Tuesday, June 6, 2017

#PickCider Review: Citizen Cider's Companion Sour Cherry Cider

I've explored perry for a month and really enjoyed it. I think I'm ready to start including perries more regularly and knowledgeably here since taking some time with them, but what I missed in May was cider made from apples. Plus, we're headed into summer which is a gorgeous time for cider. So, I'm super excited to #pickcider again! 

What's with the hashtag? The United States Association of Cider Makers introduced the #PickCider hashtage before Thanksgiving last fall to encourage folks who were putting cider on their holiday table to share their recipes, pairings, and photos. Now that's its summer, its time to bring it out again so we can all #PickCider for the 4th of July! 

I'm really stoked about this for a few reasons. I love that summer (and July 4th) gives us the excuse to eat outside, to picnic, to grill, and cider goes perfectly with all this outdoorsiness! Its also a chance to think about casual food pairings, seasonal ciders, and cooking with cider in a whole new way.

The first cider that really demanded summer in my mind has to be Citizen Cider's Companion Sour Cherry Cider.

You can learn about the company Citizen Cider on their Website: http://www.citizencider.com/

They are a neat growing regional powerhouse out of Burlington, Vermont. I've gotten to taste a few of their ciders.

Previous reviews include:

Wit's Up: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/04/cider-review-citizen-ciders-wits-up.html

Barrel Aged: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-barrel-aged.html

bRosé: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/02/cider-review-citizen-cider-brose.html

And I did get to tour the facilities at Citizen when I made my Vermont Cider tour last year: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-2.html

The Companion's official description reads:
Apple trees and tart cherry trees make good companions in the orchard. They bloom and harvest at different times throughout the growing season, which is good for the land and good for the farmer. We figured they might make nice companions in a fermented cider as well. It turned out to be true, which is good for us, and good for you. Be a Good Companion and enjoy this very limited sour cherry cider. ABV 5.5%

Additional facts Citizen Cider include: 
•No added sugar, never from concentrate.
• Apples pressed at Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury, VT.
• Finished with fresh sour cherry juice from Monmorency and Balaton sour cherries.
• Manufactured in Burlington and Middlebury, VT.
This cider is available for a limited time both on draught and in cans. Citizen Cider was kind enough to send me two cans and this nice bit of contextulizing information for review.

Appearance: watermelon, brilliant, lots of bubbles

Apologies for the red party cup, but I was at amazing Deck Party complete with corn hole, fire pit, pond, and piles and piles of foods and friends, so it accepting the occasional party cup might just be part of summer.

This pretty cider though really benefited by being poured out of the can into a vessel that shows off its gorgeous watermelon color. This cider also has lots of bubbles and nice clarity.

Aromas: cherries, dried fruit, cinnamon, and limestone.
Citizen Cider's  Companion smells like immediately cherries, but also dried fruit, cinnamon, stone, dust, something tropical—guava?

sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

Distinguishing the sweetness in this cider is a fun game because the first hit is more tart and bitter but it does sweeten up quickly.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, clean fermentation, fruity, spicy

The Companion strikes me as both sweet and very tart—nearly made my eyes water. Very clean. First bitter with slight tannins. and spicy, then sweet. This progress feels natural and oh so pleasant: no weird cough syrup flavor, more like a good cherry pie. 

For me, this tastes best on big sips. There's not a lot of apple flavor but more the melded experience of cherry and apple together. But the best part has to be the cleanly floral finish.

I'm not usually a big cherry fan, but this tart cider was thrilling. It would be a perfect choice for lots of cookout and picnic foods. I had mine with chickpea salad, sharp cheddar, baked beans,  veggie crudites, and brownies. It worked with all of them. Next time, I'd love to try it with grilled pizza or salmon. I have a suspicion those would work extra well.