Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cider Review: Prospect Ciderworks Missing Link and Stormalong Mass Appeal

We are so unbelievably close to the end of 2018, cider lovers. Whether you’re ready to see the tail end of 2018 or not, we’ve only got two more weeks of it. And for me, that means I’m readying my top ten ciders of 2018 list. (Consider me excited!) But, that’ll come next week as my holiday gift to cider nerds. Until then, I was able to sneak two little evenings of relaxation in the past few weeks in which I could enjoy a couple of canned ciders; they are the simplest way enjoy a single serving of cider. You get every excuse not to share.

I started with a cider that’s been waiting far long that I picked from cider makers at Prospect Ciderworks when we were all hanging out at Cider Con 2018. Prospect Ciderworks was founded in 2015 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. What’s interesting about Prospect is how prominently the website highlights the use of Belgian beer yeasts for the cider making. It is featured alongside the orchards (Doe Orchards) and apples (culinary). It’s a strong identity choice, and all the more unusual for a north-eastern cidery. 

You can visit the website and see more info at: http://prospectciderworks.com

I’m starting with a cider called Missing Link.

The official description reads,
Hopped Session CiderMissing Link greets with a bloom of citrus-forward Mosaic hops. We love this cider for its ability to ease the drinker into a hop-forward beverage while retaining the subtleties of our fruit. The semi sweet cider finishes with a soft bitterness, unmistakably different than the dry hopped ciders in its category. 4.8% ABV
I’m curious about a cider that’s this hop oriented while maintaining some apple sweetness and a low abv. I also appreciate that the description includes which types of hops:  Mosaic and Cascade.

Appearance: cloudy, lemon curd, not visibly bubbly

This cider barely looks like a cider, it's so completely cloudy. Instead being a shade of gold or amber this is an opaque yellow like lemon curd. 

Aromas: citrus, pine, apple, herbs 

Oooh The Missing Link smells so hoppy! I love it. That fresh citrus plus pine is just enticing. I know I’m more enthusiastic about hopped ciders than lots of cider aficionados. I like that hoppy ciders can smell herbal, citrusy, fruity, clean and sweaty all at the same time. This one is very much on the fresh air, citrus, pine, and clean laundry, but it makes my mouth water. 

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

This is an interesting one in terms of sweetness. It’s there, but the fruity sweetness is sandwiched between an initial bitter note and a strongly hoppy finish. Many fans of sweeter ciders are likely find that challenging.

Flavors and drinking experience: hoppy, grapefruit, bitter, sweet

This is a beverage of rolling waves. The Missing Link tastes bitter at first, but then it mellows out. The mid-palate is all fruity grapefruit and apple, but soon the wave hits again and we’re on to a bitter and herbal finish.

The whole cider is vivid and zesty, juicy fun. I find the progress through stages extremely pleasant and fresh. There are no tannins to speak of, but the acidity is punchy and active. The Missing Link refreshes by being so green, sticky, juicy, and fruity. It all works together to be a very session-able cider, exactly as designed. 

And now for Stormalong Mass Appeal

I know I started my tasting of Stormalong ciders with the flagship cider, The Legendary Dry. They weren’t kidding; it’s a dry one, but the Mass Appeal almost certainly the first favorite for many fans of the brand. Stormalong cider is based out of Sherborn, Massachusetts in a hot-bed of orchard and cider history

Find out more about Stormalong CIder on Facebook or the Stormalong website, including some very interesting history indeed. 



I have previously reviewed two of Stormalong’s ciders and give more brand backstory in my earlier reviews. 

I started with the Legendary Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/12/cider-review-stormalongs-legendary-dry.html

And earlier this year I enjoyed Light of the Sun: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/08/cider-review-descendant-cider-company.html

Here’s the official description for the Mass Appeal: 
This cider is easy-drinking with just the right amount of tart and sweet.  We blend the pleasantly sharp bite of Macintosh apples with the honeyed, pineapple characteristics of Golden Delicious.  The classic Macintosh flavor is prominent, reminiscent of fresh New England farm stand cider, while Golden Delicious adds a tropical layer to the finish.  A highly drinkable and perfectly balanced cider handcrafted 100% from the finest quality locally sourced apples.  Our ciders are gluten-free with no added sugars, water, or concentrates.  Only the good stuff. 5.8%ABV
The page goes on to list the only apple variety in this cider as Golden Delicious, which strikes me as odd based on the heavy use of MacIntosh in the description.

Appearance: brilliant, warm straw, very few visible bubbles

This cider looks just lovely and elegant in the glass. It’s totally brilliant with just the sort of warm straw color that fits its category as a modern cider. I don’t see many bubbles in the glass, but we’ll find out more about sparkle level later. 

Aromas: apple juice, sweet pastry, cooked apples, 

My oh my! The Mass Appeal smells astonishingly like fresh unfermented apple juice and pastry. It’s like walking past a bakery. 

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

This is a sweet cider. There are no two ways about it. It has more going on than simply sweetness but it’s very fruit forward and sweet. 

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity, sweet, tropical, cherry, medium acid

This is a super fruit cider that just wants to have fun! The Mass Appeal is named that for a reason. I can see so many folks flocking to it’s fruity party vibes; the cider tastes tropical like pineapple and cherry and apple.

The Mass Appeal brings medium acidity and no tannins, so it’s the sweetness that gives it some body. It shows off a clean fermentation using culinary apples. I knew it would be sweet, so I paired mind with a homemade mixed berry cobbler. Not the most wintery dessert, I know, but sometimes I need berries. It complemented the super fruity dessert really well. There is definitely a place for sweet ciders, because they can help lift the flavors of a rich sticky dessert without themselves turning bitter or flavorless in comparison. The Mass Appeal performed this delicate job beautifully.

And for anybody in the Burlington area, I hope to see you at the Cider Tasting at the Eden Boutique Taproom and Cheese Bar Wednesday evening at 6:30!