Monday, October 3, 2022

Cider Week New York: Moosewood Restaurant's Black Diamond Cider Pairing Dinner

We’re now a few days into Cider Week New York! Cider activities are highlighting what’s awesome about my favorite beverage in every region of the state. Check them out and hopefully you can find one near you!

https://ciderweeknewyork.com/events-2/

And in particular, I’d like to highlight a free event I’m supporting on Tuesday October 4th: Tasting and Tomes at Mann Library! Visit us on Cornell’s campus to taste apples and fresh cider, explore our collection of cider related books new and old and learn about all things cider happening at Cornell! We’ll be around 11am-2pm.

Here’s how I started my cider week. I want to share my experience at Moosewood’s pairing dinner with Black Diamond Cider. Our guides for the evening were Ian Merwin, founder of Black Diamond Cider and Pomologist Emeritus at Cornell University, and Aron Kelly, Moosewood’s General Manager. The format was a 4-course vegetarian dinner prepared by Moosewood Chef Tim Mooney: each course paired with something special from Black Diamond Cider.I was particularly excited to find something vegetarian not as a substitution but by design and I’m a big fan of Black Diamond Ciders.

And if you're not familiar with Moosewood Restaurant, I recommend learning more: https://www.moosewoodrestaurant.com/

My previous reviews of Black Diamond Ciders are plentiful, and they include:

My #1 cider of 2021 Black is Gold (a collaboration with Redbyrd Orchard Cider): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/11/cider-review-black-diamond-farm-and.html

Black Diamond Cider's 2018 Rosé: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/09/cider-review-eden-ciders-peak-bloom-and.html

Shin Hollow: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/08/cider-review-mountain-west-ciders-sweet.html

Jaywalker: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/03/cider-review-alpenfires-dungeness-and.html

Geneva Tremlett’s: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-black-diamonds-geneva.html

Somerset Jersey: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/05/very-perry-may-with-vandermills-ice-ice.html

Slatestone: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/11/cider-reviews-big-hill-ciderworks.html

Hickster: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/12/cider-review-black-diamond-ciders.html

Porter’s Pommeau: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html

Solstice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/08/cider-review-black-diamonds-solstice.html

Rabblerouser: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-black-diamonds.html

I recommend visiting Black Diamond Cidery online here to learn more about all of the ciders: https://www.blackdiamondcider.com/

We started with a Curried Pumpkin Soup with toasted pepitas and pickled mustard seeds. This was paired with Black Diamond’s 2008 Perry. Though it’s called a Perry, it is a pear-apple blend, making it a pear cider. Though I loved all of the ciders of the evening, the first one was my favorite! A good perry is something to write home about, and this pear cider captures so much of what can be great about the beverage. I loved the lively bubbles, grapefruit citrus notes, softness and high acid.  

 I had some trepidation because of the pickled mustard seeds. Yes, they sound intriguing, but here’s a confession, I am usually passionately unfond of pickled things. It’s the rare exception that works for me. Miraculously, these were perfect. The soup was heavy, creamy, and only gently spiced. It needed the pepitas and the salty acid bite of the pickled mustard seeds. Yum!

I knew we’d have a salad as part of our meal just because Moosewood makes such wonderfully deluxe salads. This was a particularly seasonal offering: a Dinosaur Kale salad with slow roasted plums, toasted walnuts, roasted Delicata squash, crumbled blue cheese, and a buttermilk vinaigrette. It was paired with the 2019 Rosé. If you read my review of the 2018 Rose, I have to note that this one is created entirely differently. It uses plums as one of the elements to give the cider its signature hue. I love the idea of plums as a point of continuity for this pairing since they are in the cider and the salad. It's a lightful easy cider, utterly delightful and acid driven. The Rosé is semi-dry but so fruity. 

Butternut Squash Lasagna made our entree. I expected a cream sauce based lasagna as many autumnal lasagnas swap out a tomato sauce for a Roux-based sauce, but I was delighted by my rich and hearty red sauce vegetarian lasagna. It had caramelized fennel, Remembrance Farm baby kale, smoked mozzarella, butternut squash ricotta, asiago, garlic, Cabernet tomato, basil, and Parigiano Reggiano. I will remember the umami and satisfaction of that lasagna for years. It paired with Ian’s favorite of his ciders (at least as he described it that evening) the 2020 Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection Varietal cider. 

The Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection upped the body and alcohol with an ABV of 10%. I appreciate that this cider has acidity, tannins, structure, and body. It's dry by the numbers but it still gives off an essence of nectar or floral sweetness. Ian says that comes from the Golden Russet apples. It’s a very special cider that just tastes golden, mature, and mellow to me. I loved it with the exceptionally concentrated tomato sauce of the lasagna. Cider and tomatoes can be so fantastic together!

At this point, even after having half of my lasagna packed for later, I was stuffed! And yet I wanted to taste the final pairing.

It was an individual apple bundt cake with lemon ricotta and drizzled with cider caramel. I knew it would be paired with Black Diamond’s Pommeau. The cake appeared in a decadent moat of sauces. It makes my mouth water to think back on it. Pommeau was a delightfully appropriate pairing because of its intensity, sweetness, and higher ABV. Most cider would not be able to be tasted alongside such a rich and sweet dessert, but pommeau is a mixture of cider spirits, fresh cider, and wonderful structure from oak barrel aging. All of these factors made it something extra special with this creamy fabulous apple cake. 

The whole meal was extraordinary thanks to the wonderful food preparation and outstanding pairings from Black Diamond. What a great way to start my Cider Week New York! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Cider Review: 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Hollow Jack'd and Cider Week New York

This weekend, I walked in an orchard with my mom. We admired full-size Cortland apple trees, tasted a Karmijn de Sonneville apple, visited the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, looked for early foliage, and made our first batch of chili for the year. I even watched football with her, because she loves football. This is all extra special because she lives about 10 hours away, and she drove up for a weekend of Fall in upstate New York. We really committed to our autumnal appreciation by sharing the most seasonally appropriate cider I could get: 2 Towns Ciderhouse’s Hollow Jacked. 

Maybe I was showing off for my mom. Who am I to deny that? It’s not always that I can offer brand new seasonal releases from the opposite coast. 2 Towns Ciderhouse generously shared this cider with me to sample for potential review. 2 Towns is a cidery based out of Corvallis and Portland, Oregon. I’ve reviewed many 2 Towns Ciders and give more background on the cidery earlier. Check them out. I love how this list shows the range of this particular cidery! 

Two Berry Dream: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/08/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouses-two.html

10th Anniversary Cider Pacific Northwest Heirloom Blend: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/01/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-10th.html

Good Limes Roll: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/07/cider-reviews-two-towns-cider-house.html

Cosmic Currant: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/12/cider-review-two-towns-cosmic-currant.html

Hollow Jack’d: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/10/cider-review-two-towns-ciderhouse.html

Afton Field: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/06/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-afton.html

La Mûre: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/02/cider-review-albemarle-ciderworks.html

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-eden-ciders-siren-song-and.html

Cidre Bouche: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/11/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouses-cidre.html

Pearadise: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-2-towns-ciderhouses.html

Pineapple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Bright Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-roundup-common-cider-co.html

Hop and Stalk: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-hop-and.html

Learn about all of 2 Towns’ ciders and events at the website: https://2townsciderhouse.com/

Here’s how 2 Towns Ciderhouse describes Hollow Jack’d.

HOLLOW JACK'D

IMPERIAL PUMPKIN CIDER

Extra mischievous, Hollow Jack'd takes our fall classic of fresh-pressed apples, caramelized pumpkins and sweet potatoes that are finished with local honey and spices to a whole new level.

MADE WITH HEIRLOOM PUMPKINS

ALC/VOL

8.4%

TASTING NOTES

Imperial take on our Fall classic

25+ pounds of caramelized pumpkin per barrel

10+ pounds of sweet potato per barrel

Whole fall spices and raw honey

Appearance: hazy, orange, few visible bubbles

The Hollow Jack’d looks like a classic jack o’lantern in color; its intense true orange.The cider looks slightly hazy and very appealingly autumnal.

Aromas: Nutmeg, clove, ginger, ripe apple, cinnamon

Hello spicy season! The Hollow Jacked smells redolent of fall baking or chai spices immediately. I notice nutmeg, clove, ginger, and to a lesser degree cinnamon. There are also notes of ripe apple in the mix.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet!

This is unambiguously a sweet cider. Don’t ask it to be what it’s not. I think some sweetness is necessary to go with spice otherwise it can be very astringent and bitter. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Bubbly, cinnamon, apple, ginger, honey

The cinnamon that didn’t come through strongly in the aromas for me was much more present in the cider’s flavors. The Hollow Jack’d continues the party with lots of rich apple and ginger notes. This is a sweet and spicy blend with lots of bubbles, medium acidity, and a full body!

I didn’t taste much that I would describe as explicitly pumpkin, but it was certainly more spiced, appley, and honeyed than most pumpkin delights offered up in Fall. The Hollow Jack’d is a fun cider. If this is a profile you like, seek it out!

Cider Week New York is almost upon us! From September 29th through October 9th, we’ll celebrate cider across the state. 

Check out the upcoming events here: https://ciderweeknewyork.com/

These range from paired dinners like the one I’ll be joining at *the* Moosewood Restaurant with ciders from Black Diamond Cider, to interactive educational exhibits at Mann Library on Cornell University’s campus to amazing tap takeovers and orchard tours in every region of New York. Check out the schedule; you’ll find something amazing. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Cider Review Wild Arc Cider! and News


Cider can be so much more than a beverage: tasted for a moment and then forgotten. Cider can make a meal, a memory, or a memorial of the harvest from which it came. This past weekend, I was lucky enough to see all of these possibilities come together in a Brooklyn night time garden with just a few friends and loved ones. Here’s how it all came together over Wild Arc Farm’s Cider! at Pheasant. 

First, a bit of background about Wild Arc Farm. Todd Cavallo & Crystal Cornish founded this small farm in New York’s Hudson valley. On the website, it’s described as, “An experiment in regenerative permaculture and viticulture in the Hudson Valley. Wild Arc Farm is a pursuit of sustainable food and beverage production within the small farm environment.” This is my first ever review of anything by Wild Arc Farm. It looks like they make more wines than ciders, and everything is made in small quantities. 

You can see some views of the farm and see where Wild Arc Farm beverages are found at the website: https://www.wildarcfarm.com/

And if you’re curious about the meal (which you should be), I recommend checking out Pheasant for yourself: https://www.pheasantnyc.com/. Everything we tasted was amazing, and the staff took wonderful care of us. 

Here’s how Wild Arc Describes the Cider:

A pear and apple blended cider. Northern Spy apples from coming from Ontario county in northern New York state and the Callery pears from the Wild Arc Farm itself. Wild yeast fermentation, not filtered or fined and aged in neutral barrel prior to being canned with a sparkling finish. Crisp, dry and pleasantly summery. 

Wild Arc Farm Description 

Todd on this bev: “We have a number of Callery Pear trees on our farm and have always wanted to do something with the tiny, tart, tannin-packed fruits.” 

Fruit: Northern Spy from an IPM-farmed orchard in Ontario County, North Fork + Callery Pears from Todd’s own farm 

Making of: a couple of buckets of pears were macerated in the cider, then racked into neutral French oak 500L puncheons and left undisturbed for 6 months before canning.


We got to sit outside in the newly cool evening in a golden back garden surrounded by plants. Now, here’s how it tasted and paired with my evening.

Appearance: hazy, lemon curd, bubbles

I love freeing cider from a can, so I can really see and smell my cider before trying it. The Cider!  was rewarding to see with its hazy lemon curd color and active bubbles. Seeing it increased my anticipation.

Aromas: minerals, melon, lemon and apple blossom

Wild Arc’s cider’ brings minerals to mind immediately as its primary aroma note. Secondarily I smell melon, summer fruits, and lemon. I get a spritz of apple blossom as well. One of my co-tasters noticed mild funk surrounded by clean mineral austerity. 

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

There was some friendly debate at our table about the dryness of this cider. Primarily it tastes dry, but it’s not completely dry. Pears have a kind of sweetness (sorbitol) that can never be fermented out, so that makes it just a bit tricky. The cider’s tannins and acidity will also affect how we interpret its sweetness. I think it tastes semi-dry, but the Tall One found it closer to semi-sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium tannins, plentiful bubbles

We agreed around our table that the cider tastes not overly Perry-esque.  There’s not a ton of sorbitol or horse hoof which are both relatively common flavors for perry. The apple pear blend integrated really nicely. The whole experience is balanced and semi-dry with high but not insane acidity and medium tannins. The pears add a richness and roundness to the whole experience. 

The cider is made tremendously food-friendly with its strong sparkle. I could taste my crispy fried Delicata squash, sip my cider, and then be ready to switch to heirloom tomato salad or white wine shrimp with a clean palate. The cider finishes out with a clean clean finish that matches its aromas and flavors. I agree with the makers that the overall impression is summery. And that was key to my experience this past weekend. 

There’s nothing more summer and special than a long leisurely dinner under string lights that lets the talking stretch until late. The season has to be at that comfortable time when one can be outside and just forget about temperature altogether. I could focus on sharing bites of bitter peppers and creamy burrata or getting a perfect bit of jammy egg and sips of my ultra-refreshing  cider. Even more importantly, I could dive deep into sharing stories and connection with my people. Isn’t it nice to do that with something delicious? I treasure it.

I can’t leave this week without sharing a bit of news. I’m now officially a Pommelier! I passed my Certified Pommelier exam. It’s a tremendous honor to be one of the 45 current Pommeliers, and I can’t wait to see where this road leads.

Check out the full story from the American Cider Association: https://ciderassociation.org/third-exam-of-2022-welcomes-eight-new-certified-pommeliers 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Cider Review: Snow Capped Cider Ashmead's Kernel

I picked up my first apple CSA share of the season this past weekend. For me, this is the real start of fall. I’m ready! In the coming weeks the other signs will appear: colorful leaves, pumpkins, early evening shadows and eventually frosted mornings. I’m not in a rush to traverse it; this short season begs to be savored. One of my savorings this weekend was a quiet birthday celebration with a long-time friend, her family, my family, many snacks and Snow Capped Cider’s Ashmead’s Kernel. 

Snow Capped Cider comes to us from a multiple generation family farm in Colorado. I’ve had a few of their ciders and seen the cidery name come up as a frequent award winner. Here are all of my previous reviews of Snow Capped Cider.

Blanc Mollet: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/06/cider-review-snow-capped-ciders-single.html

Gold Rush: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/04/cider-review-snow-capped-ciders-gold.html

Harrison Reserve (My #5 favorite cider of 2021): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/12/cider-review-snow-capped-cider-harrison.html

You can visit Snow Capped Cider online and learn about everything this cidery is up to: https://snowcappedcider.com/

I love how Snow Capped introduces the Ashmead’s Kernel with background and description for the apple that makes up this single-varietal cider. 

First discovered in Gloucester England around 1700 then throughout North America, Ashmead has remained popular in both cider making and eating for two centuries despite its faded color and dull outer appearance. Ashmead’s Kernel boasts incredible flavor creating a truly remarkable sensory experience. We have returned to its old world roots with a long ripening period and slow farm style fermentation method. A pétillant finish further enhances the fresh fruity aroma delivering the remarkable strong flavor combined with natural, delicate tannin and balanced sweetness. A unique enchanting cider with nearly elusive richness that leaves you questing for more. 100% Ashmead’s Kernel apples grown in our Colorado Orchards.

Alcohol 8.10%

Here are my thoughts on the Ashmead's Kernel by Snow Capped Ciders.

Appearance: mousse, medium intense amber tea color, 

This cider pours amber shading into tea with a lovely head of bubbles. The color is medium intensity. It’s a brilliant cider with no hint of opacity.

Aromas: Orange, minerals, autumn, overripe apples  

The Ashmead’s Kernel smells wonderful and enticing, What I notice first is orange and overripe apples. Secondarily I get aquatic and mineral notes. Overall the impression I get is one of maturity, full bloom, and autumnal forest floor.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This is a dry cider. It doesn’t use sweetness to guide you through the experience. 

Flavors and drinking experience: tannic, mid-low acid, pepper, baking spice

What a treat! Everyone gathered was wowed by this cider’s profile. It is substantially different than what we taste a lot here in upstate New York. The Ashmead’s Kernel is super tannic, but that feels very surprisingly different when paired with medium-low acidity. It’s smoother and less spiky. I taste bits of sweet red pepper and fruity sweetness. 

The cider is refreshing; something about it feels not only velvety but also lush with baking spice notes. I love the plentiful bubbles! I always love plentiful bubbles. The cider’s smooth finish makes it easy to reach for a second sip. It wears its relatively high ABV well.

We had divine caprese salad, pesto bean dip, focaccia bread, peppers, cheeses and Marcona almonds with the cider. We loved trying this along side different parts of this beautiful range of treats. I think my favorite pairings were the Ashmead’s Kernel with blue cheese and with truffle dusted Marcona almonds. 

What a way to celebrate a friend and welcome Fall.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Cider Review: Dragon's Head Cider's Rosé

I write from a cozy desk spot on a rainy Labor Day. I’m grateful to have today for rest and even more grateful to those who labor to keep things functioning today and everyday. This time of year, that especially means orchard and farm workers. Thank you! 

Today, my review features Dragon’s Head Cider’s Rosé. This cider was part of a Northwest Cider Club Shipment. I love being able to purchase curated selections of ciders not usually available to me in remote upstate New York. You can learn more about the Northwest Cider club here: https://nwciderclub.com/

Dragon’s Head Cider comes to us from Vashon, Washington. Vashion is an island with an orchard off the coast of Washington state. 

Here’s how Dragon’s Head Cider introduces their process and philosophy of cider making. 

From apple to bottle, all right here on our farm.

At Dragon’s Head Cider, we take a traditional approach to cider making. Our focus is on the apple varieties that we use and the quality of the fruit. We love the story that apples alone can tell through cider, altering the flavor by changing the blend of apple varieties that we carefully select. The process is simple and the ingredients list is short. Perhaps we’re a little old fashioned.

You can read the rest of the process and learn about all of Dragon’s Head cider on the website: http://www.dragonsheadcider.com/

I don’t have many previous review of Dragon’s Head ciders, because I haven’t gotten to taste them nearly as often as I’d like. Here are all of the cidery’s earlier appearances on the blog. 

Heritage: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/09/cider-review-liberty-ciderworks-wickson.html

Wild Fermented (#1 cider of 2019!): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/04/cider-review-dragons-head-wild.html

In 2018, Dragon’s Head appears in my coverage of CiderCon: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cidercon-part-2-including-heritage.html

Here’s the official description of Dragons Head Rosé:

Our Rosé Cider is created from a unique blend of red fleshed apple varieties, including Redfield apples from our own orchard. Unlike typical apple trees, in the Spring, the blossoms on the Redfield trees are bright pink, the leaves are a reddish bronze, and amazingly the flesh of these beautiful apples is red. When the apples are pressed the juice is a crimson color that lightens and clears into the blush rosé that you see in the bottle. Bright and fruity, this cider is certainly unique for its color but also delicious in flavor.

Alcohol 6.90%



Appearance: Brilliant, Bubbly, Copper Red

What a beautiful cider. I totally understand why the Rosé cider is bottled in clear glass. The coppery red color is too inviting not to share! The cider is brilliant and bubbly as well. What a visual invitation.  

Aroma: Mineral notes, Cranberry, Grapefruit, Black Pepper

The first scents that  unfold are mineral notes followed by cranberry, grapefruit and pepper. I know some folks question minerality, but I don’t know exactly how to put it when sniffing a cider makes me think about rocks. The cider’s aromas make my mouth water.

Dryness/Sweetness: Dry

Dragon’s Head Cider’s Rosé cider is dry. I’ll not call it bone dry, but it’s close.

Flavors and drinking experience: High acidity, high tannins, peach, floral finish

The Dragon’s Head Rosé cider has high but not extreme acidity. It makes a wonderful first impression of fruity and zinginess. That’s immediately followed by medium high tannins that ground and anchor the cider. I loved the floral finish with bits of peach. It’s a deeply enjoyable cider. The texture is defined by very fine bubbles. 

Upon second and third sips, I started to notice a gentle caramel note beneath the brightness. The fruitiness gets more definitively peach, cranberry with a bit of a spicy green pepper note at the end.  The cider has a thin light body that is kept angular by the acidity. It's a stimulating cider that’s tremendously inviting for food. Dragon’s Head Cider’s Rosé is just so good!

I paired this with a roasted chickpea, tomato, feta salad. Highly recommended!



Monday, August 29, 2022

Cider Review: Peak Light Cider's Farm School

All I want is flowers. It's ridiculous. This craving feels like it belongs to springtime and just wandered into my brain by mistake. Nonetheless, what brings me joy right now is Cosmos, Zinnia, Spider Plant, Mums, Coneflowers, Mayweed, and Sunflowers.  Please just stick me in a garden with a plate of cheese and a cider; I’ll come back in a few weeks, I promise. 

For right now I want to share Peak Light Cider’s Farm School. I got to sip this cider with friends and brunch on the screen porch. What a lovely way to enjoy a cider.

Peak Light Cider comes to us from Sauvie Island in Oregon. The farm is biodynamic and organic. The cidery was founded by Jen and Travis Lovejoy. Here’s how Peak Light Cider introduces the cidery.

This isn’t just cider. This is a farm to bottle experience of organically grown apples hand-picked at peak ripeness. Where honeybees dance and gatherings are queen. Where days are spent outdoors, dirtying hands, laughing, swapping stories, and staying for supper. Because community is more than who you know, what we drink matters, and every glass feels like coming home.

Peak Light Cider has only had one previous review. I checked out the Field Run: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/04/cider-review-peak-light-ciders-field.html

I recommend visiting Peak Light Cider’s website to learn more about the cider and its offerings: https://peaklightcider.com/

Here’s the cider’s official description.

This cider is a creation of collaboration and partnership with Wombat Flats Farm on Kiger Island, Oregon. This limited release cider from the 2020 harvest blends traditional bittersweet and bittersharp apples, including Yarlington Mill, Brown Snout, Muscadet de Dieppe, Vilberie, and Porter’s Perfection. Aromas of molasses and tilled loam soil with notes of chestnut and buckwheat honey. This bitter cider pairs well with radicchio salad and fresh baked bread with herbed butter.

It honors an Autumn of social distancing from broader communities, while coliving with dear friends, homeschooling and working together on the family farm. How bittersweet it is! Enjoy. Preferably with friends or family and some afterglow.

Appearance: warm apricot, brilliant, bubbly

Farm School poured with a bit of mousse all the way through the bottle. There’s that much bubble to see! The color reminds me of mango, tea, or apricot with a medium intensity and a gentle warmth. The cider’s clarity is brilliant.

Aromas: Overripe mushy apple, caramel, spice. 

The farm school smells like fall to me. The predominant note is overripe soft apples. Secondarily I get hints of caramel that make me think of barrels and just a hint of oxidation. There’s also a little baking spice in the grace notes.

Dryness/Sweetness: Dry

This is a dry cider. If you want a great example of a cider that will help you differentiate between acidity and tannins, this is super clear example. Read on for more.

Flavors and drinking experience: very tannic, medium acidity, barrel quality, boozy
 
I love how the Farm School tastes. This is a mature cider that’s at ease with its dry, very tannic profile. It has medium acidity to my palate, but I’d be curious what folks who primarily drink west coast ciders would say. There are still caramel notes like were present in the aroma, but they rise and swell without sweetness. The cider’s fruity appley mid-palate folds into a slightly boozy barrelly finish. There’s just a bit of funk, but not much.

Overall the Farm school is a cider with big full flavors but with a gentle smooth transition through every moment of the tasting experience. It was a wonderful pairing with coconut spice muffins, late summer vegetable frittata, and vegetarian chorizo. What a treat!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Cider Review: Angry Orchard's Newtown Pippin Traditional Method

Last week I was able to take a few days for a cider trip down to the Hudson Valley. It was finally time for my sensory retake of the Certified Pommelier Exam. The timing worked out amazingly so I could also visit Treasury Cider (http://www.treasurycider.com/) for a meet up with New York Cider Association members and tour Angry Orchard’s Walden Orchard and research cidery (https://www.angryorchard.com/tours/plan-your-visit). What made it sweetest of all is that my darling partner (He’s called The Tall One here) passed his Cider Certified Professional Level One exam shortly before, so he got to take the Pommelier test as well.  

Here’s a link to learn more about the American Cider Association’s Certified Pommelier program: https://ciderassociation.org/certification/.

That’s why I chose to review one of my special Walden Cidery offerings from Angry Orchard to review this week. I’m so happy to share my thoughts on Angry Orchard’s Newtown Pippin! Full disclosure, this cider was shared with me by some cider friends who work for Angry Orchard.

Here are a few of my earlier Angry Orchard reviews:

Baldwin: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/05/cider-review-angry-orchards-baldwin.html

Understood in Motion 2: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-critz-farms-double-vision.html

Understood in Motion 3: this collaboration with Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider (this was my #6 cider of 2018): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/08/cider-review-angry-orchard-ciders.html

Wooden Sleeper: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-angry-orchards-wooden.html

Spiced Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/cider-review-angry-orchards-spiced-apple.html

Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-review-of-greenwood.html

Rosé: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-rose-and.html

Walden: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/09/cider-review-angry-orchards-walden.html

Supernatural: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-super.html

You can learn more about what Angry Orchard is up to, including a new series of cider-based cocktails inspired by tall tales: https://www.angryorchard.com/

This cider is the Single Varietal Newtown Pippin Traditional Method. Here’s what Angry Orchard has to say about this particular cider.

Newtown Pippin 

Using only the Newtown Pippin apple this cider is tart and dry with notes of apple skins and wild honey. 6.8% ABV. 750 mL bottle.

Appearance: bubbly, ripe straw, transparent

This looks glowy and inviting with a color reminiscent of ripe straw. The Newtown Pippin pours with an aromatic mousse of bubbles.  

Aromas: Intense, breadcrumbs, champagne

I love how strong the Newtown Pippin’s aromas are. I could smell this cider as soon as I popped the cork. It’s bread crumbly, yeasty, and has a very champagne-like aroma. It reminds me of ripe grapefruit and white grapes.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a lovely dry cider. If you think Angry Orchard cannot make a dry cider, please try some of the special offerings from the Walden facility. This team can do it!

Flavors and drinking experience: intense sparkle, clean, pear, grapefruit, medium high acid

Nice! The Newtown Pippin is blowing me away. I’m such a fan of this. The first impression is how super bubbly it is. This cider brings a awesome intensity of sparkle from that second fermentation. The Newtown Pippin doesn’t really go for tannins but it offers medium high acidity and a beautiful fresh and clean fermentation. 

The flavors I notice early are pear, grapefruit and buttery breadcrumbs. The citrus that I noticed in the cider’s aroma remains. It’s all very golden, crisp, and polished. The body strikes me a lithe  but subtly rounded! The cider is so very pleasing.

I had this with a sweet corn ravioli in a blush tomato sauce with sauteed yellow squash, stripey tomatoes, and a red pepper. The pairing was delightful. The Newtown Pippin’s bubbles had a zesty cleaning effect between creamy pasta bites. 

The Pommelier test was challenging, and I won’t know how we did for a few weeks yet, so I’ll just share a few tour pictures in the meantime. 





Monday, August 15, 2022

Cider Review: Eden Cider's Cobble Knoll Petillant Natural 2021 and GLINTCAP Results

We’ve entered the tumultuous end of summer and back-to-school gauntlet. I see spiderwebs each morning, and leaves are showing the darkest opaque green, even showing some veins of red or gold in places. Fall is coming, so it doesn’t feel like it was only a month ago when I last reviewed an Eden cider. Then days were sweltering in the 90s, and now I’m reaching for a lap blanket and hot coffee for my mornings. I love this shift. It fills me with energy and reminds me of the magic in nature.

This is what prompted me to reach for Eden Cider’s Cobble Knoll Petillant Natural 2021. I love Eden Ciders and Pet Nats, plus they are meant to be enjoyed promptly. If you’re not familiar with how a pet nat is made, here’s a link: https://cidercraftmag.com/cider-bubbles-with-pet-nat/. Pet Nat is a cider for the moment; don’t ask the moment to last, just enjoy it when it comes.

Here are all of my previous reviews of Eden Ciders, including a super recent one from last month. If you’re looking for more background information on this cidery, many of these can tell you plenty about this apple-centered Vermont cidery.

Sorciere: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/07/cider-review-eden-ciders-sorciere.html

Oliver’s Twist Foxwhelp Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/11/cider-review-eden-ciders-olivers-twist.html

Brut Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/07/cider-review-eden-ciders-brut-rose.html

Benjamin: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/06/cider-review-eden-ciders-benjamin-and.html

Deep Cut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/08/cider-review-eden-specialty-ciders-deep.html

Peak Bloom: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/09/cider-review-eden-ciders-peak-bloom-and.html

Ezekiel: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/01/cider-review-eden-specialty-ciders.html

Extra Sec: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-super.html

Eden Heritage Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-eden-heritage-and.html

Siren Song: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-eden-ciders-siren-song-and.html

Brut Nature: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-con-2018-pt-1-eden-specialty.html

Imperial 11 Degree Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-january-2017-cidrbox-and-edens.html

Sparkling Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/06/cider-review-eden-sparkling-dry-cider.html

The Sparkling Dry featured in Thanksgiving & Birthday celebrations in 2016: 

http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/pick-cider-for-thanksgiving-and-my.html

http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/happy-to-pickcider-for-thanksgiving.html

You can visit Eden Cidery online to learn about the harvest ciders, aperitifs, and ice ciders that Eden Cider makes: https://www.edenciders.com/

Here’s what Eden shares with us about this cider. 

Cobble Knoll Pet Nat 2021

Clean, crisp, and so refreshing! Cobble Knoll is a Petillant Naturel made from apples entirely from our newest orcharding partner of the same name. Cobble Knoll has a lively, fruity acidity imbued with flavors of white flowers, wet stone, and green mango.

Cider Character: Dry, Naturally Sparkling

Apple Varieties: Ellis Bitter, Dabinett, Brown Snout, Wickson, Newtown Pippin, St Edmonds Russet, Calville Blanc, Ashmead's Kernel, Pine Golden, and Sweet Coppin

Harvest Date: September 2021

Release Date: June 2022

Elevage: Native yeast fermented, bottled during primary fermentation for natural carbonation. Nothing added.

Tasting Notes: Green mango, white flowers, wet stone. Drink 2022

7.5% ABV | 0g residual sugars | 750mL

Only 70 cases produced

Appearance: intense goldenrod yellow, brilliant, very bubbly

The cider’s petillance reveals itself with the plentiful cute tiny bubbles ascending in my glass. I appreciate the appealingly intense goldenrod color. 

Aromas: Peach, lemon, lemongrass, stones

Oh what smells! The Cobble Knoll reminds me of Peaches, lemons and lemongrass. I also get a strong mineral quality that reminds me of dry stones. I’m anticipating some very angular acid based on what notes are coming through.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

It's a dry cider. Pet Nat will be dry based on how it's made. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannin, very high acid, bubbly with mild funk

The Cobble Knoll starts with zingy high acid, high tannin, and a little funk. This cider is  everything but sweet. To the contrary it’s quite dry, but the peach notes carry a fruitiness to the fore. Some mild funk is present but under control, just barely. The bubbles just bring the Cobble Hill to life for me!

As I sip this cider bubble, tannin and farminess interaction dynamically, and the whole experience is carried by acids. The cider is bright and warm at once. In big sips there’s a slightly green buzzy, herbal finish. Some folks might find this one a challenge but ultimately it’s a delightful one.

And now for 2022 GLINTCAP results. We have full medal information for the world’s largest cider competition, and you can check them out at the link below. 

https://glintcap.org/

Monday, August 8, 2022

Cider Review: Stormalong Cider's Pearmain Quince


When I last reviewed a Stormalong cider, I was celebrating the tiny victory of being able to enjoy a lunch break outside. Now, I’m hoping we’ll not see any more days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the rest of the year. For so long, I was unsure that Spring and Summer would actually arrive. The warm season did come through; now I’m surrounded by corn, tomatoes, and panting dogs (and people). And I’m happy to have the chance to try Stormalong Cider’s Pearmain Quince on a recent steamy evening. 

Stormalong Cider comes from Sherborn, Massachusetts. Shannon Edgar founded the company in 2014. You can find more background on this cidery in earlier posts about Stormalong Ciders. Many thanks for this review sample. 

Here’s a thorough rundown of my previous Stormalong reviews. 

Unfiltered: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/04/cider-review-stormalong-ciders.html

White Mountain Magic: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/02/cider-review-stormalong-ciders-white.html

Bittersweet Symphonie: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/10/cider-review-stormalongs-bittersweet.html

Wicked Little Wickson: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/08/cider-review-stormalongs-wicked-little.html

Winesap: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/04/cider-review-stormalong-ciders-winesap.html

Happy Holidays: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/11/cider-review-stormalong-ciders-happy.html

Esopus Spitzenburg: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/08/cider-review-ravens-moon-craft-ciders.html

Ashmead’s Kernel: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/07/cider-review-brannland-just-cider-and.html

Peariful: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/05/cider-review-left-foot-charleys-fortis.html

Legendary Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/12/cider-review-stormalongs-legendary-dry.html

Kingston Black: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/08/cider-reviews-ninepin-light-cider.html

Light of the Sun: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/08/cider-review-descendant-cider-company.html

Mass Appeal: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-prospect-ciderworks.html

Boston Heirloom: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/01/cider-review-stormalong-ciders-boston.html

Visit Stormalong Cider online to see current releases and learn more about this Massachusetts cidery: http://stormalong.com/.

The Pearmain Quince is a new cider that’s part of the Rare Apple Series.Here’s how Stormalong describes the project. 

This 2nd edition Heirloom Variety Pack includes a mix of four distinct, dry ciders made with heirloom apples grown in New England. These apples are grown on small orchards and then carefully fermented, aged and blended into the small batches created for this sampler.

To us apples are to cider as grapes are to wine. As part of our Rare Apple Series, each of the four blends showcase the unique flavors that true cider apples can bring to the table. Enjoy like a fine wine or champagne.

And about the Pairmain Quince particularly. 

PEARMAIN QUINCE

FLAVOR: Crisp, rich and full-bodied with notes of honeysuckle, pear and pineapple.

APPLES: Made with Quince and a blend of Blue Pearmain, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Esopus Spitzenburg, Calville Blanc, and Franklin cider apples.

FOOD PAIRING: Pairs well with richer meats like barbecue pulled pork, pork belly, and roast chicken.

Appearance: Unknown. But bubbly.

Confession time: I drank this straight from the can. In my defense, it was more than 92 degrees outside.

Aromas: overripe apple, melon, yeast, 

Enticing! The Pearmain Quince smells Instantly fruity but not too sweet. Specifically I get lots of overipe apple and melon notes. I’m betting this will be a cider with zesty fruity acids. There was also some mellowness and yeast in the aromas that I associate with certain heritage apple varieties; it's certainly enough to pique my curiosity even higher!

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a semi-dry cider with some awesome honeyed fruit sweetness. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Savory, Dark, Bitter, Apricot, Acid 

The Pearmain Quince taste bitter, dark, and honeyed without being very sweet. The flavor profile strikes me as mature, mellow, and savory. Two of the most notable flavore are melon and tomato. I’m drinking this cider a little warmer than I usually enjoy ciders, but it still tastes utterly fantastic like this. I love it’s tiny element of mushroom funk in the overall fruity palette. It strikes me as a cider that connotes all things ripe, growing, and vibrant. It’s almost sweaty, but cleanly so. My co-taster described it as pleasantly dangerous. 

The cider is petillant with medium levels of tannins and fruity acidity. These things are opened up with low but not absent levels of sweetness. After a few more sips, I get an apricot mid-palate and an aftertaste of lemon and salt. The mouthfeel is very juicy and aquatic. What a fun cider!

The Rare Apple series has never disappointed me and this new iteration is no exception!

Monday, August 1, 2022

Cider Review: 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Two Berry Dream

Summer can be a time of simple pleasures: fireflies, popsicles, and movies with big explosions. This weekend my highlights included reading a good book, naps, and a picnic on a beautiful day. And when offered the chance to try a berry and lime cider from 2 Town Ciderhouse, it was a simple decision for me to say yes!

Many thanks to 2 Towns for sharing samples of the Two Berry Dream cider with me for review. The towns referred to in this cidery’s name are Portland and Corvallis, Oregon. The cidery started out with two locations early on, hence the name. You can find more background info on this quintessentially Pacific Northwest Cidery in some of my previous 2 Towns reviews.  

Here are all of my earlier 2 Towns reviews. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to try anything by them; there’s just not quite the access to far-distant cider these days. 

10th Anniversary Cider Pacific Northwest Heirloom Blend: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/01/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-10th.html

Good Limes Roll: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/07/cider-reviews-two-towns-cider-house.html

Cosmic Currant: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/12/cider-review-two-towns-cosmic-currant.html

Hollow Jack’d: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/10/cider-review-two-towns-ciderhouse.html

Afton Field: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/06/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-afton.html

La Mûre: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/02/cider-review-albemarle-ciderworks.html

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-eden-ciders-siren-song-and.html

Cidre Bouche: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/11/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouses-cidre.html

Pearadise: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-2-towns-ciderhouses.html

Pineapple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Bright Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-roundup-common-cider-co.html

Hop and Stalk: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-hop-and.html

You can visit 2 Towns Ciderhouse online here and find out about all of their ciders and events: https://2townsciderhouse.com/

Here’s the official description for the Two Berry Dream, “Tangy & Fresh, we’re coming at you with the ultimate crushable-thirst-quenching cider.  Enter Two Berry Dream, a cider full of Northwest blueberries, currants, and tons of zesty key lime. Grab a can, sit in the sun, and let the daydreams begin. 5.3% ABV."

Appearance: brilliant, mulberry, no visible bubbles

I love the intense purple-pink color of this cider. I think it’s best described as mulberry, though it certainly connects to both blueberry and black currant juices without being as cloudy or dark as they can be. It's a transparent or brilliant cider with virtually no visible bubbles. 

Aromas: cranberry, black currants, blackberries, apple

This cider reminds me of a dark berry punch. It smells like cranberry, black currants, blackberries, and apple, but no lime. The aroma makes my mouth water. I love berries.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This cider is both sweet and tart! 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acidity, black currant, apple, lime, cranberry

What a fun treat! I enjoy the Two Berry Dream easily and immediately. It’s super sessionable! This cider has low-but-present tannins probably from the black currant. I think the acidity is high with non-apple acid, but interestingly my co-taster didn’t perceive the acidity as nearly as vibrantly present as I did. 

I can taste both blackcurrant and lime, but I don’t detect a lot of blueberry flavor. The lime comes out  particularly in the finish. The apple is present but it remains in the background. Other flavor notes include cranberry, flowers, and minerals. 

What I appreciate most about it has to do with its balance of bright yet dark flavors. I like it very much and would buy this regularly if I could. The cider is excellently well-balanced and integrated. The Two Berry Dream has a relatively low level of sparkle for those who are sensitive to too many bubbles.  

I enjoyed this cider with the simple pleasure of corn on the cob, and it was utterly delightful.