well as well as making the cider more appealing to those who don't usually drink cider.
For right now, I'd suggest drinking this cider with dinner and then bringing a second glass to the couch with a flower or seed catalog. This is the perfect time of year for dreaming of planting and planning a garden, and this cider seems just right for a little day dreaming. Happy March!