It’s a new year, at last! For some, this might mean Dry Cider January, New Year’s resolutions, or just the feeling that hope is closer and more meaningful than it was for much of last year. I started 2021 with cider, reading, writing, cooking and exercise. I even put up my new heritage apple calendar, and I look forward to putting some cider events on there soon!
Cider Con is coming! From February 3-5, the American Cider Association will be presenting a wonderful variety of online content for cider makers, apple growers, hospitality professionals, and everyone who has a passion for cider. I’m ridiculously excited to get to taste and discuss UK ciders with Gabe Cook (the Ciderologist - https://www.theciderologist.com/).
Don’t worry, there are definitely ways to include the tasting portions of CiderCon at home!
You can find out more and register here: https://ciderassociation.org/cidercon2021/
Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Greenwood Cider’s Kingston Black Single Varietal. I’ve only reviewed two Greenwood ciders before, and this will be the first all apple cider I’ve tried from the cidery. I’m very curious to see what will be similar and what will be different. For a touch of context, Greenwood Cider comes from Seattle. The company focuses not only on using local ingredients, but also small orchard fruits, wild apples and other small and often overlooked sources for their fermentation fodder. The company was founded (as best I could discover) in 2014 with Andy and Ryan Short and Marshall Petryni. There’s more background to be had in my earlier Greenwood Cider reviews.
Black Currant Asian Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-review-of-greenwood.html
You can check out all of Greenwood Cider’s available selection on the website: https://www.greenwoodcider.com/
Now for Kingston Black’s official description, “This single-varietal is a kick in the teeth in the best way. Bitter and dry from start to finish, it is our expression of this famed bittersharp and the terroir of the two Western Washington orchards where these apples were grown.” 6.8% ABV.
Appearance: deep harvest yellow, hazy, few bubbles
This looks like a very serious cider indeed with its intense warm color. The shade reminds me of a harvest moon, all golden and rich. There’s a fair amount of haze and very few bubbles.
Aromas: clean farmyard, dry firewood, orange peel, spices
The Kingston Black smells a bit like farmyard but clean. The funkiness is much like many English ciders I’ve tried. The cider also brings some notes that remind me of dry firewood, orange peel, and spice. I get overripe apples, leather, carrots, and pepper. There’s a lot of aroma activity!
Sweetness/dryness: Off Dry
This cider has many things going on, but the vast majority of them aren’t sweet. The cider gives many other flavors first before preparing an elegant and subtle clue of sweetness that tastes natural and not sugary.
Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins, high acidity, black tea, appley finish
I’m always curious when I try a single varietal. Will this cider hang together? Does it have all of the elements I want? They often remain interesting but don’t achieve balance. The Kingston Black tastes a little sour at the start, but not too much.
This cider is definitely tannic and quite acidic. It brings it all, answering one of my questions. The cider taste very good. I frequently like off-dry ciders with tannins. These particular tannins hit hard and fade fast, but give me notes of black tea. The mouthfeel is light and green. The Kingston Black’s aftertaste is like having bitten an apple. My favorite element has to be that the woodsmoke and firewood I perceived in this cider’s aromas comes through even in the taste. That’s completely lovely.
This cider is complex and a bit spiky, but not off-kilter. It’s definitely a fun one.