Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Cider Review: Foggy Ridge Cider's Final Call and Pierced Ciderworks' Coco Loconut

I am so grateful that less than a week after returning from Key West, I’ve seen three different kinds of spring flowers here in Ithaca. It makes me believe that winter cannot last forever. 

Before I left, I had one very special cider that I’d been saving, so I’m thrilled to share my review of Foggy Ridge Cider’s Final Call this week. And I did find one unfamiliar cider in Key West. I was able to get Pierced Ciderworks' Coco Loconut at a fun fish joint that I loved. These ciders would be hard pressed to be more different from one another, but I’m happy to write about both!

Let’s start with Foggy Ridge Cider. This is a bittersweet review because I’m writing about the last release from a cidery I respect tremendously. Foggy Ridge was founded in 1997 by Diane Flynt in Virginia, hence the name. Though the cidery no longer makes ciders, the orchard still grows special fruit that other cider makers can purchase for their blends. 

Visit Foggy Ridge online to learn about the apples and the cider:

My previous reviews of Foggy Ridge ciders include not nearly enough, but here’s my review of 
Serious Cider:
(this was my 2nd favorite cider of 2016.)

Though it’s not a review, I did talk about a talk Diane Flynt (founder at Foggy Ridge) gave at Cider Con about Heritage Cider:

The Final Call was released in 2017, and here’s it’s official description. 

Final Call is Foggy Ridge Cider’s last and final cider release. A field blend (apples are “blended” in the orchard and pressed in mixed batches) of Foggy Ridge’s most valuable cider apples, Final Call is juicy mouth-filling cider with tart notes and a rich apple finish. Made from Harrison, Hewe’s Crab and Newtown Pippin, this balanced food friendly cider reflects Foggy Ridge’s 3000′ mountain terroir…our orchard to your glass.

Appearance: brilliant, bright sunny yellow, bubbly

This cider has so many bubbles! They show up beautifully in this cider’s brillance and springy, summery, yellow.

Aromas: Ripe apples, flowers, vanilla, butterscotch
At first this cider smells just like sweet ripe apples and meadow flowers. Secondarily, 
I get hints of butterscotch and vanilla. The whole aroma experience is just rich, velvety and  inviting.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This is a semi-sweet cider, sweeter than others I’ve had from Foggy Ridge, but the sweetness is balanced by acidity, body, and tannic structure. Not only is the sweetness natural and integrated, it’s completely hedonistically pleasing in this particular blend. 

Flavors and drinking experience: citrus, strong sparkle, creamy mouthfeel 

Wow! I wish this wasn’t my last bottle of this cider! I am utterly entranced. The Final Call just beckons to my palate with gently sweet citrus and ripe apple flavors. This cider feels so very bubbly with simply fantastic mouthfeel. It’s rich and zesty at the same time! I think that's possible because it's tannic and high acidity both.

Way to go out with an elegant statement, Foggy Ridge. This is a cider to remember! 

To change gears, I’ll paint the picture of looking for cider on vacation. I started looking for cider in the Chicago Midway Airport because our outbound travel was delayed by 7 hours. I had one choice, and it wasn’t a local cider. Most folks looked at me like I was clueless to even ask. But I’ll always ask for cider (politely) even when I don’t see it on a menu.

It wasn’t much better at most Key West places. I think there’s a relatively untapped market in Florida, Cider Makers! But I did have the option of trying something new and Floridian when I was out for Mahi Mahi at Off the Hook Bar & Grill.  

They offered one cider: Pierced Ciderworks’  Coco Loconut, and this was my only cider on vacation. 

Pierced Ciderworks hails from Fort Pierce Florida. The company has a tasting room and cidery in a historical space downtown. The company produces a rotation of ciders, many including flavors and additions. The company’s vibe is unpretentious and joyful with such creative offerings as a Peppermint Bark Cider and a Smoked Apricot Cider!

Visit the cidery’s website here:

Here’s how Pierced Ciderworks describes the Coco Loconut.

Tropical Coconut in a glass. This cider has turned many people’s mind about cider in general. The nose of this cider is very coconut forward, but so well balanced that when you take a sip you are not overcome with sweetness. A very well balanced cider that represents our roots here in sunny Florida. Great for the beach, pool, or just a Monday night. A slightly silky mouthfeel with a pleasant aftertaste. 5.7% ABV.

Appearance: hazy, bubbly, apple sauce 

Apologies for the fuzzy pictures! I was in a hurry to pair this cider with my dinner. The color reminds me of homemade apple sauce, as does the cider’s opacity. It’s totally cloudy!

Aromas: coconut, apple, orange, creamy

The smell is immediately coconut and secondarily apple and orange. Happily it does not smell like suntan lotion. I also get notes of Papaya. 

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

This cider is sweet, thick and creamy. It tastes like a dessert, and would go well with Key Lime Pie.

Flavors and drinking experience: Coconut, Medium acidity, to tannins, tropical fruit

This sweet cider brings medium acidity but no tannins to create a thick body. The apple notes function primarily as a neutral base for lots of coconut and tropical fruit flavors. It’s a fun dessert cider if you don’t mind not tasting too much apple. The Coco Loconut offers light carbonation and a silky mouthfeel with a bit of the trademark slipperiness of mango and coconut.

Big sips give just a little bitterness that adds some tooth to the experience. Most of the time I get a lingering sweetness and tropical vibe. The cider is certainly refreshing. My favorite part is almost certainly the pineapple notes that elide into orange and give a sense of pina colada. I had this with fried Mahi Mahi and the company of wonderful people, and that’s exactly how I’d recommend it.