Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Cider Review: Forward Ferments' Bare Brut

By the time this post goes live, we’ll be more than halfway through February. It's such an odd month: short but it feels endless. It’s cold (in many places I’ve lived)  but some years February is when we get a strange 1-3 days of thaw or a massive snowstorm. So far this year, we’re leaning towards snowstorm. I can’t say that I’m a fan, but I can tell that we’re getting longer days. That’s unabashedly wonderful. This is the setting for a review of one of my last remaining ciders snagged at GLINTCAP in 2019. Here’s my review of Forward Cider's Bare Brut.

Foward Ferments is a cider and other beverages project coming out of Wisconsin. The brand also has a foot in Chicago. The beverage maker is Alec Steinmetz. It has a young orchard. I know the company works with a mix of local and imported fruit, while the orchard matures.

Instead of maintaining a website, Forward Ferments, relies on social media. You can see updates to Facebook about the latest projects here: https://www.facebook.com/forwardcider/

I’ve reviewed one cider by Forward Ferments before, the PenPal: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/01/cider-review-scrumpy-ewes-golden-crab.html

Unfortunately, it means I wasn’t able to find a lot of information about this cider. The label calls it still and dry. I did fine some info about Forward Ferments and cider maker Alec Steinmetz here: https://www.jsonline.com/story/life/food/2020/03/17/forward-cider-wants-educate-wisconsinites-how-hard-cider-should-taste/4830416002/

So here’s what I thought of Forward Ferments’ Bare brut.

Appearance: hazy, cedar wood, few visible bubbles

I love how intense this color looks! It reminds me of the color of cedar wood. I’ll call the cider hazy as it has a bit of soft haze in terms of its opacity. I can see just a few bubbles around the ring of the glass, not many.

Aromas: reductive, dusty, overripe apple, low acid

What an interesting set of aromas. The Bare Brut smells of overripe apples, but the smell isn’t too intense. Something in this bouquet makes me think the cider will be medium or lower in intensity, but I’m having a hard time putting my finger on where that is coming from. There’s a bit of reductive funkiness, which I know will excite some cider drinkers. I also get some notes of dust and wood.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a dry cider that has a whole carousel of flavors, none of which come from sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: petillant, funky, barrel-y, medium low acid, soft finish

The Bare Brut will shock many american cider drinkers; it’s just so different. To me, some of these elements remind me of some drier UK or French ciders. This cider is tannic with medium low acidity. It’s not an exact match with international profiles, but that feels like the inspiration to me. I did find it petillant rather than still as the label led me to expect. I’m also seeing that influence in the funkiness. The Bare Brut tastes wild. I love that it’s different. The profile suits a cold winter night and a dessert with dark chocolate ganache.