Monday, January 24, 2022

Cider Review: Bauman’s Cider Company's McIntosh Single Varietal

My brother-in-law asked me if it's really okay to trim apple trees in winter. It seemed to him that lopping limbs during frigid temperatures might be adding stress upon stress to a tree. I can understand why he might feel that way. This weather is hard for many of us mammals. It could seem almost like adding insult to injury to ask a living being to endure not only months of low temperatures but to heal fresh wounds at the same time. Thankfully, it’s not quite like that. We might learn a lesson from trees that go dormant this time of year. It’s okay to rest. This is a fine time of year to shed what we do not need. 

Perhaps I’ve strayed too far from a cider review, but that’s very much where I am right now. I’m running in hardcore Winter mode. I do the things I need to do and a few that warm my spirits, but mostly I’m hunkered down until days get just a bit longer. But luckily for me, I can enjoy my quasi-hibernation with some very good ciders. This week, I’m sharing my thoughts on Bauman’s Cider Company’s McIntosh Single Varietal.

Bauman’s Cider Company was named GLINTCAP’s small cidery of the year 2021. The cidery is based in Gervais Oregon. The cidery was founded on a small family farm and orchard by Christine Walter whose cider journey attempts to balance family tradition and experience with modern scientific knowledge. 

I’ve only reviewed one Bauman’s Cider before, the Mountain Rosé. It made my top ten list for 2020. This sets my expectations high.

Here’s that review:

I recommend visiting Bauman’s Cider Company online to learn more:

Here’s the background information I was able to get online for the McIntosh Single Varietal.






    For our single varietal McIntosh Cider we started by importing McIntosh apples grown by        our friends in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana. We do minimal intervention so the essential        apple flavor shines though, as we leave just a little residual sweetness to showcase the rich        apple flavor and aroma.

Appearance: Tuscany yellow, brilliant, few bubbles

When looking at color charts for shades, this most resembles Tuscany yellow. And it does give off this sunny warmth. The cider is brilliant with few visible bubbles. 

Aromas: intense juicy apple, cherry blossom, cinnamon and peach

The McIntosh is extremely aromatic, brimming with juicy apple notes. The nose also features elements that recall cherry blossom, cinnamon and peach.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

I’d call it semi-sweet, but some folks might interpret it as closer to semi dry. The sweetness is pleasant and well-integrated.

Flavors and drinking experience: juicy, crisp, apple, tart

This is a treat! Bauman’s Cider Company's McIntosh Single Varietal makes me glad that I chose it for today’s cider. The first impression is lots of super fresh malic acid, making each sip crisp and juicy. The cider tastes more directly like apples than many that I drink. It’s tapping into the fruity, juicy, powerful experience of a perfectly ripe McIntosh apple.

There’s more to this cider than just immediate fruitiness though. The McIntosh is mildly tannic with rough sandpaper grippiness in the texture. I love that about it. It has a clean fermentation; there’s not a whiff of funk. I appreciate the McIntosh’s medium intensity of sparkle and hefty body. This cider stays fun from tip to tail with its honeyed finish. My high expectations were met entirely!

Cheers to enjoying a good cider while not doing too much. This is a very comfy way to get through Winter. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Cider Review: Aepptreow Winery's Single Barrel Series Americana Still Cider

We may be half way through #DryCiderJanuary, but we finally have proper snow in the Finger Lakes. I feel like I’ve waited longer for this snow than any since my childhood. It’s not for the possibility of a snow day (though those are nice!), but Winter here doesn’t feel real without snow. It's always a time of cold, slowing down, and darkness, but snow is the recharging, transformation, and beauty of the season. I don’t like to drive in it, but I love to watch it, photograph it, walk through it, and bask in its reflective brightness. 

As part of my Dry Cider January, I sat down with Emily of Cider Culture and had a chat about a few of my favorite dry ciders these days. I opened up Aeppeltreow’s Americana for that chat, and here’s the review of this delightfully dry pick. 

You can find reviews of Aeppeltreow Ciders in many previous blog posts along with plenty of background of this winery, cidery, distillery in Burlington, Wisconsin. I like how they describe themselves.

At ÆppelTreow:

We Are ‘Apple True’

Old English For Apple Tree or Apple Truth

We Are Cidermakers

Apples and Pears are the Core of Our Products

We Are Orchardists

Honest Flavors come from the Trees and Land

We Are Historians

History and Tradition are Our Inspiration

We Are Local

Local Ingredients and Local Customers

We Are Family

Three Generations on hand from Branch to Bottle.

You can learn about all of Aeppeltreow’s offerings both fermented and distilled online:

Here’s the rundown of all my previous reviews of AeppelTreow Ciders. 

Siskin Scrumpy:

Scarlett Rosey Cider:

Sparrow Spiced Cider:

Blackbird  Berried Cider:

Orchard Oriole Perry:

Appley Brut:

Sparkling Perry:

Kinglet Bitter:

Barnswallow Draft Cider:

Here’s how the label describes Aeppeltreow’s Americana.

“Aepptreow Winey’s Americana cider is the culmination of a decade of Aeppeltreow-style innovation. For this cider we went back to our roots. We grafted surviving colonial American apples. Raised them tenderly. And now we raise a glass of them. To them. To us all. Hewes, Albemarle Pippin, Winesap, Harrison, Taliaferro.” 7.5% ABV

Appearance: intense harvest yellow, ring of bubbles at rim, brilliant

The Americana uses clear glass for the bottle, so I could appreciate the color before it was poured. It’s an intense harvest yellow that reminds me of polenta, aged gouda, or the moon on certain nights of the year. It's lovely, ripe and satisfying. The cider is brilliant with just a ring of bubbles at the edge of the liquid. 

Aromas: peach, plum, overripe apples

I love the amazing bountiful aromas that leap from my glass. The cider is redolent with peach, plum and overripe apple notes. Aroma both pleasant and plentiful are one of the surest ways to this cider lover’s heart.

Sweetness/dryness: dry yet fruit

This cider is dry yet tastes fruity. It’s a wonderful combination.

Flavors and drinking experience: peaches, blackberries, tart, nearly petillant

I noticed that this cider tastes tart and acidic such that it’s almost perceivable as petillant, though it’s described as a still cider. I had a chat with Charles the cidermaker and he let me know that low levels of CO2 were used to bottle, and I could be noticing that as well. Either way, it’s not a bubble but almost a gentle tickle of texture. 

The Americana brings so much very fruity acid to the party. The fruit notes remind me of blackberries and peaches in the best possible way. I’m seeing winter but tasting Summer. The cider has a medium full body and mellow fermented flavors but everything about the fermentation comes across as very clean.

Sip after sip, peach is emerging as a dominant flavor for me. It’s luscious and mellow and soft. What a treat. I had mine with a soft homemade pretzel, but I could also see enjoying this cider with a corn chowder or a creamy pasta bake. It has enough tartness that it doesn’t need bubbles to lift food flavors up. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Cider Review: Montana Ciderworks' North Fork Traditional

Continuing last week’s excitement for a new cider brand, I’m moving my focus westward to Montana with Montana Ciderworks’ North Fork Traditional. Amidst our first real dip of the season into genuinely cold temperatures, I felt ready to hunker down with a cider that might be very different from what I can regularly access in upstate New York. I reached for a bottle of Montana Ciderworks’ North Fork Traditional to see what surprises might be in store.

Darby, Montana is where this week’s cidery calls home. Montana Ciderworks has been producing here since 2002! Here’s some of what I found on Montana Ciderworks’ website. It’s the cidery’s succinct introduction to cider and to their style of the beverage.

Traditional cider is a naturally fermented beverage made from apple juice. It was THE drink for Americans from Revolutionary times until Prohibition. Montana CiderWorks honors 100 years of sustainable agriculture in Montana by offering exceptional English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley apples.

You can visit Montana Ciderworks online to learn about all of the ciders they produce:

Here’s the official description for North Fork Traditional.

Semi-Dry English Style Cider.  Golden, gently bubbly, with true cider flavor. Expressive bittersweet apple character with wood, grass & smoke notes; this semi-dry cider balances faintest sweetness against sharpness, astringency, and tart fruit…Our North Fork traditional cider received a Gold Medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.  The blend includes hard-to-find traditional cider apples & crab apples alongside Bitterroot Valley apples. North Fork offers a clean, aromatic finish that enhances the flavor of savory foods. Pairs wonderfully with spicy (ethnic) foods, game bird dishes, and hor d’oeuvres with strong cheeses.

Appearance:  warm ochre, brilliant, bubbly

The North Fork Traditional brings a lovely intensity of color; it’s a warm ochre. The cider looks both brilliant and bubbly. 

Aromas: overripe apples, baking spices, dark berries

This cider smells delightfully mellow and like overripe apples. I get secondary notes of minerals, soft muffin spices, and dark berries.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This is just on the sweet enough side that I’ll call it semi-sweet rather than semi-dry, but I understand that my perception might skew a bit from the average here. It’s also important to note that the cider is bitter as well as sweet. That certainly affects how its sweetness plays into the full cider experience.

Flavors and drinking experience: Bittersweet, very tannic, medium high acid

Montana Ciderworks’ North Fork Traditional makes a big and bittersweet first impression. My hopes for the week are realized as this profile is quite a bit different from what I drink most often. This cider very tannic with medium-high acid and a fair bit of sweetness. It’s a clean fermentation, but otherwise I’m seeing lots of UK influence. 

I don’t habitually reach for a semi-sweet cider but the bitterness of the North Fork Traditional could change my mind! I love how very uk the profile remains sip after sip. The cider lingers with an amazing applesauce finish. This cider has plenty of bubble and a medium full body. I enjoyed the North Fork Traditional with vegetarian borscht and pierogi. It was a delightful combination.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Cider Review: Wyndridge Cider Co.'s Gingerbread Hard Cider

Start the new year in the way you intend to continue it, that’s always been my favorite piece of folk wisdom for the changing of a calendar year. That’s how I chose this week’s cider. I am so excited to review ciders from companies I’ve never tried before. Of course, I want to continue tasting and writing about my favorites, but I really want to try new things and meet new favorites. Over the holiday break, I gave myself a night to do whatever I wanted by myself. I chose and cooked dinner, I picked myself a cider, and I enjoyed a holiday rom com from the comforts of my couch. 

Also, if you missed my round up of favorite ciders from 2021, you can check them out below:

Spots 6-10:

Top 5:

I chose Wyndridge cider’s Gingerbread cider to accompany Single All the Way after a dinner of savory french toast  (using my own homemade sourdough) with red peppers and chevre. I like to treat me right.

Though this is Wyndridge’s first appearance on the blog, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting a few of their ciders when judging cider over the past few years. The company has been around since 2014 and comes to us from Dallastown, Pennsylvania. On the website, I found a list of orchards that Wyndridge buys from; I love that. Cideries rely on orchards, and places that show love and appreciation to the sources of their fruit make me happy. 

You can visit Wyndridge Cider Co. online here to learn about all of the ciders:

Wyndridge Cider Co describes the Gingerbread as follows, “Fresh-pressed ginger root fermented with PA apples, Belgian molasses, and gingerbread spices, this is our winter warmer cider. Cheers!” The ABV is 6%. This is a seasonal release available in November and December, but I’d look for it just a little while longer, just in case. 

Appearance: harvest orange, transparent, no visible bubbles.

I love the intensity of this color. It reminds me of spices in how it looks from the very first moment. I don’t see any bubbles, and it looks transparent rather than either hazy or brilliant.

Aromas: applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and *lots* of ginger

The Gingerbreads smells so spicy. I’m excited for the applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg and lots of ginger.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

Wyndridge Cider Co’s Gingerbread comes across as semi-sweet. It’s a lovely balanced beverage, and one I enjoyed as a post-dinner treat. 

Flavors and drinking experience: molasses, medium acidity, ginger, ripe apples, hints of citrus

What a lovely cider. I wish I had more than one to spread out over these next dark cold months. The Gingerbread has lower acid than anticipated, but it's still a medium level of acidity. The molasse is a definite and delightful presence. The three dominant flavors are ginger, apples and molasses with some hints of citrus in the mix. 

It was wonderful with the light confection of a film that I chose. Sometimes I just need things to be fun and tasty, and this was perfect. Perhaps these nights will have to become more of a regular occurance.