Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Cider Review: Raging Mead and Cider Company's Them Pet-Nat Southern Apples

Like many folks, I think I’m getting to a slow point in my COVID pandemic marathon. I may only manage single review posts for a while. It’s not that I don’t love cider or love sharing my opinions (trust me, I do) it’s just that making more time to write after working intensely at the computer five days a week isn’t easy. I have a harder time not obsessing about the news when I’m on the computer all the time, so I try to close the laptop when I can. Thank you for understanding!

Thanks to a trade with Dave, I was able to sample my first beverage by Raging Cider and Mead company this week. Raging Cider and Mead was founded in California in 2015 by Dave and Kerry Carr. This is my first review of any Raging ciders. They had been fermenting cider years before that. Here’s a quote from the website about the company’s goals and identity. 

One of the commitments Dave and Kerry have made is to only source apples, pears, honey, and other fruit from San Diego County in order to support the local farming community and to try and regrow the rich apple & pear orcharding traditions of the local San Diego mountains (in particular the Julian region). They have also committed to purchasing "ugly" and overproduced fruit to help local farmers derive a secondary income source from fruit that may have gone to waste and reintroducing traditionally made ciders (or heirloom ciders) to the American consumer by wild fermenting all their ciders on native yeast and using various techniques such as fermenting and aging on the lees in wine barrels in addition to various types of barrel aging.

You can visit Raging Cider and Mead online to learn more about what the company is up to! 


Here’s how the Them Pet-Nat Southern Apples cider is described on the bottle, “A dry blend of heirloom apples originally discovered in the American south, wild fermented in stainless then bottled before completion of fermentation for natural in bottle carbonation. Nuancedwith hints of strawberries, melon, spices, light leather, rich mouthfeel, and tiny bubbles.” ABV of 8.2%.

The cider comes with very important instructions to chill it for a minimum of 24 hours before daring to open the cider. I kept my bottle in the fridge for closer to a week. 

Appearance: cloudy, ochre, extremely bubbly!

The Pet-Nat fountained out of the bottle as soon as it was opened! I poured it quickly and ended up with a fizzy cloudy glass of ochre cider. There’s no mistaking this pet-nat for any other natural sparking method.

Aromas: white grapes, baking spice, yeast, leather

The Pet Nat smells lush and champagne like with prominent notes of crushed white grapes. I also get baking spices, leather, yeast and some funk. This is a lovely and complex array of aromas.

Dryness/Sweetness: Dry

As promised, this is a dry cider. It might not be strictly bone dry, but sweetness isn’t noticeable.

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, high acid, medium tannins, medium funk

As I dearly hoped, Them Pet-Nat Southern Apples is delightfully bubbly. It has beautiful high acid and is funky but not too funky. It’s a natural fermentation and that shows, but it tastes a bit more restrained than it smelled. The cider has mild tannins and floral finish.

But what I might like best about it is that the pet-nat has a firm and substantial body. It’s hefty and taut. Pet Nats might be one of my favorite styles in that they have such potential to be dry, bubbly and just a hint wild. This one definitely hits all of those delightful criteria!

I had this cider with a veggie stir fry with almonds, yellow peppers,and a tasty citrusy Ponzu sauce. It was an easy pairing, and one I’d enjoy eating again!