Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cider Review Grand Illusion Hard Cider Mystic Citra Pineapple and Stowe High and Dry

This past weekend was one of the local school’s move-in weekends. That means our sleepy little town swelled in population not only because of thousands of incoming students returning, but many of them came accompanied by family and all of their worldly possessions. It’s intense. That made it a great weekend to make a point of sitting on my back porch with cider and cats. I’m happy to say that I survived and tasted some delicious stuff.

For the first time, I’m reviewing a cider by Grand Illusion Hard Cider. The company is from Carlisle, PA. The company both makes hard cider and also runs a restaurant/taproom with weekly table magic event. The whole operation sounds fascinating.

Visit Grand Illusion on the company’s website: https://www.grandillusioncider.com

Before I start my review, I will give the usual caveat that this cider was a sample shared with me for review. That doesn’t change what I taste, but I think it’s important to let folks know when I’m drinking a review sample.

Of the cans Grand Illusion shared with me, I am starting with the Mystic Citra Pineapple. I chose it because it sounds quite summery: just the thing for hiding from crowds in my own backyard.

The official description of the Mystic Citra Pineapple reads, “Has a pineapple ever played tricks on you? This cider will. Floral and fruity with passion fruit, grapefruit, pineapple and lemongrass overtones. Dry hopped with a combination of Cascade and Citra hops.” ABV 6.5%.

Appearance: cloudy, pineapple color, some bubbles

This cider is too cloudy to show many bubbles, but it did froth a bit when poured from the can into a glass. The color reminds me of pineapple, and as the photo shows, this is decidedly opaque.

Aromas: wet green hops, pineapple, sweaty

The Mystic Citra Pineapple certainly lives up to its name in terms of aroma. I can smell hops that are more wet and green grassy than either soapy or piney. My drinking companion detects some sweat notes, which is not uncommon for hopped ciders, but it didn’t strike me as strong. It does also smell like pineapple, but more like canned than fresh.

Dryness/sweetness: semi-dry

This is on the dry side of semi dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, lots of pineapple, bubbly

The Mystic Citra Pineapple tastes a little different than how it smells. Though it smells very hoppy, the flavors include more pineapple than apple or hops. It’s still plenty fruity and herbal. Though the cider tastes juicy, it’s not too sweet. There’s plenty high acid to balance out what sweetness is present, but it’s not crazy high.

The drinking experience changes a little bit as it goes. At first sip, there’s a hint of bitterness that flares first and then fades. The mid palate is mostly pineapple and the after taste reminds me of all the hops I smell in those green aromas.

The cider’s texture is nice and bubbly like a canned cider should be. I think the Mystic Citra Pineapple has a fair amount of body, probably because it's not filtered. This cider is super approachable and easy to drink and fun.

Next up is Stowe Cider’s High and Dry

I’ve had Stowe ciders occasionally since I visited the tasting room two years ago. The company has been around since 2013 in Vermont. The company focuses intently on local ingredients and local collaboration.

I talked about Stowe back in 2016 when I visited the tasting room: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-1.html

I tasted the Local Infusion Snow’s Raspberry Hard Cider back in March: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-rose-and.html

Learn all about Stow Cider online: https://www.stowecider.com/home
The High and Dry is one of the company’s three flagship ciders.
Stowe’s official description reads, “A Super Dry, Brut Like Cider. Apple Forward, Crisp, And Refreshing. 100% Locally Sourced Apples.” ABV: 6.5%.

Appearance: Transparent, warm straw, visible bubbles

This cider is totally transparent. It has a very familiar warm straw hue. I could see bubbles very clearly in this cider.

Aromas: minerals, cooked apples, fermentation, mild funk

From what I can smell, I anticipate this cider being complex. The aromas are slightly reductive, slightly funky, but mostly like cooked apples and fermentation. The High and Dry has lots of nice mineral notes. There's enough going on in the smell that drinking this in a can would be a waste

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This cider knows that it’s dry. It leans into that dryness and makes it work.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium funky, light mouthfeel

The first thing I notice when drinking this cider is its high acidity. Wowza! The High and Dry showcases a medium level of funk. It’s not really tannic, but there's something good about these apples. I like that this cider is dry and astringent. The High and Dry is an austere cider.

In terms of texture, the cider has medium bubble and a pleasantly light mouthfeel. This would be a great cider for people who say they aren't into cider. I think the yeast characteristics could win over some beer fans. It tastes like fermentation and not like raw fruit. I like how bright it is. Overall, this is definitely a winner!

And next weekend the other school has move in! Wish us luck.