Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Very Perry May Pt. 4: Argus, Viuda De Angelon, Cidrerie Daufresne


Wow,  Cider Friends, I can scarcely believe that we're already at week 4 of Very Perry May! I feel like I've learned a tremendous lot about perry, but there are still whole countries and styles I've not yetBlogger: Along Came a Cider - Edit post touched. The perry journey must continue, and for this week I'm trying three more: a Spanish perry, a French perry, and a gingery perry from Texas.

Viuda De Angelon Sidra du Pera

This is my first Spanish perry. I'd been hearing about it, so when I saw a few bottles at my local beer store (the nice kind of beer store that has a fantastic cider selection) I had to pick one up.

You can find out about both the importer and the producers at the following websites:

http://www.cidersofspain.com/

http://www.sidraviudaangelonpomar.es/

And here's the official description: 

VIUDA DE ANGELON SIDRA DE PERA: a sparkling off-dry perry (pear cider)
330 ml., 5.2% alcohol by volume
Produced by Sidra Viuda de Angelón, Nava, Principado de Asturias
In past centuries in Asturias, an ancient source of excellent cider, they pressed apples or pears. Viuda de Angelon has revived the lost tradition of pear cider to produce this longed-for nectar once again, using estate grown pears.

Appearance: brilliant, straw, bubbly

This perry pours with a mild head. It didn't stick around. The color looks like a lot of ciders with that fresh golden straw color. Brilliant and again very bubbly looking.

Aromas: pear, tart, strawberries
smells like fleshy pear for sure, a tiny bit of tartness in smell, approaching vinegar, but nbot there yet. Berries—strawberries specifically. Spring flowers

Sweetness/dryness: semi sweet

This is pleasantly semi-sweet, with a very fresh and natural sweetness. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, flora, sweet, floral

My first impression is how mild this is for a fermented fruit beverage from Asturias. I associate that style with really bold intense flavors, but this perry is more floral. with only aT tiny bit of brininess and acetic acid. The flavors are gently tropical and spicy with no tannins to speak of. Nice light zesty zippy body. 

 First I can taste the sweetness, which is bright and refreshing with yeasty notes, but two seconds later the warmer, lower notes hit. Its not super funky but there is a certain clean sweatiness to the flavor that's more than a bit exciting.

I had this cider with a fresh pepper and tomato salad, sweet corn, and faux chicken nuggets. These light foods complimented its mildness well.


Argus Ginger Perry

For another first, this is my first Argus beverage, but it won't be my last. Read about the company online at: http://www.arguscidery.com

Here's the official description.
ARGUS FERMENTABLES GINGER PERRY 
Ginger Perry delivers a dry pear palate with a tart bite, finishing bright and a bit spicy at the end. Unpasteurized and unfiltered, Ginger Perry is free of back sweetening and added sugars. Best enjoyed ice cold.


Appearance: bright gold, very bubbly to look at, hazy

Aromas: ginger, cola

The ginger smell comes on quite strong. There's not a lot of detectable fruit.

Dryness/sweetness: off dry

This is very tart and off dry. 

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, stony, tropical fruit

The Ginger Perry tastes extremely tart, astringent, bitter, and stony. Yum yum! There's lots of extremely bright fruit that blooms and blooms, but I don't detect a lot of pear notes. Its impossible to ignore the high acid but its pleasant. 

The fruitiness tastes like pineapple, lime, coconut, with a really nice floral undertone. Not really any tannins, but plenty of extremely powerful bubbles. Not very pear or apple like but fun!


Daufresne Poiré

You can read about the perry and the other beverages by Cidrerie Daufresne on the importer website or the homepage. This bottle was shared with me by the kind folks at Wine Sellers Limited.

http://www.winesellersltd.com/wine/Normandy/Daufresne%20Cidrerie/Daufresne%20Poire%20(Perry)%20Cidre/NV.html

http://cidreriedaufresne.com/

Official description: 
A perry pear is gritty, tannic and acidic, which makes it somewhat similar to a cider apple. But that is where the similarities end. Perry pear tannins tend to be rounder than those found in cider apples, and the pears used for perry have less malic acid than cider apples, resulting in a beverage that is less tart and more delicate. The Daufresne Poiré offers clear, sparkling and persistent effervescence and aromas. Tastes of fresh pear fruit, hints of melon and citrus, natural sediments in glass, rustic with a clean pure sweetness, balanced by refreshing acidity.


Appearance: warmly mellow straw, brilliant, bubbly

This cider looks deep and tannic with its deep and warm shade of gold. Its also going to be plenty bubbly!

Aromas: barny, sweet, fruity

This set of aromas is just classic French perry. It smells funky and farmy, but also sweet and fruity. But also, the perry smells like kola nuts. Smells wet and darkly sweet. 

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

Very fruity sweetness

Flavors and drinking experience: plums, caramel, low acid

Though the aromas of this perry made me think of barns, the taste is anything but funky!  This perry's sparkle is instantly surprising and pleasant. I find the flavors very quintessentially French in their fermentation style: fresh fruit, pear in a fleshy way, overripe apples, water, dark honey. I preferred sips to gulps. This is a perry to savor.

Interestingly, as this perry warmed up, the aromas bloomed into including some plum and even prune notes. Perry has low acid, but maybe some manageable levels of acetic acid. 

I had this with breakfast for dinner and good friends (Phil and Jill who are frequently co-tasters and all around fabulous people). We had Phil's blueberry pancakes, roasted tomato halves with seasoned bread crumbs, and veggie bacon, all with real maple syrup of course. This perry is sweet  and light but not simple, so it set off our breakfast selections in a delightful way. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Very Perry May Pt.3: Eve's Cidery, Wyder's, Magner's


Part 3 of Very Perry May is arriving a little later in the week than my first two groups of perry exploration. This is because I travelled to New York City this past weekend to celebrate my anniversary of being married to my favorite co-taster, Alex. We chose the weekend not just because it is our anniversary, but because that's when Midnight Oil was playing New York City! What a concert! Wow! Okay, to return the point. It was fascinating to see what ciders are on shelves and taps in the city these days, and what perries.

Which leads me to my first perry review of the week: Eve's Cidery's Perry Pear.

I was able to get a glass of Eve's Cidery's sold out 2015 Perry Pear at Murray's Cheese Bar (http://www.murrayscheesebar.com/). This is especially exciting as the company doesn't get access to enough pears to make a perry every year.
I've reviewed a few ciders by Eve's Cidery over the course of the blog so far. Here's the brief rundown.

Albee Hill: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/12/cider-review-eves-cidery-albee-hill.html
Autumn's Gold: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/06/cider-review-eves-ciderys-autumns-gold.html
Beckhorn Hollow Dry:http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/cider-review-eves-ciderys-beckhorn.html

Find out all about this Finger Lakes cidery that specializes in both still ciders and bottle conditioned sparkling ciders on the website: https://www.evescidery.com.

Perry Pear's official description reads, "Super aromatic on the nose, sweet cream, vanilla bean, honey and figs mingle with balsam fir. The palate is layered with fresh ripe pear, venison and bitter dandelion. The finish is soft, round, full and filling with a creamy texture."

What's more, you can read the story of this particular perry from 2015 pears, right on the site: https://www.evescidery.com/our-cider/2015-perry-pear/


Appearance: cinnamon sugar gold, brilliant, no visible bubbles

The color makes me think of mellow golden dusting of cinnamon sugar. It has lots of color compared to most perries. Its brilliant and doesn't show off the bubbles that are within.

Aromas: clean barn, fermented fruit, honey

Nothing could be more autumnal and rural than this smells. The notes encompass a clean wooden barn, fermenting fruit, honey, and just a hint of dry firewood. These smells are really raising my expectations for something complex and dry.

Sweetness/dryness: just barely off dry

Beautiful balance. I love how the perry has just enough residual sweetness to let the flavors speak and not a hint more. The dryness is structured and solid. This perry sweetness isn't confusing as sometimes happens. 

Flavors and drinking experience: funky, warmed fruit, acid, leather

Some of those same barn and firewood notes that were present in the aromas remained in the drinking. More prominent was a wild thread of acid, medium-high tannins, and lots of leather. The impression of fall just continues as the subtle acetic acid and sorbitol remind me of leaves in the air, warm wood, and crisp breezes. 

As the picture reveals, I had this perry with three cheese pairings: ricotta and honey, brie and blackberry preserves, and sliced apple with cheddar and edible flowers. It complemented all three. What a treat.

Wyder's Hard Cider: Dry Pear


This is my first Wyder's review. The Dry Pear was shared with me when I was visiting the Woodchuck facility in Vermont this summer. Link to that day of my Vermont trip: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

You can visit the Wyder's site to learn about their portfolio: http://www.wyders.com/pear-cider/

Wyder's official description reads, "This light, crisp cider presents a tangy aroma while offering a distinct pear taste, and ends with a lively mouth feel that tickles the tongue."


Appearance: brilliant, pale, lots of visible bubbles

This has a bubbly light appearance. There's not a hint of haze.
Aromas: apple pear, candied pineapple, ginger

The Dry Pear smells like apple more than pear, but it does smell floral and gingery. It also smells like crystallized sugar. The floral notes remind me of edible orchids.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

Not ambiguous. Not dry. Sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: sweetly ephemeral, perfumed, fruity
This is a relatively easy to understand perry, especially for a cider person like myself. The Dry Pear does have the ephemeral perfumed quality that some perries have. It's initial hit is a bit drier with even a touch of bitterness, but that is quickly replaced by sweetness and fruitiness. It tastes like extremely clean fermentation with a finish that's clean and delightfully aromatic. Like a breath of spring flowers.

This is fundamentally sweet though, I don't see why they call it dry.

Magners Irish Cider's Pear

I have reviewed one Magner's before: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/04/cider-review-magners-irish-cider-plus.html

You can find out more about them online: http://usa.magners.com

Magner's Official Description reads, 

We all need a bit of variety and that’s why we came up with the idea for Magners Pear. Of course, we like to do things properly and don’t mind taking our time, so unlike some Pear ciders, the only fruit that goes into ours is pears. 
Only 100% premium quality pears, which are filtered to get rid of any impurities before being slowly fermented. 
That’s what makes Magners Pear so fresh, fruity and full of flavor. So next time you’re out and wanting a bit of a change, pour a Magners Pear, sit back and enjoy.

Appearance: visible bubbles, light green gold, brilliant

I used my Cider Tasting Mug by 33 Books (https://www.33books.com/products/the-original-cider-tasting-mug
) so I could get the most out of this cider. The mug generally enhances both color and aroma, so it being fairly pale green gold in this mug means it would be even more subtle in glass.

Aromas: floral, pear jolly rancher, white grape

I could smell exactly the clear notes in my above list: pears, Jolly Rancher green apple candy, white grape juice, and a floral atmosphere as well.

Sweetness/dryness: very sweet

The Pear is intensely soda-like in its initial burst of sweetness. This is another sweet perry.

Flavors and drinking experience: sweet, thick mouthfeel, lots of pear, hint of maple

The Pear offers up a thick mouthfeel, which I don't think is necessarily characteristic of perry, but it recalls specifically the flesh of a soft pear. I get a bit of granularity to it. The sweetness hits climatically and slowly fades: the experience of drinking it is a journey down that slope, and there are some nice points along the way, but no changes. Sugar and pear juice are both perceivable, with a little mapleness. 

This interacts interestingly with the air: drinking it from the bottle offers a more beer-like note: the alcohol is more upfront and slightly mutes the sweetness. 4.5%ABV and sent to me in a lovely custom 19.2oz bottle.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Very Perry May Pt 2 : Woodchuck, Dunkertons, and Misson Trail

Welcome to Very Perry May Pt 2! 



Today, I am pretty excited to further develop my understanding of perry and share my thoughts on three more fermented beverages based (at least partially) from pear juice! Two of the brands I'm talking about today have not yet been featured on the blog, so all kinds of repertoire expansion are afoot!

(In case you didn't catch last week, I introduced the series which will be lasting the whole month- https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html)

Dunkerton's Organic Perry



Read about this small cider and perry operation in Herefordshire on the importer's webpage: http://www.winesellersltd.com/wine-brand/Dunkertons.html 

Or their site: https://www.dunkertonscider.co.uk/

Official description: 
A delicious sparkling Perry made from organically grown Perry pears. Though relatively uncommon, the trees are easily identified in Herefordshire’s orchard landscape by their great height and cascading white blossoms; some are over 300 years old. It pours golden and slightly hazy with very gentle bubbles. The nose has over-ripe pear evanescence. A creamy mouthfeel with a good balance between initial sweetness and the dryness of the finish.

Appearance: hazy, warm applesauce color, no visible bubbles


I'm noticing that more perries are hazy than most of the ciders I see on the market. This one decidedly so.

Aromas: overripe fruit, fermenation smells, hint of vinegar

From the aromas, I anticipate that this is going to be wild! Aromas are all about overripe fruit a
s much like fermented apples as pears. The smells include a little acetic acid but in a proper English perry way—actually kinda fun. I also can scent stone, dust, and cool well water, all hints that tannins will be present.

Sweetness dryness: semi-sweet

This is a balanced perry. The start is more dry and bitter but the end is more sweet, but neither is extreme.

Flavors and drinking experience: tannic, fruity, funky, cleary English, approachable

This sparkling perry is quite fruity and a little funky with an unobtrusive vinegar note. I'd call it balanced and clearly english in style. These perry pears have tannic presence and a long finish that has a bit of figgy, acrid sweetness to it—the sorbitol is there. There are loads of ripe fruit qualities as well, including notes of plum and papaya for sure. I like this!


Woodchuck's Summer Time Pear Ginger Cider

Find out about all of Woodchuck's ciders online: http://www.woodchuck.com

Official Description: 
Summer is here, bringing warm, carefree days and fun, festive nights. Woodchuck® Summer Time delivers a crisp pear cider bursting with fresh ginger for a taste that refreshes like a cool jump in your favorite swimming hole. Enjoy the brand that started the American cider revolution. 5%ABV
This strikes me as a little light on content, but luckily, my samples came with a press release with more helpful information, "Summer Time infuses both pear juice and fresh ginger into the cidery’s small batch hard cider." Later in the press release, it is described as a semi-sweet. 

Appearance: brilliant, bright gold, plenty of bubbles

I'm noticing lots of color for a perry; its a bright gold. Its also brilliant.

Aromas: pear, ginger, cherries

This pear cider smells fresh and clean, with lots of tropical fruit, cherries, and ginger.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

Unambiguously sweet. Very fruity. 

Flavors and drinking experience: gingery, lots of cherry flavor, pear

Summer Time Pear Ginger tastes like an intense ginger cherry soda. There is a  background of pear but it stays in the background. My fabulous co-taster and husband says like a hopped cider without the hops." I think he means it is a driven by a bright pop of acid and some sweetness. 


It isn't much like other perries I've tried. The most comparable would by the Wyder's Perry, which will show up next week in Very Perry May Pt 3.

Mission Trail Perry



You can learn about the cidery on their website: http://www.missiontrailcider.com/

Official Description: 
California's only 100% Perry. Pure pear, no apple in this one. This is unlike any other. Exquisite and fruity, this remains peerless in it's flavor, balance, color, and artisinal quality. Soft and round, with pear bursting through, this drink has been crafted to remind you what a freshly picked pear tastes like. This is your uncommon perry. We never use concentrate, add flavoring, or add artificial ingredients, nor do we ever blend with apple cider. This is a pure California 100% Perry, made exclusively from high elevation, mountain pears. 6.0% ABV

Appearance: transparent, light green gold, some bubble

This is a very pretty cider in the glass! It shows a nice springy col. or, brilliant, poured with a lacy mousse that faded quickly.

Aromas: freshly cut pears

Wow! I can scarcely believe how much this smells like unfermented fruit.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet to sweet

This is described on the label as being back-sweetened with fresh pear juice and that shows. It is sweet and juicy.

Flavors and drinking experience: clean, juicy, very very pear like

This tastes like half a dozen fresh fruits: pear, grapefruit, white grapes, pineapple, and honey dew melon. It does not taste like fermented fruit though. The sparkle is pronounced and pleasant. Acidity keeps this lively. There are no tannins and not much yeast character. This does not make me think of perry so much as semi-dry Riesling.  The fermentation is spotlessly clean and unobtrusive.  I can imagine this being tremendously popular for warm weather. 

My second set of perries was as varied as my first. My journey continues next week.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Very Perry May Pt 1: Aeppeltreow, Cidrerie du Vulcain, and Crispin

Happy May, cider lovers! Welcome to Very Perry May. 


This month I'll be reviewing fermented beverages that all include pear. Because tasting perry is less familiar to me than cider, I'm aiming to include a few different perries each week and cover more range. I welcome all comments! Be a part of Very Perry May and let me know what you know about cider's mysterious cousin.

I have occasionally reviewed a perry or cider with pears along and along, but this is the first in-depth exploration I've done of perry on this blog.

From July 2013, my review of Fox Barrel's Pacific Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/07/and-now-for-something-completely.html


More recently, Angry Orchard's Knotty Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/06/cider-review-angry-orchards-knotty-pear.html

A blend of apples and pears in South Hill Cider's 2014 Packbasket: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/04/cider-review-south-hill-ciders-2014.html

Blackberries and pear juice together in Fox Barrel's Blackberry Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/08/perry-review-fox-barrel-blackberry-pear.html

And my only previous experience with quince is from this quince, pear, apple blend Querry?: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/07/last-review-before-big-move-cider.html


I want to start of my Very Perry May right, so this is Aeppeltreow Winery's Perry. (Full disclosure, this bottle was a gift I received at CiderCon from the cidermaker.)


Website: http://aeppeltreow.com/

Official Description: "This Perry is semi-sweet, creamy, fruity, and intensly floral. It is made using the Méthode Champenoise, with Comice and Bosc pears, and a splash of Bartlett Brandy."



Appearance: daffodil yellow, brilliant, lots of large bubbles

I was surprised by how bright this cider is. The color simply shines up from the glass. Its brilliant and the bubbles are large, numerous, and easy to see.

Aromas: melon, pear, tropical fruit

These aromas aren't as different from cider aromas as I would have expected. I definitely smell melon, pear, and tropical fruit, something also smells boozy and rich. I'm getting some hints of banana and caramel also.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet


As the description promises, this perry is semi-sweet. 

Flavors and drinking experience: medium acid, tropical, clean, bubbly.

 I can taste medium levels of acid and some tannic presence. The fermentation is clean and the body is nicely boosted by the sweetness.
Cidrerie du Vulcain La transparente Demi-sec Quince Perry Apple (Swiss)


Official description (from the importer):
Varieties: Transparente de Croncels, Reinette de Champagne, Pomme Raisin, and Rose de Berne.
Terroir: Deep molasse over Valais schist, or moraine gravel mixed with brown clay soil.
Agriculture: Foraged, untreated, high-branched (1.8 to 2m) trees.
Cider-making: Indigenous yeast partial fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Two to three light filtrations ensure that the desired residual sugar levels are attained. Natural prise de mousse in bottle. Low sulfur additions (about 20mg/l) before bottling.
Sweetness: Labelled as demi-sec, tastes near-dry. Approximately 40 g/l.
Perry/quince/cider is the bottom beverage pictured.


When visiting Wassail, I was offered Cidrerie du Vulcain La transparente Demi-sec, which is a blend of Quince Pear and Apple from Switzerland


Appearance: Lovely warm color like apricot mixed with toasted wheat, mousse

This cider had a head when first poured, and it lasted longer than I expected. The color was a lovely shade as if toasted wheat was gently blended with apricot.

Aromas: powdery, sweet, quince and apple

I could sense the quince more in aroma than the pear. The smell is sweet and inviting with something slightly powdery and floral in the aroma.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

This is a mildly sweet cider with lots of fruit. 


Flavors and drinking experience: warm, medium acid, marshmallow

The pear flavors play mostly in the background, but its sweetness is unmistakable. Warm flavor. Medium acid, virtually no tannin. I think this would be so so good with buttery buttery pound cake. The flavors blends well through cream. I noticed green grape flavors after a sip or two. The highlight might be the mild natural marshmallow finish.



The last perry I wanted to introduce today is Crispin's Venus Reigns. I found this at a local bottle shop and the fact that the perry is aged in wine barrels intrigued me.


Official Description: 
The gift of the Golden Pear. 
To distract the gods while he stole fire for mortal man, Prometheus threw a Golden Pear into the courtyard of Olympus with the inscription, “For the most beautiful goddess”.  
This coveted pear was awarded to Venus, goddess of love, sensuality, and beauty. A goddess of nature, revered at springtime, the bringer of joy to gods and mortals.  
Venus Reigns caresses your lips with purity and charm. A soaring achievement of elegance and simplicity. Colfax golden pear wine aged to full maturity in specially selected red wine casks, nished with a gentle kiss of honey.  
Before pouring, give a solid bottoms-up tilt and swirl to disperse sediment evenly and best enjoy the complex aroma and bouquet.  
Best enjoyed at cellar temperature, 50/55F. With or without 1 or 2 ice cubes.

Appearance: saffron, brilliant, lots of bubbles

I actually expected more color from the wine barrels here, so I was suprised by the saffron color. The cider is brilliant with lots of bubbles. 

Aromas: pear, apple, berry, boozy

All sorts of stone fruits and berry notes show up in the aromas. Specifically, I can smell blueberry and blackberry. There's also bourbon presence or general booze barrel like rum, or port. Distantly the cider does show glimpses of banana and cherry; all the fruit aromas were  ripe. This isn't the ethereal delicacy I expect from perry.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

This perry is sweet, but also bitter. Folks who usually only like sweet might be confused by the combination. 

Flavors and drinking experience: sweet, bitter, smoky, minerally

Wow, this perry is sweet! Wow, this perry is bitter! Both of these surprises are true along with  medium-high tannins and nearly no acid. There are flavors that remind me of raisins, stone, mineral, acrid. It's a dessert perry unto itself but don't pair it with sweet desserts (Did not go well with dark chocolate cake). 

The perry plays out a long lingering finish that creeps deeper on the tongue. I can connect that to the more familiar perry flavor of lychee that I associate with Sorbitol, but some of the sweetness is barrel related. There's also smoke and char going on. Venus Reigns offers up a full dynamic, big, taste but a thin mouthfeel. Its hard to imagine this being someone's favorite, but it is certainly interesting. I appreciate the level and style of bubbles: small and active. Perry people: is this what you've been missing? 

Fascinating. I don't know anything quite like it.

That's our start on perries; they are already demonstrably a flexible beverage. I look forward to tasting and sharing more next week.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Visiting Original Stump Blower Ciderworks: Mini-Review Roundup

After Sunday brunch, On a tip from the fine folks at The Owlhouse in Rochester (http://www.owlhouserochester.com) I drove out to the Original Stump Blower Ciderworks Taproom to check out their cider. The weather was glorious, a perfect backdrop to a surprise cider adventure.


To introduce Original Stump Blower Ciderworks, I'll paraprase sister and brother pair of Elise Barnard and Eric Smith own and run Original Stump Blower Ciderworks and its taproom in Lakeville, New York outside of Rochester.The name refers to the illicit cider making and drinking done by their father and his uncle. It was both a code phrase for going drinking and proud claim that the cider was powerful enough to blow up the stumps in which it was hidden. 

They create a lot of cider with fruit additions, barrel aging, or other variations, but it all starts with a base cider made from only NY apples. As often as they can, OSB works with local companies to either source ingredients like Fee Brother Bitters or reuse spent materials like their used chamomile flowers go to a local soap maker for her work.

In just a month, OSB Ciderworks will be celebrating its first anniversary!

You can find out tons more about OSB Ciderworks on their website: https://www.osbciderworks.com 



I was welcomed by Elise who was soon joined by her husband and her brother Eric. They were kind enough to show me what they are pouring and a few projects in production. They were completely welcoming and knowledgeable. Here's a quick run through of everything I tried. I can't share full reviews of all of this, but I'll try to include some commentary for each.

Little Lakes Semi-Sweet  6.9% ABV I'm not too sweet and not too dry. My apple flavor is refreshing and great to enjoy by the lake in the summer or cozied up under a blanket by the fire in the winter. I love to make friends with everyone.
This was a nice safe starter cider. Its right between semi-dry and semi-sweet, slightly high acid, low tannins, with a clean fermentation. I imagine this would be a great seller for bars and restaurants. 
Honey...CHAM YOU DIG IT 6.2% ABV WE CAN DIG IT! I’m all Local baby! Conesus honey and NY chamomile are blended with my NY apple cider base. I'm smooth and flavorful with a chamomile finish. I am good at the bar after a long day or in a bubble bath listing to smooth r&b, share me with lovers and friends... im here to calm your soul!
This was my hands down favorite of the day. I'd call this a semi-sweet but just so herbaceous and different. I love the addition of chamomile in terms of an ingredient that can play well with apple flavor-wise and not dominate the conversation.
Mama Said Hop You Out!  6.9% ABV I’M GONNA HOP YOU OUT! Centennial and Nugget Hops, that are grown in Dansville, NY give me my hoppy aroma and flavor. Don’t pass me up because you don’t like IPA, I'm not bitter, give hops a chance! That first taste its like hearing your favorite 90’s song on the radio!

This is a dry hopped cider, so hops primarily add aroma. That's what the description means when it says that the cider isn't bitter. Its super fresh though and plenty of clean grassy hoppy notes.

You Love it When I call you Hop Papa I don't have an official description or ABV for this one.

This is a wet hopped cider, which almost certainly means that the cider itself has been boiled at some point in the fermentation process. The Hops include Citra and I think Chinook hops. This one tasted darker, dryer, and a touch bitter. A winner for me.


Matcha Man Apple Savage 7.2% ABV I am Matcha Tea Infused hard cider. I'm strong like Randy coming in at 7.2%. My flavor is a bit tart with an earthy dry finish. Tho i don't pair best with Slim Jim's i go awesome with just about everything else.
I'm not the biggest Match fan in the world, so I'm glad this one was a bit more subtle with the additive and offered plenty of apple vibrance in addition to the mild astringence of green tea.
Hold The Crust Apple Pie  6.5% ABV I’m made up of Grandma Fran’s famousapple pie filling. For every gallon of cider we make one pie... hold the crust. I'm spiced with three kinds of cinnamon as well as nutmeg, mace, and clove. I enjoy long walks through crunchy foliage and bar stool conversations. Save dessert and drink your pie!
This is a sweet spiced cider that I can imagine sells tremendously well, not just in the fall but year round. Look for a small run special edition coming up closer to the 4th of July!
Ginger Citrus 6.9% ABV I am a tangy cider with a bitter finish. I am made lovingly by creating an oleo saccharum with lemons and oranges, adding fresh ginger juice and then fermented in barrel that contained Fee Brothers Orange Bitters in them for a year. People who enjoy bitter cocktails (negroni, manhattan, old fasion etc.) tend to flock to me.
This one was excellent. Had good sense allowed me to take home a third small growler, I would have chosen this one. I love bitter and citrus notes, and this cider has them in excellent balance.
The Original 11% ABV I'm the one that started it all! A combination of apples and concord grapes go in to making me a strong and exciting cider. I am fermented until I reach 11% ABV and then I get to chill out in the barrel house in Black Button Whiskey barrels. I'm strong. bold and fun. I am great in cocktails and some people enjoy making french onion soup with me.

Scotch Bonnet Bomber

I don't have an official description for this one, but I do know that in addition to the cider this has a puree of three different pepper varieties added: Scotch Bonnet, Fresno, and Serrano.

Like some other ciders with chilis added, this one has a sharp aroma but a much more balanced flavor. It does have more heat and staying power than I'm used to, even in a chili infused cider, likely because it isn't blended with fruit in addition just peppers and cider. A winner for fans of spice, so I took some home for a dear friend of mine from Texas. 

When it came time for me to make my purchases, I got a small growler of the You Love it When I call you Hop Papa, Honey...CHAM YOU DIG IT, and a smaller container of the Scotch Bonnet Bomber. All lovely ciders. I'll be curious to see where this cider is this time next year. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cider Review: Du Minot Cidrerie's La Bolee Petillante and GLINTCAP


My first cider review of something by Du Minot. I've only had their ciders before once or twice with local friends who brought them back from Quebec. I've never had the chance to review one.

Lots of information on the Du Minot website, which helpfully can be accessed in either french or English. Though it, I learned that Du Minot has been operating out of Quebec since 1987. That's quite an achievement as the cider world did not have lot of support then and has gone through more than its share of ups and downs since that time.

This family business has a most interesting background. I'll let their words tell the story.

From Brittany to Quebec, the Demoy family has been making cider for almost 150 years. Cider enthusiasts, Robert and Joëlle Demoy left their native Britanny in the late 1970s to settle in Quebec and set up Cidrerie du Minot in Hemmingford in 1987.  Over the years, the couple shared their passion with their children Audrenne and Alan who are now ensuring succession. 
Inspired by traditional Breton techniques, Cidrerie du Minot has been producing high quality ciders for over 30 years and collected national and international recognitions. Today, it is with ultra-modern equipments that Cidrerie du Minot develops more than a dozen ciders

This cider was a gift from my friend Eric West of Cider Guide (https://ciderguide.com/) who will be working on GLINTCAP this week, but more on that at the end of the post. I'll also be managing his newsletter this week and next week, so wish me luck!

The Du Minot website helpfully has information on their ciders in both French and English: http://www.duminot.com/fr/cidres/

Today's cider is their La Bolee Petillante which is sold in an adorable small single-serve bottle with nice transparent modern labelling.  This cider has a quite low ABV at 4.5%; that  helped me decide to reach for it on a rainy spring afternoon. I like having options of radically different ABVs in my cellar.

The official description of the cider follows:

METHOD (NATURAL EFFERVESCENCE)
Ripe apples are picked, crushed and gently pressed. The must is fermented at low temperatures to preserve all the aromas. Finally, a second fermentation in sealed tanks provides the natural effervescence that is unique to this type of sparkling cider. 
TASTING NOTES (4.5% ALC./VOL.)
This sparkling cider at 4.5% alc./vol. with delicate aromas of apples and pears is refreshing on the palate. It has a pleasant acidity and fine bubbles, giving it all its elegance.
The apple in this cider are McIntosh, Cortland, Empire, Spartan.



Appearance: Brilliant,  few visible bubbles, straw color 

The color is just a hint warmer and more apricot than most ciders that I'd call straw, but its a subtle distinction.

Aromas: bready, sweet, cooked apple

Smelled from the neck of the bottle is restrictive but smells pleasantly sweetly bready. It actually reminds me of the aromas of Doc's Draft Original. When poured out of that container into a more open glass, a creaminess joins the aromas. There's some soft apple in the mix as well.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This a sweet cider, but something about the sweetness strikes me as different. This is a very nectar-like sweetness that's thick and rich.

Flavors and drinking experience: juicy,caramel, rich, mellow, fruity

I'd like to start by mentioning that this cider doesn't fit into the usual categories and styles I am most familiar with. It's different! This does have some of the qualities of a Bretagne cider, but it isn't just an example of that. This cider has its own style.

The cider offers up medium high acid with a nice zing of bubbles. Part of what makes this so unique is that combination of rich intense fruitiness with notably clean fermentation. Let me say it again and again- this cider offers up lots of apple in aroma and flavor. One of the other standout characteristics is the very thick mouthfeel. 

Its mellow, rich, slightly oxidized. Its remarkably tasty. I'm not often a real fan of sweet ciders, but this is special. Even so, I'd still probably not reach for a cider like this often. The rich mouthfeel is intense, and my preference do run more towards the austere and dry. 

Have this cider with something light and sweet. I'd recommend it with a panna cotta, homemade poundcake, or even on its own. Its a magical experience.




There's something else cider-tastic on my mind this week. That's because the 12th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) will be happening from April 19-22, 2017 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the past three year's I've judged and had a simply fantastic time. Unfortunately, the timing didn't work out this year, but I know I'll have GLINTCAP on my mind this week. 

Here's coverage of previous years. 

The lead up to my first GLINTCAP: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/03/driving-out-for-glintcap-judgingand.html

GLINTCAP 2014 the full experience: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/04/finally-my-fabulous-time-at-glintcap.html

2015 GLINTCAP results and my Magner's Original review: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/04/cider-review-magners-irish-cider-plus.html 

And most recently, GLINTCAP 2016: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/04/my-experience-at-glintcap-2016-worlds.html

Best of luck to all competitors and judges!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cider Review: Grisamore Cider Works 24.4 Squared


Very recently, a new and relatively local cider cider company appeared on the shelves of my usual cider shop and started appearing on the dinner tables of my friends. Great news for me; I'm always keen to try something new and local! Two friends were kind enough to save a bottle to open when we were dining together one cold February evening. 

This is how I found out about Grisamore Cider Works, and I don't know a tremendous amount about these new neighbors. Simon Ingall (with his brother Jesse), works on his family farm and launched the hard cider business. Grisamore hit the scene with their first four releases this past fall, though I started seeing them around my usual haunts in early February. That's when I got to taste the 24.4 Squared.

You can see pictures of the farm and the cidermaking process on the Grisamore website:

http://grisamoreciderworks.com

Or, you can also find them on Facebook for product updates and the most up-to-date information: https://www.facebook.com/grisamoreciderworks/

Today, I'm sharing my review of Grisamore Cider Works' 24.4 Squared. This cider is named after the geographic footprint of Locke, New York. That's where the orchard is and where the apples and cider maker come from. I couldn't find very much information online about any of their cider styles, but I did see a very brief description on Untappd, "An easy, drinking cider with tropical notes, aged on Citra hops" The cider is 6% ABV. I wish I had more information on the apples or more of what this cider is aiming for, but I'm curious. We'll find out more by tasting.

Appearance: warm, still, transparent

Neither hazy nor brilliant, this cider is transparent. It doesn't show any visible bubbes in the glass. The color could be described as like warm homemade applesauce. Between the warm color and level of clarity, it gives off a rustic vibe.

Aromas: laundry, grass, tropical fruits

This cider smells astonishingly like laundry and lawn clippings, along with some white wine tropical notes. The hopped nature of this cider dominates the smells.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This cider offers up a nice initial sweetness that doesn't linger. The finish is cleaner and drier than I would expect from that first burst of flavor.

Flavors and drinking experience: Green tea, cold minerality, woody

So very very interesting. After that first hint of sweetness, the flavors become more herbal. They remind me of green tea, sweet grasses, and fresh saplings. These flavors are very savoy, they even veer into a slightly metallic territory before resting at cooling and minerally.

My more holistic and less detailed impression after a few sips, is that the 24.4 Squared is so fresh and fun! I'm thrilled to add this local cidery to my mix, and I cannot wait to try the rest of what they are doing!

I had this with a wintery meal with homemade pasta, red sauce, and softly cooked carrots and celery, but that was back in February. The next time I have this, I'll do something more summery, as I think that's how to best show off the best qualities of hopped ciders. I like them with light and mustard rich potato salads, with fish tacos, and with pizza of any stripe. Man, I'm making my own mouth water thinking about this cider with pizza. Yum.