Monday, April 25, 2022

Cider Review: Wild State Cider's Peach Basil

I woke up this morning with muscles sore from doing yard work, and I spent my lunch break moving flower volunteers between beds. We waited a long time for the warm and busy days of Spring here in upstate New York, but they’ve arrived. Sure, it might snow on Wednesday, but right now everything is blooming. This change in season calls for a change of ciders, and my cellar is ready. Today, I’m sharing my notes on Wild State Cider’s Peach Basil.

Wild State Cider comes to us from Duluth, Minnesota. I recommend checking out the cidery’s about page to learn more about this cidery and its founders:

I’ve reviewed just two Wild State Ciders before. Find the links below.


Triple Berry:

Wild State’s website has lots more info about ciders and the taproom:

Peach Basil has a short official description from what I can find, “The sweetness of peach balanced with the strength of basil. Best friends now. 6.3% ABV”

Appearance: intense tea, slight haze, visible bubbles

The color reminds me of green tea, freshly steeped with just a hint of haze. I can see plenty of active bubbles playing in the depths of my glass.

Aromas: Peach, mint, basil

The Peach Basil smells mostly like I expected, with a strong presence of both  peach and basil. What I didn’t expect is the powerful undercurrent of mint that’s steadily wrapped in the mix as well. It all comes across as pleasantly bitter, herbaceous, and inviting.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This isn’t a dry cider. Basil has a bitterness to it that I expect to be counter-acted with a certain amount of fruity sweetness, which is why pairing it with Peach is a very logical and appealing choice. I like my savory and sweet together, so why not sweet with my bitter?

Flavors and drinking experience: medium acidity, full body, peach, basil, petillant

The first thing that I notice about Wild State’s Peach Basil is that the acidity is medium rather than high. The choice works well, but its one that surprised me, as I associate acid as another counter-balance for sweet and an element that strikes me as harmonious with peach. What a medium level of acidity does is make more room for lushness and body. Wild State’s Peach Basil does bring that Medium-full body and nice bubble. 

The bitter and herbal elements that I noticed in the Peach Basil’s aromas maintain their prominence in the cider’s flavors. I appreciate how effortlessly the bitter balances out the sweet. The beverage does not offer much apple but the fruity and herbal melange is very pleasant.

I had my cider with a light pasta with sauce and veggie sausage dish, and it totally worked.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Cider Review: Stormalong Cider's Unfiltered

I took my lunch break outside today. That may not sound like much, but it was a first of 2022: something to celebrate. This isn’t a weather blog, but cider is so connected to both seasons and food that I have to reflect on the conditions that most directly influence my cider choices. This week’s cider choice was inspired by an impromptu gathering of friends who all needed to share some tales of recent misadventure. We had early evening sun, snacks, and a highly necessary time for unwinding. My beverage of choice was Stormalong Cider’s Unfiltered: highly appropriate for this gathering!  

Stormalong cider is a Massachusetts cidery now selling cider to a few states. I give lots more background in the early Stormalong appearances in the blog. I recommend checking out a few of those.

My Stormalong reviews give a fairly thorough but not fully exhaustive picture of the cidery’s offerings. Here’s the list. 

White Mountain Magic:

Bittersweet Symphonie:

Wicked Little Wickson:


Happy Holidays:

Esopus Spitzenburg:

Ashmead’s Kernel:


Legendary Dry:

Kingston Black:

Light of the Sun:

Mass Appeal:

Boston Heirloom:

Visit Stormalong Cider online to see current releases and learn more about this Massachusetts cidery:

The folks at Stormalong were kind enough to send me some review samples of the new Unfiltered cider. The review is not biased by the sharing, but I do appreciate it. So much of my access to ciders comes from brands choosing to seek me out; I couldn’t do this without them. 

Here’s how Stormalong describes the Unfiltered.

Unfiltered hard cider made with a blend of 100% high-quality, fresh pressed, locally sourced apples. Reminiscent of farmstand cider pressed and sold at harvest, it’s crisp, refreshing, with a savory balance of tart and sweet.

Alcohol 4.50%

 Appearance: hazy, bubbly, creamy butter yellow

This cider reminds me of butter or yellow cake batter. The unfiltered nature of the drink affects how I perceive the color for sure. There are also plenty of big hearty bubbles in my glass. 

Aromas: ripe apples, bananas, tropical fruit, unfermented apple juice

The Unfiltered cider smells vividly of ripe apples and bananas. There’s a juicy and tropical feel to its notes. And everything I smell, I smell it with glorious intensity. There’s nothing shy about this cider.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

Oh hello sweet cider! Stormalong has created an unambiguously sweet cider in the Unfiltered. The sweetness contributes to every element of the experience, so you’ll read more about it in the next section.

Flavors and drinking experience: apple juice, peaches, medium to low acidity, petillant

The first characteristic I notice about Stormalong’s Unfiltered is its thick, full mouthfeel. This cider feels sweet, rich, and tropical like a mango lassi. It’s a bit on the sticky side like one too. Fans of fruit smoothies and farm-stand fresh apple cider will rejoice at how much this cider tastes like unfermented apple juice right at harvest time. 

There’s also some Peachy notes in this medium to low acid cider. The Unfiltered is more petillant than fully sparkling, which adds to the full mouthfeel effect. It tastes as vivid and bold as it smelled and is very autumnal as well. So many of the Unfiltered’s characteristics go together to paint a portrait of lush sweet freshness. The low ABV, sweetness, petillance, and mouthfeel are all reminiscent of unfermented cider from the farm. This unfiltered cider was a super easy-going companion for some equally unfiltered sharing with friends; plus it paired fantastically with salty crunchy snacks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Cider Review: Snow Capped Cider's Gold Rush

Spring feels like it's slower than surely it has ever been before. Chances are that feeling is an illusion, and I’ve accused other springs of being unbearably slow before. I will say that I went looking to buy lilac bushes at a plant nursery yesterday, and it snowed. I’ve never had to clear plant tags of snow to be able to read them before. Still, I can see the sun out my window and there are crocus blooming in my yard. It's enough to give me a bit more hope that Spring will show its sweetness soon. And I can cook cozy meals and enjoy lovely ciders at home in the meantime.

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Snow Capped Cider’s Gold Rush. The company comes from Colorado, and that explains the name of this particular cider. I’m used to Gold Rush being an apple name, but in this case it’s a reference to the historical happening in the American west. The cider’s description tells us more about what apples it uses. This was shared with me for review by Snow Capped Cider.

I’ve only reviewed one Snow Capped Cider thus far. Here’s what I had to say about the Harrison Reserve:

You can visit Snow Capped Cider online here:

Here’s what the cidery has to say about the Gold Rush.

The Colorado Gold Rush is back. Coveted cider apples deliver with brilliant golden hue, tantalizing ripe fruit character. Clean quintessential medium tannin’s only produced from English and French varietals. Panning with complexity and a striking rich mouthfeel, Sweetness is found upfront leading to off dry semi sparkling finish. Colorado grown cider apples bring a whole new meaning to cider in a can. Crafted with a century old fruit growing family’s perspective, pressed and slow fermented with no added sugar.

ABV 6.9%

Appearance: brilliant, very few visible bubbles, intense antique gold

The color of this cider reminds me of what schools call antique gold; it’s a sort of harvest yellow, and the Gold Rush has it in spades. The cider has very few visible bubbles but a brilliant clarity.

Aromas: Minerals and soft mushy apples

I appreciate the sense of minerals and softened overripe apples that both waft from the Gold Rush. These notes contrast each other but are well counter-balanced.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

The Gold Rush is a semi-sweet cider that feels completely natural and appealing in its sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: mellow, medium acid, strong fizz, melon and cantaloupe 

This was such a hit! I shared this cider with my dining companions who both loved it. The consensus was that Gold Rush’s medium high acidity kept it exciting without foregoing a certain mellow and easy-drinking quality. The flavor notes I noticed most strongly are ripe melon and cantaloupe. This cider is very good! I appreciate it’s strong sparkle and sweet boozy finish. I didn't taste much in the way of tannins.

We paired the Gold Rush with black bean burgers and sweet potato fries. The combination was a delight. I like a sparkling cider with fries of any kind, but pairing a semi-sweet cider with sweet potato fries was especially nice. To me, this cider feels enjoyable and casual for this sort of supper. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Cider Review: Rocky Ground Cider's Pips

We’re about 5.5 weeks from our frost-free date here in upstate NY. I remember it like a birthday or anniversary; May 18th is the declared day of reasonable safety from frost for outdoor plants. It’s a marker of our growing season, just like its inevitable follower the expected first frost date: September 28th. Apples and gardens have a lot to do between that set of dates each year. While I think about all the good work ahead, I can do my planning with a glass of cider. Today, I’m reviewing Rocky Ground Cider’s Pips.

This cider was a gift for me from the Tall One. He saw that Rocky Ground Cider is from Maine and was intrigued. We don’t get that many Maine ciders around here. This is my first experience with this cidery. 

Here’s how Rocky Ground Cider describes themself and the cider making process, “Hard cider made with wild and heirloom apples foraged from Maine’s countryside. We forage because the wild seedlings & old heirloom trees offer us flavors that make a cider we want to drink. Each vintage & blend is a mysterious alchemy of time & place; the available harvest, the soil, & the weather of that growing season. We put the juice in oak barrels & let wild yeast do the work. The fermentation takes almost a year. All of our ciders are dry. We do not use commercial yeasts, sulfites or filtration.”

Visit Rocky Ground Cider online to learn more:

Do not neglect to visit the Beasts page!

Here’s the specific description of the Pips cider. 

Pips, 2018, 7.5% ABV


Sparkling, dry. Crisp with gentle tannin. 39 wild pippins and 8 heirloom varieties. Bottle fermented with honey.  Our classic blend. You're gonna love it.

Appearance: intense cloudy bronze, bubbly, some sediment 

Pips pours with a head from the first and toward the end of the bottle, we got some sediment. The cider’s color reminds me of a warm orange bronze; there’s lots of color and cloudiness.

Aromas: tannic, woody, floral and honey

I could immediately smell that this cider was fermented with honey; there’s a floral wildness that only honey brings. Pips brings forth notes both woody and floral. The honey is just so clear on the nose tha I keep thinking of it with each sniff, but I don’t get the expectations that the cider will be sweet. Instead, I think this cider will be acidic and tannic; perhaps a bit of a UK taste profile. We shall see.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

Yes! This is a dry cider. There’s a lot going on, but none of it is sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience: very high acid, tangy, low fizz, dried apples

How very interesting! Pips is all about tartness and wildness.  This cider brings very high acidity to the tasting experience; I think multiple acids are competing here, including both malic and acetic. The notes remind me of cold slices of lemon and dried apple. The acid interacts with its low carbonation to emphasize the sparkle that’s there. Pips’ tannins arrive in two waves—fast and then slower on the tongue. I’m reminded of a leafy funk, like a raked pile of autumn leaves as its first turned over. 

The cider has the lowest of low levels of sweetness, but a hint of sweet warmth blooms in the finish. Again dried apples specifically come to mind. This cider is all about big, adventurous flavors. It’s anything but boring. Drink slowly to savor the tangy wildness. Fans of Sidra Naturel and Basque or Spanish ciders will be very excited for this one. I paired Pips with vegetarian sloppy joes and sauteed zucchini for a simple supper at home. You could also serve it with something cremier and get that acid to work cutting through a rich meal. Cheers!