Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cider Review: Doc's Draft Peach Hard Apple Cider

Finally, finally, finally, after many fits and starts, spring is springing. Though we had new snow flying through the air a week ago, now all of the grass grows greenly and humans appear to be emerging from their winter coat chrysalides (yes, that is an appropriate plural for chrysalis, and yes I had to look it up). Anyhow, beyond just feeling wonderful, this change of season also means a change of cider.

I'm not sure that spring needs its own series of seasonally appropriate ciders, but I know I'm ready to move away from the warming and heavy ciders into more fruity, sparkly, light ciders. They can be as dry or sweet as they need to be, but these ciders need to pair with a whole different range of foods. I've opened up my favorite room in the house, my screened in porch, and many meals and ciders will be consumed there. Imagine semi-indoor picnics, guacamole, frittatas, lighter soups, and mighty salads. Maybe even some cider-based mixed drinks.

But to get things started, I want to try a cider that breaks the winter pattern boldly! So I'm going with Doc's Draft Peach Hard Apple Cider. I cannot imagine a fruit that piques my interest more right now, and there aren't many ciders that use peach.

Though I could find nothing about this particular cider on the Doc's Draft website, I'm linking to it anyway. It has basic information about most of their ciders and about visiting the winery.

I do recommend visiting, especially now that the weather inspires exploration and enjoyment. Spring time mini-getaways are the absolute best.

To check out my previous reviews of Doc's Draft Ciders take a look at these links. I've evidently tasted more of theirs than I'd realized.




Cranberry Spice:

Of those, I probably like their hopped cider best, but I know I've got a soft spot for the pumpkin as well. Shameful perhaps to the purists but I like it, and pumpkin such a very difficult style to make tasty. But that's a condundrum for fall and not for today. But back to today and reviewing Doc's Draft Peach Hard Apple Cider.

The official description of Doc's Draft Peach Hard Apple Cider can no longer be found on their website, but I tracked it down to share nonetheless. It doesn't say too much though, "Doc's Draft Peach Hard Apple Cider made from freshly pressed NYS apples and peaches, fermented with champagne yeast. Deliciously refreshing!" I wish I knew when the peach was added, the ratio of peach and apple, and the varieties of both peaches and apples. Ah well, I usually want to know more.

Appearance: brilliant, warm gold, visible bubbles

This color is more nuanced and interesting than my photo shows. It is a brilliant cider with one layer of visible bubbles at the bottom of the glass, but what's interesting is the color. It has a bright warmth that seems to defy most shades of gold, straw, or yellow. When looking up colors it reminds me most of a shade called Stil de grain yellow which was made historically from unripened buckthorn berries.

Aromas: roasted nuts, dust, sweetness

This ciders smells like dust and stones, a surprisingly common blended aroma. After doing the sensory analysis training, I've come to associate this smell with perceivable levels of sulfites. The Peach cider also offers up aromas reminiscent of roasted nuts. I can definitely find some vegetal notes as well. Interesting.

Sweetness/Dryness: sweet

This cider has plenty of sweetness. Thankfully it is more like a fruity but also burnt marshmallow sweetness rather than anything artificial or too sticky. The sweetness is pleasant.

Flavors and drinking experience: peach, apricot, apple, high acidity

First, I must say that this cider tastes very peachy! The intensity of flavor surprises me after the mildness of the aroma. Primary notes are apricot, peach, and apple. The other dominant impression this cider gives is high acid. The acid tastes more acetic than either malic or citric. The Peach Hard Apple Cider bursts with high levels of bubbles. The taste vanishes in a short uniform finish. If pressed to describe some of the fruit flavors in more detail, I think of cooked peaches blended with a little note of booziness. Adding to the complexity, I also get a little nice bite of bitterness at the back of the tongue.

In thinking about pairing this cider, I think it could go beautifully with a number of fruit based desserts. I actually saw a recipe for a rhubarb custurd pie that strikes me a perfect for this cider:

I could also imagine having this cider with a simple pancake brunch before going out on a long walk. All of my imaginings put this sweet cider with more mildly sweet and creamy bready foods. I think that's the best way to enjoy its high acid fruitiness. In any case, get out there and enjoy spring with any cider you can!