Monday, September 9, 2019

Cider Review: Thornapple Brewing's Rough Cut and Citizen Cider's Northern Spy, plus FLX Cider Week!

Fall is creeping in the mornings and evenings. I have dear ones holding on to each last summer tomato and sunny day, while others can’t wait to enjoy crisp autumn delights. I can see both sides of this debate, but I’m ready for Fall. I love colorful falling leaves, nighttime fires, and the harvest moon. I don’t care if it’s cheesy or basic. Fall is the greatest season, and it brings Finger Lakes Cider Week! Check the link to read more:

I’ll be participating in a few activities this year including September 26th a night of Cider and Apple education and tasting at Coltivare ( with a few of my local orchardist and cider maker friends. Stay tuned for ticket link. And on September 28th, I’ll  be doing an interview for a book launch event for The Cider Revival by Jason Wilson at Buffalo St. Books (

But now for 2 canned cider reviews for the week, starting with Rough Cut by Thornapple Brewing. 

I picked up this can when I was at GLINTCAP this year, and I’ve been so curious about it. Reading a bit about Thornapple Brewing reveals that the company has a brewpub in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The founders Jeff Coffey and Eric Fouch make cider, wine, beer, and spirits all of which are served with food at the brewpub. This is the first appearance of anything by Thornapple on the blog.

Read more about everything going on at Thornapple on the web:

Thornapple Cider’s Rough Cut

I was confused for the longest time about the name of this cider  because of the hand written style on the can. 

Here’s the official description, “Dry hopped cider. 7% ABV.” But I didn’t have the website up when I cracked the cider, so I was going in with no info at all.

Appearance: cloudy, marigold

The Rough Cut looks opaque and orange yellow. The color reminds me of marigolds. I can see some bubbles on the sides of the glass.

Aromas: Hopped! 

I say “Hopped!” because this was a total surprise. I didn’t see info on the can that gave me any expectation of hops. This cider smells like pear, mint, hops, and apples.

Sweetness/dryness: off dry
The Rough Cut is more dry than sweet, but it’s not bone dry. It has enough sweetness to bring out it’s fruit character. 

Flavors and drinking experience: aquatic, mild, bubbly, buttery

I really like the Rough Cut as a hopped cider, however surprised I was at first. Though one edge of this cider come across as a little bitter, perhaps this is where this is where the name comes from. Overall, the Rough Cut tastes buttery, smooth, mild, and somehow aquatic. I love that the Rough Cut offers up lots and lots of bubbles

I had this cider with homemade pesto pizza, and there are few things that go better with a hopped cider than either a pesto sauce or a hearty slice (or two) or pizza. 

Next up, it’s Northern Spy by Citizen Cider!

Citizen Cider comes from Burlington, Vermont. The company has grown a great amount in not too many years, and I can now buy many Citizen Ciders here in Ithaca. I found this one at Finger Lakes Beverage Center and picked it up for a work picnic! 

I’ve reviewed quite a few Citizen Ciders before. Here’s the rundown in no particular order. 

Wit’s Up:

Sur Lies:


The Wood:

Companion Sour Cherry:

Barrel Aged:

Citizen Cider bRosé:

I visited Citizen Cider in Burlington back in 2016:

Visit Citizen Cider online to see more:

Here’s the official description for this cider.

Made with Northern Spy apples alone, this single varietal cider is indubitably a showcase of one proud apple. Bright and acidic with a touch of sweetness and loads of character, the Northern Spy is an exceptional addition to your personal reserve. 6.4% ABV.

Appearance: hazy, glowing, lemon ice

This color reminds of a lemon ice that’s frosty and tart. It’s a pale and hazy cider with so very many bubbles. 

Aromas: apple, sweet potato, minerals

This cider smells quite appley, but with notes of sweet potato and pumpkin as well. The vegetal notes remain present but do not blend with the minerality I’m getting from the Northern Spy. I think in a can most of these aromas would not come through strongly.

Sweetness/dryness: Off-dry

This cider brings only the minimum of sweetness, and I’m grateful for it’s restraint. 

Flavors and drinking experience: medium high acidity, low tannins, apple and blackberry

The Citizen Cider Northern Spy smelled good, but it tastes fantastic. I like how round and bubbly this cider feels. I love an off dry cider, and this one is brimming over with apple and blackberry notes. I also get some bright bitter notes. The flavor comes across well in big sips. It tastes more like fermented fruit than fresh. The Northern Spy has medium high acidity and medium low tannins but some. I get some bitterness up front that remains consistent even as sweetness and brightness changes.

I had this cider with tasty summer salads, a veggie dog, and Peach Melba cake. I recommend it with all of these, but most of all with a loaded veggie dog and a good view.