Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cider Review: Cider Creek's All The King's Men

Today, I'm finally sharing my notes on a Cider Creek collaboration: All The King's Men.

Cider Creek is a small cider company now primarily based in Canisteo, New York, but the company retains strong ties to the Boston area of Massachusetts. 

You can read about their core varieties and seasonal ciders on their website: http://www.cidercreekhardcider.com

Additionally, I recommend visiting https://www.facebook.com/cidercreekhardcider/ their very active Facebook page and best way to keep up with whats happening in their tasting room. They have tons of limited edition ciders and fun musical events.

I have previously reviewed two of their ciders and found both of them filled with complexity and creativity. Here are both of those:

The Cascade Hopricot combines cider, hops, and apricots and was one half of my east west fruity hopped cider showdown: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/06/cider-review-cider-creek-hard-ciders.html

Fall'n'Cherry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/10/cider-review-cider-creek-hard-ciders.html

And this doesn't scratch the surface of everything they are trying. Kevin Collins, the head cider maker, is wild experimenter and a great guy. 

But for today, I'm reviewing All the Kings' Men.

All the King's men is a collaborative beverage made together by Cider Creek Hard Cider and Resurgence Brewing. More and more folks in all corners of the beverage world are trying collaborations. I'd call this one a graf because it is a beer and cider hybrid that does involve grain and fruit.

Here's some information about what all went into this beverage: "This is a smoked cider saison, a hybrid and a collaboration between Resurgence and Cider Creek Hard Cider. It's apparently 45% un-fermented cider, 30% barley wort, and 25% wheat wort." I have no idea what to expect based on these facts, but I am glad to know and very very curious.

Appearance: hazy, deep persimmon, rich color

The All the King's Men's appears hazy. In the glass, it looks like brandy. I love how rich the color is, and I had fun comparing shades of yellow and orange to find a way to describe it. I settled on persimmon, but I love a cider that gives me this sort of descriptive challenge

Aromas: bourbon, caramel, milky, acidic

Whooooooooa, this cider is extremely fragrant with bourbon notes. I also smell sour mash. Sweet dolce de leche notes.  I'm also noticing some yogurty lactic acid sourness. This is going to be so interesting!

Dryness/sweetness: dry at first with a slightly sweet finish

There's a ton going on with this cider, and almost none of it has to do with sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: complex, sour, still, interesting finish

First impression, I am surprised by how completely still it is. I could see some bubble action when I first poured it, but that is not apparent when drinking it. The cider is dry and sour, with a bit of graininess like barley. It has elements of yeastiness like a hearty stout. I rather  thought it would be more dessert like.

In terms of flavors, first it's sour, then hard booze edge rises and fall, followed by a pleasant oatmeal raisin aftertaste. I think subtle oaty  finish is the best part: lingering and nearly sweet and mapley. A big sip makes all of the stages clearer.

This cider is a big beverage: very thick mouthfeel. 
 You could practically pour this on pancakes because of how substantial it feels to drink. All The King's Men indeed: somehow this graf does taste very masculine, with bits of mushroom, aftershave and leather. This tastes more complex and woody than most ciders, and at some moments its even a little harsh.

I want to reward Cider Creek's continued creativity in this thoughtful slow drinking cider. It isn't a summery cider though, try with chili, or a really aged cheese that has some substance of its own.