Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Cider Review: Threadbare Dry Cider and Indian Ladder Farmstead Dry

I am thrilled to be sharing my thoughts on ciders from two cideries that I’ve never covered before: Threadbare Cider and Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery. I try all sorts of ciders: still, sweet, fruity, hopped, blended, infused, you name it. But the core of my cider love is dry cider from just apples, so I’m sticking to that this week. 

Threadbare Cider didn’t start with cider, but the business grew out of a distillery in Pennsylvania! The company is based out of Pittsburgh and still making both distilled spirits and ciders and the most magical elixirs that combine the two. From reading about Threadbare online, the company seems fascinated by both apples and history; that makes cider a perfect fit. I’ll just include a brief quote that I think gives voice to the very homey and curious aesthetic I see in Threadbare, “So here we are pumping out farmhouse, bottle conditioned, hopped, wild fermented, and barrel aged ciders. And we’re so glad you’ve joined us to explore a new American cider frontier.”

You can read much more on the Threadbare Cider website: https://threadbarecider.com/

I wanted to start with the Threadbare Dry Cider. This cider and a few of the others were shared with me at Cider Con for review. I’ll be spacing the reviews out over the coming months, so if this sounds good to you, track it down and keep watching for future reviews!

Appearance: pale gold, some sediment, hazy

The Dry looks pale and gold in the glass. The color looks even, and I’d call the transparency hazy. There’s some sediment that pours with each glass, increasing as we approach the end of the bottle.

Aromas: grain, lemon, bready, hint of volatile acidity

The Dry Cider smells like clean grain and lemon to me. I’m guessing that the dry description will be accurate. There’s something bready going on the aroma notes and maybe a little volatile acidity.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This cider is dry and quite tart. There’s a lot going on, but it all combines to reinforce the perception of dryness.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, grapefruit, herbal, bitter

Golly! Not only is this cider dry, but it also has super high acid and medium tannins. The overall picture is significantly influenced by the cider’s dryness and moderate bitterness. What a very austere and grown up cider. I like it. 

All that structure doesn’t mean the Dry Cider doesn’t taste like fruit, but it tastes more like grapefruit and lemon than apple. Other notes include grains and corn. At the same time the cider is also greenly herbal leaning even towards celery. 

The cider offers up a super pleasant mouthfeel: the photo shows sediment in the liquid and it adds to the experience. The Dry Cider shows good change over the course of a sip: ending with a long mineral and tannin finish.

Indian Ladder Farmstead Dry  

I enjoyed the Indian Ladder Farmstead Dry in New York City at the Brooklyn Cider House taproom this past spring. If you’ve never visited them, it’s really a wonderful spot to linger and appreciate some great cider and food. Visit the Brooklyn Cider House online to see menus and hours: https://www.brooklynciderhouse.com/

You can learn about the farm and all of its projects on the website: http://www.ilfcb.com/

Indian Ladder Farmstead Dry

I picked this cider off the Cider House menu, so I’ve not seen its label. When looking up its official description, I wasn’t able to find very much info. But this is what I could find about the Dry, “Fresh pressed New York apples. Naturally gluten free. A dry, not overtly sweet flavor.”

Appearance: Straw, opaque, lemon curd

This cider goes beyond hazy into full on cloudiness. It looks shockingly like lemon curd in color, but part of that is also the intensity of its opacity. I can’t see any bubbles, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t present.

Aromas: dandelion, lemon, apple, white beans

This cider’s aroma is on the milder side, but the notes I smell are pretty interesting. The Farmstead Dry smells like dandelions, lemons and white beans. I think there’s a lot of fermentation and yeast influence on these aromas.

Sweetness/dryness: off dry

I found this cider off dry and just a little fruity.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, grainy, little funky, lemon

This is another acid-driven cider with some fermenation based grain notes. I found the Farmstead Dry slightly funky, but approachably so. The grainy notes are more clean and  beer-like than barny.

There were plenty of fruity notes as well like crab-apple, lemon, and pineapple. This cider is petillant rather than strongly sparkling. This cider does remind me very much of a few Finger Lakes ciders. Our New York cider style is getting stronger all the time. We enjoyed this cider with poached salmon, fingerling potatoes, piles of thinly sliced cucumber and a beautifully deep green salad. It was an invigorating meal with beautiful pairings. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cider Review: South City Ciderworks' Dry Me a River and Tandem Ciders' Crabster

Endless hot days are cider weather. I know that I enjoy cider in any season, but these last days of July remind me of just how perfect cider is for summer. The most seasonal food pairings just work! I appreciate something cold and bubbly even more than usual in hot weather! And the lower ABV just feels necessary when days and evenings are so long and sunny.

My first cider for today is by South City Ciderworks out of the Bay Area of San Francisco, California. 

I want to quote what the company says about itself, 
We founded South City Ciderworks in 2015 as an urban cider company to make great cider and a difference. Using only fresh-pressed, West Coast apples our ciders are crafted to be well balanced and easy drinking. We support non-profits focused on helping the community, animals, and the environment. We're here to Make Cider Make A Difference.
I had this cider in January of 2017 when visiting San Francisco. You might say that this review is a bit belated, and you’d be right! But when I was thinking about ciders that felt summery even when I drank them out of season, this jumped to mind.

Find out more online about South City Ciderworks and all of the ciders here: https://www.southcitycider.com/

I tried the Dry Me a River at a cute little bar in San Francisco on vacation just before diving into several used book stores. It was a sunny after that didn’t feel like winter at all.

Here’s South City Ciderworks’ official description for the Dry Me a River.

And when the people asked if we had something less sweet that the OG, we said nope - but we'll make it! Thus, Dry Me a River is our interpretation of an American dry cider. It starts crisp with light carbonation and finishes dry but not overly acidic. We use fresh-pressed West Coast apples and ferment with a white wine yeast to retain a light apple nose but create a crisp finish. The name itself is meant to raise awareness for the CA drought and the challenges that face our natural habitat, but we also accept the Justin Timberlake version. You can find our dry cider in 500-ml bottles and kegs throughout the Bay Area. 6.9%ABV

Appearance: brilliant, pale straw, few visible bubbles

This cider is a pale straw hue. It’s totally brilliant. I couldn’t see a lot of bubbles in the glass.

Aromas: fresh apple, freshly washed pear, tropical fruit, cold

I know it’s probably an inaccurate statement to say that a cider smells chilly and wet. These aren’t exactly smells, but something about the dry my a river reminds of not just the fruit notes, but drippy, chilled versions. I can imagine the pear and apple aromas as being fruit just pulled from an ice bath. I’m not sure quite what to make of that, but as I smelled it, I thought such an effect would be amazing for summer.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a high acid cider that comes across as semi-dry. The name may say dry, but it isn’t fully dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, grain, green apple, tea

The Dry Me a A River tastes very influenced by its high acid, but the cider is not twistingly puckeringly tart. Instead the acidity is well integrated. There’s a hint of grain and corn, perhaps from the yeast choice. I appreciate that the cider shows of a clean fermenatation.

In terms of mouth feel, the Dry Me a River has some nice body and a creamy mouth coat. The biggest surprise in drinking the cider was an interesting note of slightly tannic green tea: you can taste it a moment into the drink when the middle of your tongue tightens a little. To end, it offers a long aftertaste with hints of juniper and hops.

Next up: Tandem Cider's Crabster

Tandem Cider’s operates out of Michigan. The name comes from the bicycle built for two that allowed the owners to tour England together in 2003. Nikki Rothwell and Dan Young fell in love with cider there (like a lot of us). The cidery got truly underway in 2010.

Check out the company website to learn all about the cidery: http://www.tandemciders.com/

I have reviews a couple of things by Tandem Ciders before.

The Bee’s Dream: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/01/cider-review-tandem-ciders-bees-dream.html

The Smackintosh: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/05/cider-review-tandem-ciders-smackintosh.html

Here’s Tandem’s official description for the Crabster, “We threw in a load of hand-picked crab apples - both wild and domestic - and pressed them during the rising of the harvest moon to create a dry, tart cider that's guaranteed to make you pucker up and smile. 4.7%ABV”

Appearance: bright gold, brilliant, no visible bubble

This is a truly shining cider that shows no bubbles but lots of bright gold color.

Aromas: apple juice, apple sauce

Wow! This cider smells much like fresh apple juice and apple sauce. It’s striking! I also smell something minerally, concord grapes, and fresh green apples.

Sweetness/dryness: off-dry

Yes, there’s some hints of sweetness to keep it from being bone dry, but this cider all pretty much all acid.

Flavors and drinking experience: grapefruit, extremely tart, star fruit

The Crabster works with predominance of underripe apple giving acidity center stage. It tastes sour, almost salty and brightly sunny but not really sweet. The flavors hit like grapefruit at first, but they then give way to an unsweet version of Granny Smith apple, star fruit, and pineapple. One person in our group noticed some herbal green notes that reminded him of artichoke.

In some ways the style is comparable to some spanish ciders. The flavors are not at all like the cider’s aromas. The Crabster just keeps going with high acid and medium levels of tannin, but the tannins are not low oaky mellow ones. The flavors lingers and seem to get more acidic with repeated sips. The carbonation level is light.

The Crabster exhibits a very clean fermentation. I’d be curious to learn how Tandem ended up with an ABV so low. I got to taste this one twice. Once with a group of serious cider-philes and once with veggie loaded pasta primavera.  It was fun, tart, and light both times.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cider Review: Shacksbury Dorset and Rootstock Rosé

It’s good to be home, cider lovers. I absolutely loved Scotland. The landscape is amazing, the cities are fun, and we ate so much good food. But, my cellar was ready and waiting for me when we got back! By total happenstance, two cideries that were reviewed together before, both came up again this week. I’m sharing my thoughts on Shacksbury’s Dorset and Rootstock’s Rosé.

These two cider companies came up together only last month during Cider Cans Crush It, here’s the link.


This time we have one canned cider and one lovely bottle.

Shacksbury is a Vermont favorite that has been expanding boundaries and trying new things since the company started making cider.   

You can find out lots of background information on Shacksbury online: http://www.shacksbury.com/

Here are the two other previous appearances of Shacksbury, a review and my experience visiting an orchard.

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

And I visited one of the orchards: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

Today, I want to start with the Dorset cider. I picked up a package of these cans on one of my trips down to Cleveland to visit friends. I chose it not knowing much about this cider and associating it with Dorset County in the southwestern part of England. That was far from the actual naming inspiration for this cider.  

Here’s the real story.

Dorset wild ferment, dry and complex notes of red berry and slate named for Dorset Mountain in Danby, VT where many of the wild apples in cider were foraged blended in collaboration with Tim Prendergast of ANXO in Washington D.C.

Appearance: burnished copper, hazy, lots of bubbles

Lovely color. Burnished copper. Pour it out of the can to see! It's quite hazy, but shows off plenty of bubbles.

Aromas: applesauce, figs, volatile acidity

What an interesting array. This smells much more like a Spanish style cider than what I expected based on the name. There’s some sourness and volatile acidity, but I can also smell some fruity elements. The cider smells like figs and applesauce in ways that make me anticipate sweetness and richness. There are also some floral notes in there too.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi Dry

This is a semi-dry cider. There’s enough sweetness there to ampliphy other flavors and give the cider good mouthfeel but not much more.

Flavors and drinking experience: spanish influence, savory, citrus

This is a fascinating cider to drink as well as to smell. The initial taste features the acetic acid sour tingle that I expected from the aromas. The Dorset also has some citrus fruit notes that play with the sweeter side of lemon and tarter side of orange.

The cider brings some savory elements as well, reminding me of olives, leather, and salt. I suspect the fermentation methods let to some Lactic acid in the cider as well. It’s also a bit lighter in body than I expected based on aromas. The cider is lightly sparkling or petillant.

The whole experience reminds me almost of a summery mixed drink, like a shrub and tonic. I find the Finish is a bit bitter but not tannic. I had the Dorset on my porch with a smoked salmon salad and crispy wheaty crackers. 

Rootstock Ciderworks Rosé

My second cider for the week is  by Rootstock Ciderworks from the Rochester, New York area. This was a review sample, and the notes have been waiting to become a full review for some time. You might be able to guess that from the cold weather clues hiding a picture or two.

Read about the company on the website: https://rootstockciderworks.com/
ROSÉ Hard Cider 
A collaboration project—this rare cider delivers a unique taste experience resulting from the marriage of a heritage variety apple (Rhode Island Greening) and a classic Austrian grape variety (Blaufränkisch). Vibrant salmon color and bold tannin—hints of apricot fill the nose while flavors of ripe red gooseberry excite the palate. 
7.9% Alc/Vol – 1.5% RS
In 2017, this cider won a Silver medal at GLINTCAP.

Appearance: brilliant, watermelon, few bubbles

This is such a beautiful cider to see. I completely understand why it was bottled in clear glass to show off that rosy hue. I don’t see a lot of bubbles, but I appreciate the cider’s total brilliance. The color reminds me of super ripe watermelon flesh.

Aromas: dusty, rocky, red fruit

This smells very much like my hopes for any Rosé cider. It smells dusty and rocky in a way that leads me to expect some grip to the mouthfeel and acidity. I also smell lots of red fruit like strawberries, raspberries, and currants. 

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This cider definitely tastes semi-dry. There are perceptible elements of sweetness, but they are kept in balance by some real acidity.

Flavors and drinking experience: strawberry, fresh apple, high acid

On the dry end of of semi-dry, this cider really does bring plenty of acid to the party. But beyond just the high acid, there’s so much fun fruit in this cider. I taste tart strawberry, wild blackberries, rhubarb, and a solid backing of fresh apples. There’s no tannins but lots and lots of flavor. 

The cider has a zippy body and plenty of bubbles. I enjoyed this cider with a very brunch inspired supper: roasted red pepper and zucchini frittata with goat cheese and homemade biscuits. I enjoyed keeping all of the dishes light and simple for this peppy fun cider.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Cider Review: Citizen Cider's Wood and Kurant Spice

Greetings from Scotland! Hello, cider lovers. I’m writing from Scotland today, because that’s where I’m travelling right now. These ciders however are not Scottish, and all notes were taken before my trip began. Not to worry. I plan to write about some Scottish ciders in the coming weeks hopefully over at Cider Culture.

Let’s start today with my impression of a specialty from The Citizen Cellar, the experimental wing of Citizen Ciders. Citizen Ciders are based out of Burlington, Vermont but are growing in availability all over the eastern portion of the United States. This company has a fantastic local focus even as it grows! Today, it’s Citizen Cellar’s Wood.

As always, you can learn about Citizen Cider on the website: https://www.citizencider.com/

I have several previous reviews of Citizen Ciders. 

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

Tulsi: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-fable-farms-greensboro-and.html

Companion: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/06/pickcider-review-citizen-ciders.html

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

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

And I had a fantastic time when I visited them: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-2.html

The Citizen Cider Wood’s official description reads, “A dry and bubbly cider made using two unique apples: Esopus Spitzenburg and the bittersweet Dabinett, from our friend Steve Wood at Poverty Lane Orchard in Lebanon, New Hampshire.”

Appearance: slightly hazy, golden topaz, no visible bubble

This cider looks distinct from most of what I’ve seen from Citizen. The usual clarity is replaced in this cider by a gentle haze. The color can easily be described as golden topaz.

Aromas: over-ripe apples, gasoline, dust
The Wood smells like mostly like overripe apples. There’s a warmth and softness to the aroma that’s very appealing. I get some hints of dust and gasoline as well. This is going to be super different from the company’s usual style.

Dyrness/sweetness: Dry

Though the Wood is fruity, this cider is dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: fine bubbles, yeasty, funky 

I love the super fine bubbles in the Wood. The gasoline aroma notes are still present as flavors but they remain muted. This cider offers up a lot of yeast character and tons of acid. It’s dry and fruity as well. This cider is all about the features brought by using bittersweet apples.

I enjoyed this cider at a friend’s house with dinner. We had homemade pasta and red sauce from local tomatoes. I found the cider seemed almost barrel aged because of the gentle funkiness and the bittersweet apple qualities. Very very nice.


Kurant is from Pennsylvania, so I don’t ordinarily get any access to these ciders. I did get to judge the PA Farm Show competition last year, and I was able to get some cans on that trip. I know the Spice might not seem super seasonal, but I’ve been wanting to share my notes on a cider by Kurant for some time.

The company describes their inspiration as coming from, “traditional French, English, and Spanish ciders.” The company makes small batch ciders and operates a tasting room and taproom (with food!) in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The ciders are made in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 2015, as best as my online sleuthing can tell.

Read all about the cidery on the website: http://www.kurantcider.com/

Today’s review is of the Spice. The cider’s official description reads,
Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice blend perfectly reminding you of your favorite cold weather treats. A touch of brown sugar in the finish adds just a tiny bit of sweetness for balance with notes of molasses and raisins. We let the apples shine as the highlight of Spice by keeping the seasonal additions light but noticeable and not overpowering. Spice is available through the end of the winter season.

PAIRINGS: Roasted Turkey, Graham Cracker Ice Cream ABV: 5.8% SWEETNESS: Off Dry / Semi Sweet

Appearance: hazy, bubbly, dried apricot

The color of this cider reminds me of dried apricots. It’s a warm tone somewhere between orange and gold. The cider looks bubbly and just a bit hazy.

Aromas: spices, homemade apple sauce, cloves,

Purrrr. This particular blend is full of deep dark spicing and warm cooked apples. It doesn’t really smell summery but on this quiet evening, it sure smells nice.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

This is a bright semi-dry. It has plenty of acid and less sweetness than I expect in a spiced cider. And that’s a very good thing in my view.

Flavors and drinking experience: clove, apple pie

The spices of apple pie do come out as I sip the Spice. I get notes of baking spices, especially cloves when tasting this cider. I do like how this is less sweet than you might expect. The sweetness that I can taste here reminds me of very much of raisins. I do get the spice notes more in aromas than in flavors. The spice brings plenty of acidity but no tannins.

The most unexpected feature is that the Spice ends with a very cola-esque finish. I find that totally unexpected but good. I had this cider paired with a “clean out all the vegetables from the fridge” salad, and it was an excellent experience.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Cider Review: Kite and String Cider's King of Hector and Star Cider Wild Child Rhubarb


Welcome to July! The month of fireworks, fresh tomatoes, and sweet corn is here. There are heat waves and cool lakes here in the heights of upstate New York summer. Even though I know I could cover dozens more canned ciders, I can’t neglect other formats. This matters to me especially because I know of some really special ciders never see the inside of a can. I promise to visit to the most summery format soon and often, after a whole month of cans, I do want to review two ciders I tasted in big beautiful 750ml bottles.

Quick geeky aside! Formats aren’t just an issue of convenience. Formats often imply serving size. A lot of folks don’t look at ABV when choosing a cider or pouring a drink. And cider ABVs vary wildly. One can often turns into one serving, whereas a 750ml bottle is more often treated as 4 distinct glasses of cider no matter the ABV. I think it’s awesomely strategy to be cognizant as either a drinker or host when dealing with a beverage that doesn’t have a standardized pour size, glassware, format, or consistent ABV. Read those labels, friends!

Kite and String’s King of Hector

Kite and String is the local cider at the heart of the Finger Lakes Cider House in Ovid, New York. They are also known as Good Life Farm as that's the umbrella farm that makes everything possible. The big news around her is that the Cider House made it into USA Today’s list of the the top 10 Cider Bars in America! That’s huge for a farm-based destination in rural New York. The place really is beautiful, fantastic, delicious, and worth a trip.

I've enjoyed Kite and String Ciders before. 

The Barrel Rye: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/12/cider-review-good-life-ciders-barrel-rye.html

The Cazenovia: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-good-life-ciders-cazenovia.html

I've enjoyed the Hickok at a few special dinners including:

Thanksgiving: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/happy-to-pickcider-for-thanksgiving.html

and a Finger Lakes Locavore Birthday Dinner:  

Read about both the Finger Lakes Cider House and Kite and String Cider on the website: http://www.fingerlakesciderhouse.com

Or see what the company (and the farm animals) are up to on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KiteandStringCider/

Today I’m reviewing a cider that I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get because the King of Hector was a special release for a pairing dinner and the Kite and String Cider Club. Luckily for me, dear friends of mine are in the club, and they were generous enough to bring this bottle over to share. 

Read the full write up with tons of background information here: http://www.fingerlake

I’ll share just an excerpt
Tasting and Cider Maker Notes: Gripping acidity typical of wild seedlings and crab varieties. Slow fermentation (2 months). Hands off approach with little intervention. High acid cider aged well over the winter with beautiful aromas and unique flavor. We were excited to keep this extremely small lot separate that  season and this cider was filtered and bottled as our last traditional method product of the year. 8.4% ABV
And the pairing suggestions:
We think this cider drinks like a dry, Spanish champagne style. It is crisp, long lasting, and acidic, and embodies the heat of 2016. Drink it as a starter to open up your guests’ palates and imaginations, with light appetizers like dried fruit or with lightly fried fish or potatoes.

Appearance: straw, translucent, no bubble 

This cider looks beautifully translucent, though not brilliant. I’ll call the color straw but it warmth and golden hue are more inspiring than the name strictly denotes. I don’t see any bubbles when I pour a glass, but I’m sure they’ll there once I taste the cider. 

Aromas: riple apples, bitter orange, meyer lemon, limestone

I smell citrus and apples, but having seen a few mentions of Spanish stylings (although of sparkling wine rather than Sidra), I did expect some sour notes or even volatile acidity in the smells. They weren’t there. The aromas were more fruity and restrained which suits my preferences well. I did get some fun salivary response.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a dry cider. Other features that I’ll describe later only enhance the perception of dryness. Super duper dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: dry, high acid, medium tannins, citrusy

The cider tastes dry and acid driven, but it’s not sour. The acid flavors I taste are more fruity and less funky. The cider doesn’t show volatile acidity or acetic acid. Instead, and more to my personal tastes, I get tons of citrus notes from the King of Hector. It tastes like Meyer lemons, Seville orange, and just a little bit of tropical fruit. 

The King of Hector does have some tannic presence. That’s notable and enjoyable. As the notes on my phone say, “Drrrryyyyy.” The combination of medium tannins, very high acidity, and a dry cider come together to emphasize a dry, zesty, tasting experience. The King of Hector tastes lithe and a little light. I didn’t necessarily expect that because of the 8.4% ABV, but it was seasonally perfect and very refreshing. 

This is a cider for wine and cider lovers. It’s definitely sophisticated and austere. It’s precisely the kind of cider that I like to have even before I put food on the table. The King of Hector has enough to say on its own to be a delightful conversation starter. 

Star Cider's Wild Child Rhubarb 

Confession time, I’ve had these tasting notes for too long! I tasted Star Cidery’s Wild Child Rhubarb for the first time in October of 2016 at a Finger Lakes Cider Week event. I met folks from Star Cidery and learned what I could about the operation. I liked it so much that I got a bottle for later. I consumed that with friends later that winter, taking tasting notes and squirreling them away. I must have hidden them too well, as I’ve just rediscovered them. 

Star Cider makes and sells cider in the greater Rochester, New York area. The company was founded in 2014, but the founders were home cider makers long before. Reading about Star Cider’s approach, I am struck by the focus on process. Cider gets described as a journey with an expectation of change and evolution. That’s appealing  in that’s both grounded in the realities of learning a new business but also in that openness to changes is how improvements happen.  This is my first review of anything by Star Cider.

Read all about the company and the ciders on the web: http://www.starcidery.com

Or check in with the Star Cider Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StarCidery/

Today’s review is of one of Star Cider’s seasonal releases, the Wild Child  Rhubarb.

Let’s start with the official description, “Rhubarb: Fresh heirloom rhubarb is hand-picked at its peak ripeness and blended with cider made from a mix of dessert apples. This cider is crisp, tart, and tastes like biting into fresh rhubarb.”  6.9% ABV

Unofficially I learned that this cider uses 1.5 lb of rhubarb per gallon of juice. The finished cider is back sweetened with sweet cider after being fermented to dryness. The flavor was inspired by the cidermaker’s grandmother and grandfather’s recipes.

Appearance: brilliant, warm canteloupe color, visible bubbles

I wish I had better pictures of this cider. The color really is lovely with a shade that reminds me of canteloupe and beauitful clarity. 

aromas: strawberry, celery, and candy dust

Oh my goodness wow! These aromas are so neat! I definitely smell strawberry, rhubarb and apple, but also celery! There’s also so sweet and powdery candy dust lurking in the background!

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This might be on the slightly sweeter side of semi-dry, but it has a powerful acidity that keeps all sweetness in check. 

Flavors and drinking experience: rhubarb zing, herby, strong sparkle

Like many of my favorite ciders both in the region and more generally, acidity orchestrates the whole experience. The Wild Child Rhubarb just vibrates with zingy acidity. But that’s not all that’s going on. I’m also completely sold on the herbaceous and vegetal notes. They integrate beautifully and really cement that rhubarb plus apple combination. This cider really works.

Part of what I enjoy about the Wild Child Rhubarb is the mouthfeel. Part of that owes to it’s powerful tartness. The cider feels fresh and medium bodied with strong bubbles. There’s also a nice backbone of apple behind everything. And I relish the long cold finish. My first tasting was in a varied set of ciders, and it really stood out. My second experience with this cider was with vegetarian chili, wheat crackers, and sharp cheddar. Both worked, but I’d love to try it with summery foods when I see this cider again.