Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Cider Review: De Vergeten Appel's Het Bonte Appeltje, Blue Bee's Harrison and Cider Week VA

Hello, cider lovers! I think lots of folks are getting to a fever pitch of Thanksgiving planning and starting to think about winter holidays. The snowy weather here in the Finger Lakes is certainly encouraging that, but I’m not ready! Instead, I’m thinking about movies and wishing one of the theaters around here sold cider or had a BYOC policy. Most people like to combine their favorite things, and for me that would be cider and movies. 

SInce I can’t enjoy my cider with my theater experiences, what I can do is think about the movies I’ve enjoyed recently while sipping on my ciders at home. 

This past week, I was thrilled to get to try De Vergeten Appel’s Het Bonte Appeltje. This was my Thursday date night cider with the Tall One. After cider and dinner, we went to see Parasite by Bong Joon-Ho. 

The cider is one that the Tall One brought back from his recent time in Amsterdam. He has a great time tracking down ciders for me when he travels, and I’m so grateful for it. De Vergeten Appel is a company that started after a series of happenstance events that have the cutest possible origin. Johan Holleman started making cider because his neighbor had an apple tree that scared his dogs. This tree had too many apples to be used in almost any other way, so Holleman tried making cider. The rest of the company grew from there, using lots of apples that would otherwise go to waste from a variety of dutch orchards.

You can visit the company online to learn more:

Here’s the Google translation of the cidery’s description for Het Bonte Appelje
The traditional cider from De Vergeten Appel is made from classic Dutch apples that are no longer grown commercially. The apples come exclusively from small orchards and individuals from the Tilburg area. No pesticides or fertilizers are used in these orchards. The apples used would be wasted if they were not picked by hand to be processed in this delicious cider. 
Ingredients:100% juice from pressed apples, yeast, sugar for re-fermentation in the bottle. 
Contains sulfites.
Keep cool and dark.Cool before use and open gently.Recommended drinking temperature of 7 ° CProduced and bottled by "De Vergeten Appel" in Tilburg

Appearance: tea, transparent, bubbly

This cider has the warm orange glow of tea. I see some bubbles in the glass, and a tiny ring of bubbles at the top. The cider isn't hazy, but it's also not fully brilliant; I'll call the clarity transparent.

Aromas: Homemade applesauce, spice, citrus

Het Bonte Appeltje smells like many orchard-based American ciders. The primary olfactory impression is that of homemade applesauce. I also get traces of citrus, spice, stone and grain.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a semi-dry cider with lots of fruit characteristics. Everything in the sweetness tastes very natural. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, tannins on the finish, citrus, bubbly

As with the aromas, this cider reminds me very much of some of the sorts of American ciders I like best. 

What I taste first is Het Bonte Appeltje’s very high acid! This semi-dry cider feels austere and pointed on the tongue, quite a bit like an American dry cider but with a gentle English influence. I get some tannins on the finish that take their time to arrive, but once they get there, it’s oh so pleasant.

In terms of fruit flavors I taste strong lime notes and ripe apple. There's an interesting tongue-numbing note of pine needles. I also detect some yeast character that reminds me of fresh warm bread. The texture is very bubbly. This cider  cuts through cheese soup with adroitness and effervescent clarity. With this meal it’s well-balanced and very food friendly.

It was a great preamble to a dark class comedy. Parasite is not a movie that has left my mind since I watched it. I appreciate the genre-bending twists and the pitch-perfect comedic timing. 

Next up, Blue Bee's Harrison with tiny recommendations to go see Jojo Rabbit and Harriet. I'm not a film blogger, so don't expect too much!

Blue Bee Cider has  been part of the cider scene as Virginia's first urban cidery since 2013. Blue Bee presents itself as not only highly local but also small-batch and seasonal. The ciders aren’t all only traditional though, Blue Bee Cider makes ciders with fruit and hops as well. Blue Bee Cider was kind enough to share this sample with me for review.

Here’s my most recent Blue Bee Cider review of the Hewe’s Crab:

And my take on the Hopsap Shandy:

My 4th favorite cider of 2017 was Blue Bee Cider’s Charred Ordinary:

Visit Blue Bee Cider online to learn about all of the ciders, their cider club, and upcoming events:

Blue Bee Cider’s Harrison is a single varietal cider. Here’s how the company describes it.
A rare breed, the HARRISON apple makes a comeback from near-extinction in this distinct, fruit forward cider. Earthy aroma, round tannin, notes of golden raisin and orange zest. 
RS 0.5%, ABV 8.5%.

Appearance: Brilliant, dandelion yellow, bubbly

This cider poured with a freshly effervescent mousse that vanished quickly. I’ll call the color dandelion yellow, but I’ve not seen a dandelion in many months, so it’s anything sunny and bright. What I can say with certainty is that this cider is brilliant.

Aromas: Woody, butterscotch, crystallized fruit

The Harrison smells mouthwateringly woody. It reminds me of a barn just as it’s starting to get rained on; the smell is fresh and wet. The cider’s aromas remind me of crystalised fruit, butterscotch, toffee, and toasted nuts. Something about the way the Harrison smells tells me this cider will be massively acidic.

Dryness/Sweetness: Off Dry

The Harrison is a beautiful example of an off dry cider. There’s just enough sweetness to enhance the cider without ever calling attention to itself as sweetness. 

Flavors and drinking experience: bright, tannic, ripe apples, citrus, paper

Holy wow! Blue Bee’s Harrison tastes amazing! This cider is acidic tannic, astringent, and fruity. Something about the tannins makes me think about old maps, paper, antiques, sunlight, and dust. I can taste lychee, lime, and ripe apple throughout. There’s a lovely overwhelming brightness here. Everything about this cider adds up to something golden and overripe,

Yes, I may be a sucker for off dry, high acid, medium tannic ciders in general. But the Harrison is more than just those check boxes. It reminds me of tangerine and lime, but the finish has a floral start that fades into butterscotch. Overall, the Harrison is very well balanced and simply outstanding.

And I must say, that the two movies that I got to discuss while enjoying this cider, Jojo Rabbit and Harriet, were both as worth my time as the cider was. They were very different, but both powerful stories. They also both offered more than just what one might expect from the trailers. I am loathe to reveal more, but I was impressed in more ways that I anticipated. 

Last thing, before I vanish. In less than a week Cider Week Virginia will be here! If you’ve been thinking about making a little trip to Virginia to explore cider, this is the time! November 15- 24 will  be packed to the gills with cider activities. 

Find out all about them:

Here’s the Facebook event where you can learn more:

And if you’re already in Virginia, you have no excuse. Go enjoy Cider Week VA!