Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cider Revew: Kurant Earth and Weston Cider's Stowford Press

We had rain all day today and I loved it. Last week’s heat is gone, and I could even get out in my yard to work on the autumnal clean-up tasks. But enough about that. The real new is that apple season has arrived where I live. I can buy this year’s local fresh apples again! And it means that cider makers are super busy preparing for and starting harvest season. I even joined an apple CSA with a dear friend (from amazing orchard and apple power orchard Black Diamond Farms: https://www.incredapple.com/). As much as I love cider, I also adore eating apples. So, I’m going to enjoy this season wholeheartedly.

And before we get too far into Fall, I want to taste a few more of my hopped ciders including Kurant’s Earth. 

Kurant is a Philadelphia based cidery. I ran across Kurant ciders when I judged the Pennsylvania Farm Show last year. I was able to snag a few cans for review then. 

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

You can read a little more background about the company in my first coverage of Kurant. I reviewed Kurant’s Spice back in July: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/07/cider-review-citizen-ciders-wood-and.html

Here’s the official description.
We take a crisp blend of fermented apple juice and dry hop it just before packaging using 100% Mosaic hops sourced from the western United States.  The Mosaic hops add a light citrus and melon character on top of the crisp notes found in the juice blend.  The hop character is light and not overpowering.  By using a dry hopping technique, only the hop flavor and aromas are infused into the cider.  Don't be afraid to try Earth even if you aren't usually a hop head. Available in 12oz cans in cases or 4 packs at local retailers.
PAIRINGS:  Grilled White Fish, Sauteed Shrimp, Pulled Pork 
ABV:  5.8%       SWEETNESS:  Dry

Appearance: sunny, hazy, no bubble

This cider has an intensity to its sunny yellow color that I attribute partly to the slight haze in this cider. It isn’t brilliant; most hopped ciders aren’t. I don’t see anything in the way of bubbles though.

Smells freshly appley then clean soapy hops grass grapefruit bubble gum and green pepper

Sweetness/dryness: dry

As promised, this cider is dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: green, bitter, clean

The Earth tastes Bitter, green, and clean. This cider has a light mouthfeel and some notes are cucumber-y. The finish has a fast fade. I find this cider so pleasant. It dodges some of the issues that a hopped cider can have. It’s piney and green without being soapy or sweaty. The Earth is totally confident and enjoyable; it knows exactly how to be a dry, hopped cider. I can appreciate that.

The Earth’s acid is exceedingly well integrated into the overall taste experience. It has low tannins, but I didn’t really expect any. What does linger is an intriguing green pepper note. Overall I find this cider quite refreshing and exhilarating.

You'll have to forgive the thistle wallpaper picture. It was a lovely detail in this pub and getting good cider pictures in pub lighting isn't easy!

Weston’s Cider owns and or makes a number of well-known cider brands in England, but this is my first review of anything by Weston’s. I’m surprised! I’ve been drinking these ciders for years, but I’ve never reviewed: Old Rosie, Mortimer’s Orchard, Henry Westons, or until today Stowford Press. 

Read about all these brands online: https://www.westons-cider.co.uk/ciders/#

I tried the Stowford Press most recently when travelling in Scotland this past July. I had it at a pub in Edinburgh.

Here is a lot of information on the Stowford Press from Westons.

Stowford Press combines century-old traditions with a flavour designed to appeal to more modern tastes.
Stowford Press began its life as one of our traditional cider blends, originally called ‘Vat 53’; the name of the oak vat that the liquid was matured in. It was over 30 years ago that the recipe was carefully crafted into a refreshing medium dry cider and today, Stowford Press is one of our best sellers.
Their descriptions continue with a brief guide
See: Pale straw, bright and luminousSmell: A fruity aroma, developed during the slow maturation periodTaste: A refreshing medium-dry sparkling cider that is bursting with the delicious flavour of crisp cider apples
And then sweetness was represented on a scale of 5 with this being a 2. 

Appearance: brilliant, lacey mousse, straw

The color reminds me more of many American ciders rather than most Englishe ones. The color is more yellow and less orange. It’s a straw color. The cider is brilliant and poured with a lacey mousse.

Aromas: dried fruit, hay, funky, bready

This cider has so many of the smells I really emjoy. The Stowford Press smells leathery, farmy, and funky. Notes include hay, dried fruit (most specifically orange and apple) and bread. This is classic British tannic cider smells. My mouth was watering as soon as I sniffed it.

Dryness/Sweetness: semi-sweet

This could be described by the English category Medium or Medium Sweet, but in the states most folks would cast it as a Semi-sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: smoky, cooked fruit, tannic, low acid
The Stowford Press stays as true to mainstream English style in flavor as it did in aromas. This cider is low acid, medium high tannins, and petillant rather than strongly sparkling. I got notes of maple, cooked apple, mandarin orange, and smoky bacon. 

Everything about this cider is soft and round. I’m thinking in particular of the low acid and softer tannins when I write that. It has night mouthfeel and the low abv was easy to note. It was also astoundingly easy to drink.  Yum!