Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cider Review: 1911's Founders Reserve Hopped Hard Cider and FLX Cider Week!

We're only a few day away from  Finger Lakes Cider Week! Yes, fall begins at the Equinox, but this is just about the most joyful celebration of fall and harvest that I do every year. So, while I'm counting down the days, I want to share my review of a cider from our region: 1911. 

My friend Yann made this cider for 1911 where he is now the head cider maker. He delivered this to my house some months ago to show me what he's been up to there. Yann's move to 1911 was part of the company's significant re-investment, renovation, and development of the cider side of the business. Beak and Skiff had been running as a large orchard successfully for quite some time (hence the name) and had branched out into spirits and cider using their own orchard fruit.

1911 has sometimes mistakenly been called Beak and Skiff because that's the name of the orchard from whence the apples come, and I admit I've made that mistake myself. Just for the record, the cider is 1911.

Before the new facility and long before I knew the cider maker, I reviewed a previous release of theirs:  http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/06/cider-review-beak-and-skiffs-1911.html

But, as I said, things have changed a lot for 1911, so consider this review my first under present conditions. You can learn more about 1911 cider on the website: 

But I encourage you to look not just at the ciders, but also at the apple spirits. 

Official Description

Founders’ Reserve Hopped Hard Cider is a sparkling cider made with a combination of classic American bittering and aromatic hops. Fruit-forward with a floral nose.  A subtle sweetness balances the light bitterness to give a smooth, slightly resinous finish. Semi-Dry, 6.9% ABV. 22 IBUs.

Inspired by some of our favorite American craft breweries, this cider continues the innovative streak pushing cider into the 21st century. Our unique hopping process maximizes the aroma and flavor of our specially selected hop blend.


Appearance: brilliant, very few visible bubbles, squash yellow

This cider doesn't give too much away about how it will taste based on appearance. It shows a nice yellow that reminds me of a Delicata squash. Its brilliant and doesn't have a lot of apparent bubble action.

Aromas: strawberry, cherry, cucumber, so fruity

Okay, I am getting so much from the smells in this cider. I can distinctly smell strawberry, sour cherries, grapefruit, but also lots of cucumbers and even a hint of ripe zesty tomatillos. All in all this cider stands out for smelling super green. and fresh. I don't get as much distinct hoppy flavors so much as fresh, green, and tons of fruit.

Dryness/sweetness: semi-dry

This cider tastes semi-dry with tons of acid. There's a lot going on here besides sweetness and dryness though.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, hoppy, clean

The first thing I notice in the taste of this cider is its very high acidity with a grapefruity hoppy zest. The cider is astringent but sweet enough enough to be highly and immediately drinkable. In terms of mouthfeel, I get a medium bubble. The 1911 Founders Reserve Hopped Hard Cider is noticeable for its very clean fermentation. 

The cider's main features are nice even acidity and well balanced hop and apple. In terms of the fruit, rather than tasting the same fruits as I smelled, there's more a lychee note.  I really enjoy the pleasantly warm quick-fading bitterness. The bigger the drink, the sweeter it seems, while staying in the semi-dry range.

I loved having this cider with grilled sundried tomato pizza. Though I had mine while summer's heat was lingering, I can easily see this cider's appeal stretching into fall.