Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Cider Review: Woodinville Ciderworks' Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider

This past weekend was a shining example of how gorgeous Fall can be. I hiked and gardened and didn’t forget to include cider and apples in my enjoyment either. Making apple macaroni and cheese from scratch with cider, and pairing it with cider has to be one of my favorite Autumnal treats.

To celebrate, I reached into my store of ciders from the NW Cide Club. I get the Discover shipment four times a year, and I love it. Getting to try ciders that would otherwise never become available to me is crucial to understanding the breadth of flavors happening in cider right now! 

Check it out here: https://nwciderclub.com/

My curiosity was drawn to Woodinville Ciderworks’s  Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider this week.

I couldn’t find out a lot about this company aside from the location: Woodinville, Washington. The ciderworks is just gearing up, so there’s not yet a full website, and this is an early release. 

I found the most up-to-date information on Woodinville Ciderworks on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/woodinvilleciderworks

I don’t have a full description of Woodinville Ciderworks’ Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider, so I’ll be informed only by what I see, smell and taste.

Appearance: coral, brilliant, bubbly

The Red Flesh Cider pours with wonderful effervescence. Even after a few moments, a hint of mousse remains, as the picture shows. I’ll call the color pastel coral; it’s almost more a shade of peach rather than pink. The cider is totally brilliant as well.

Aromas: malic acid, woody, ripe apple, apple skin

This cider smells astonishingly like malic acid! I can definitely expect something tart here. The scent reminds me apple skins and seeds; it’s both fresh and woody. All of the apple notes do smell mouthwateringly ripe.

Dryness/sweetness: semi-dry, but difficult to determine

Puckeringly tart acid and strong bubbles

I found it hard to tell how sweet it is! You'll see why as you keep reading. My best guess would be a semi-dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, tannic, fruity, crabapples

This cider tastes tannic like crabapples with that special juicy concentrated astringence that stay completely melded with it’s fruitiness. I find this to be a very different tannic profile than what I get from ciders made with European traditional cider varietals. This is tannic and sharp and fruity rather than austere and structured. I’m interpreting here, but that has been my experience.

One out of our three tasters found it too much in terms of acidity but two of us loved it. I loved the tart Blueberry notes. The cider has a quick clean finish. I found that the tannins build as you sip. The Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider goes beautifully with cheese like aged Manchego. I paired it with my apple mac and cheese and I even used a splash or two when creating my cheese sauce. It was wonderful as an ingredient and as a pairing. What a treat!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Cider Review: Urban Tree Hard Cidery's Orange U an IPA?

Hello cider fans, are you appreciating the signs of Fall all around (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway)? I know that I’m loving each brightly-colored leaf, Goldenrod, and Aster. The sculpted white clouds look crisper in the blue porcelain sky today. Clouds and rain are coming, but I’m basking in the golden moments while they’re here.  

And I chose a cider that reminds of this early fall moment  with many lingering summer accoutrements: Urban Tree Hard Cidery’s Orange U an IPA. My thinking was that the hops would recall Summer but that the coriander and apple would bring it into Fall. Let’s see how that works out.  

Urban Tree Cidery is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where you can find the ciders as well as the tasting room and patios. It sounds like a fun dog-friendly spot that not only sells ciders made on the premises but partners with local craft beer and cocktails as well. 

I’ve reviewed two Urban Tree ciders before. You’ll find links to both below.

Sweet Heat Haze: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/05/cider-review-urban-tree-ciderys-sweet.html

Harvest Apple: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/03/cider-review-urban-tree-hard-cider.html

You can visit Urban Tree Cidery online here: https://www.urbantreecidery.com/

Here’s how the cidery describes this cider. “Fermented with sweet orange peel, coriander and citrus hops; this cider will make you question if you're drinking a cider or an IPA. 6.5% ABV.” I did see elsewhere on the webpage for the cider that it’s hops are Citra hops, and it has a listed IBU of 95. I have never seen an IBU on a cider before, so I don’t know how to interpret that number. Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Now for my tasting notes on Orange U an IPA?

Appearance: Orange, cloudy, deep color, disappearing mousse

Urban Tree Cidery’s cider pours with a bit of foam that doesn’t stick around. The color is a deep autumnal orange with some tones of bronze. It’s fully cloudy. I could not see through it. 

Aromas: grapefruit, hops, lemon zest, peach, overripe apple

Orange U an IPA? Smells of hops, orange flesh, zesty lemon and minerals. I also get notes of soft ripe peaches and overripe apples. This smells like it will be remarkably flavorful!

Sweetness/Dryness: Sweet

This cider is fun and sweet! It tastes of creamy sugar both in the immediate sugar cane note and also in the fresh orange notes. 

Flavors and drinking experience: creamsicle, mimosa, high acid, full body, fun

Orange U an IPA? by Urban Tree Cidery tastes like a hoppy mimosa. I am so into this! The cider feels deliciously thick and tastes sweet and creamy with prominent notes of orange and apple. It’s also grapefruity but in a creamsicle way. Orange U an IPA has no tannins but high acid.

The body is heavy, wet, juicy and ripe. This is an emphatic treat with perfect late summer flavors. The coriander isn’t powerful, but it comes through in one gentle spice note in the mix.

I love the cider’s medium bubble; it’s enough to lift the fullness of flavors but not enough to feel sharp. This cider brings the fun! I do find it much more pleasurable from the glass than a can, but that’s usually how I feel. 

I had mine with spicy popcorn and the first episode of What We Do in the Shadows!  I recommend that pairing whole heartedly!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Cider Review: Haykin Family Ciders' 2018 Method Ancestrale Ela Family Farms Cuvee

This week’s cider was part of a small birthday dinner for a dear friend. It still feels new to me to host little parties again, but it’s the most delicious kind of new. This time of year is perfect for it. I have more tomatoes than I’ve ever had access to in my life, and bread baking is very dinner-party friendly. Plus, my cider stores are rather brimming from all of the dinner parties I haven’t hosted for the past 18 months. This meal got accidentally planned around focaccia bread, the birthday lady’s caprese salad, and my desire to break into a bottle of Haykin Family Cider.

Haykin Family Cider comes to us from Colorado. The cidery is extremely well-decorated from many GLINTCAP wins over the years. The cidery was founded by Talia and Daniel Haykin in Aurora, Colorado. You can visit a tasting room, order Haykin Family Cider online or join the cider club. This cider was shared with me for review, but as always my opinions are my own.  

I’ve only ever reviewed Haykin Family Cider’s Harrow Pear before: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/06/perry-reviews-haykin-family-ciders.html

You can visit the cidery online: https://www.haykinfamilycider.com/

Here’s Haykin Family Ciders’ official description for the 2018 Method Ancestrale Ela Family Farms Cuvee.

A blend from Ela Family Farms, a fourth generation Colorado fruit grower, including Cox's Orange Pippin, Ashmead's Kernel, Jonathan, Golden Delicious and others. This sparkling cider boasts the character of pear, banana, cardamom, lime, and substantial minerality. This bottle was aged 15 months sur lees and disgorged by hand. This cider is semi-dry. 5% of sales of this cider goes back to Steve Ela and Ela Family Farms to help rebuild their orchard after a devastating frost. 7.9% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, gentle warm straw, bubbly

The Ela Family Farms CuvĂ©e looks decidedly bubbly. I had to pour a second time to make sure we got enough cider and not just lovely frothy bubbles in our glasses. The color is gently warm straw; it isn’t intense. The cider is just a bit hazy and gets more so towards the end of the bottle.

Aromas: Mellow mineral, spices, ripe apple, lemon, honey

I’m expecting something mellow and structured based on what I smell in this cider. Immediately, I get notes of minerals, spices, ripe apples, lemon, and honey. My appetite is most decidedly whetted.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry/semi-sweet

The level of sweetness on this cider surprised me. I thought it would be drier, but while this is semi-dry it’s nearly semi-sweet. Lots of fruit flavors are accessed through the cider’s sweetness. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins, medium high acid, woody, minerals, creamy

What a heavenly journey. This cider rolls across my palate with lushness and surprises. At first I was surprised by how near to a semi-sweet cider this tastes. The Ela Family Farms Cuvee follows that surprise with high tannins and medium acidity. I love the excellent sparkle that can only be obtained with the laborious Method Ancestrale. This cider gifts us notes of wood, minerals orange peel, banana, and ripe apple. I love little touches of bitterness that layer between the fruit flavors. The finish is creamy and perfumed. All in all, this cider is such a neat mix of gentleness and firm structure.

We paired this cider with herbed focaccia bread, caprese salad, sauteed zucchini and cauliflower, and veggieful pasta dish with feta. It was a full-flavored summery meal with a cider pairing well matched for the zesty bright garden flavors. What a treat!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Cider Review: Presque Isle Farm's Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020

I’ve not seen a bat in my house for more than a week now! And the summer’s heat has been (at least temporarily) replaced by cool mornings, golden evenings, and the freshest breezes I can remember. I’m so grateful. My weekend celebrations involved orchard time and so much fresh produce. And I love bringing out an exciting new cider to pair with my favorite recipes. That’s how I decided to open my bottle of Presque Isle Farm's Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020.

This is how the folks at Presque Isle Farm describe the project and its goals. 

Presque Isle Farm is a small centennial farm in northern Michigan. Our mission is to grow nourishing food, a healthy community, a vibrant local economy, and an ecologically flourishing environment. As the local and sustainable food movement grows nationally, we are working to bring that momentum to northern Michigan and build a foundation for health in our community and the world.

You can learn more about Presque Isle Farms online here: http://www.presqueislefarm.com/

This cider was shared with me at GLINTCAP by the cidermaker, after learning of its fantastic gold-medal performance in the competition. Many thanks! This is my first review of anything by Presque Isle Farm.

Here’s the cider’s official description.

6.9% ABV

Apples: 46% Kingston Black, 20% Northern Spy, 10% Bulmer’s Norman, 8% Brown Snout, 7% Idared, 6% Wild, 3% Rome

Tasting Notes: earthy, apple skin, over-ripe apple, dried fruit

The Farmhouse cider is our table cider blend. It is an everyday cider to drink with foods ranging from steak to seafood, to salads and greens. It contains about 20% bittersweet varieties of apples and 50% bittersharps which give it complexity, body, mellow tannins, and a small amount of perceived sweetness. The other 30% includes apples that add a balanced acidity bringing a crisp and refreshing finish. It tastes and smells of apple orchards.

And now for my experience with Presque Isle's Farmhouse 2020!

Appearance: transparent, mellow straw hue, few visible bubbles

The color of this cider reminds me of late summer dried grasses; it’s a mellow shade of straw. I’ll call the Farmhouse 2020 transparent. I can see a few stray bubbles in the glass but not many.  

Aromas: overripe apples, dried orange, leather

The Farmhouse 2020 smells absolutely mouthwatering to me. I’m awash in notes of leather, overripe apples, and dried orange. The cider just wafts up to my face and offers me many of my favorite cider aromas and creates a strong salivary reaction.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

I love a dry cider. This cider brings flavor and dimension while remaining dry in a very satisfying way!

Flavors and drinking experience: overripe apples, fried lemon, caramel, tannic

The Farmhouse Cider 2020 evokes many of the same flavor notes in its flavors that I noticed in its aromas. This cider blooms with overripe apple, dried orange, and leather flavors. Additional dimensions like  candied orange peel and fried lemon arrive just on the palate. The cider bursts with high tannins and high acidity.

Everyone at the table was oohing and ahhing over this dry, perfectly balanced cider. The Farmhouse 2020 arrives with heft, and structure, lifted up by tiny active bubbles. Though it’s dry, somehow subtle flavors remind me of caramel and nuts; I suspect this comes from the partial barrel aging in the blend. 

I love this cider’s creamy full body, luscious fermented flavors, and balanced excitement. It was served with tomato pie, corn on the cob and a pepper cucumber salad. The pairings were seasonal and lovely.