Today is the day after all the fireworks and cookouts. Its a day lots of folks are heading back into work after a day off or even a long weekend. For me, from July 4th through when my husband starts teaching every fall is the high plateau of Summer. We'll get more thunderstorms, more watermelon, and soon real local tomatoes, corn, and peppers. America's summer holiday may be over, but the best summer food pairings for cider are just now coming into season.
So, I chose a supper summery cider from Far From the Tree out of Salem, Massachusetts.
Learn about the company on their website: http://www.farfromthetreecider.com
Previously, I reviewed their Nova cider which is another hopped cider offering: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/03/cider-review-far-from-trees-nova-hopped.html
Sprig is their cider that I want to explore today. The sub heading on the bottle reads Dry Hopped Mint Cider.
This is nearly my first mint cider, but far from my first hopped, so let's see what Far From the Tree has to say about it.
Today is a great day for a hike. The sight of fresh green growth and the smell of sprouting leaves in the air are two of our favorite things about summer in New England. For Sprig, we've married fresh mint, cascade hops and apples grown in Massachusetts. We age Sprig in oak barrels, dry hop for two sweeks and add fresh mint just a day before bottling.
For us, this cider is what an afternoon hike in the woods would taste like if it came in a bottle. If we happen to cross paths one day, be it on a trail or while sharing a cider, we hope you'll agree that today really is a good day for a hike! 6.9% ABV.
Appearance: cool moonglow, transparent, lots of pretty bubbles
This cider looks almost frosty while still being glowy and transparent. I'd not call it brilliant, but I could see all of the lovely bubbles very clearly.
Aromas: mint, apple, hops, lychee
These smells all add up to a super cool minty picture, but in the mix, I found hops, lychee, apple, with an emphasis on everything being chilly and bright. This smells perfect for the hot weather. Imagistically, it reminds me of a freshly opened jar of applesauce taken from the fridge.
This is a semi-dry cider. The acid probably makes it tastes drier than it would look were I to see the actual measurement of sugar. Its a nice level that won't alienate most drinkers of dry, semi-dry, or eve semi-sweet cider.
Flavors and drinking experience: Mostly mint, hops, balanced with apple
When I drink this cider of course I taste lots of mint and apple. I also get some hoppiness, but more mint. The cooling effect continues. Far From the Tree's melding of apple and mint works, but it's a tenuous balance. This cider offers up high acid, no tannins, and medium bubble.
I noticed how very consistent this cider tastes from tip to tail; the mint is dominant. I'm also struck by how much this cider depends on its clean fermentation in order to work. Seems tricky but successful.
I paired my Sprig cider with a very summery meal: sauteed summer squash with herbed chevre, sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob, whole-wheat toast, and baked beans. It was delicious and delicious all together.