Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cider Reviews: Woodchuck Ciders' Bubbly Rose & Awestruck Cider's Hometown Homicider + NYC Cider Week

October starts getting dark and darker and darker still. But with Halloween, we balance out all things dark and scary with plenty that’s sweet and fun. So, in honor of the sweet side of the season, I want to review two fun semi-sweet or sweet seasonal pics! Hopefully that’s not too scary for the cider purists out there! ; ) I promise I’ll be back next month with some love for ya!

I’m excited to finish up the month with one last Halloween pick for the year, Awestruck Cider’s Hometown Homicider! When we get there, don’t forget to check out the minimal yet totally evocative label! But to begin with a semi-sweet  look back to summer with Woodchuck Ciders’ Bubbly Rosé. This cider is all dressed up in pink and ready for a party!

I’ve reviewed a number of Woodchuck’s ciders over the year’s of the this blog. Here are just a smattering of the more recent reviews. 

I still miss Woodchuck’s June and Juice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/10/cider-review-woodchucks-june-and-juice.html

There are a couple different versions of the Local Nectar: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-woodchucks-local-nectar.html

I reviewed the Pear Ginger as part of Very Perry May this year: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-review-of-woodchucks.html

And I also liked their pepper-blended Hot Cha Cha Cha: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/03/cider-review-woodchucks-hot-cha-cha-cha.html

You can read all about Woodchuck’s ciders and events online: http://www.woodchuck.com

Woodchuck Bubbly Rosé

The official description is relatively short, “A bubbly, fruit-forward blush cider made with a blend of red apples delivering a crisp mouth feel” so i want to include a few quotes from the press release that I think give some helpful background. 

I really enjoyed how this quote contextualizes both of the new can releases, “with our newest offering, we are inspired by wine. Woodchuck is excited to introduce Bubbly Rosé and Bubbly Pearsecco ciders.” Woodchuck is framing these ciders in reference to popular wine styles. And here’s just a little more about the cider itself, “Taking a bite out of the Rosé wine category, which is experiencing meteoric growth, Woodchuck’s Bubbly Rosé is crafted using a blend of red apples and back sweetened with fresh juice to deliver a balanced cider with a pink hue and elevated carbonation for a sparkling crisp fruit forward taste.” The ABV for the Rosé is 6.1%

For full transparency, this is a sample that was shared with me for review. 

Appearance: deep pink, brilliant, some bubbles

This is one pretty cider! The clarity is just so brilliant. It shines. It’s a deep rich pink with a few visible buttles. They use purple carrots to enhance the color. 

Aromas: hibiscus, minerals, berries, dust

The Rosé smells very much like hibiscus. For those unfamiliar, all of the red tart notes in any of the classic zinger herbal teas. I also get notes of minerals in that dusty stony way. I can also smell blackberry notes.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet to sweet

This will taste either like a semi-sweet or sweet cider depending on who tastes it. If you notice initial flavors more it will come across as semi-sweet, but if you are particular sensitive to how ciders finish, this will taste sweet as the finish is sweet.  

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, high acid, fruity

As promised and to my delight, the Rosé is very bubbly. That light and springy feeling is underscored by how high the acid levels are in this cider. Yowza! THought it’s mildly tart it isn’t at all sour. I enjoy the bubbly and tart qualities about it plenty. The cider tastes fruity like blackberries and strawberries. There’s also an almost a classic old-school bubblegum note, but that could just be my brain’s susceptibility. 

I find the Bubbly Rosé pleasant! I enjoyed mine with the first episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Though I enjoyed it and the show plenty, the cider is not of a style I usually prefer.  I like how the tastes attack, and I appreciate those bubbles. The finish is a touch on the sweet side for my personal preferences. Still if you like strawberries, blackberries, or crave one last hint of summer, this is a fine Rosé choice!

Awestruck Ciders' Hometown Homicider

Now for my last Halloween cider of the year and perhaps the most seasonally apt of them all. 
The Hometown Homicider is a cider with Pumpkin aged in a bourbon barrel Not only is this cider sweet and pumpkin-y it’s also just a bit scary with the name and label. Awestruck is based out of Sidney, New York. The company has been around since 2014. 

I have previously reviewed the Hibiscus Ginger: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/10/cider-review-awestruck-premium-hard.html This one even made my top ten in 2015!

You can visit Awestruck Ciders online: https://www.awestruckciders.com/

Check the FAQ, it’s hilarious: https://www.awestruckciders.com/faq.html

The Hometown Homicider’s Official description reads, “Lightly spiced, vanilla bean, ripe pumpkin, in a warming Bourbon Barrel finish” ABV of 6.8%.

Appearance: hazy, bubbly, caramel color

This just looks like when I make caramel. It’s the right color, hazy and bubbly. And if you’ve not made homemade caramel, I highly recommend trying it for popcorn or to pour over a spice cake. 

Aromas: brown sugar, cheesecake, caramel, melon and flowers

Holy autumnal dessert aromas! The Hometown Homicider smells strongly of brown sugar, caramel, and cheesecake. These are the aromas I expected but the cider also includes notes of melon and flowers. Neat!

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet!

This is a sweet cider. Do not expect anything different than rich desserty sweetness!
Flavors and drinking experience: rich, sweet, roasted fruit, caramel, medium acid

THe strongest impression I get when I drink this cider is how rich and very flavorful it is.
The Homicider has Medium acidity, but all of the acids taste rounded out. I get the roasted pumpkin but more than that the pumpkin is melded with roasted apple, caramel, and brown sugar. It has a nice full body, probably because of that sweetness.

I enjoyed this cider with a simple meal, all the better to let the complexity and intensity of this cider shine through. It paired with cajun-spiced tilapia, steamed cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and brown rice. I thought the moderate spiciness of the fish was brought into excellent harmony by the sweetness of this cider.

Though it’s not a cider review, I cannot forget to talk about Cider WeekNew York City! It's coming up soon from November 2nd through 11th.

Read about it here: https://ciderweeknyc.com/nyc/

One of the most tempting events is the Lower East Cider Fest. There are a ton of fantastic cideries sharing samples and pairings in a beautiful historic market setting. Read all about it and buy tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lower-east-cider-fest-tickets-50910466576