These are the weeks when lots of folks travel or move. Yes, its hot, but I love the quiet of staying in town through upstate's high summer. Things slow down; I walk on nearly desert college campuses in evenings. I watch the backyard wildlife from my porch, usually with a cider. Today's cider is a red cider from Michigan, another hard to find cider I obtained by trading with Darlene Hayes of Cider Cocktails: Another Bite of the Apple. Thanks again, Darlene!
This is The Mad Russian by Eastman's Forgotten Ciders. This small cidery comes from Wheeler, Michigan; it grew out of a specialty orchard, Eastman's Antique Apples. The company cares tremendously about heritage apples and the history of hard cider. This is part of how they introduce themselves:
We aim to produce cider reminiscent of our forefathers and founders - when cider was safer than water and the preferred drink of presidents and farm workers alike. We are enjoying a return to drinking cider across the nation and country, and look forward to providing this unique beverage with a great history and taste.Find out more about them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EastmansForgottenCiders/
This will be my first review of anything by Eastman's Forgotten Ciders. The Mad Russian's official descriptions vary on the bottle and on various beverage rating websites, but the bottle's promotional copy was too entertaining not to share.
Driven into a fit of rage from running out of this blood-red hard cider, The Mad Russian has lived up to his nickname. The crisp red cider is concocted from a combination of Russian red-fleshed, crab and heirloom apple varieties- leading to its red state. This semidry, tart cider will kick you in the teeth with its taste and drive you into a madness for wanting more. Go ahead and try a glass; just make sure you have enough to keep your sanity.Now, let's find out how this Mad Russian tastes.
Appearance: Brilliant, ruby, ringed with bubbles
There's no mistaking this color for anything other than deep ruby red. Though the color shines red, the cider is brilliant. My picture shows the ring of bubbles.
Aromas: grapes, tart cherries, apples, peaches and plums
Just bringing my face near the glass shows off how much this cider smells like plums, grapes, tart cherries, along with apples and peach. It offers tons of fruit. It doesn't smell exactly like unfermented through there, there's that hint of extra tart acid and some zing that tell me this will be real cider and not juice.
Ooh! This cider isn't sweet. It has almost everything going for it without any sweetness.
Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, med-high tannin, fruity
The Mad Russian tastes excitingly bitter, dry, and astringent. This is a serious cider! It's tart but not in the pointed or sharp way of many Finger Lakes dry ciders. Its dry while being fruity and tannic! These tannins take a moment to unfold, but they are here.The overall effect is massively stimulating and fun. This cider hits with acid right away but then backs off.
I love finding ciders like this that remain fruity and dry. I find this refreshing and rare. To speak more specifically about the fruit flavors; they shine as bright slightly under-ripe fruit- maybe a little nutty. This cider has a light body and medium high bubble.
You could pair this cider with anything rich and full bodied. I recommend a pairing of pasta with cream sauce and Game of Thrones for this equality surprising and rewarding cider. High drama television deserves a show stopping cider, and this one can deliver.