EDIT: Oops! I've since learned that the cider line is called 1911. I'll do full corrections soon, but consider this a placeholder.
I've not really reviewed Beak and Skiff ciders nearly as much as I should have, especially since they are relatively local. So, I'm working on that. Beak and Skiff is the cider branch of a local company, 1911 Spirits, that makes ciders, wines, and spirits, many from apples. I've met a few folks from Beak and Skiff/1911, and without fail they have been lovely, friendly, and helpful. You can read about their history and product on their website: SITE They'll be opening their new facilities this summer in Lafayette, New York. They're expanding after 13 years of cider production. Like many long-time cider-makers, Beak and Skiff pre-date the wave of popularity cider is currently experiencing, but they are benefitting from it significantly.
Beak and Skiff does have a tasting room in Lafayette, New York open seven days a week. I plan to make up this summer before the relative insanity of apple season. You can find out about it and about all of their products on their website: http://www.1911spirits.com/ciders.html.
Looking to Beak and Skiff's website, all I could find about this cider was this description: "An old favorite updated for the 21st Century, with a pleasant crisp hint of apple flavor." Not very useful I'm afraid. From a different website reporting on the activities at 1911 and Beak and Skiff, I was able to find just a bit more information: "A sparkling aromatic cider with flavors and aromas of freshly picked apples." All sources cite the ABV
Here's my confession for the post. I forgot to take pictures when sampling this cider. I do have my written notes on its appearance, so I've found a stand in that looks very much like the Somerset Original, but I don't want to perform any sleight of hand on this blog, so I'm just sharing that fact before posting a representative picture.
Appearance: deep color, brilliant, some bubbles
This is a very lovely cider in the glass. The Somerset looks absolutely brilliant in clarity. I can see a fair number of bubble immediately after pouring the cider, but they do not linger.
Aromas: Overripe apples, apple sauce, musty dust, minerals
Wow, the scents are immediate for the Somerset Cider. Overripe apples just jump out at me. I can detect minerals and dust commingled, which is often the case. The home-cooked apple sauce smell makes me wonder if there are any Northern Spy in this cider. That apple and that smell just go together.
Sweetness: candied, sweet
This cider tastes sweet like candy. I'm not always a fan of this particular variant of sweetness, I prefer really raw fresh fruit sweetness, but the richness and depth of more caramel and candy notes do have their appeal. Lots of folks who enjoy the fall spice palette, brown sugar, caramel, and dolce de leche flavors will enjoy that about it.
Flavors and drinking experience: very French in style
What makes this French like in style are the sweetness and yeast hints that make up so much of its flavors. It does taste cleaner than most french ciders. You won't get any farmy notes from Beak and Skiff's Somerset cider. It is very approachable and easy to drink, with just a lovely level of carbonation.
I'd recommend this cider with a mushrooms and a deeply roasty wild rice salad. Or in terms of activities this is the perfect cider to add a bit of sweetness to the otherwise often traumatizing experience of watching Game of Thrones. : ) Generally, anytime you have the room and inclination for something a bit rich and dark and sweet, Beak and Skiff's Somerset Original Cider will do the job nicely.
And by way of apology for the missin' photos, here's one of my cat Cabot emerging from a pile of blankets, surprised that the world still exists after his epic nap.