Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cider Cans Crush It: Rootstock Ciderworks Belgium and Shacksbury Cider Citrus Spritz

Summer is here (at least for those of us in the Northern hemisphere). We are surrounded by thunderstorms, farmers’ markets, and long summer evenings. Hopefully, we’re spending more time outside too. I know I’m spending more time walking dogs, taking hikes, and doing yard work; this changes the ciders that appeal to me. Perhaps I’m not the only one. That means this month I want to highlight all the many kinds of ciders we find now in cans! 

There’s just something especially satisfying about the sound of cracking open a can of cider outside. And it’s not just one type of cider that can give us this thrill. Ciders from sweet to dry, from tradition to wildly innovative all have started to appear in cans. Cider cans crush it, so that’s my theme for the month of June. I hope you enjoy reading about some of the many many many ciders in cans.

My first featured can is the Rootstock Ciderworks Belgian. I was lucky enough to get to try this at a Memorial Day birthday party. The whole theme of the party was cider and cheese tasting, so a few of this month’s reviews were sampled and considered that day. It was tremendous fun not just to taste and consider on my own or with one cider companion but to take notes alongside a group of ten or so intrepid tasters. Thanks so much to the Birthday Captain for that whole day.

A bit about Rootstock Ciderworks: this cidery grew out of a multi-generational orchard and fruit farm in upstate New York. It is located near Lake Ontario and near Rochester, New York. The cidery was founded in 2012, so it’s a year or so older than this blog. The company prides themselves on not only using local fruit but also striving to for sustainability by making multiple uses of materials wherever possible and using green solar energy.  

I have previously reviewed the Rootstock Ciderworks Hopped Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/10/cider-review-rootstock-ciderworks.html

You can read more about the company and all of the ciders here: https://rootstockciderworks.com/

This is Rootstock Ciderworks’ official description of the Belgian Cider.

Rootstock Belgian is a limited release cider designed to suit all your spring time cider drinking needs. This Ben Davis heavy cider was fermented using a traditional Belgian beer yeast. Fresh peach, and apple blossom aromas accompany pleasant minerality and apple flavor that make this cider one that is not to be missed. 7.6%ABV.

Appearance: Transparent, straw, few bubbles

This cider looks almost still when poured. The color looks a familiar shade of straw, and it’s totally brilliant.

Aromas: grain, fresh apples, grass

Yep! That’s a Belgian-beer influenced style! I can smell grain predominantly, but also fresh wet apples and a hint of green grass. This shows lots of yeast character.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a middle of the road semi-dry cider, but it might perceive as fully dy to some folks because of the pronounced yeast characteristics.

Flavors and drinking experience: citrus, white grape, yeast

This is so refreshing! I want to shout it out at full volume that this cider is perfect for hot days. The flavors make it super crisp, approachable, and thirst quenching! Virtually all of the characteristics of the style I noticed on the aromas were still present in the flavors of the cider. I could taste mild citrus, white grape, fresh apple, lots of yeast, but primarily lots of bread and grain characteristics. 

This is likely a cider best suited to folks who want the Belian style or for beer drinkers who want to try a cider. This is a great example of it’s style; there aren’t many ciders going for the witte-inspired profile right now, but this is a great one. I had mine at a cider birthday party, but I think my next one will be on the porch right after I’ve finished mowing my yard. 

Last time I’ll say it, but I feel I must. This is a very solid  and very tasty version of this style.

The next canned cider I’m covering is another adventurous one, this time by Shacksbury. I’ve wanted to explore the Shacksbury Spritzes as soon as I learned about them. This line of ciders has a lower ABV for sessionability, a very approachable set of flavors, and a super-cute can design.

I’ve written about Shacksbury a few times before, but the company has developed since then. Based out of Vergennes, Vermont, Shacksbury ferments a huge variety of apples in several different styles. They are often inspired the world’s different regional cider styles. The company creates limited editions and often creates collaboratively. 

I reviewed the Shacksbury Classic: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/cider-review-shacksbury-original.html

And I visited an orchard Shacksbury partners with as part of my Vermont cider tour: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

Read about the company and their ciders here: http://www.shacksbury.com/

Shacksbury now has a Vermont tasting room in Vergennes!

Today, I’m trying the Citrus Spritz; Here’s all the information from Shacksbury on the Citrus Spritz, including apple sources and fun pairing suggestions.
Dry, light and refreshing with a vibrant citrus nose
Apples grown at Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, Vermont
Tincture (citrus and rose) produced by Alice & the Magician in Burlington, Vermont
2016 harvest
Slow cool fermentation
Pairs with tapas, oysters, brunch, lawn games
Serving temperature: cold
12oz cans, 3.8% ABV
Residual sugars - 3 g/can
Produced and canned by Shacksbury Cider in Vergennes, Vermont

Appearance: hazy, bubbly peach

The color is a lovely shade of peach and the cider decidedly hazy. I can see lots of exciting bubbles, but there’s no way I could read through this cider. 

Aromas: rose, ginger, orange, apple

This cider has a really appealing set of aromas. I can smell rose first but that is is followed quickly by ginger, orange and apple notes. It all plays well together and seems light a delicate punch.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

It was tough for me to describe the level of sweetness because of the complex interplay of flavors. It doesn’t tastes particularly sweet or dry, but it tastes like so much more. The sweetness it has is very natural and not too sticky. Very pleasing!

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity, approachable, 

All of the Rose and orange and ginger from the nose of the cider remain present in its flavors. The spritz has a light body, as I expected from the name and from the ABV. This cider is so so pleasing! I like it’s semi-dry/semi-sweet herby, fruity, delicacy. Though the acidity is present, it feels very mild and balanced. 

I had this cider with some salmon, and a fun salad with candied pecans, strawberries, shredded carrot and Stilton cheese over a mix of my dad’s homegrown lettuces.