Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cider Review: Angry Orchard's Elderflower and an NYC cider event!

Angry Orchard Hard Cider is a company based out of Cincinnati, Ohio (not too far from where I grew up). They are owned by Boston Beer Company; that's the company behind Samuel Adams beers. Their core ciders and seasonals sell in six packs of 12oz. bottles with twist-off caps. Their website is very visually attractive, but a bit light on information about the company. Here's what they do say about their general apple selection, "bittersweet apples from France and culinary apples from Italy." That at least lets us know that they blend dessert apples and cider apples.

Rather than starting with any of their core flavors, the crisp, the traditional, or the ginger, I wanted to review their seasonal, the Elderflower. This cider has a relatively low ABV of 5% which isn't unusual for cider sold in six packs, but it noticably lower than a lot of the regional and independent ciders I've been tasting lately. The Angry Orchard website does offer a few tasting notes, "This cider has tropical notes from the elderflower balanced by a fresh, bright, fruity flavor reminiscent of  lychee,  pears, and citrus. This flower complements the crisp apple flavor resulting in a balanced sweetness that brings the fruit and flower together." Unusual words for a cider. I'm especially curious to taste for any tropical notes. I am definitely expecting a sweet cider based on the description.

The most interesting and surprising element of the website for me was their list of what apples Angry Orchard uses to make the Elderflower. Here's their list as they present it, "Amere de Berthecourt, Beden, Medaille d’or, Michelin, Binet Rouge, Brairtot Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Joana Gold, Elstar, Granny Smith, Gala, Braeburn."

Appearance: warm amber, just a bit hazy

The transparency is just off clear. It's color a warm amber. Angry Orchard Elderflower shows very few visible bubbles. Those that appeared all kept moving up toward the top of the cider.

Aromas: cheese then fruit

The cheese aroma came out at first when the cider was at its coldest. When slightly warmer, the elderflower scent and apple come through more together. My husband smelled wheat, yeast strawberries and grapes.

Sweet to dry: sweet

The type of sweetness is decidedly floral. It feels like a cool, refreshing type of sweet to me. I'm sure many cider afficianados would find it far too sweet. Then again, I've heard just as many casual cider drinkers recommend this cider to me. For many of them the sweetness is a positive feature rather than a weakness.

Flavors: Fruit forward, floral, fresh

In the Elderflower the apple taste appears upfront. It is fresh and bright. After the fruit, the elderflower comes through easily. Both flowers and fruit shine through either a sip or swig. The mild fruitiness is watermelon fresh. It is a very easy drinking cider. The level of carbonation isn't distracting.

Drinking experience: Notably pleasant carbonation level. Very picnic appropriate.

Again, this cider comes across most as refreshing and just right for summer. It coats the tongue for a medium mouthfeel. The finish offers a second bit of fruitiness, this time a meld of tart juicy blackberries and darker sweeter figs.

Drink this outside.

Also, in local cider news. Murray's Cheese and Virtue Cider are joining forces for a class on cheese and cider pairings. The class takes place in their Bleeker Street store Thursday June 13th, 2013 from 6:30-8pm. I really hope I see some fellow cider lovers there.

I am very excited about getting to go to this!