Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cider Review: Citizen Cider's Wit's Up

Spring has finally truly and beautifully arrived. I've seen more crocus in the last two days than I may have ever seen in one season before. Yesterday, I took a walk in the sunshine between work and supper. I know this sounds like a small thing, but I enjoyed it tremendously. I could even feel hints of the summer to come in the color of the light and the sun's warmth on my black t-shirt. 

I'm not going to attempt to rush Spring. It just got here, and I love this transient ever-changing season. I'm starting to think ahead just a little though. That's what led me to reach for a cider that recently came to me as a review sample from Citizen Cider. They shared the Wit's Up as a fun summer cider, though it is available year round. 

A little about Citizen Cider: this cider company has grown quickly and really made a name for themselves in their home state of Vermont. The cidery was founded in 2010 by three friends: Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson. They each came from a different career background and brought a unique skill set to the cidery, and the results have been striking. They work with multiple Vermont orchards, including Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury.

You can learn more about them on their website here:

Or learn about new releases and local events even faster by following them on Facebook:

I have reviewed a couple of ciders by Citizen Cider before. 

My first was the bRose in 2014:

And more recently, I reviewed their Barrel Aged:

Citizen was also a major stop on Day 2 of my Vermont Cider tour this past fall:

Today, I am looking to the future and sharing my thoughts on Wit's Up. Here's how Citizen Cider describes it:
There are ciders for the people, and there are ciders for the people who make the cider for the people. Wit’s Up is a classic cider maker’s cider. Drawing on the old and new traditions of cider making, it starts like an ale and finishes like the dry, sessionable craft cider that it is. It’s cider for today, it’s cider for what we believe the future of cider to be. Come, enjoy the future with us and drink Wit’s Up. 5.9ABV.

Interestingly, Citizen also offers some suggested pairings for this cider: "Bratwurst, brioche, roasted chicken, root vegetables." But I have a bowl of vegetarian Chick'n & Dumplings, and I'll be curious to taste how that goes.  

Appearance: hazy, lots of bubbles, temporary mousse

The Wit's Up pours with a head that doesn't stick around. I'd call the cider hazy in terms of clarity. It has lots of visible bubbles. The color is warm straw. 

Aromas: apple, grain, lemon, pepper

Wit's Up smells sweet and lemony with a hint of peppery spice and maybe grains.

Dryness/sweetness: dry

This cider tastes much drier than it smells. I always find this characteristic interesting, and I wonder how it happens. 

Flavors and drinking experience: cool, savory, grainy, dominated by yeast characteristics

Part of why this cider might be promoted for summer is that it actually tastes cooling. I'm not referring to the temperature of the beverage, but some associative quality that makes it connote coolness. It tastes like a beer yeast, lemon, but not much apple at least not very much like unfermented apple.

The Wit's Up reminds me nicely of a summery beer, making it a supremely session-oriented cider. The description of ale style is completely accurate. I do get some fun mildly sour notes along with black pepper, tropical fruit, and pears.

Though this cider totally gluten free, it tastes positively wheaty, like toasted grain.

This is the cider that should convince anyone that yeast matters for flavor. There's a popular line of belief that a cider's flavor is all apples all the time, but this can disprove that. Citizen makes lots of ciders with a similar blend of apples and for this cider it is the yeast that makes it different. And it does.

Many characteristics point to a relatively clean fermentation. The Wit's Up reminds me of summer and baseball. Gosh it makes me want a veggie dog. I cannot get over how much I am reminded of the good parts of a bright summer heffe weisen or lambic. I'm not a beer person, but this is a happy place of commonality between cider and beer for me. I look forward to sharing one with my super beer-nerd dad.

Its a thinky but not too challenging cider. Its a lot of fun. Lastly, be forewarned, this is burpy! Enjoy!