Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cider Cans Crush It: AeppelTreow Blackbird Berried Cider and Farmhaus Cider Co. Classic

My last post for Cider Cans Crush It has arrived. I don't even feel like I've scratched the surface of what kinds of cider can now be found in cans. Yes, the eight I picked are all very different from one another, but I know have at least this many more that highlight other facets of the cider world in cans. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I do want to show off these last two ciders in the series!

Today we're starting with AeppelTreow's Blackbird Berried Cider. This is far from my first AeppelTreow review. The cidermaker, Charles, is a friend of mine within the cider world. He regularly does trainings on fermentation and on perceiving flaws in cider from a scientific view. The whole community of cidermakers and drinkers has a lot to thank Charles for. So, I'm always happy to review any samples from AeppelTreow.

Here are my previous reviews of AeppelTreow Ciders:

Orchard Oriole Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-aeppeltreows-orchard.html

Appley Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-appeltreow-winerys-appley.html

Sparkling Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html

Kinglet Bitter: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/09/cider-review-appletreow-kinglet-bitter.html

Barnswallow Draft Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/03/cider-review-appeltreow-barnswallow.html

You can read about many of the ciders, fruit wines, and spirits on the AeppelTreow website: http://aeppeltreow.com/ and also now http://appletrue.com

The canned line is AeppelTreow's Songbird Ciders. Blackbird Berried Cider. The ABV is 5.5%. I'll share what I saw on the can itself.

AeppelTreow Songbird Ciders are crafted in small batches from apples grown by farmers we know. They are named for the birds that live in and around the orchard.

Blackbird is our American-style berry-flavored cider, blended with the juices of black currants and elderberries. It's a little sweet and a bunch tart.

At AeppelTreow we are Apple True

Respect the land

Savor the fruit

Deliver unique flavors

Make it the hard way

Appearance: brilliant, some bubbles, mulberry

I'll call the color mulberry because it's to red to be purely purple and to purple to be purely a dark red. Though the color is dark, the cider is brilliant and shows of a host of bubbles. This one is too pretty to leave in the can! Transport it to your drinking destination, but then put this beauty in a glass!

Aromas: black currant, black berry, dusty, citric acid

The cider smells like citric acid, black currants, and dark fruity berries in general. The fermentation notes come across subtly in a very tantalizing way. It's mouth watering.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

I find this cider approachably semi-sweet. Though I tend to prefer dry ciders, I can enjoy the sweeter side of life when done well and with good balance. This is just such a cider. I like how the malic acid and citric acid keep that sweetness from getting out of control.

The cider tastes a little sticky and a bit foxy and oh so summery. I love the dark and foresty notes. The Blackbird is grippy due to black currant juice. They offer up pleasantly fruity tannins. The cider has undeniably high acid but low level bubble that keeps it from getting harsh.

This cider is very drinkable, even dangerously drinkable. Full bodied, coats but doesn’t clog. I am a big fan of the Blackbird's pert acidic finish. I find the whole experience lusciously balanced. I had this cider with homemade vegetable burritos, and it was perfect.

Farmhaus Cider Co. Classic

This company is the product of the fifth generation of a Michigan farming family. The current endeavor was founded in 2015 near Grand Rapids in Hudsonville. They even have a Cidergarten and tasting room now! I met the founders Megan and John at a cider event years ago, and I've been watching their progress and rooting for them. So, I'm happy to finally be reviewing the cider. This is a review sample shared with me.

Find out all about the company on the website: http://farmhauscider.com/

In the "About" page, there's a hilarious section dedicated to haters, even giving them a specail email address for negative feedback. I think that's so clever.

The Farmhaus Classic cider's official description follows.

Fresh. Bright. Halbbitter.

A semi-sweet cider with a fruity last and sweet aroma created using local apples and fermented in a Germanic style, giving it superior drinkability. Most often compared to a riesling or Moscato, this cider pairs well with soft & creamy cheeses, chicken dishes and your favorite pizza

Appearance: straw, transparent, very bubbly

This cider looks so bubbly! My sparkle-loving taste buds are now actively anticipating this one! I'd call the color straw and the clarity transparent.

Aromas: Stony, fresh apples, dust

I didn't get a lot of smell from the can, but I detected more aromas once I poured the classic into a glass. I can smell stones, dust, and fresh apples. These are very traditional aromas for a cider of this type.

Sweetness/dryness: right on the line between semi-sweet and semi-dry

This cider perceives as semi-dry, but only just barely. It's right on that semi-sweet/semi-dry line, but because the acid is on the higher side, I'll call it semi-sweet. The sweetness that's there is very apple-y.

Flavor and drinking experience: citrus, high acid, balanced

Like many modern ciders, the flavors are all driven by the high acidity in the Classic. It's fruity but tastes more like citrus than like pomme or stone fruits. My first impression was how very much the cider reminds me of fresh-squeezed orange juice. The cider comes across as reasonably balanced even with that high-ish acidity.

There are no tannins to speak of but it has some excellent refreshing qualities. I appreciate the nice strong bubble level. I'm always a sucker for strongly sparkling ciders. All the flavors combine to create a crisp, sessionable drinking experience. The cider has a light body and a clean finish.

One of the most interesting things I noticed about it is a floral finish and pear-like aftertaste. I had this cider with homemade popcorn and good conversation. It was a simple pairing for an approachable cider, and I enjoyed the experience.

This may be the last week of Cider Cans Crush it for June, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop covering canned ciders. What I learned in focusing on them for 4 weeks is that there really is an amazing breadth to this format. I want to keep exploring it and showcasing all the different kinds of ciders that people are canning these days. Cans really are perfect for Summer, and I have a feeling we have a lot more hot weather coming! Cheers!