Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cider Reviews: Bellwether Rhode Island Greening and Citizen Cider's For Shore

The mild weather certainly didn’t stick around upstate New York for very long. It’s hot out and the regular thunderstorms are only doing so much to cool us down. I’m never going to turn to ice in my cider, I will make sure every cider I taste is well chilled. I may even go further than the classic advice of “castle temperature.” But in any case, I want to choose bright refreshing ciders that will enliven my evenings.

I’m starting this week with Bellwether Cidery’s Rhode Island Greening.

Full disclosure here, I worked for Bellwether about 5 years ago. At that time I didn’t review the ciders because I didn’t think it would be possible for me to be objective about them. While I still have many happy memories of my time selling Bellwether ciders, I think there’s now enough distance between me and that job for me to review Bellwether’s ciders. I am choosing to start with one that I never sold: The Rhode Island Greening.

Bellwether dates back to 1999, making them the oldest still-operating cidery in New York state (as far as I know). Cheryl and Bill Barton founded the cidery, and you can find them at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market or Bellwether’s Tasting room near Trumansburg, New York. The couple was initially inspired by French cider making regions.

Before I worked for Bellwether, I did review the Liberty Spy in my first 6 months of cider blogging!

Here’s that review: 
That cider made it to my #2 spot on the top 10 of 2013!

And the Heritage did make it into my Locavore Cider Pairing Dinner in 2017:

You can visit Bellwether online to learn more about the ciders and the wines:

Here’s the official description of the Rhode Island Greening:
Semi-Dry; sparkling; with just the right balance of sweet and sour, made from an old North American heirloom; the Rhode Island Greening was discovered in Rhode Island near Newport in the 1700's by an innkeeper/apple grower named Mr. Green. Enjoy the crisp tang of heirloom apple that was once one of NY's culinary favorites. Alcohol 6.50%

Appearance: transparent, warm straw, bubbly

This is a lovely cider in the glass. It looks very traditional for this region of ciders with a warm straw hue, almost shading into apricot. I can see that the cider will have some sparkle because I see bubbles in it. 

Aromas: citrus, Riesling, yeast, orange juice

The Rhode Island Greening smells like citrus! I get notes of orange juice specifically. The cider also brings a strong aroma of Riesling, maybe a little minerality too. The yeast notes are very clean and remind me of freshly baked bread.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a semi-dry cider just as promised in Bellwether’s description. What sweetness comes to the fore is very fruity and natural.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acidity, medium tannins, citrusy and clean

The Rhode Island Greening is a very pleasing semi-dry but not dry cider with high acidity and some tannins. I taste it as pleasantly puckering. The cider offers one consistent flavor from start to finish, but not a simplistic one. This is a clean, citrusy orchard cider. It's very true to what our region can produce with interesting heirloom apples and clean fermentation.

I find it extremely drinkable. The cider offers lots of mandarin orange flavor and a little cooked apple. Something in the mix reminds me of mellow dried leaves. We enjoyed this with veggie-loaded pizza, and it was a delight.

Next up, Citizen Cider’s For Shore!

Citizen Ciders is a growing cidery based out of Burlington, Vermont. The company’s availability has spread all over the eastern portion of the United States. This company maintains its enthusiastic local focus even as it becomes a regional powerhouse.

I’ve reviewed several Citizen Ciders. Here’s the list.

Tree Tapper:

Northern Spy:

Sur Lies:


The Wood:

Companion Sour Cherry:

Wit’s Up:

Barrel Aged:

Citizen Cider bRosé:

My visit to Citizen Cider:

Check out Citizen Cider’s website to learn about all of the ciders, including a few I’ve never found for sale:

Here’s the official description of the For Shore:
For Shore is a gose inspired cider finished with coriander and sea salt. It’s dry and bubbly and best enjoyed alongside your favorite waterfront view. This gose style cider was originally created as part of our Pine St. Cellar Series. 6% ABV
Appearance: hazy bubbly lemon curd

The color of this cider reminds me of lemon curd. It’s a bit hazy but I can still see some bubbles.

Aromas: funky, salty, tropical, fusel oils

What a trip! The For Short simultaneously smells salty, funky, summery and tropical. In terms of notes I get fusel oils, charcoal, but also pineapple and melon.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

This is a semi-dry cider, but it’s so tart and funky that it’s going to register for some samplers as far closer to dry than sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, green grapes, sour and funky

For Sure has off the charts acidity and fruity notes, including Pears, green grapes and pineapples. I also get other more surprising notes like cucumber, cola and Mountain Dew. This is certainly a refreshing and bright cider. I appreciate how bubbly and high acid it is.

We paired For Shore, with it’s mildly sour, fruity, and funky characteristics with a big tray of sushi and demolished both! This cider showed it’s best qualities when paired with sushi!