Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cider Review: Lockhorn Hard Cider Beartooth Bittersweet

The birds are singing out my windows this morning. I’m feeling more hopeful and excited about this summer, and all the cider adventures to come.  I wish this kind of hope for all my cider friends, and safe and gentle spring for apple blossoms. Today’s review is Bear Tooth Bittersweet by Lockhorn Hard Cider.

Lockhorn Hard Cider comes to the world from Bozeman, Montana. The cidery has a taproom, curbside service, a gluten-free food menu  as well as a full line up of innovative ciders. I like this phrase I found on the website for describing the cider, “[T]he first sip of Lockhorn cider has a bite, but the subtle, complex flavors resonate on the tongue, rather like wine.”

I’ve reviewed one Lockhorn Hard Cider before, the Gallatin Grapefruit: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/11/cider-review-lockhorn-hard-ciders.html

You can visit Lockhorn Hard Cider online here: https://www.lockhornhardcider.com/

Here’s how the cidery describes the Beartooth Bittersweet.

This proud cider is crafted from a blend English bittersweet and American varietal apples. With a gentle sweetness akin to Lone Mountain Cider, the Beartooth exhibits the same fruit forward apple appeal with the special bitter tannin that is so very English. The skins of the bittersweet apples impart a black tea like taste that lend a complex and extraordinary palate!

Now for my experience with Beartooth Bittersweet.

Appearance: brilliant, chick fluff yellow,  low hue intensity, no visible bubbles

This cider looks elegant and appealing with it’s brilliance. The color reminds me of baby chicks, but maybe I’ve got spring on the  brain. I don’t see any bubbles when I pour this cider, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sparkly.

Aromas: pear, white grape, banana, fruity, juicy, powdered sugar

The Beartooth Bittersweet smells freshly juicy! These aroma notes just leap out of the can and glass.  Pear, white grape, and banana smells present themselves clearly and powerfully. I also get notes of powdered sugar. The overall smell impressions are of a tropical fruit dessert.

Sweetness/Dryness: Sweet

This is a sweet cider! I shouldn’t  be surprised because of the sweet in the name, but it’s more a true sweet than a bittersweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: low acid, low-to-medium tannins, fruity, overripe apple, cooked apple, softened leather

The first thing that I notice when I taste the Beartooth Bittersweet is how much lower I find the acid than with most American ciders. The sweetness and relatively low acidity work together to pull the Bittersweet’s profile in the direct of a medium sweet UK cider. It brings low-to-medium tannins which are a bit different from many (not all) UK ciders. The Bittersweet is very much its own cider with its own profile! 

After a few sips, I’m noticing more and more fresh apple juice, overripe apple, and cooked apple notes. The Beartooth Bittersweet offers a mellow mature flavor with a bit of softened leather to it. The finish is gentle and pleasant, but not overlong. The sparkle level is petillant rather than strongly bubbly.

I paired the Beartooth Bittersweet with a pasta dinner, but I think I’d do it differently next time. After trying this cider, I think it would be best paired with an asparagus and goat cheese quiche, maybe accompanied by a cucumber and tomato salad. I’d want to give the rich fruits something toasty and creamy to play against. And I’d like to fill in the acid level with the tomato in the salad. It’s a super Spring-friendly cider, and it would be a waste not use that. Cheers!