Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Cider Review: Snow Capped Cider's Single Varietal Blanc Mollet

If you’re feeling like I’m feeling right now, it’s not a good week. I won’t rehash the miseries of the news and hypocrises of the United States Supreme Court, but I want anyone who comes to this blog to know that abortion is healthcare. I stand with the majority of Americans who support abortion rights.  

While a donation isn’t everything, it’s certainly better than doing nothing: https://abortionfunds.org/

Now that I’ve exercised my first amendment right to free speech, I’ll continue with some thoughts on a cider I enjoyed a few weeks ago.  

The fine folks at Snow Capped Cider shared a bottle of the Single Varietal Blanc Mollett with me, and I’m super excited to review it. I’ve never had a single varietal of this apple before; I may never have had it in a cider before (though I don’t know that with certainty). As always, a sample does not guarantee a review or influence my opinion. Right now, I have much more cider in my cellar than writing time in my calendar. 

Snow Capped Cider comes to us from Colorado as a project within a multi-generation family farm. You can find more background information in my earlier reviews linked below.

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

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

Check out all of Snow Capped Cider’s offerings here: https://snowcappedcider.com/

Here’s how Snow Capped Cider describes the Single Varietal Blanc Mollet:

This bittersweet apple was grown in our Colorado orchards, then romantically aged in pear brandy barrels for six months. Blanc Mollet is as delightful as its french apple namesake. Introducing itself with a deep, golden hue, inviting aroma and smooth medium astringency on the palate. Loving notes of sweet pear, orange blossom and vanilla dance together ending with a warm, slightly dry finish.

Alcohol 8.90%

Appearance: intense cinnamon color, brilliant, few visible bubbles

This cider’s color reminds me of cinnamon, tea, and medium warm brown saddle leather. It’s earthy and inviting. The cider has brilliance but very few visible bubbles. 

Aromas: juicy, overripe apples, sweet cherries, ice cider

Wow! The Blanc Mollet offers a complex and enticing bouquet. It smells juicy and mellow with notes of overripe apples and barrel-y caramel. The parade of scents continues by reminding me of ice cider, sweet cherries, and brown sugar. The cider’s aromas are concentrated and powerful. 

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

There’s a ton going on in this cider, but the Blanc Mollet is dry. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Leather, warmth, rich, medium tannins

The Blanc Mollet’s intricacies continue with a wonderful taste experience. The cider reminds me of leather, with its warmth, richness, and mild astringency. There’s just so much velvety, crackly texture in these medium tannins and full body. The Blanc Mollet has medium-high acidity which helps keep the cider from going too loose or heavy. I was surprised to find it barely petillant rather than bringing a stronger bubble.

The barrel aging is incorporated so smoothly into the cider, that it’s a blended part of the flavor throughout. It neither spikes nor dips, and it doesn’t dominate the experience. I appreciate that sense of balance tremendously.

Take care of yourselves and each other, cider friends.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Cider Review: Wild State Cider's Apple Pie

I try to stay seasonal most of the time here; I usually drink cider based on the conditions around me, and it's a big part of  how I observe the world around me. Sometimes though, I just get a craving for something a bit out-of-step. Thus, I reached for a mulled cider recently. I’m happy to share my thoughts on Wilde State Cider’s Apple Pie.

Wild State Cider comes to us from Duluth, Minnesota. It was founded by Adam Ruhland and Andrew Price in 2018. The cidery has a taproom with a full slate of ongoing events including: trivia, bingo, yoga, and a local market. I love seeing events that break out of the expected rotation of local musicians. 

This is my fourth review of anything by Wild State Cider. Here are my earlier reviews. All of these were kindly shared with me for review by the cidery. Many thanks!

Peach Basil: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/04/cider-review-wild-state-ciders-peach.html

Semi-dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/10/cider-review-wild-state-ciders-semi-dry.html

Triple Berry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/11/cider-review-wild-states-triple-berry.html

You can visit Wild State’s page online to find out about the ciders and the taproom: https://www.wildstatecider.com/ciders

Here’s Apple Pie’s official description, short and sweet, “A holiday special, be sure to bring some home to share! The name explains it all. Yum.” 5.9% ABV.

Appearance: Brilliant, light straw, few bubbles

This looks like a completely refreshing summer sipper. The color, clarity, and bubbles are just classic.

Aromas: Cinnamon, all spice, apple

This cider goes emphatically strong on its cinnamon aroma, but I also detect a fair big of all-spice, and a background whisper of apple.

Dryness/sweetness: Off-dry

It's a surprise to find a cider with mulling spices this far on the dry side of things. It’s not austere or bone dry, but it’s far closer to dry than sweet. What sweetness is there does feel completely natural. 

Flavors and drinking experience: lots of spices, medium bubble,  bitter

My hopes were more than satisfied by this spicy off-dry treat. The Apple Pie cider has a medium  level of sparkle and lots of spices. The Apple Pie cider is off-dry and tastes buttered and bitter. It reminded us of an apple hand pie.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Cider Roundup: Berkshire Cider Project

This weekend I traveled to North Adams, Massachusetts to see dear college friends, Kraftwerk, and Mass MoCA. All were amazing. It was a remarkably excellent time. The Berkshires are  beautiful, and I loved seeing these wonderful friends. Kraftwerk put on a heck of a show, plus we saw a black bear! 

And though this is not an art blog at all, I have to say that I loved MASS MoCA. It’s a museum with a sense of scale unlike any other. It's worth a longer trip, just to experience this amazing place. My favorite art experience had to be encountering Marc Swason’s “A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco.” I recommend checking it out: https://massmoca.org/event/marc-swanson-a-memorial-to-ice-at-the-dead-deer-disco/

And I had the pleasure of visiting the Berkshire Cider Project as well. 

Here’s what the folks say about themselves online:

Berkshire Cider Project was founded by wife and husband team, Kat Hand  and Matt Brogan. Our cidermaking is inspired by the art, agriculture and community that makes our region so special.

We opened July 2020 located at the beautiful Greylock WORKS facility on State Road – a former textile mill turned event venue, co-working space and food incubator.

Kat manages our business while maintaining a consulting role in corporate sustainability. Matt is our head cidermaker after a career as an architectural consultant for performing arts centers and theatres.


I recommend visiting the project’s website (and if you can the tasting room): https://www.berkshire-cider.com/

My tall companion and I tried these several; here were my favorite four!


I loved the Bittersweet This cider’s nose was subtly twiggy, with notes of wet forest leaves, vanilla, and lemon. It tasted delicious! I found The Bitterwsweet petillant, nearly still, dry and very tannic. It did have enough acid to balance out the tannins, but it's unambiguously tannin-forward. Something about the cider came across as warm—not in a boozy way but rather in a full-bodied, round way.

Windy Hill: 

This cider is barrel aged for 10 months in neutral oak barrels, and it's a wild ferment! The cider’s aromas were all caramel, cinnamon, and stone. It tasted high acid with heavy minerality plus barrel, with some nice toastiness of breadcrumb and pollen. This cider also brings lots of tannins to the table—mostly from the barrel—they are pleasant and not overpowering. The Windy Hill is a dry cider but still wafts a pleasant caramel illusion of sweetness due to barrel notes.

Hancock Shaker Village 2020:

This cider smelled stronger and more vibrant than some. I loved the notes of cooked fruit with just a little funk. This cider brings the acid! It’s twisty and gnarled like a thin branch of a tree buffeted by wind. I found it massively interesting and rewarding. My companion suggests sipping this one slowly. Again, there’s no sweetness, not too much cottony tannins, but the bitter notes linger. It’s funky in a smoky, baconlike, British profile way. Definitely a winner.


This is the first of their cidres I tried because it was an interesting option at a local restaurant The cider immediately comes with farm, funk, mildly reductive lemon scents. Secondarily, I can notice white flowers, green grapes and black pepper on the nose. The wild and farmy notes blow off quickly in a wide-mouth glass. The Dry tastes unsurprisingly tannic and dry.This cider blasts with high acidity that comes across with a citrus flavor. I found the body pleasantly light with some little cottony mouth drying tannins. The flavors slowly blooms to remind me of pears just before a clean finish with a sweet aftertaste. The most surprising flavor was a flash of sunflower seeds. Some funk is present but very controlled. 

This is a strong lineup! Berkshire Cider Project has lots of other fun ciders many of which are more sour and funky than the ones I highlighted. I recommend investigating if you have the chance. I brought a few more ciders home that I wasn’t able to sample in the tasting room, so I’m looking forward to sharing those reviews in the coming months. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Cider Review: Snowdrift Cider Co.'s Red

Casual dinners on the patio feel like a balm to my soul right now. Has it always been so magical to cook and eat just outside my door? While I certainly cannot answer that question, I’m happy to share my take on a cider that accompanied one such dinner recently.  I poured Snowdrift Cider Co.'s Red for a meal of grilled shrimp, new potatoes, and sweet peppers cooked at served at my house but outside. Perfection. 

Snowdrift Cider Company produces orchard-based ciders in Washington state. I really like this description of the cidery and ciders that Snowdrift leads with, so I’ll quote it.

Our ciders are made from great cider apples that we grow on our orchard in sunny East Wenatchee, WA. Our incredible region gives our trees the ideal conditions to grow apples packed with the flavors necessary to produce fine ciders. Hot sunny summers and cold snowy winters result in apples that mature with incredible aromatics and delicious flavors. When ripened to perfection, we pick these apples and craft them with the utmost care into fine cider blends, resulting in rich ciders full of delicious complexity.

Here are my previous reviews:

Snowdrift Cider Cidermaker's Reserve 2014: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-con-2018-pt-1-eden-specialty.html

Cornice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/01/cider-review-snowdrift-cider-cos-cornice.html

And The Cornice made my top 10 of 2018: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/my-favourite-10-ciders-of-2018.html

Visit Snowdrift Cider Co. online to learn about the cidery, the cider club, new releases and more: https://www.snowdriftcider.com/

Here’s Snowdrift Cider Co.’s official description for the Red. 

This stunning cider is a rare treat! We have been fortunate to get to work with some apple varieties only a couple generations removed from their native ancestors in the hills of Kazakhstan. Their brilliant red flesh yields a crimson red cider with bright acidity, packed with flavors of cranberries, watermelon, rhubarb & strawberries, finishing with soft toffee tones. 7.5% ABV.

Appearance: coral pink, brilliant, tiny bubbles

This delicate coral pink shade reminds me of everything spring: I see iris, tulips, daffodils, and sunrises with this color. It’s dreamy. The clarity of the cider is brilliant which is perfect for showing off the few tiny tiny bubbles I see.

Aromas: underripe strawberries, sweet orange, boozy

The Red smells like tiny Underripe strawberries, booze, and sweet orange. Something in the melange of aromas leads me to expect powerful acid from this cider, but we’ll see what happens.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This cider is calibrated to be semi-sweet. The sweetness I note is balanced with plenty of acid and comes across as playful, fruity, and forward.

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, rhubarb, strawberry, candied, high acid, low tannins

I love how the Red is so strongly sparkling! The cider leads with high bold acids and low but present tannins. These are wonderful qualities to add complexity to the sweetness and keep the whole experience in balance. 

The flavors include notes like strawberries, rhubarb, and cotton candy. The combination of sweet and bubble become pleasingly prickly to the palate. There’s a peachy clinging sweetness in the finish. The cider is fun and food friendly. I enjoyed it with our marinated grilled peppers and shrimp so much!