Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cider Review: Doc's Draft Dry Hopped Hard Apple Cider

Doc's Draft ciders keeps appearing in my glass/fridge/life. I reviewed the flagship cider from Doc's Draft a few months ago. You can read that review here: Cider Review: Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider. I introduce the brand more fully there, but for now, I'll just point readers back to their website: wvwinery.com. The brand appears more regularly than many around  New York City, and I got to visit their tasting room briefly in June. Today, I'm finally finishing my second review of one of this brand's ciders, though I admit I've tasted it a few times before getting around to writing about it. 

Being a fan of hopped ciders, I'd been looking forward to trying Doc's Draft's Dry Hopped Cider for months. The official description gives some useful information about the types of hops used, "Dry Hopped with Centennial and Chinook hops providing a citrus and floral hop character to a traditional cider."I don't know very much about different hop varieties, so I looked up Centenniel and Chinook hops. My readings say that both types are strongly aromatic and can be used for bittering; Chinook hops offering spiciness and pine while Centenniel can be citrusy and floral. From what I understand dry hopping primarily contributes to the scents of a beer or cider but does not add bitterness because they are added without any boiling.

 (The cider accompanied by an amazing grilled cheese on a Hello Kitty plate)

Color and Appearance: pale straw

This cider shoes lots and lots of bubbles. It briefly has a head that dissapates almost before a glass is fully poured. The color looks like pale pale straw. After a moment, the bubbles are barely visible.

Aromas: beautiful grapefruit pith and pine, hint of apple

The hops dominate the apple, in the form of herbal pine and citrus. It smells so vibrantly green! The scent reminds me of new mown hay, Japanese green teas, and the long summer evenings of my childhood. Warm sun on green growing stuff, I guess is the simplest way to say it. The hint of apple becomes most discernible at the end.

Sweetness: perfect semi-sweet

This is a supremely clean sort of semi-sweet. It doesn't coat the mouth or cloy. Instead, I can taste the cider for a moment when it is on the tongue, then it disappears. The flavors come across far more strongly than the level of sweetness which is ultimately unobtrusive. For me this is a tremendous strength.

Flavors: green herbs, citrus, beer, green apples

My tasting abilities may be clouded by my general unfamiliarity with hops, but I noticed fairly high acidity in Doc's Draft Dry Hopped Cider. I did not taste very high levels of sweetness or tannins though. The primary flavors include green herbs, citrus and pine. It reminded me of beer + fresh green apples, which is not really a surprise based on what I read about the types of hops used.

When I shared this with a home-brewer and beer enthusiast, he noticed the delicacy and balance of the hops in the cider. For him, it was not nearly as dramatic as it was for me as a nearly-exclusive cider drinker.

Drinking Experience: Amazing

Not a useful term, and I apologize. The Dry Hopped Cider drinks easily and quickly but never disappears unnoticed. The carbonation is present but not distracting. I love the bright pine in the scent and taste.

I've had this with meals, with snacks, and on its own in the tasting room setting. I enjoyed it all three times, but I enjoyed it most with a special grilled cheese. For those who care, my amazing husband made me a mozzarella and cheddar grilled cheese on a hearty wheat bread with sweet Kumato tomatoes. The Dry Hopped Cider makes me feel triumphant, so perhaps drink this when having a food and board games night.

This continues my personal trend of loving hopped ciders. I cannot imagine I am the only one. Cidermakers, please keep these coming and keep them great.