Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cider Review: Crispin Cider's The Saint

I am surprised at how long Along Came a Cider has been reviewing without including a review of any Crispin Ciders, though I've been drinking their ciders for a couple of years now. The brand has several artisanal reserve ciders that I find consistently interesting. The company has a wider range of cider than many with several distinct varieties that use adventurous choices for yeasts and natural sweeteners. Very neat stuff. Furthermore, they present themselves well. I recommend checking out their website which has loads of information: Here's what Crispin says about their ciders in general, "Crispin Hard Ciders naturally fermented in the USA use fresh pressed apple-juice, not from apple juice concentrate, from a premium blend of US West Coast apples, with no added malt, grape wine or spirit alcohol." The company was formerly based out of Minneapolis and has since moved its headquarters to Colfax, California. They were founded in 2004 by Joe and Lesley Herdon, but are now owned by a very large company, MillerCoors.

What I wish they talked about more are their apple choices. There's not much info about what varieties they use. What can I say? Apples are pretty key to ciders. I was able to find one article online that lists several American dessert varieties as key components in Crispin ciders: Granny Smith, Washington, and Golden.

Tonight I'm reviewing The Saint. Here's a link to Crispin's page on this particular offering. Their descriptions claim some pretty lofty things about themselves, so I read them with a grain of salt. Here are the useful facts to be gleaned about The Saint. It has 6.9 percent ABV. Crispin uses organic maple syrup in this cider for sweetness and smoothness. Most interesting to me is that this cider uses Belgian Trappist beer yeasts for its fermentation. In terms of awards, this did pick up a Silver in its category in the 2013 GLINTCAP.

Color and appearance: slightly cloudy, green gold

I enjoy cloudy ciders. Surprisingly, the cloudiness was accompanied by lots of visible bubbles. 

Aroma: apple, straw, floral

The main scents that immediately jumped out at me were apple and a bit of hay. Secondarily I noted some floral notes and a hint of the maple syrup to come. Mostly appley though in a very fresh and juicy way.

Sweet-dry scale: sweet

The first impression is apple juice, but then a bit of straw and maple come in. The just-a-touch level of farminess and maple go really well together. I enjoy the type of sweetness in this cider very much. It is notably natural and juicy and has not a hint of stickiness or chemicals. Instead, it is fresh and wet. The acidity likely comes from the inclusion of Granny Smith apples; it is distinct from more tannic pucker from cider apples.

Drinking experience and flavors: caramel, apple juice, maple, pumpkin

The warmth of this cider is astounding. Honestly it might make The Saint more of a winter cider than a spring one, but I enjoyed it. The level of carbonation is neither too weak nor too strong, but instead keeps the cider light and lively.

Finish: toffee and more maple

Is it totally bizarre to say that this cider makes me feel like I have delicious maple breath? It isn't a super clean finish, but it is a pleasant one.

Drinking Notes: drink with goat cheese and other rich flavorful snacks

This is a great cider for a whole range of appetizer type foods. Nibble some nuts, crackers, cheeses, and dried fruits while you share a big bottle of The Saint. I'd not recommend it for out of doors fun this time of year, but it could be great for that in cooler weather. For now, I'd put on some mellow music in the house, set up a savoury and sweet snack tray, and enjoy The Saint with some friends who happen to share your sweet tooth.

 I know I had some interested parties in my little apartment. Sorry Pie May, cider isn't for you.