Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cider Reviews: Portland Cider Co.'s Pineapple Rose and Melick's Hard Cider George's Tart Cherry

I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot I’m not as much fun. I don’t mean to say that I wilt and pout like the potted basil on my front stoop, but I’m not a fan of too much heat. When we have days and days of predicted rain but no actual drops, when the dewpoint rises dramatically, and when the last breeze skipped town last week, and the sun starts feeling more like a Deathstar rather than the source of life in our universe, I think that’s hard on everyone. And that’s the stage of summer we’ve reached. Luckily, cold bubbly fruity cider is here for us. And that’s exactly what I served up this past week. 

I started with Portland Cider Co.'s Pineapple Rose. This was a sample shared with me for review. My opinions remain my own.

Here are my previous reviews for Portland Cider Co. 

Most recently I tried the Cranberry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-seed-stone-cidery-heritage.html

Last fall, I tried the Pumpkin Spice: 

My first Portland Cider Co. was the Kinda Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/05/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Earlier in 2018, I saw a different take on Pineapple from this crew: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Check out Portland Cider Co.’s website to see what new releases are here: https://www.portlandcider.com/

Here’s the official description from Portland Cider Co., “Bursting with juicy, fresh pineapples, with a naturally pink hue from a splash of Northwest grown blueberries. Treat yourself with this fruity, tropical delight that will take your tastebuds to an island oasis.” 5.2%ABV.

Appearance: hazy, peach, tiny visible bubbles

I wasn’t surprised to see a slight haze to this cider. Lots of pineapple ciders retain a semi-transparent level of clarity. What did surprise me is that the color is barely pink, at least compared to lots of rose ciders that I see. I’d call this one peach. It’s lovely and gentle. The photo doesn’t show it ideally, but the cider was active with visible tiny bubbles.

Aromas: Pineapple, lush floral, apple, honey 

This cider smells like super ripe sticky pineapples. I can just imagine fresh pineapple texture so vividly when I smell this. That’s dominant, but in the background I get floral notes, apple, and honey.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

The Pineapple Rose cider is a sweet and fruity cider! It’s sweetest on the finish.

Flavors and drinking experience: tropical fruit, acid on the front, bubbly

The Pineapple Rose brings a super summer party with lots of tropical fruit flavors. I appreciate the nice high acid up front; it keeps the cider fresh but not isn’t pointed or challenging. I enjoy the strength of the bubbles. 

The Pineapple Rose benefits from its clean fermentation. Some ciders aren’t meant to be funky! This one is all about fruit and acid, with no astringence and no tannins. The Pineapple Rose does have a thick mouthfeel due to sweetness. 

After several sips, I can tell that the cider’s acid fades before the finish. There are some fun bakery characteristics that remind me of breakfasty sweets or muffins but the blueberry doesn’t really come through distinctly. I got just as many notes of roses, cherries, and strawberries as I do blueberry. I can say confidently that this is a summery cider! 

Melick’s Hard Cider George’s Tart Cherry

My next cider was brought to me by a visiting cider friend, Maria. I tried one Melick’s a few years ago, but I misplaced my notes, so the review never appeared. This feels a bit overdue for Melick's first appearance! 

I don’t know a ton about Melick’s Hard Cider. The company is based in Oldwick New Jersey. It appears to be related to a sister agriculture business Melick’s Town Farm. I see six different ciders and an apple wine on the website. What’s nice is that Melick’s lists all the places that carry the ciders.  

Visit the company online: https://www.melickstownfarm.com/HardCider

On to George’s Tart Cherry. I shared this with a friend because I have a terrible shortcoming when it comes to understanding cherry ciders, so when I review them I enlist help. 

Melick’s official description keeps it simple, “A sweet-tart cider made with Balaton and Montmorency cherry juices.” 6.7% ABV.

Appearance: Brilliant, brick red, subtly bubbly

This is a lovely cider to see. The color is deep with a fun brilliant shade that’s red with tints of deep orangey brick. I can see lots of itty bitty  bubbles rising in the cider. 

Aromas: Bing cherry, limestone, cinnamon, baked goods

This cider smells like the deep and dark bing cherries I remember from my childhood. It also smells like limestone, cinnamon, and baked goods. It’s luscious.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This cider is sweetly fruity, but there’s more to it than that.

Flavors and drinking experience: cherry, plum, tart, sweet

George’s Tart Cherry  indeed tastes sweet and tart! The cide offers up a very direct and natural cherry flavor. I find that it intensified as the flavor matures from initial sip to finish. I love that this cider is mildly astringent. 

Cherry isn’t the only fruit at play here. My tasting companion identified Santa Rosa plums as a flavor too. I think they’re correct. I also got little bit of yeasty baked goods and fresh cherry pie.
In each drink, the cider changes to tart from sweet; this makes it a more universally appealing and very summery indeed. I’ll probably never be a devoted cherry fan, in any of it’s forms, but this cider made a great impression with its complexity and balance. 

Good luck surviving these hot days. May a cool glass of cider chill and refresh you.