Monday, June 12, 2023

Cider Review: Raging Cider & Mead Co's Town’s End


As I write this week, I’m getting ready to travel again. After three years of extremely limited travel, things feel undoubtedly different. Nonetheless, people are traveling again, and I am too. What’s different is that I drive more and fly less; I stick a little closer to home, and I try to get more than one purpose into each trip. It’s good to be going places nonetheless. I did want to review one last cider while at home. I reached deep into my cellar to find Raging Cider & Mead Co.'s Town’s End. The batch is labeled 2020.

Raging Cider and Mead has a great about section on the website, introducing the history, methods, values, and people of this small family-oriented cidery. Here’s just a bit of how the folks introduce themselves. 

The decision was made to grow their fruit utilizing regenerative methods and produce their ciders/perrys/wines naturally utilizing the native yeasts endemic to the orchards. In addition, they committed to only source apples, pears, honey, and other fruit from within San Diego County in order to support the local farming community and regrow the rich apple & pear orcharding traditions of the local San Diego mountains (in particular the Julian region). They have also committed to purchasing "ugly" and overproduced fruit to help local farmers derive a secondary income source from fruit that may have gone to waste and reintroducing traditionally made ciders (or heirloom ciders) to the American consumer using various techniques such as fermenting and aging on the lees in wine barrels in addition to Pétillant Naturel and other techniques borrowed from the wine world.

Today, I’m reviewing Raging Cider & Mead’s Town’s End, and I’ve reviewed one Raging Cider and Mead cider before. It was my number 10 cider of 2020.

Them Pet-Nat Southern Apples:

You can visit Raging Cider and Mead online here:

Here’s what Raging Cider and Mead has to say about the Town’s End. 

A dry cider from a single-source orchard located just past downtown Julian with bright apple and herbaceous notes. It was made with a field blend of Northwest Greening, Rome Beauty, Cinnamon Spice, and unknown sweet apples. 9 cases made ABV 8.5%

I’d never heard of Cinnamon Spice apples until reading this label, so now I’m extra curious about this California cider! And a total production of 9 cases: that's tiny.

Appearance: deep burnt orange color, slight haze, few bubbles

This cider is most striking in its color. The shade of burnt orange and slight haze remind me of many UK or UK-inspired ciders. I don’t see a lot of bubbles, but we’ll see how sparkly it feels.

Aromas: chocolate, boozy, graphite, apricot

The Town’s End smells wild to me and full of complexity. The first notes I detect are chocolate and pencil shavings, or specifically the graphite. Secondarily, scents of apricot, minerals, and an aura of booziness make themselves known delicately. There’s no mistaking this wild ferment for anything more tame!

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

I love that this cider is dry as promised!

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, acetic acid, medium high tannins and lots of citrus

This cider is tart and wild with a definite presence of acetic acid and medium high tannins. Lots of citrus notes just jump out at first sip. The cider is unashamedly funky notes of red bell pepper and oranges. The whole experience is very herbaceous with a slightly bitter finish. The cider feels mildly bubbly on the tongue, more petillant than strongly sparkling but that could be due to age. 

I had mine with a casual outdoor dinner of open faced avocado cheddar melts and chopped vegetable salad. This is a cider for someone who knows that they love the untamed side of cider and who wants to experience some savory notes and unusual apples.