Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Cider Review Brännland Just Cider and Stormalong Cider's Ashmead's Kernel

Though this year is a strange one, I’m trying not to let Summer pass me by. I’ve made a little list of some things that are absolutely necessary for me to try, eat, see, or do this summer. Luckily cider goes with many of them! 

Perhaps you’ve not projected an outdoor movie in your backyard before. I hadn’t until this year, and now I’ve enjoyed it twice. And having a cider with my popcorn or cheese crackers is almost better than a movie theater. (If we could get rid of the mosquitos it would be better!) I’m excited to make my own elote, swim, grill some pineapple and peaches,  perhaps hike in Letchworth State Park. And I’m choosing my ciders to pair with these adventures, culinary or otherwise. 

I found out about Brännland cider in Sweden when two of my friends Tegan and Dave moved from Vermont to work for the company. This will be my first time tasting anything by this cidery. 

Here’s how Brannland introduces itself. 

Brännland Cider produces artisanal cider on the Baltic seaboard of northern Sweden based on 100% apple juice and completely free from additives. We want to develop a uniquely Swedish cider with it’s origin in the specific flavour profile and growing conditions of Swedish apples.

Visit Brannland online to read more about the company and ciders:

I want to quote much of the description page for the Just Cider, because it’s so interesting. 

JUST CIDERIt’s taken us five years to find Just Cider.
A cider that strikes an honest balance between the two specific characteristics of Swedish apples. Sweetness and juicy acidity.
Just Cider stands for “only” but also denotes “precise” in Swedish or “fair” and “honest”
APPEARANCE: Pale straw in hue, brilliantly clear.NOSE: Fresh apple bouquet, notes of stone fruit, peach and melon.  PALATE: Fresh, juicy apple flavors supported by vibrant notes of citrus and apricot. Soft tannic backbone with a lingering finish of pineapple and apple peel. ABV: 4.5% RESIDUAL SUGAR: 32 grams/litre BOTTLED: 2018 VINTAGE: 2018SERVING TEMPERATURE: 8-10 degrees centigradeSTORAGE: Drink now.PAIRING: Light meats, chicken and pork, spicy asian food, sushi, cheese and charcuterie. Aperitif.

Appearance: straw, strawberry blonde, brilliant

This cider does look completely brilliant! The color looks somewhere between strawberry blonde and straw. It’s got just a hint of warmth to it. I see plenty of bubbles as well!

Aromas: Sweet peaches, raspberries, gentle soft fruit

I’m wondering from the sweet and mellow smells if this cider is perhaps kieved. I do anticipate a slightly sweeter cider. There are tons of fruit notes like: peaches, raspberries, and apple. Everything is gentle soft spring fruits. The cider smells only lightly boozy.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

My nose didn’t mislead me! The Just Cider is semi-sweet exactly as anticipated. 

Flavors and drinking experience: very high acid, some sweetness, bubbly, and luscious

The Just Cider brings very high acid twinned with the sweetness. The two really work well together to keep the cider fun and interesting, juicy and sessionable yet very natural. I also appreciate the texture; this cider has lots of small bubbles. The overall effect of many bubbles, strong fruit character, some sweetness and intense acidity is lusciousness. The sweetness gives it heft and the bubbles just lift it effortlessly.

Back to those fruit notes. The Just cider emanates peaches, nectarines, and ripe apples.  I appreciate this semi-sweet cider’s strong, saturated flavor—a bit like apple syrup, but very natural. We served it with cheese, carrots, and a veggies flatbread. The pairings were outright yummy. I think this cider is balanced, sessionable, and very tasty.

Next up I’m reviewing Stormalong’s Ashmead's Kernel. This cider is part of the Massachusetts company’s Rare Apple Variety 4-Pack. 

You can visit Stormalong online:

I’ve reviewed a growing number of Stormalong’s ciders. Here’s the list.


Legendary Dry:

Kingston Black:

Light of the Sun:

Mass Appeal:

Boston Heirloom:

Here’s the info on the Ashmead’s Kernel. 
FLAVOR: Distinctive, tangy apple flavor with crisp acidityAPPLES: Made with a blend of Ashmead’s Kernel, Knobbed Russet, Roxbury Russet, Calville Blanc d'hiver, Baldwin, and Dabinett apple varietiesABV: 6.9%

Appearance: Brilliant, bright warm-hued straw, teensy bubbles

This is another cider that’s far too appealing to hide in can. Sure, sell them that way, but pour this brilliant cider into a glass! I love the teensy tiny bubbles that I can see and it’s warm hued straw color.

Aromas: Pears, lemons, limes, super crisp apple, Pop Rocks

The Ashmead’s Kernel smells so vivid! It reminds me of many many things: pears, stone dust, pop rocks, super crisp apples, lemons and limes. I can smell it from a few feet away and that's good. These aromas are  mouthwatering, acidic, and rich.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a fun one. It’s semi-dry but so tart that’s hard to exactly know how sweet it is or isn’t.

Flavors and drinking experience: bracingly acidic, red currant, fruity, mildly tannic, summery

Oh what a plethora of tastes! Ashmead’s Kernel is powdery bracingly acidic, ear-curlingly acidic, and super fresh. I love how summery, and deliciously refreshing it is. This cider is giving me legit  goosebumps.  I get notes of Red currants, limes, and early apples. The Ashmead’s Kernel is   fruity, fresh, and immediate. Nothing about it tastes aged, mellow, or funky. This is all about clean fruit.

The  Acid is so high that it's hard to tell where it ends and the sparkle begins.  I think the texture is petillant or a notch above. This is a very seasonally appropriate and fun  semi-dry cider.  There’s even some tannic action, more than in most canned ciders. The whole experience feels  extremely refreshing.  It can pair with almost anything.