Monday, December 30, 2013

My 10 Favorite Ciders of 2013

 2013 has been a huge year for me. I mean it. Huge! And Along Came A Cider has been a big and wonderful part of that, making 2013 my best cider year ever. Meeting cider makers. Going to Cider Days. Actually having cider makers want my feedback! Most of all, I'm just learning so much about cider from this wonderful friendly community. I'm so thrilled and grateful. So, thank you.

That said, I hope it will be a fun thing just to informally share my top ten ciders of the year. The caveat is that I'm not listing more than one cider from any company, and I'm not limiting myself to ciders that have full reviews on the blog. Sorry, but it is really hard to get good photos and complete notes each and every time I sit down (or stand up) with a new cider. Some of these that don't have full reviews now will get them in the coming months. Let's hope anyway.

Anyhow, this is in no way definitive or complete, just a way for me to revisit my year in cider exploration and highlight a few of the very special ciders that really impressed me. Ordering these was really really difficult and completely subjective. Actually, remind me not to do this next year...

Along Came A Cider's Ten Favorite Ciders of 2013

1. Anthem Hopped

Purists are going to hate this choice; I just know it. Oh well. I really enjoy hopped ciders. Their aromas and complexities just bowl me over again and again. And Anthem (whose parent cidermaker is Wandering Aengus) makes the best of the lot. I definitely wish I had a way to get this in Ithaca. You can read the full review here:

2. Bellwether King Baldwin

I know. I know! I work for Bellwether, so I must be biased. Eh. Probably. But I love our ciders and I think they are truly top notch. Not reviewing them here and shouting their praises from my tiny blog's rooftops is sometimes crazy hard. This cider is just lovely. It has two antique American apple varieties: the Tompkins King and the Baldwin. Pairs really well with all kinds of food. I love its balance of fruit and crispness. When I got to go to a bonfire party back in the fall and recline outdoors with a warm fire and a cold cider, I went to the King Baldwin, and it was perfect. Since I don't have a review, you can read about it in this Edible Finger Lakes review:

3. West County Reine De Pomme

I absolutely adored this cider and the elegant and educational way in which is is presented both in the bottle and on West County's website. Try this one in a gorgeous big glass because the color is something special to behold. Gotta love the minerality in this one. My review says far more about the experience:

4. Oliver's Gold Rush

Though I don't have a full entry dedicated to just this cider, I give some pretty thorough notes in this writeup of my first visit to The Queen's Kickshaw. This cider is for fans of highly tannic very British ciders, and since that is exactly what I love, I was pleased beyond words with this cider.

5. Thatcher's Green Goblin

This is the cider that reminded me of how much I like oaked ciders. I also really enjoyed getting to share this with my mom and really show her a cider with enough complexity to really impress. There are many, so I'm just getting started sharing some good ones. My review says more:

 6. Farnum Hill Kingston Black

I really owe this cider a full review of its own. I love so many of Farnum Hill's ciders, and this one particularly stood out to me when I tried it as part of a cheese and cider pairing workshop back in New York City. Here's my entry all about that whole evening: Hopefully, I can track down a bottle of this so I can focus on it properly soon.

7. Julian Black and Blue

This was a surprise love for me, and one I'd really like to taste again. I am not always super into fruit additions to cider, but I loved the deep bittersweetness of this. Deliriously good. I keep coming back to Julian Cider with very good impressions.

8. Distillery Lane Ciderworks Traditional Dry Sparkling Cider

This is one of the most traditional ciders on my list and Distillery Lane does it so well. I loved their Dry Sparkling Cider. It was the first cider I got to enjoy in my Ithaca apartment very very shortly after moving in, so the good memory also helps it to stand out in my mind.

9. Albemarle Pomme Mary

Despite my usual preference for dry ciders, Albemarle won me over with their entire line and most especially with their Pomme Mary. It is a beautifully balanced and truly lovely sweet cider. I reviewed this one on vacation in the Outer Banks which was also just a wonderful experience. Vacations are the best time to catch up on reviewing.

10. Arsenal Cider Fightin' Elleck

I have so much affection and respect for Arsenal Cider. Mind you, they are bringing cider to Pittsburgh, and for that alone they deserve some major credit. But not only that, they are making some really neat creative ciders that taste fantastic. I have reviewed a couple of theirs, but the Fighting Elleck made such a good impression, I have to include it here:

Thanks again everyone. Thanks especially to photographer friends who lend a hand, friends and family who cider hunt for me 24/7, cider sellers (The Cellar D'Or!), cider makers, my fellow Bellwether crew, cider lovers nearby and faraway, all the cider ambassadors on Twitter, and everyone who has ever stopped by Along Came A Cider. You guys have all been a tremendous highlight to my 2013. Thank you.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cider Review: Crispin Georgia

I've reviewed a fair number of Crispin Ciders and drunk a few more, but this is my first experience with any of their barrel aged limited releases. If you want to check out my previous Crispin post, you can find it here: I've also reviewed a few of their sister company Fox Barrel's perries, and

Crispin has a fantastic website: with gorgeous photos, recipes, and mixed drink ideas. They've clearly put tons of effort into their brand image and it shows. I wish more companies were as thoughtful in how they present their ciders as Crispin.

I don't know if you can forgive the cheese, but this official press release has tons of good information. It just presents in a way that's a bit over the top.
Let’s kick off this ride with the sweet goodness of Georgia peach juice.  Georgia peaches have a high quality combination of sugars, acidity, aromas and textures making it a seamless integration into the unpasteurized, fresh-pressed juice already being used in Crispin’s super premium artisanal ciders.

An elegant, spicy blend of Crispin’s Colfax Classic apple-wine superbly aged in bourbon American whisky barrels.  The final blend is finished with Georgia peach juice, a mention of mint and a touch of Tupelo honey, also aged in bourbon barrels.

Georgia offers a drinking experience and flavor profile like no other.  Georgia has full, rich whiskey notes right up front with smooth toasted oak and vanilla.  The peach juice provides a velvety lushness with a mere hint of mint to bring it all together.  This 6.78% (678 being a Georgia area code) alcohol by volume cider packs full flavor and full body.

So how might one enjoy this beverage? The optimal sip scenario for Georgia is at the cellar temperature of 50/55 F. Grab a snifter or a tulip glass and get ready for greatness. When pouring, use a solid bottoms-up tilt and swirl the bottle to disperse the sediment evenly. This unlocks the whiskey aromas and a unique bouquet.
This is nearly the first time, if not the very first time, that I've seen pouring instructions and glassware recommendations with a cider. Frankly I like it. It gives the cider even more of a sense of identity and tradition.

Appearance: Cloudy, nectarine, plenty of bubble

After pouring this cider, I noticed immediately how cloudy it looks. It is easy to be a casual cider fan and never see a truly cloudy cider, so let this picture illustrate. I couldn't tell how many fingers someone was holding up behind this cider. This cider shows off a gorgeous nectarine flesh color and lots and lots of visible bubbles. It looks like a meal.

Aromas: Asian pear, fresh apple, honey

So fruity! This cider is so cool and refreshing to smell. The Georgia begs for warmer temperatures, but even now it reminds me beautifully of summer with the ultra clean fruit notes of asian pear and fresh apple.  The honey is more understated but definitely supports the fruits. Upon repeated sniffs, this really reminds me of a light-bodied perry in aroma. Alex (my frequent co-taster and husband) noted a distinct aroma of caraway seeds. Interesting.

Sweetness: Semi-sweet/sweet?

It is difficult to decipher the level of sweetness in Crispin's Georgia. Ultimately, I think this is a sweet cider, but the flavors go so far beyond just fruits and sweetness that this measure is made much less meaningful for this particular cider. The sweetness is definitely not the dominant impression as I'm drinking it.

Flavors and drinking experience: crazy (minty), complex (honeyed) and fun (peachy)

The complexity on this cider truly overwhelms me. First, I taste the cool and delicate fruit, getting bolder. Mint hits the mid palate and intensifies at the finish. Crazy. Seriously. Certifiable. I keep drinking it, and I keep being surprised by a few of the notes. The peach isn't overly strong and it melds well with the whisky. I like the honey and the mint. I'm not sure the Georgia needs to have all four notes, because, in the end, it becomes a mixed drink more than a cider. That said, I'd love to see this divided into two summery ciders, a whisky peach and a honey mint. Even so, as an intense punch this is a lovely drink.

 I'm enjoying this with an old fashioned fish fry, cole slaw, and some sweet cooked carrots. It is a lot of flavors, but it works. The Georgia is a summer time drink; for me, it reminds me of summer because December in upstate New York is a far cry from summer. I think this cider would work best as a summer picnic cider. Use the cooling mint when you really need it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cider Review: Woodchuck Cellar Series Smoked Apple

Back to the cellar series from Woodchuck! I so enjoyed their Dry Hopped Cider (reviewed here There you can find some background on the company as well as links back to my reviews of Woodchuck's Winter limited release and their Belgian White cider.

Woodchuck now keeps a blog for their cidery business; it hosts recipes that feature a wide variety of their ciders. So, if you like cider recipes or want to read more about Woodchuck, it is definitely something to check out:  The specific entry on the Cellar Series Smoked Apple is really neat because of its rare visual insight into Woodchuck's cider making process.
I'm back with their cider series this evening, reviewing their Smoked Apple cider. Full admission here, I did not pay for this cider. Woodchuck was kind enough to send me a bottle for review. Here's the short version of their official description of the Smoked Apple, "Apple pomace is smoked using a blend of maple and applewood chips. Our original small batch hard cider is run through the smoked pomace. The result is a full-bodied deep amber cider. Strong crisp apple notes with hints of vanilla are balanced on an applewood smoked backdrop." I'd like to just throw in a few background facts. This cider's ABV is 6.5% and it is only available in 22 ounce bottles. This is pretty much the perfect sharing size.
 "After the pomace was smoked using maple and applewood chips it was brought to the Middlebury Cidery. The smoked pomace was then infused into small batch fermented cider. The result is a full bodied deep amber cider. Strong crisp apple notes with hints of vanilla are balanced on an applewood smoked backdrop. A well-balanced, limited run cider that is perfect for the cooler days ahead."

 Appearance: Deep burnished brown red, many many many visible bubbles

I honestly cannot tell if this cider is brilliant, hazy, or cloudy. Between the dark mahogany color and the number of bubbles, it is difficult to see the clarity of the Smoked Apple. I notice the color more than anything else, because it is so unusual. This depth and redness just looks rich and satisfying.

Aromas: leather, fresh apples, hint of smoke

The more I  inhale this deeply and think about it, the more I can scent the smoke. My dear husband Alex gets beer and cranberries. I can see where he is coming from, but the Smoked Apple still smells more like leather to me.

Flavors and drinking experience: Smoke, bacon, apple

As I drink the Smoked Apple, it begins like sweet molasses but then the other flavors take over. Mostly those other flavors are smoke, leather, peat and meatiness. Seriously, this is like bacon cider. Bacon freaks, I know you are out there. Dig in. Whiskey, earth, smokety-smoke smoke. It intensifies in the after flavor. The smoke makes this a beverage for its sensory experience rather than any thirst-quenching properties, but it's uniqueness more than makes up for that. 

Overall, this is a super neat cider. Probably not one I'll buy for myself with any regularity just because of the intense bacon-ness that the smoke calls to my mind. I do heartily recommend it though for fans of smoked beverages. Still though, I'm more than happy to enjoy it with some vegetarian chili or lentil soup. It is super warming and appropriate for these cold dark months. I'd also recommend it for a recuperating after winter outdoor adventures. I've been enjoying giant walks in the snow lately (till our rain melted it all) and this is the perfect kind of cider to enjoy after coming in from the cold. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cider Review: Redbyrd 2013 Harvest Cider

So exciting! I'm about to taste my first craft cider bottled from the 2013 harvest. I've had some tasty home brewed ciders, but Redbyrd Orchard Cider introduced their 2013 Harvest Cider more quickly than any other offerings from this year's bumper crop of apples.  

First through a bit about Redbyrd Orchards. They are a very farm and orchard oriented cider company. They are also very small, independent, and locally oriented. All good things in my book. You can read about their ciders, process, and philosophy on their website: 

One of the really neat things about Redbyrd is that they have a cider CSA (it stands for Community Supported Agriculture) Their CSA shares are on sale now. What a great concept. They explain how it all works on this page:

Back in the fall, during Cider Week, I did my first review of a Redbyrd Cider, their Starblossom 21012. Feel free to check out that review here: I do a more thorough introduction to Redbyrd in that post. For now though, I'm ready to dive into this exciting new cider.

Luckily for us, Redbyrd Orchard Cider gives extensive and informative notes on all of their releases. I'll let them speak for themselves about the Harvest Cider before going into my own impressions.
2013 Harvest Cider
Tasting Notes:  Harvest Cider 2013 is a blend of our first two pressings of the 2013 harvest season.   It is rich in color with aromas of bittersweet apple, rose hips, and peach skin. In the glass, Harvest Cider is lightly sparkling, or petillant, with a palate that is clean, crisp, and ripe with fresh fruit and minerals. This cider finishes with velvety tannins and racy acidity.
Apples:  20% Browns Apple: early sharp English cider apple, aromatic
                12% Major: early bittersweet English cider apple
                12% Domaines: early bittersweet French cider apple
                8% Dolgo Crab: early Russian crabapple for color and aroma
                48% mixed early heirlooms and early bittersweet drops

Alcohol:  7.7% alc/vol.
Residual Sugar: 0.0%rs.

Production Notes:  Most ciders from the 2013 vintage will not be ready for release until late winter/early spring 2014. After primary fermentation, the cider from the first two pressings naturally clarified much quicker than usual.  Normally we wait for all of our tanks to finish fermentation to find the right blends to create balance and brightness in our ciders. These very first two tanks of cider were surprisingly balanced, aromatic, and bright, and in combination made for an early cider to be released. Racking off the top of the tanks allowed us to take only the clearest cider of each and then blend, force carbonate, and bottle. This cider is unfined and unfiltered.  This is cider in its purest form.

Alrighty, back to Along Came a Cider then. I love that Redbyrd tells us about their specific apple choices in the blend and about the process that allowed this cider to come into its own so early. Fascinating stuff. 
Appearance: maple, brilliant, no bubbles

This is a exceptionally dark cider. To me it looks almost like maple syrup in the glass. Perhaps this is because it is both unfined and unfiltered? Or it could have to do with the apple choices. Either way, it is striking to see.

Aromas: wood, tannins, some apple

Not a lot of apple aroma. The scent of this cider is dominated by woodiness. I can detect some minerally almost metallic notes as well. I'm definitely predicting a dry cider based on this aroma.

Sweet to dry: Absolutely bone dry

Dry, and I do mean seriously dry. But with just a tiny hint of more fruitiness in the tasting than I got from smelling the Harvest 2013 cider. If you like sweet ciders, this is not for you.

Flavors and drinking experience: Acidic!

This is just about the most sour cider I've ever tasted. The bright acidity knocks every other element out of the competition to get noticed. Yes I can still taste the woodiness and some citrus and apple fruitiness, but mostly this is an extremely zesty acidic cider. It isn't to my tastes as much as the 2012 Starblossom, honestly. But I can see some cider fans really getting into this style. I like the woodiness, but I wish it were more mellow. I do enjoy the level of carbonation on this.

What I would do though to maximize my enjoyment of this cider is to pair it with the right dish, something that needs some brightness. And believe me, this time of year there are a ton of heavy dishes that could use a pick me up. I think a creamy chowder would complement this cider very well. As for activities, pick this for snowed in night at home with just your nearest and dearest, who are presumably already cider fans. This is an unusual enough cider that you don't want to share it with any new cider converts necessarily. This is more for those who already like the more acidic and dry sides of the beverage.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cider Review: Thistly Cross Whisky Cask

Thistly Cross Cider crossed my path through my favorite local cider shop, but I'd been hearing about them for some time before. This is definitely my first Scottish cider. Check out their website that has tons of great information here:

I decided to review their Whisky-Cask Aged Cider before any of their other ciders because of it's category. The barrel aged ciders show such variety. Some of them I quite enjoy, but others don't taste very balanced and instead come across as overpowering in either aroma or flavor. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity about exactly what role the whisky cask plays in this cider. Here's what Thistly Cross says about this particular cider, "Matured in ex-Glengassaugh whisky casks this is a dry & subtle cider. Infused with mellow, vanilla oak of the cask. A refreshing, complex drink to be savoured." In keeping with many United States craft ciders, they keep their ABV right under 7% at that frequently utilized 6.9% that is unless you trust the other part of Thistly Cross' website that lists the cider at an ABV of 4%. Other tidbits I gleaned from the website is that the aging process takes about six months and it aims to balance the overtones of whisky with cider's fruit and lightness. This sounds like a tall order to me. The one thing I didn't notice was much mention of either apple varieties or wood notes from the barrel. I'm curious to find out how it tastes.

Appearance: Brilliant,  deep maize color

I could see lots of still bubbles on the bottom of my glass through the complete brilliance of the cider. No haze here. It also appears as a deep maize color. Definitely more rich and saturated in color than many ciders. 

Aromas: overripe apples, yeast, vinous

I could smell fruit first, specifically yummy warm overripe apples. Next, I noted yeast and some booziness. Hints of wine ghost across my palate. At the tail end of the aromas, I could detect some astringency. The Whisky-Cask Cider does not present too much whisky in the aromas.

Sweetness: Quite Sweet

This is obviously and immediately sweet. I'm not at all sure why Thistly Cross' promotional copy lists it as medium dry. There is nothing wrong with making a sweet cider and it helps the sweetness fans find it when it is described as sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: mildly sparkling, plenty of boozy flavors, odd finish

I think the relatively low level of fizz is a good thing for the Whisky Cask. It has a lot going on between the sweetness and the intensity of boozy barrel flavors; it doesn't need to add aggressive bubbles to the list. What I could not smell very much in terms of whisky notes I can certainly taste. The whisky flavors and sweetness cannot be separated; it is an intense and sweet boozy experience. In a bigger gulp the Whisky-Cask has more flavors but still not much in the way of nuance. It's finish lingers and is a bit weird; to be completely honest it veers towards the acidic and chemical.

Overall, Thistly Cross's Whisky Cask is a big sweet cider. It seems best enjoyed at trivia with fried foods like cheese sticks and fries. Combine some crunch and salt with all of the flavors in this cider, and you'll bring out the best in it.
Our Whisky-Cask Aged Cider
Matured in ex-Glengassaugh whisky casks this is a dry & subtle cider.
Infused with mellow, vanilla oak of the cask.
A refreshing, complex drink to be savoured.
ABV: 6.9%
PRODUCT: Clear golden, smooth, medium dry Scottish cider
AGE: Matured for at least 6 months to give balance & smoothness
- See more at:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cider and Cheese Pairings: A Cider Week Event with The Cellar D'Or

Wow, this post is so overdue: my apologies, especially to the faraway folks who were asking about the pairing choices months ago. Finally. Here we go.

Back in October, I had the joy of doing some cider and cheese pairings with Mark of The Cellar D'Or.  This was a free tasting event by The Cellar D'Or for the good people of Ithaca (and surrounds) as a part of Finger Lakes Cider Week. The Cellar D'Or does a free tasting of some form or other at least once a week, usually on Friday evenings; so with this we managed to celebrate Cider Week and introduce a few more wine people to a variety of international ciders and cheeses. Putting this together with Mark was such a great time; he's a real asset to the cider and wine communities here in Ithaca. Thanks, Mark!

Here's what we paired. Some pairs were guided by the shared regional qualities and others just because they complemented one another well in aroma, taste, and texture. We also ordered these with some care because of the strong flavors going on both the ciders and cheeses. In general we tried to begin with more austere tastes and textures and allowed the choices to become more intense and aromatic toward the end. After all, it is easier for the palate to understand things getting crazier, but our mouths have a far harder time noting the nuances of something delicate after a fabulously taste-bud shredding.

1. Cabot Clothbound Jasper Hill Cellar Cheddar with Farnum Hill's Semi-Dry Cider (until we ran out of course and switched to a few bottles of their Summer Cider). Their Semi-Dry has 7.4%ABV and would probably taste dry to most folks. Both Cabot Creamery and Farnum Hill are incredibly respected New England businesses that set standards for their respective products. The Cabot Clothbound is aged for a period of 10-14 months, giving it a sweet, nutty, tangy, caramel-tinged savoriness.

2. P'tit Basque with Txopinondo Sagarnoa Cider: both of these delicious treats come from the Basque region. The P'tit Basque cheese uses sheep's milk which has an astonishing percentage of flavor-giving fat: 45%. The cheese is fairly firm with an edible rind. The Txopinondo Cider is more tart and acidic with lots of citrus fruitiness. It's ABV has a more typical 6% after being matured on the lees for six months in barrels.

3. Valdeon with Castanon Natural Sidra: Spanish ciders and cheese both here. The Sidra goes a bit farther still in terms of its acidity; that is the most famous quality of this region's ciders.  It has an ABV of 6%. The Valdeon cheese is a Spanish blue that can use either cow or goat milk. The flavor is intense but clean. The cheese is always wrapped in sycamore, chesnut, or maple leaves before being sold. This is definitely the pairing that starts down the road to fiercer flavors.

4. Humbolt Fog with Etienne DuPont Organic Cider Brut 2011: this may have been the most popular pairing of the evening. The Humbolt Fog is a California goat cheese that uses vegetable ash, buttermilk, and fresh cream. It also offers the most gorgeous cream line when you cut into it. The Etienne Du Pont has many of the great qualities of Normany ciders. It is unpasteurized and uses no sulphites (great to know for those with sensitivities). It manages to offer both sweetness and slightly farmy complexity. 

And for just a tiny while, we had a decadent Fourme D'Ambert with Eden's Vermont Ice Cider Heirloom Blend. The ice cider is much boozier with an ABV of 10% and the kind of intense sweetness known to fans of ice cider (15% residual sugar). The cheese is one of ancient lineage that goes back to the Roman empire. Now it comes from the Auverne region of France, and it uses cow's milk to create this semi-hard blue cheese. Amazing.

My friend and photographer, Sara, caught me mid-explanation here, but evidently I didn't stop moving very often. This is the cider fan in her natural habitat. The only unusual feature is that she has neither bottle nor glass in hand.

All Photos appear courtesy of Sara Kalla. My thanks to her for documenting this great time!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cider Review: McKenzie's Hand-Pressed Seasonal Reserve Hard Cider

The last time anybody saw any McKenzie's Cider appear on this blog was when I reviewed their Lazy Lemon at the beginning of August. It was their special shandy-inspired cider for summer and you can remind yourself about it or check it out for the first time here: I still really like the concept, but I wasn't bowled over by some of the specifics. I want to be fair though and acknowledge that what McKenzie's as a brand is going for is a specific style of very approachable, sweet, easy-drinking hard cider. That's the category; that's the style. To criticize it for doing that is missing the point.

McKenzie's original, which I reviewed in July, shows that they have a firm understanding of what they're going for. Here's that review, which was my first encounter with this Seneca, NY brand: That's where I write the most about the company, or you can visit their own website and learn what they have to say about themselves:

Today's review is about their fall seasonal release, McKenzie's Hand-Pressed Seasonal Reserve Hard Cider. It is their take on a bottled cider with mulling spices. McKenzie's describes it this way, "Flavored with Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Sip, smell and savor the rich, mulled spicy goodness of McKenzie's Seasonal Reserve. Aromatic fall flavors warm you from the inside out, and chase away the chill on those cold nights. Serve warm or cold, but only for a limited time!" I love mulled cider, and this is a beverage that needs sweetness with spice, so I've got high hopes that McKenzie's can really do this one right!

Appearance: Hazy, applesauce, bubbly

I can see so many bubbles on the sides of my glass that it took a while for me to determine if this was slightly hazy or brilliant. Hazy, as it turns out. The color of McKenzie's Seasonal Reserve for fall reminds me of applesauce. The photo doesn't show all the bubbles because they do start to dissipate steadily after a moment or two.

Aromas: minerals, candied fruit, ginger

Spices dominate my impressions of the McKenzie's Seasonal Reserve in terms of aroma. I smell a dusty candied ginger smell, cinnamon, and cooked fruit. All of this comes together to form a picture that's very old timey and familiar. I don't know exactly why, but perhaps it is nutmeg, mace, or allspice notes that recall my grandmother's pumpkin pie. In any case, it is a good smell but not one very usual for cider.

Sweetness: Sweet

The sweetness is totally integral to this drink. It needs to be sweet and the sweetness in this case is very enjoyable. This mulled cider inspired beverage needs to be a sweet spicy dessert and it is.

Flavors and drinking experience: super flavorful, medium carbonation, light mouthfeel

Spices! That's definitely what defines the Fall Seasonal from McKenzie's. It tastes a lot like a mulled cider but chilled and carbonated. So, in a way it feels very old fashioned but also non-traditonal. The mouthfeel is fairly light for such an intensely flavorful beverage. Medium carbonation is just right for this one. There is a touch of spice bitterness on the finish that reminds me of citrus peels or grapefruit but also of nutmeg.

Enjoy this while watching silly holiday movies on TV or bring the McKenzie's Seasonal Reserve to a cookie swap. Though it is marketed as fall, I can see this cider performing well through the holidays. Mulling spices go tremendously well with the cider McKenzie's is producing, and this is far and away my favorite cider of theirs that I've tried.