Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cider Review: Cider Brothers Pacific Coast Pinot Grigio Hard Apple Cider *plus* a Fun Twitter Event Tonight

I've never before reviewed anything by Cider Brothers, but they were kind enough to send me a few sample bottles for review. This is especially lovely, because I could not have found their ciders easily around here. So a bit about the company, they are based out of Lodi, California and took their ciders onto the market in 2014. Beyond that I don't know a tremendous amount about them, so I'll look to the internet for more and start with the Cider Brothers website.

Present themselves and their ciders with a very personable tone. I've quoted here and there to capture some information.

"We bring a winemaker’s approach to producing small batches of handcrafted hard apple ciders. It starts with cold fermenting small lots of fresh apple juice to capture the delicate flavors and complex balance that makes this Mother Nature’s most refreshing adult beverage. The result is our refreshing, lightly carbonated artisan cider, produced at our Lodi winery."

I see a few key words and ideas here: winemaker, cold fermenting, delicate, refreshing, and carbonated. These things form the basis for my expectations.

You can visit their website here: http://www.ciderbrothers.com
or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ciderbrothers 

Because it is so different, I feel the need to share the entire description of the Pacific Coast cider from the Cider Brother's website.
It was a typical weekend – grilling, sipping cold ones and watching the game with friends. Just after halftime, I started thinking it would be great to find a beverage we could enjoy all afternoon. Something satisfying like craft beer but not as heavy, and refreshing like good wine, but with less alcohol. The idea of a clean, fresh hard apple cider crossed my mind, and the whole gang liked the idea (especially the ladies).

Monday, I tracked down my winemaker brother Paul. I harassed him for weeks. It took some persuading, but eventually he caved, and we set out together to craft the perfect hard apple cider.
I’m not exactly sure how many batches we tried, because I was nearly burnt out tasting Paul’s experiments. Then in February, he nailed it and Pacific Coast Hard Apple Cider was born! Not only is it refreshing, it has the same subtleties and complexities as some of Paul’s award-winning wines. It goes down clean and smooth with less than 7% alcohol, so we can all enjoy it from kickoff to the final whistle.
Again, the focus is on a personal (and personable) narrative, but we can tease out a few potentially useful details here. The goal was a session-able cider with a light texture, fruit forward character, and share some common features with both wine and beer. I'm curious to see what this will mean in the cider itself.

Appearance: palest white gold, totally brilliant, beautiful bubbles

This cider has a subtle pale gold color, and it looks so very pretty in the glass. I love how I can see so many bubbles in that brilliant shining cider.

Aromas: green grapes, champagne, yeast

I notice very little smell in the Pacific Coast ciders some green grapes, champagne, and yeast. Notes of pears and floral soap waft in the distance, barely discernible but present.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

The sweetness is a fruity one; it really reminds me of the sweetness of wet cold table grapes. I've read a few other reviewers calling this dry, but only in comparison to the very sweet cider produced by the largest producers of hard cider. Taken outside of that context, it is sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity, bubbly, sharp

The predominate flavor expresses itself to me as fresh wet grapes, which is remarkably different in a cider. I like the level of carbonation. There's a sharp note in the mix that reminds me almost more of sharp cheese or dijon mustard than typical cider notes. This hit first followed by perfume and pineapple with a degree of pleasing minerality. The flavors and texture present best in big thirst-quenching drinks. I'd call the levels of acidity low to med with a particular apple skin character. I'm not sure that I'd consider this a session cider in either simplicity or ABV, but my companion and I disagreed about this cider for session enjoyment. He found it better suited to that purpose than I did.

Instead of a session cider for enjoying with sports, I'd instead recommend trying this with a summer squash casserole and garlic bread.

**Twitter Event with #WineStudio about Cider**

So tonight, cider fans, there will be a live Twitter discussion with the fine folks of Farnum Hill. Several cider makers, aficionados, bloggers, and wine folks will be joining in with the hashtag #winestudio. The fun starts tonight at 9pm EDT and we'll be meeting every Tuesday at that time to address different cider topics. Please join in!