Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Cider Review: Citizen Cider's Little Thicket Spruce Tip Cider

This is my last new cider review of the year. After this, I get to share my favorite 10 ciders of 2022, and then we’ll start a new year. On the one hand, I can scarcely believe it, while on the other I feel more than ready for a new fresh year. But first, a fresh new cider from Citizen Cider!

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Citizen Cider’s Little Thicket.

I found this cider at a local grocery, and I’m so glad that I did. Citizen Cider comes from Burlington, Vermont. They are a regional powerhouse that I often relish. I don’t always get access to the limited releases though. Here’s how Citizen Cider tells the origin story for the cidery. It highlights the focus on innovation and curiosity: two key elements of Citizen Cider.

Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson founded Citizen Cider in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work. Kris was working as a wine salesmen, Bryan as a chemist and Justin as a small farmer. All discontent for one reason or another, they started pressing sweet cider in Kris’s barn and fermenting test batches of hard cider in Bryan’s basement. As it happens, they discovered that their ideas about hard cider translated into some pretty unique and interesting finished products.

It’s been a while since I last reviewed anything by Citizen Cider: too long really. Here’s the full list. 

For Shore: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/06/cider-reviews-bellwether-rhode-island.html

Tree Tapper: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-tree-tapper.html

Northern Spy: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/09/cider-review-thornapple-brewings-rough.html

Sur Lies: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/02/cider-review-citizen-cellars-sur-lies.html

Tulsi: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-fable-farms-greensboro-and.html

The Wood: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/07/cider-review-citizen-ciders-wood-and.html

Companion Sour Cherry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/06/pickcider-review-citizen-ciders.html

Wit’s Up: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/04/cider-review-citizen-ciders-wits-up.html

Barrel Aged: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-barrel-aged.html

Citizen Cider bRosé: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/02/cider-review-citizen-cider-brose.html

My visit to Citizen Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-2.html

I also recommend Citizen Cider’s website. That’s the best spot to find out about all of the ciders: https://www.citizencider.com/

What drew me to this cider is its use of spruce tips as an additional flavor. Here’s the full description. 

We are proud of being cidermakers in Vermont and look for ways to share the culture, history, and flavors of our little state. This limited edition cider is our way of sharing a piece of the green mountains with everyone. With a bright cherry nose and a rich, pine finish, this cider will transport you to a little thicket of trees, high in the mountains of Vermont. 5.3% ABV

Appearance: brilliant, pale straw, few visible bubbles

This is a lovely cider with a pale delicate straw color. I can see through the brilliant liquid clearly, but I don’t see a lot of bubbly action. 

Aromas: piney, herbal, aquatic, ripe apple, and blackberries

Oh fascinating! In some ways the Little Thicket’s smells remind me of some hopped ciders. It smells herbal, piney, and forested. The cider has more notes going on though than just those. It also smells piney without being either sweaty or soapy, both of which can happen with hopped ciders. Instead I get additional notes of ripe apple and blackberry along with something aquatic.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This cider is semi-sweet rather than the semi-dry to off-dry indicated by Citizen’s packaging. The sweetness tastes very fruity and natural. It might be too much for some cider fans, but the sweetness is well integrated.

Flavors and Drinking Experience: medium acid, petillant, clean, fruity and soft

The Little Thicket is a cleanly fermented cider with loads of fruit and herbal flavors. It’s pleasingly full bodied. The low level of visible bubbles was an accurate predictor of a petillant rather than strongly sparkly cider.

This semi-sweet cider brings medium acidity and plenty of ripe apple character. Rather like the aromas, in some ways it reminded me of a hopped cider, but in addition to tasting clean and green, the little thicket tastes soft somehow.

It was a delightful cider to have with a simple supper of rye bread, cream cheese, raw veggies, and smoked salmon. Many thanks to my delightful sister-in-law and her family for sending delicious PNW salmon our way! I like a sweet cider with intense flavors like the salt and smoke of the smoked salmon.

I’m glad I got a four-pack, because I’m looking forward to tasting the Little Thicket again!