We’ll reach the Autumnal Equinox in a little more than a month. Tiny spider webs appear daily all over the grasses and hedges. As my mom would say, the green on the trees has become darker or more opaque. Apples are ripening, and next year’s cider will start fermenting soon! Time to reach into my cellar for one extra summery cider and one more can that I want to drink while it’s super fresh.
I want to start with Raven's Moon Hopped Apple Plum Cider.
This canadian cidery/winery was founded in 2004 in British Columbia, and the farm produces wine, cider, and distilled fruit spirits. George and Quinn make 15 different varieties, all with local fruit. I was able to snag my bottle of Hopped Apple Plum Cider after a cider competition last year. This will be my first review of anything they’ve made.
You can read more about the cidery and winery online: https://www.ravensmooncraftcider.ca
Here’s how Raven’s Moon describes the Hopped Apple Plum Cider.
A complete and unique cider created by the mad scientist that is George crafted by a blend of 3 different estate grown Japanese plums and BC cider apples, then dry hopped with a blend of BC grown cascade, centennial, and Chinook hops. George has created a great complex cider with wonderful floral notes and citrus aromas. The subtle hops flavours merge seamlessly with the lush plum profile making this cider completely interesting and a delightful flavour experience. 500ml 8.5% ABV.
Appearance: bubbly, bright goldenrod, brilliant
The Hopped Apple Plum cider foams and bubbles like a magical potion! The color reminds me of Goldenrod. It’s totally brilliant, which just shows off the sparkle even more.
Aromas: cranberry, hops, apple, plum, and soap
This cider smells like it’s going to have high acidity. The initial impression is one of cranberry, but with a roundness comprising both the hops and the plum. I find the smell very appealing: sweet and luscious. There’s an element in the hops that does remind me a bit of clean soap.
I’m shocked! I thought that the Hopped Apple Plum Cider would have some sweetness based on its aroma notes, but it tastes much drier than anticipated.This is a dry cider!
Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, hoppy, super bubbly, grapefruit zest
Whoa acidity! Even before I fully know how this cider tastes, the acid is obvious. The Hopped Apple Plum cider has extremely high acid. The hops, plum, and apple elements are all pronounced and distinct. I taste the hops as herbal, almost chewy. I love how amazingly bubbly this cider is—it pours with a tall and persistent head. I get notes of pine needles from the hops as well. This cider offers up a nice big mouthfeel. I appreciate the gently lingering bitterness—grapefruit zest, with a suggestion of sweetness—but not the presence of sweetness. The plum hints are lovely and subtle with a slightly blueberry-ish flavor.
I picked this cider to go with my summer corn chowder because I knew it would be seasonally appropriate, and it was perfect! And thank you again for making this cider such a sparkler! I love strong bubbles.
Next up, Stormalong Cider’s Esopus Spitzenburg.
This is another in the rare apple series and part of the Heirloom variety pack. I’ve been mowing through the selection just because I want to nerd out about special apple varieties. None of these are single varietal ciders, but the blends highlight the named apple. This whole pack was shared with me for review, and I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve tried thus far.
You can visit Stormalong online: http://stormalong.com/.
I’ve reviewed a growing number of Stormalong’s ciders. Here’s the list.
Here’s the official description from Stormalong:
FLAVOR: Bright acidity with a smooth tannic finish
APPLES: Made with a blend of Esopus Spitzenburg, Calville Blanc d'hiver, Chisel Jersey, Ribston Pippin, Dabinett, and Golden Russet apple varieties 7.4% ABV
Appearance: brilliant, deep squash blossom yellow, almost no visible bubbles
Aromas: applesauce, golden raisins, hint of tartness
The Esopus Spitzenburg smells delicious! There’s a mellow overripe apple character that reminds me of home-cooked applesauce. The cider is rich and concentrated like golden raisins. I think it might end up being a bit tart based on the aromas as well.
Another fabulous dry cider, thank you Stormalong!
Flavors and drinking experience: tannins, acidity, balanced, rich, overripe apples
I’ve enjoyed each of these ciders, but this has to be my favorite thus far. The Esopus Spitzenburg brings beautiful tannins and exciting acidity to the table. I love how dry and drinkable this is! This cider cider comes across as richly appley and balanced. Totally clean fermentation. It’s medium sparkling and pleasantly aromatic. This is a cider that’s sophisticated and grown up, but very friendly and approachable.
I had this cider with a zucchini and yellow squash pesto pasta and fresh mozzarella. The freshness of the summer produce was a wonderful contrast for the ripe and luscious fruit character of this cider. I’d happily have that pairing again and again; it was such a delight!