Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cider Review: Embark Craft Ciderworks' American Hopped Cider also CiderCon 2017 is coming!

Back to summer cider notes once more this week. I tasted this cider on my back porch in July, and I've had it several times again since then. My review is therefore overdue. I was reminded of this cider when I had it recent at The Watershed (http://www.thewatershedithaca.com/).

Embark has only appeared in this blog as the creators of Cider Fest 2016 which was part of Finger Lakes Cider Week last year. I guest poured there and had a fabulous time.  


Embark Craft Ciderworks describes the people behind their company as, "As farmers first and foremost." The cidery has grown out of Lagoner Farms just outside of Rochester, New York. The cidermakers, Jake and Chris, both come from local agricultural backgrounds. They write about local food, the importance of apples, and their growing orchard filled with apple varieties chosen for the qualities they bring to cider. 

Theyalso have a taproom you can visit on the farm. 

You can read more about Embark Ciderworks on the website: https://embarkcraftciderworks.com

And keep up to date with events and recent developments on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/embarkcraftciderworks/

But for now, let's turn to the American Hopped Cider. This is how it is described by the folks at Embark:
Estate grown Autumn Crisp apples fermented and then dry-hopped with Cascade, Centennial, & Columbus hops that we sourced from a neighboring farm. A brillantly balanced cider with just a touch of sweetness and hop aromatics that add to the complexity of an already complex cider.

Appearance: brilliant, creamed honey color, lots of visible bubbles

The American Hopped pours with a head that doesn't vanish as quickly as some. I would describe the color as creamed honey. This cider has plenty of very fine visible bubbles. It makes my mouth water to look at it. This picture doesn't show how brilliant this cider is because of the condensation on the glass, but rest assured, you could read through it.

aromas: fresh apple, hops, mint

Immediately, I can smell fresh apples from the cider. Because it is often sold in cans, I'd recommend pouring it into a different vessel if you want to enjoy the full aroma. The particular type of hop smell that accompanies the apple is a clean and herby one with secondary citrus characteristics. The smells meld together such that my notes are cold apple and mint as well as hops. Very summery.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

The American Hopped Cider is unambiguously semi-sweet and accurately labelled as such on the back of the can. Great job, guys, accurate labelling is surprisingly rare.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, balanced, easy drinking

As strange as it sounds today, this cider is perfect for a hot day, but its also lovely when in a warm and bright place. The semi-sweetness is balanced by its high acid. The hops and apples work brilliantly in concert to make a unified taste experience that doesn't drown out either element. Cheers, this is my number one goal for a hopped cider! I did find the hop flavor to be piney, citrusy, and a little sweaty, but oh so pleasantly so. The citrus struck me in a particuarly lemony way.

As for pairing, I paired this with relaxing on the porch in summer and just watching my back yard. Most recently I paired it with local bakery bread, tomato garlic dipping oil, and unwinding with the best coworkers on the planet at The Watershed. Both worked brilliantly, and I predict it the cider would also work well with a corn and potato chowder and warm afternoon at home. 

Also, don't forget we are now less than a month away from Cider Con in Chicago!! 

There you will find multiple tracks of the best cider education, business planning, operations help, tasting, socializing and general cider merriment. I've attended twice, and I now look forward to it all year. Join us!

The link for registration is tinyurl.com/CiderCon2017