Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Cider Reviews: Shoal Hope Ciderworks' Monument and Ploughman Cider's Stayman Winesap

First off, it’s April first after what feels like the longest March in the known universe. Someday, I’ll manage an April Fools Post, but I’d much rather just post two more cider reviews today. I am so lucky to get to share my cider thoughts with you. My readers and my cider makers keep me curious and excited about the ever-changing world of cider. Cheesy, but true.

Let’s start with Monument by Shoal Hope Ciderworks. This was a sample shared with me for review, thank you!

This cidery is based in Provincetown, Massachussetts. The company has a significant local focus, and they’ve been part of the local landscape since 2015. From the website, it looks like Shoal Hope produces four different ciders. 

Visit Shoal Hope Ciderworks online:

I have two earlier reviews for Shoal Hope Ciderworks:

Little Tart:

As for Monument, here’s the official description: “MONUMENT is an off-dry cider flavored with dark brown sugar.  The sugar is added after fermentation to impart a molasses flavor reminiscent of traditional New England Ciders. 6.4% ABV”

Appearance: tea color, no visible bubbles, barely hazy

This looks like many and English cider with that deep warm tea like color and lack of visible bubbles. The cider isn’t brilliant, instead I see the barest shred of haze, adding depth to its look.

Aromas: cooked apple, brown sugar, caramel 

The Momument has lots of smell! As soon as I cracked the bottle, I got pronounced apple notes. It doesn’t smell like a crisp raw apple; instead it smells cooked like a baked apple or apple sauce blended with rich brown sugar or caramel.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

The bottle calls this off dry, but to me it tastes semi-sweet. The notes of sugar, the mouthfeel, and the ample presence of sweetness are clear. 

Flavors and drinking experience: baking spices, brown sugar,  medium tannins and acidity, long finish

This cider tastes much like it smells. It tastes so much like an apple dessert with cooked apple, brown sugar and occasional notes of baking spices. This cider has a full body with medium acidity, medium tannins. They create a nice balance with plenty of richness and substance.

The finish was gentle but long and perfumed. This is a cider that surely makes many people wowed with its hedonistic profile.

I paired this with a dinner of black beans and rice covered in Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. It made for a very pleasing contrast. My dinner was lean and salty while my drink was sweet and rich. Very satisfying!

Next up, it’s Ploughman Cider’s Stayman Winesap

Ploughman is a cidery I know through my  year cider judgings in PA which have led to some of my favorite cider friendships anywhere in the country. Ploughman Cider comes from Adams County, Pennsylvania. It’s a young cidery springing from an antique family farm.

I love this quote that describes the approach to beverage making. 

Here at Ploughman, we embrace the "frontier" mentality – an eagerness to try new things, but always with authenticity to quality. We are not purists, but we will never cut corners and never use engineered essences, flavors, or artificial nonsense. Our eagerness to experiment with new things is almost completely farm based – we use whatever is exceptional and abundant at Three Springs Fruit Farm on any given year.

Learn more on the web:

I’ve covered a few Ploughman Ciders before. Here are all of those reviews!

And the Stayman Winesap receives this description online.

CIDER MADE WITH STAYMAN WINESAP APPLESThe Stayman Winesap apple has a tough red skin, yellowish flesh, and is quite aromatic. In our fermentations it tends to develop some strawberry aromas and a good mouthfeel. Here we’ve fermented it spontaneously, without adding any yeast, allowing the ambient flora found on the skins and calyx to help determine its fermented character. It has been aged for more than 8 months and is rustic, bright, and fragrant. 6.9% ABV

Appearance: bright gold, brilliant, bubbly

This cider looks cheerful and springy! It shines with bubbles and brilliance and a duckling fuzz shade of bright gold.

Aromas: farmyard, lemon, stones, and meadow flowers

The Stayman Winesap smells of clean farmyard and zesty lemons. Secondarily, I get some notes of meadow flowers and rich nectar. After a few more wafts, I can get dusty stones.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a cider that's dry but not totally austere. It still brings plenty of fruit to my glass!

Flavors and drinking experience: citrus, high acid, light body, funky

The Stayman Winesap tastes tart with a medium sparkle and light body. This dry cider brings medium tannins and plenty of funk to the party. I appreciate that the overall impression contains elements of citrus fruit, phenols, and peanuts.

This is a cider for fans of the zesty, wild, funky stuff! It’s a wonderful pairing for creamy foods or anything that you want to add a dry kick for contrast. Enjoy!

Stay safe and enjoy your cider at home, friends!