Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cider Review: Cider Creek Hard Cider's Cascade Hopricot (Pt 1 of the Hops+Apricot Cider Showdown)

After writing for a while about my faraway travels, I feel like I need to return to my cider home of New York state. We've got the most cideries of any state in the United States of America! Recent I visited a newer cidery called Cider Creek Hard Cider in Canisteo. 

Read about them on their website: http://www.cidercreekhardcider.com  Several weeks ago, they invited me to go out and visit their production facilities and the site of their future tasting room. Though it is just a couple hours away, it was a perfect late spring thrill to attempt to befuddle my phone's GPS and go out into the country to see where this cider is made.  

When I made it out there, I got to meet everyone Melanie and Kevin Collins (Necessary aside, I feel so proud to see my own last name representing in the cider world!). The assistant cidermaker Marty Kelleher, and yes, I did get to meet Rocky the adorable cider dog.

Kevin and Melanie were so welcoming! They shared so much of their time and story, and I got to see their facilities from top to bottom. Homemade kegs washers, beautiful rum barrels, gleaming tanks filled with cider, hops, pineapple juice. Wait a moment...pineapple juice? Yes, part of what makes Cider Creek different is their drive to try new and exciting ways to make cider. They are the opposite of traditionalists; Kevin and his cider making crew want to change preconceived notions about cider by making new and different ciders.

And for more up to date news, you can always visit with Cider Creek on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/cidercreekhardcider?fref=ts

Today, I'm reviewing their Cascade Hopricot, a special release for spring 2015. Here's what Cider Creek Hard Cider has to say about this one.
6.5% ABV, 500ml bottle, Gluten free.

Our unfiltered Cascade Hopricot Hard Cider is a blend of our sweet cider made from 100% New York State apples and all natural apricot puree. It's fermented with a West Coast Ale Yeast and finished by dry hopping with New York State Cascade Hops. This yeast strain allows the tangy citrus hop flavors to really punch through. Enjoy the complex fruit profile and semi-dry, crisp, finish. Available in limited quantities in New York and Massachusetts.
 Appearance: cloudy, peachy, with suspended dots of color

Wow! The Cascade Hopricot looks very cloudy and opaque. The color is peachy pastel orange, with dots of darker orange made visible when I hold my glass up to the light. Because it is unfiltererd, I expected a significant amount of sediment, and I wasn't surprised. The Cascade Hopricot shows as much as any cider I've had. 

Aromas: Belgian beer yeast, orange, herbaceous

Smelling this cider is like experiencing one hundred tiny breezes: some from citrus groves, others from herb gardens, and some from Belgian breweries. The overwhelming impression is one of cooling fruitiness. My favorite part is the frisson of herbal notes which is likely the hops. At first I smell fruit, but then herbal and yeasty notes overtakes the citrus. 

Dryness/sweetness: quite dry

This dryness struck me as a big surprise given how fruity the aromas are. 

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity yet dry, high acidity, complex

Very fruity—very strong apricot notes but not much apple. This cider is decidedly tangy and cleanly sour with crisp finish. It has low to no tannins. I tastes loads of citrus, melon rind, a little bitterness and wet coolness but it remains fruity. I can compare it eating watermelon rind soaked in apricot juice and mint leaves. There's also one tiny hint of rubber tire as the glass approaches and the cider hits, but not too much to be anything other than interesting.  I get a little yeast in the flavors but the cider tastes much less boozy than its 6.5 ABV. I love how cooling and pleasantly hoppy it tastes. The cider offers medium high carbonation, which is always a plus in my world. Overall it is fruity, cooling and complex: really neat and different. This probably won't be a favorite for traditionalists, but that just leaves more for the rest of us.

I had the Cascade Hopricot with the best corn on the cob of the summer and veggie chicken nuggets (don't judge me!).  Coming soon will be my encounter with the only other cider made with hops and apricot (Rev. Nat's Hallelujah Hopricot) and we'll see how the two compare.