Deadline Bean Town. 3 Cider Taste-Off Results. A Report from Outpost Boston.

BostonTasteOff

From Our Boston Outpost:

Some time ago our intrepid Bean Town Cider Correspondent led a cider tasting somewhere in wilds of greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Tasters were a diverse batch –  ranging in age from just-legal whippersnappers, to seasoned imbibers. Of the assembled tasters a select few were cider-philes, most had only a glancing familiarity with our favorite pome fruit beverage, and some were completely cider-unaware, having no idea what to expect from a fermented apple elixir.

Ciders were selected based on local availability.

The Cider Contenders:

Bantam WUNDERKIND of Massachusetts

Fatty Bampkins DRY hailing from Maine

Vermont Cider Co. FARMHOUSE No. 91 

The 3 ciders were presented, glasses filled and the tasters let loose.

Our correspondent placed paper and pen by each cider bottle, and the testers jotted anonymous notes as they tasted.

Real people drinking actual ciders. Here is what they had to say:

Bantam WUNDERKIND Tasting Comments:

“The champagne of ciders!”

“Light, a wee sharp upfront, (illegible), like sparkling wine.”

“Likey!”

“Very sweet”

“Good body, nice aftertaste. A little too sweet.”

“Good with Food/Meal.”

“Sweet & tasty, makes me want a donut.”

“NICE!”

“More like apple juice.  Sweet & crisp but blends well.”

“Good sparkle & flavor. Has mellow apple flavor.”

Fatty Bampkins DRY Tasting Comments:

“faint apple taste”

“Light/Fresh, Refreshing – Not Much Flavor”

“Very Adult. – DRY.”

“Too TARTE”

“slight pickle scent??”

“No me gusta tambien. Very vinegary, not much apple flavor”

Vermont Cider Co. FARMHOUSE No. 91 Tasting Comments:

“sweet apple taste (heart).”

“Like soda-pop. Tastes like apples. (On purpose?)”

“delicious. very sweet. would prefer it to be a little more bubbly!”

“Flat but could be tasty otherwise.”

“Perfect for tweens.”

“Lacks effervescence, a bit sweet, but could be good in a cocktail!”

“Not enough effervescence for me, but the flavor is smooth.”

“Did I just drink alcohol? Pretty sure it was juice.”

The Consensus: Local craft cider Bantam WUNDERKIN is hands down favorite at this informal Boston cider tasting.

The Take Away:

1. We believe there is a cider for everyone.

2. How to find YOUR ciders?  Taste Testing. Extensive Taste Testing.

3. Cider Tasting is More Fun in Groups. Cider knowledge shared while tasting is enjoyable, and informal, casual tastings brings out the best in most ciders, and certainly results in some interesting comments.

4. If you like cider and want to share the cider joy, an informal tasting like this is a good way to introduce your cider-curious friends to the wonderful world of cider.

Cider Review: Eve’s Cidery BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER

Maker: Eve’s Cidery   Origin:  Van Etten, New York

website: www.evescidery.com

ABV: 8%   Bottle: 750 ml

Makers Style/Bottle Notes: “Naturally sparkling cider, fermented in this bottle”.

Fruit: Apple  Cider Maker:  Autumn Stoscheck

Our Tasting Notes: First glass, drinking at about 52 degrees.

In The Glass:  Clear, pale, white-gold with a small, steady bead that settles to no visible bubble. 

Aroma: Apple peel, marzipan, honey, raw apple, baked apple, grassy, powdered sugar, citrus peel and spice.

Taste: Tart, sweet, slightly spirituous and warming, with stone fruit, dried apricot, and anise & fennel.

Overall Impressions: Refreshing with pleasing tart acidity, balanced by sweet, sour, and subtle bitter notes. Intend to taste this cider again if we can find – it’s a special blend – we discovered ours at Eve’s Cidery’s New York GrowNYC Greenmarket stall at Union Square. This cider is currently not listed on Eve’s Cidery’s website.

BONUS MIXOLOGY TIP: Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow Dry Cider with a splash of Eden Ice Cider Orleans Bitter is delicious and tremendously refreshing. Makes an easy apéritif or the start of an interesting cocktail.

Watch an informative video about Eve’s Cidery’s orcharding practices: Orcharding with Autumn from Eve’s Cidery on Vimeo.

Eve’s Ciderywww.evescidery.com

Find Eve’s Cidery’s stall at the GrowNYC Union Square Greenmarket www.grownyc.org:  Friday MapSaturday Map.

Eden Ice Ciders: www.edenicecider.com

Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider DOORYARD STILL CIDER Batch 1214: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: FARNUM HILL CIDER DOORYARD STILL CIDER BATCH 1214 

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards   Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

ABV: 7.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, wine cork

Style Notes:  The Dooryard series are cider batches that departed from the flavor profiles of established Farnum Hill blends. Each keg or bottle of Dooryard Cider is marked with a batch number, allowing you to look up the details of your specific cider, giving you a glimpse into the cider making process at Farnum Hill.

Fruit: Apples. Golden Russet is a featured apple in this blend.

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

Makers Notes: Dooryard No. 1214 – Still, in Bottles:

Our first Still (no bubbles) Dooryard in a while, this opens with citrus and sweet florals. We used a high proportion of Golden Russet in this, and its fruity sweetness and full body comes through in the mouth, with pink grapefruit, sour cherry and quinine. The finish is long and fruity, with citrus and their peels carrying. (NL)

FH Dooryard Still

Our Tasting Notes:  

Farnum Hill Dooryard 1214 Still Cider pours a bright and shining rich roman gold, with gigantic bubbles that immediately fall dead still.

Slight smokey notes of tobacco leaf, whiskey, and oak meld with citrus peel, baked apple, roast honey, chalk and green pepper. A quick swirl offers up toasted hazelnuts, and a hint of pineapple.

The first taste is smooth, silky, pleasingly bitter, lightly tannic, a bit salty, with subterranean lingering apple tones.

Deliciously complex aromas confounded at first. On reading the cider makers tasting notes, the quinine with pink grapefruit peel became more clearly identifiable.

The floral aromas were more green than sweet reminiscent of lilies and tulips, herbaceous and slightly pungent.

Reading the cider maker’s tasting notes can be very helpful. Accurate, well written information from the cider maker can increase your cider knowledge, and enhance the cider drinking experience.

Overall Impressions: Extremely intriguing smokey and green floral aromas. Vinous and crisp, with refreshingly bitter flavors of quinine and grapefruit. An aromatic, complex and challenging cider. If you enjoy a brisk Gin & Tonic, and white wines with sharp minerality, this is a cider for you.

Taster’s Side Note: The fact that this is a very Golden Russet heavy cider, makes us want to explore other ciders that feature this apple.

Dooryard 1214 was featured as one of the The Ciders Of Summer. Our Favorite American Craft Ciders For Drinking Right Now, perfect for summer, but certainly a cider we would drink in these cooler months, if we could find a bottle.

 

Cider52 Goal: A Cider Review A Week or 52 American Ciders in 2013

VA RT Treasures

Cider52: A Cider Review A Week The original plan: 52 weeks, 52 cider tastings, pairings and postings. As of May 3, 2013  we revised our goal, now it’s 52 American Made Ciders to be reviewed in 2013. We’ll continue to explore and review World Cider, but the 52 Ciders in 2013 goal is now CIDER USA.

With barely 13 weeks left in 2013 – we better get busy if we intended to meet our goal. So expect more cider reviews in these last few months of 2013 The Year of Cider.

US CIDERS REVIEWED SO FAR:

The list of American Ciders reviewed with links to the reviews:

January 2013

Original Sin Hard Cider Newtown Pippin

February 2013

Harvest Moon Cidery Four Screw Hard Cider with Maple Syrup

Pomona cider/braggot on cask, house brewed at Birreria, Eataly NY

March 2013

Slyboro Cider House Hidden Star

Slyboro Cider House Old Sin

April 2013

West Country Cider Redfield 

Harvest Moon Cidery Heritage Hops Hard Cider with Hops

Breezy Hill Orchard Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider

West County Reine de Pomme 

Cider In Context: Breezy Hill Orchard Farmhouse Cider, Slyboro Cider Old Sin, Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider

May 2013

Crispin THE SAINT

Crispin BARE NAKED 

Farnum Hill DOORYARD Batch 1202A 

Breezy HIll Orchard Barrel Tasting (6) ciders and barrel samples 

ANTHEM Organic Traditionally Fermented Cider 

June 2013

Aaron Burr Cider BOURBON BARREL CIDER Sparkling

Farnum Hill DOORYARD Batch 1206Tasting Journal

July 2013

Wandering  Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST 

August 2013

The Ciders of Summer. Our Favorite American Craft Ciders for Drinking Right Now:

September 2013

Farnum Hill FARMHOUSE CIDER

October 2013

Farnum Hill Cider DOORYARD STILL CIDER Batch 1214 pending

Eve’s Cider BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER pending

For a list of ALL ciders reviewed so far (Including ciders from around the world), see the CIDER REVIEWS: CIDER52 page.

Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider FARMHOUSE CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: FARNUM HILL CIDER FARMHOUSE CIDER

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards  Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

ABV: 6.5%

Bottle: 750 ml, mushroom cork, wire hood

Fruit: Apples.

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

CiDER MAKERS NOTES: 

Our lightest, most casual cider, pale gold and bubbly, with a stroke of sweetness along with the tart, bitter, and fruity elements that good cider offers. Citrus, pineapple, bittersweet apple, and a trace of the barn. Farmhouse astringency is nowhere near the extreme, but shows a certain tannic edge. Agreeably versatile, sharing certain flavor elements with both beer and wine. A clean, appetizing finish makes it congenial with many kinds of food, from the snackiest to the whole-grainiest and back.

‘Farmhouse’ is more of a pub cider than our others. It varies a bit more from batch to batch, shows less complexity less alcohol than our others, and of course is less filling than beer. It and Semi-Dry are the most popular of our regular ciders. ‘Farmhouse’ is blended from a group of real cider apples that ripen earlier than most. So it’s a bit easier to make and less expensive to buy.

Visit the website to read more about  Farnum Hill ‘Farmhouse’

Farnum Hill Farmhouse Label

Our Tasting Notes: compiled over several tastings.

In The Glass: Clear, radiant shine. Glowing golden.

First Pour: Slight froth that immediately settles in to a light mousse ring with miniscule bubbles. Distinct legs.

Aroma: Green apple, warm sugar, apple peel, fresh green grass. Black pepper, grapefruit, rooty and a bit barky. Cidery, hint of quinine, ripe apple, powdered sugar, leather.

Swirl: Wood/oak – but not vanilla – slight tropical and dried fruit notes, pleasantly herbal, more quinine and grapefruit.

Taste: Fresh, bitter, tannic, and cidery. BSA. Extremely subtle sweetness. Rustic, nicely rough.

Finish: Long, slow, relatively gently tannins, soft powdery, slight citrus note. Bitter lingers, tapers off, and tannins slowly re-appear. Well balanced. Slightly drying and a bit warming.

2 tasters- (2) different Taste Ratings:

TASTE RATING SCALE: Our (2) tasters experience of the balance of bitter, sour, and umami was different:

Taster 1:  Bitter: 7  Astringency: 7   Sour: 6   Salty: 2   Sweet: 1   Umami: 3 

Taster 2:  Bitter: 3  Astringency: 7  Sour: 4    Salty: 2   Sweet: 1   Umami: 1

Our Pairing-The Tasting Lab:  None.

Overall Impressions: Farnum Hill Ciders DANCE. Visually, and in the mouth. Farmhouse Cider is no exception. The tannins and bitter notes tussle and tumble in this cider* and give you quite a flavor ride. Farmhouse is rustic yet focused, with bitter, sour, drying elements all jostling, and giving dimension to the cider. The aromas of this bumptious blend almost insists you drink it. For all its rough-hewn charm, this cider’s profile is very precise and finely honed. When drinking a Farnum Hill, you experience a well crafted, rounded, fully complete cider. There are no wrong notes, and much enjoyment to be had.

*This may be why our (2) tasters had different experiences of Bitter and Sour balance in this cider.

TERMS, DEFINITIONS & LINGO: 

BSA Bitter Sweet Apple: Referring to aroma and flavor characteristics of Bitter-Sweet Apple varieties used for cider. Bittersweet apples are low in acids and high in tannins. Tannin accounts for two palate sensations: astringency and bitterness.

From CIderUK.com:

Bittersweet apples impart the characteristic flavour of English ciders; as the name implies they are low in acid and high in tannin. The latter is responsible for two sensations on the palate – astringency and bitterness. In the bittersweet apple, there is a whole range of combinations of these two characteristics, varying from little astringency coupled with intense bitterness to very marked astringency coupled with mild bitterness. Typical bittersweets are Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Tremlett’s Bitter.

ADDITIONAL READING:  FH Cider Talk & Terms Farnum Hill explains their cider profiles and the philosophy behind the ciders they craft.

 

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.