In just a little over a week, I'll be flying across the country to join my fellow cider freaks for CiderCon! To get ready, I want to share a review of a cider that I only got to taste because of last year's cider celebration. The kind folks of Cider Riot shared a bottle of their Never Give an Inch Oregon Blackberry Cider with me in cold and snowy Chicago, and I toted it back to cold and snowy upstate NY to drink and describe.
Abram Goldman-Armstrong grew up planting apple trees, studied abroad in a cider drinking region(me too!) and spent his early professional years in beer. Making cider was a very natural combination of his two passions. I found out about Cider Riot first through their successful Kickstarter campaign, and I've been following the business ever since.
Read more about Cider Riot on the website: http://ciderriot.com
And here's the official description of Never Give an Inch Oregon Blackberry Cider.
Never Give an Inch™ Now on tap & in bottles in Oregon, Washington, & British Columbia . . . Oregon Blackberry Cider 6.9% abv - A testament to determination, hard work, and downright cussedness, Never Give an Inch celebrates the spirit of Oregon. Invasive Himalaya blackberries run riot across the fencelines and fields all across western Oregon. Fire, chemical poisons, machetes, bulldozers, even goats can only beat back their inevitable advance, as they attempt to take over every square inch of cleared land. Luckily their fruits are delicious, juicy, and plentiful, spawning the phrase “as Cascadian as blackberry pie.”
In Never Give an Inch, Oregon blackberries and blackcurrants combine with Hood River and Yakima-grown apples create a tart dry cider with a fruity aroma.
Appearance: deep maroon, tons of visible bubbles, lovely
Seriously bubbly! I rarely see so many bubbles on the glass when I pour a cider. This blackberry cider also offers up rare and gorgeous color. Its more dark red and deep purple, but both are there enough to call it maroon. I can't really judge the clarity through all those bubbles. But they do make my mouth water.
Aromas: tart, fruity, phenolic
This cider smells so very bright and acidic! There's also berry fruits and a bit of funky. Mmm like raspberry and leather. We'll see how dry it is or is not based on these aromas. The black currant doesn't get talked up enough in the description, but its already present in the aroma.
Wow! I wasn't really expecting dry after all of those berry smells. It dry and tart, and I'm into it! So many fruit ciders tell me that they will be dry, when they aren't. This follows through on the promises of the promotional copy, and I'm grateful.
Flavors and drinking experience: funky, tannic, tart, with tons of fruit
This cider comes as a BIG surprise! Yes, I mentioned that in my surprise as its dryness, but I was expecting a pleasant semi-sweet, based on smell. That's also where a lot of fruit blended ciders end up, but this is very tart, dry, and a bit phenolic. The tannins are so prounounce that it gives me a bit of cottonmouth with acidic bite. This doesn't mean the cider doesn't have fruit, but the apple is crabapple or even apple core and green wood. The blackberries and black currents taste sour and tart but only very slightly citric. This is so very pleasantly autumnal though I'm drinking it with snow on the ground outside.
Cider Riot's Never Give an Inch Oregon Blackberry Cider is not particularly balanced, but intriguing and a fantastic complement to vegetable tempura. The battered and crispy red peppers and broccoli florets highlight and play well with this super tart, funky, wild cider.
When I'm in Portland, I'll definitely be seeking this one out again. Very fun.
But that's not all we have to talk about today! I know I'm not alone in feeling super excited for Cider Con 2016 in Portland, Oregon. This is where we'll get to talk fermentation, cider business, tasting room strategies, food pairings, cider mixology, and best of all, apples!
Find out all about it at: http://ciderconference.com/
But most especially check out the schedule what awesomeness is happening when:
Along with Eric West of Cider Guide (http://www.ciderguide.com) I will be talking about communicating with cider fans online Thursday, February 4th at 3:40pm. Our talk is titled Engaging Your Core Audience Through Writing. It should be a fun time, and I feel totally honored to share a stage with Eric. He's amazing.
Until next time, cider lovers.