Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cider Review: Stormalong Cider's Boston Heirloom and Blake’s Cider Rainbow Seeker




Good morning cider lovers! While many of us are enjoying the sunshine, educational opportunities, networking and, of course, cider of CiderCon 2020, I’m writing to you from a cold gray place. It’s fine. I hope everyone who has made it out to Oakland, California is having a wonderful time. Most of the rest of us are jealous, but really it’s fine.

What’s much closer and coming up in March is our very own North Eastern Cider Conference! This event, in Albany, NY, will bring together folks in all roles of the cider world from restaurateurs to farmers and every cider and apple related link that connects them. I highly recommend looking at the conference tracks and events. You’ll be impressed!  

The event is taking place March 24 - 26, 2020 and the early registration discount deadline was recently extended until February 14!

Check out the website to learn more: https://www.newyorkciderassociation.com/event-calendar

But for today, I am reviewing two canned ciders that made it me from outside of New York. Even if I can’t travel now, my cider can travel to me!

I’m starting with Stormalong Cider’s Boston Heirloom. 


Stormalong cider is based out of Sherborn, Massachusetts now with a production facility in Leominster. The company has been going since 2014 and was founded by Shannon Edgar. This week’s cider was shared with me for review. 

Here are my previous reviews of Stormalong Ciders

Kingston Black: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/08/cider-reviews-ninepin-light-cider.html

Legendary Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/12/cider-review-stormalongs-legendary-dry.html

Light of the Sun: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/08/cider-review-descendant-cider-company.html

Mass Appeal: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-prospect-ciderworks.html

To learn more about what Stormalong is up to, visit online: http://stormalong.com/.

Boston Heirloom is part of Stormalong’s Rare apple series. Here’s the full description.
In homage to the rich cider history rooted in New England, ‘Boston Heirloom’ is crafted from two heirloom apple cultivars that have a storied past in the region. This cider is made from a blend of 50% Roxbury Russet and 50% Baldwin apples and is crisp, tropical and tart.  These apples were initially bred in the Boston area in the mid 1700’s, making them some of the oldest apple varietals in the United States.  Roxbury Russet and Baldwin apples were commonly used in hard cider up until the 1930’s when prohibition and other external forces pretty much wiped out the hard cider industry.  Taste history. 7.5% ABV 50% Roxbury Russet, 50% Baldwin

Appearance: bubbly, brilliant, warm straw

This cider certainly looks like many american heirloom apple ciders. The Boston Heirloom has a warm straw color with plenty of bubbles and brilliance. 

Aromas: Yeasty, vinous, strawberries and dusty stones

I picked up a wine like aromas just as soon as the can cracked open. Once poured, I could smell some yeast character, ripe apples, dusty stones, and strawberries. Had I been smelling this blindfolded I would have pegged it for a rose cider. The aromas all center pleasingly around ripe apples. These notes give me anticipation of a high acid cider.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

I think how folks perceive acidity will affect how they interpret the dryness or sweetness of this cider. I think it’s a semi-dry cider with plenty of acidity.

Flavors and drinking experience: red currants, high acid, citrus, perfumed finish

Indeed, my anticipation of high acid from the aromas was not wrong! This acid bomb cider tastes like red fruit, currants, citrus fruits like grapefruit and orange.

This cider rounds out into a mellow finish that slowly becomes perfume. I appreciate it’s clean fermentation and full mouthfeel. There’s little tannin, but the whole experience is super smooth and consistent. This cider is easy drinking and bubbly. You can enjoy straight from the can; my fellow taster found it best that way, or you can be like me and use a glass. Either way, there’s a lot to appreciate in the Boston Heirloom.


Next up is Blake’s Hard Cider’s Rainbow Seeker! This cider was shared with me for review. 

Blake’s Hard Cider comes from Armada, Michigan. The company makes a wide range of ciders, so there’s always something new to try. The company also has a very popular bar and taproom. 

Here are my previous reviews of Blake’s Ciders. There are a ton of them! 

Fido: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/11/cider-review-blakes-fido-and.html

Santa Rosa: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/02/cider-review-blakes-hard-ciders-santa.html

Beard Bender: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/11/thanksgiving-ciders-eves-ciderys.html

Apple Lantern: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/10/cider-reviews-blakes-hard-ciders-apple.html

Black Philip: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/04/cider-review-blakes-hard-cider-black.html

The Tonic: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/cider-review-blakes-hard-cider-companys.html

El Chavo: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/11/cider-review-blakes-hard-cider-companys.html

Wakefire:
http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/09/cider-review-blakes-hard-cider-companys.html

Snapdragon: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/11/cider-review-blakes-hard-ciders.html

I recommend looking around Blake’s Hard Cider’s website. There’s a lot to see: https://www.blakeshardcider.com/

Here’s the Rainbow Seekers Official description: “Let this pineapple paradise in a can take you on a tropical ride. With hints of sage, this balanced semi-sweet hard cider is impactful in more ways than just quenching your thirst. Rainbow Seeker is a part of the Blake’s #KinderCider Series and crafted with love in support of the LGBT community. Made in support of LGBT National Hotline. ABV 5.55”

I love this choice of charity! Kudos to Blake’s for supporting us LGBTQIA+ folks! It makes me feel supported and valued seeing this. 



Appearance: Brilliant, green tea, few visible bubbles

The color reminds me of Sencha green tea. It’s a gold on the verge of pale green. I see a few bubbles, but it’s not super actively bubbly, and the clarity is definitely brilliant. 

Aromas: Green apple candy, pineapple, sage, and peppers

The Rainbow Seeker smells like green apple candy, peppers, sage, and pineapple. All these together remind me of pizza. It’s appetizing but not like a lot of other ciders. The savory elements in the aroma translate into an anticipation of spice for me.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet or semi-sweet

This is a sweet cider! There’s not as much acid to balance the sweetness as I’d like to see. That said, I know there are folks for whom this will be an absolute delight.

Flavors and drinking experience: sweet, pineapple, sage on the finish

This is a candy sweet cider. The sage comes across primarily in the finish. The Pineapple blends in well with the overripe apple notes. I can taste all of the elements in this cider. The triple combo feels like a riff on the same concept as the mango pepper cider but this feels sweeter and thicker, and stickier. 

The Rainbow Seeker is sessionable, lightly sparkling, and very full bodied. The additional ingredients add to the experience but do not overwhelm it. 

I think it would taste best with salty seafood. I might pair it with a Friday fish fry to give the body and fruity sweetness something of saltiness and substance to balance.  

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