Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Cider Review: Eve's Cidery Kingston Black 2017 and Stem Cider's Colorado Heritage Blend

We are barreling towards harvest time, the autumnal Equinox, and Cider Weeks all over the country. For us cider nerds, it’s almost show time! All that is to say that I’ve got some exciting news coming up, but I’m not quite ready to share it yet. Just keep watching this space! In the meantime, I wanted to treat myself this week. When things get busy, it’s tempting to just power through, but I think trying to do a lot is the perfect reason to slow down with a cider or two you have an extra good feeling about. That’s exactly what I’m sharing this week.

First up is Eve's Kingston Black 2017 single varietal. I loved sharing my thoughts on a delicious single varietal from only Kingston Black apples last week (thanks to Stormalong Ciders), so I looked through my cellar to see if I had any other single varietal ciders. That’s where I found another Kingston Black cider!

Eve’s Cidery operates in the small Finger Lakes community of Van Etten, New York. The cidery has been there since 2002 when the cider apple orchard was planted. Now, we can all taste the fruits of those early labors.

My previous reviews of Eve’s ciders and the cidery’s appearances at significant cider events are all shared below. I recommend checking out a few, just to see how consistently quality these ciders are!

Northern Spy: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/04/cider-review-eves-cidery-northern-spy.html

Autumn’s Gold: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/06/cider-review-eves-ciderys-autumns-gold.html

Beckhorn Hollow Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/cider-review-eves-ciderys-beckhorn.html

Albee Hill Still and Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/12/cider-review-eves-cidery-albee-hill.html

Perry Pear:

Autumn led an Orchard Tour and picnic as part of Finger Lakes Cider Week back in 2016:

Darling Creek:
And http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/my-favourite-10-ciders-of-2018.html

Cider Con: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-con-2018-pt-1-eden-specialty.html

You can read all about Eve’s Cidery on the website: https://www.evescidery.com.

There’s a whole page about this particular cider, it’s well worth reading.


If you just need the short official description, “On the nose: melted sugar, apple crate and anise. In the mouth, rough-sawn wood and tobacco dissolving into chewiness. The finish has substantial weight and smells like Christmas spice cookies.

Now for Eve's Cidery Kingston Black 2017 Single Varietal. I purchased my bottle at the Ithaca Famer’s Market, which I use like a weekend local cider market.

Appearance: copper, bubbly,  variable clarity

It’s hard to say what the clarity is for this cider. Each glass pours differently from a brilliant first glass to a cloudy 4th glass. All of the glasses glow with an intensely dark shade of copper, and each is alive with bubbles. Everything about this suggests a dry tannic cider is waiting for me!

Aromas: overripe apples, leather, orange, tea, spice, wood

The Kingston Black smells mouthwatering. I get notes of overripe apples, leather, orange, and tea. There’s a bit of funk and yeast,  but more of the flavors remind me of fruits, spices, and mellow barn wood.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

The Kingston Black tastes dry. It does have a hint of flavors more often associated with sweetness but they waft by as suggestions and resemblances and not sweet in the cider’s essence. If you want to know what I did taste, keep reading.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, astringent, orange peel, almond

I love how the Kingston Black tastes. This cider is gently bitter and tart with high acid and high tannins. I find it notably dry throughout, but it’s not entirely without fruit character.  I taste orange peel, clove, and a bit of brown sugar. The whole experience is complex and rich; I find it  warm, but not hot. The cider has plenty of minerality but also umami that reminds me of  Almond and apple peel.

I shared this cider with dear friends and a simple meal of corn on the cob, tomato pie, and some amazing cheeses. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Next up: Stem Ciders’ Colorado Heritage Blend

Lafayette, Colorado is home to Stem Ciders. Eric Foster and Phil Kao began the company in 2013. To find more background on the company, here are all of my earlier reviews of Stem Ciders. Full disclosure, this was a sample shared with me for review.

Banjo: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-stem-ciders-banjo-and.html

Pear Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/06/pickcider-review-stem-ciders-pear-apple.html

Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-tieton-cider-works.html

You can find out all about the company online: https://stemciders.com

Here’s the official description for Stem Ciders’ Colorado Heritage Blend, “Made with a blend of local Dabinette and Winesap apples. ABV 7.7% Juicy, dry, clean, and light with a balanced acidity. Nice lingering soft tannins and a touch of grapefruit citrus without the bitterness. A quintessential hard apple cider.”

Appearance: day-lily yellow, super bubbly, hazy

This cider looks lovely in every glass we poured it in! The color reminds me of these late summer day lilies that I keep seeing all around town. It’s a mellow color that shows off all the bubbles present.

Aromas: cooked apple, dust, grain,

This cider smells just a little bit grainy and funky, but mostly I smell cooked apples. The scents remind me of homemade applesauce, warm on the stove. There are hints of dust and grain also. Based on these scents, I expect a super tart cider.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This cider tastes even drier than I expected from the aroma! Its austere and cooling, perfect for a humid summer evening.

Flavors and drinking experience: fermented, briney, cooling
Those dusty notes in the Colorado Heritage Blend’s aroma indeed translate into high acidity and some degree of astringence. What I taste isn’t exactly what I smell though. I could smell a certain graininess, but that tastes a bit like yeast and corn. There’s some classic clean barn notes going on at the same time, and I didn’t expect those from the cider’s aromas. What I don’t know how to articulate is what makes the flavors feel cool and aquatic to me; it’s not watery but something decidedly connotes a certain chill. The cider’s finish reminds me of many UK ciders with some phenolic character that reminds me of leather and olives.

I had this one with a fish fry and broccoli slaw. I like the creamy veggie slaw with this austere and structured cider. This one could be enjoyed with a plethora of different food pairings and in any season!