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

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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

33 Mugs Of Cider: Handy Tasting Review Pocket Journals from 33 Books Co.

Our Barstool Review – Cider Tasting On The Go Tool Kit (just add pencil).

Small, graphically pleasing, and easy to use pocket tasting notebooks from 33books.com.

We’re road-testing these handy little pocket tasting review journals: 33 Mugs of Cider & 33 Pieces of Cheese. The 33 Books Co. line currently also includes pocket guides for: Wine, Whiskey, Beer, Hot Sauce, Chocolate, Coffee & Cigars, with several others in the works.

They are indeed “powerful, yet pocket-sized”, eco-friendly, and include a dash of real cider in the printing ink!

Cider-drinkers, tasting rooms, bottle shops & taprooms – do consider this line of tasting journal books from 33books.com.

33_MUGS_CIDER_COVER CIDER_SPREAD

Links:

www.33books.com

Or jump right to the 33 Mugs of Cider

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

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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.

 

Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider FARMHOUSE CIDER: Cider52

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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.

Cider Review: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: Cider52

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Cider: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST

Maker: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

Origin: Salem, Oregon

website: www.wanderingaengus.com

ABV: 7.5 %   Bottle: Available in 16.9 oz crown cap bottles, and on draft.

Makers Style Notes: Semi-Dry and tart with a “warm ginger tone”.

Fruit: Apple. From orchards in Hood River & Culver, Oregon.

Makers Fruit Notes:

At Wandering Aengus Ciderworks we press and blend over 20 cider apple varietals to craft our ciders. Our cider specific apples originate from France, England, and pre-prohibition America, but are grown now in Oregon. These heirloom varieties are essential for the depth of flavor, excellent body, and delightful aromatics of our distinctive ciders.”

Tasting Notes: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: (2) separate tastings:

In The Glass: On First Pour: Color & Clarity: Radiant brass, bright, shining and clear with clusters of varied bubbles and slight tears.

Aroma: Intense upfront aromas of ‘real’ sugars, suggesting cloying sweetness, followed by cooked apple, maple, honey, toffee, black pepper and hints of orchard. Retro-nasally (aroma on exhale) there are floral-lily notes.

Taste: The fleeting sweetness of caramelized fruit and maple syrup is followed by crisp acidity, salt and a jolt of tannins. Woody and damp, the moderate tannins add complexity and balance, creating a honeyed-mead roundness reminiscent of fall. Like Anthem Cider, Wanderlust entices with sweet aromas, then surprises with a depth and structure beyond the initial sugary nose.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Gouda, black bean hummus, guava jam, and pickled jalapeño – a favorite grilled cheese from The Queens Kickshaw – this sweet spicy sandwich and cider combination is extremely complimentary. Mesclun greens tossed in jalapeño vinaigrette enhance the sois bois dampness in the cider, and the cider brightens the ‘greeness’ of the mixed lettuces.

Specific Qualities: This cider got us thinking about qualities of  ‘sous bois’, and orchard aromas.

“sous bois“- of the orchard or of the orchard undergrowth. A very particular range of aromas representing the many elements present in the orchard ecological system, from ripe to over ripe or even rotting fruit, fruit flesh and skins, fruit leaves, tree bark, orchard grasses, and soil. Overall very fragrant, pungent, sweet, earthy, and fecund. A unique aromal experience that simultaneously reminds one of both growth and decay.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks Wanderlust’s aromas and flavors are transporting, vividly expressing the experience of walking through an orchard, bringing the seasonal cycles keenly into consciousness. A quality we find highly desirable, especially in a well crafted cider. Wanderlust possesses a slightly ‘damp orchard’ aroma, a seemingly logical result for a cider coming from the moisture abundant temperate climate of the Willamette River Valley region of Oregon. Is this a distinctly Northwest ‘sous bois’ or a particular Wandering Aengus Cider and Anthem Cider trait? Will this trait emerge as a defining characteristic of Northwest ciders? We can’t wait to find out.

Overall Impressions: Wandering Aengus WANDERLUST is an accessible, intriguing cider, offering the simple seductive allure of sweetness followed by well structured complexity.

If you are interested in the Willamette River Valley regions climate and growing sites details, as they apply to wine grapes, you can read about the regions 7 unique AVAs here and here.

If you have tasting notes, please leave a comment.

Cider Review: Farnum Hill DOORYARD Batch 1206: Tasting Journal: Cider52

FHillDooryard1202ACider: FARNUM HILL DOORYARD BLEND 1206

Thoughts On A Bottle: Tasting Journal:

Review Note: Solo tasting. No team tasting pending as this batch of Dooryard cider is no longer available.

Makers Style Notes:

What ARE Dooryard ciders? “Lovely cider batches” that departed too much from the flavor profiles of established Farnum Hill Cider blends. The ongoing Dooryard series: experimental ciders, ranging from bittersweet to superfruity, that sell out quickly, never to be made again.”

Visit the Farnum Hill website to get specific notes on your batch of Dooryard using this link.

One of the best parts of drinking Farnum Hill Dooryard Ciders is reading the cider makers notes:

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

Cider Makers Notes on FARNUM HILL DOORYARD BLEND 1206: 

This new Dooryard was blended from our new big batch base 1205, a tank-end of 1211, and a partial barrel of 1311, Wickson.

This cider doesn’t color too far out of our usual Farnum Hill Ciders lines, compared to some previous Dooryard batches.  The nose carries a fair bit of BSA, but has bright spots of sour cherry and pineapple. There is pear and a little whiskey* in the nose, too.  The taste starts with a burst of fruity sweetness, but the sweetness drops quickly behind the bright acid and the nice, woody, BSA bitter. Orange and tangerine join the fruits from the nose, with a tiny bit of red candy.  The fruits in this one jostle for prominence; they take turns popping.

The astringency is moderately low, the feel medium-full.  The finish carries all of the fruits from the nose and taste, as well as a nice broad but mild bitter.  The whiskey note remains. Dare I say this reminds me of a tropical drink made with whiskey? Cherry on top.

-Cheers, Nicole

* I know. There’s always a caveat with me, isn’t there? The whiskey thing can be attributed to the barrels we use, because whiskey is aged in barrels, blah blah blah. The thing is, the barrels we use are neutral. REALLY neutral. Sold to us nigh on 15 years ago because the winemaker on Long Island we got them from thought they were too neutral THEN.  So we actually think a lot of the “whiskey” notes we get are just as likely to come from the apples we use. In fact, it has shown up in cider that was fermented in stainless steel, with no oak contact. Totally weird, huh? That’s why we still think we are learning. And why this job stays so fascinating. Weird stuff. Mother Nature is cool. Cheers to her!

Tasting Notes: Thoughts On A Bottle: Tasting Journal: 

In The Glass: Bright, clear golden, hint of amber in the glass. Extremely clear, shines. Subtle bead, light mousse. Slight legs, gentle tears.

Aroma & Taste: Fresh apple, baked apple fruit, sugar, spice, caramel, tropical fruit, pineapple, sous bois, orchard, wet grass, confectionary, winey, bit of barnyard, green pepper, black pepper, ginger-spice, honey, toffee.

Overall Impressions: Another interesting Dooryard Cider experience. Soft tannins, “juicy” acidity, hints of sweetness, lightly effervescent. Drinks like a tannic white wine. Probably drinking too cold and not getting the full spectrum of flavors, missing some of the subtle whiskey and bitter notes.

Cider: FARNUM HILL DOORYARD BLEND 1206

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

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

Fruit: Apples.

ABV: 7.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Note: Tastings are generally team efforts. Occasionally we will post solo tasting notes. This is a solo tasting.

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

 

Cider Review: Aaron Burr BOURBON BARREL CIDER: Cider52

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Cider: Aaron Burr Cidery BOURBON BARREL CIDER Sparkling

Maker: Aaron Burr Cidery

Origin: Wurtsboro, New York

website: www.aaronburrcider.com

ABV: 7.6 % Bottle: 500 ml, mushroom cork, wire cage.

Style Notes: Sparkling cider. Aged 2 years. Home-tapped and boiled maple sap.

Fruit: Apple. Orange County, New York Apples: Spy, Idared, and Empire.

Cider Maker: Andy Brennan has some interesting thoughts on the American cider revival. See Cider 101:

“Unbeknownst to Americans born in the 20th century, cider is a world-class low-alcohol drink which expresses the character of the land. It also allows for stylistic variation from farmer to farmer. Some cider-makers strive toward refinement and complexity, cultivating for flavor nuances (i.e. tannin and sharpness), while others produce a rough and earthy drink popular in taverns. Think of them as culinary folk artists.”

Makers Notes: Dry and light bodied. Full M/L conversion: buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel. Drinks like a French-style white when still, less dry and w/ faint maple exhale when carbonated.

Our Tasting Notes: Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider: Reviews composed over (3) separate tastings.

In The Glass: First Impressions: Beautiful vintage inspired bottle and lovely graphic design with handmade letter-pressed labels. Almost as much fun to pour as to drink.

On First Pour: Prolific miniscule bead. Active, lively, spry bubbles create a pétillant fog in the glass.

Color & Clarity: White gold. Lightly opaque as a result of the exuberant effervescence.

Aroma: Delicate aromas of apple flesh, clean oak and vanilla. Hints of spice, black pepper and citrus.

Taste: Apple custard, cream, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and whiskey, followed by flavors of baked apple, and ‘sous bois’ orchard aromas. Warming medium-long finish, expressing subtle hints of spice, quinine, sulphur, resin, dried apricot and orange peel.

5 Tastes Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High:

Aaron Burr Cidery BOURBON BARREL CIDER scores: Bitter 4, Sour 3, Salty 3, Sweet 0, Umami not noted.

The Tasting Lab: We enjoyed Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider at The Queens Kickshaw, one of our favorite spots for imbibing, alongside a few of their menu items that practically begged to be paired with cider.

The spiciness of the blue mold in the Great Hill Blue grilled cheese sandwich (with prune jam and fresh pear salsa), comes alive when mingled with the varied whiskey flavors present in the cider.

Bread pudding with caramel sauce was caramel-apple whiskey perfection. A whipped cream smothered warm apple cobbler accentuated the ciders pure apple flavors, revealing tannins, and creating an explosion of flavor.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Pair this cider with aged cheeses: Goudas, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Catamount Hills, or Sartori Gold.

Overall Impressions: A unique example of the beneficial effects of barrel aging on cider. An extremely refined, lean, sophisticated cider, Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider pairs exceptionally well with sweets, complex cheeses, and has enough depth and substance to be enjoyed simply, by itself. The finesse and quality of Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider signals this is a cider maker to watch.

Makers Cider Stats:

Bourbon Barrel Cider (2010-2011) 31 cases made  

Specs: Dry and light bodied.  Full M/L conversion: buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel.

Source: Orange County (NY) Spy, Idared, Empire apples, home-tapped and boiled maple sap.

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

Cider Review: Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural: Cider52

Carrio servicios_1242951376_450

Cider: Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural

Maker: Sidra Menéndez

Origin: Asturias, Spain

website: www.sidramenendez.es

ABV: 6%  Bottle: 700 ml, with cork

Makers Style Notes: Product certified by the Council of the “PDO Sidra de Asturias”. Hand picked apples. Fermented using indigenous yeasts. Fermentation in chestnut wood barrels. Tasting Notes: Straw yellow, clean and fruity scent reminiscent of the origin of the fruit.

Fruit: Apple.

Makers Fruit Notes: Selection of some of the 22 varieties permitted by the Regulatory Council, including Raxao, Regona, Perico, Carrio, seeking a balance between those that are acidic, bitter and sweet.

Our Tasting Notes: May 10, 2013.

In The Glass: Cloudy, unfiltered, straw. Tiny bubbles visible only on the surface.

Aroma & Taste: Flavors: From 0 Low – 9 High:  Val d’Ornón Sidra scores: Sour Butter 7-8, Leather/Tanned Hides 6, Hay 5, Latent Acidity 4, Fresh/Raw Dessert Apple 3.

5 Tastes Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High: Val d’Ornón Sidra scores: Salty 5-6,  Bitter 4.5, Sour 3, Sweet 2, Umami 1.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Classic match with fiery chorizo and garlicy bitter greens, followed by sweet creamy blue & salty pressed rind cheeses, charred toasts and raw Granny Smith apple slices. Val d’Ornón Sidra is right at home with this simple, rustic country fare.

Overall Impressions: Funk forward with blossoming apple flavors. Old World style with balanced astringency and acid. Another cider that got us thinking about the similarities and differences between Spain’s Asturian sidras and the UK’s 3 Counties ciders, pondering the presence, quality, and unique expression of acidity in these two traditional regional cider styles.

To explore further: Why traditional Asturian sidras do not explore or develop the ‘sweet’ aspect of the pome fruit, instead embracing acidity without the tannic/bitter balance found in traditional UK ciders. Is this solely a result of the properties of Asturian cider apples? Or something else? Perhaps a Spanish chef, cidermaker, or Asturian/Basque food culture historian can provide insight.

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es  Apples shown: Carrio (top) Perico (below)

Sidra Menéndez Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural video:

Perico servicios_1242951270_450

 

Cider Review: ANTHEM CIDER: Cider52

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Cider: ANTHEM ORGANIC TRADITIONALLY FERMENTED CIDER

Maker: Anthem Cider

(Anthem is crafted by the makers of Wandering Aengus)

Origin: Salem, Oregon

website: anthemcider.com

ABV: 5.5 %  Bottle: 22 oz., crown cap

Makers Style Notes: Anthem Cider – offers the tart acidity of the apple’s natural malic acid with a clean fruit forward finish. Anthem Cider is the foundation for all the Anthems. Semi-Dry. Medium Tart. 5.0% to 6.5% ABV.

Fruit: Apple. Washington and Oregon.

Makers Fruit Notes: Anthem Traditionally Fermented Cider, is brewed with Honey Crisp, Gala, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. 90% Organic. Anthem uses only whole apples, pressed and fermented.

A Few Cider Makers Notes:

The first batch of Anthem Cider was kegged March 10, 2010 on the belief that we at Wandering Aengus Ciderworks can make a great draft cider without compromise.

So what is a great draft cider without compromise? Basically, it is a cider made the way people expect a cider to be made; starting with actual apples, pressing them, and fermenting the fresh juice only days after.

Since the character of apples vary widely between varieties, harvests, terroir, and keeping, our cidermaking is geared to accent those differences, not hide them. We hope you and your palate learn to appreciate and savor the diversity

Read more about Anthem’s goals here.

Our Tasting Notes: May 10, 2013.

In The Glass: Clear, light, bright, brassy gold. Itty-bitty bubbles.

Aroma & Taste: Dessert apples, cotton candy, licorice, apple peel tannins, damp bark and wet wood. A bit of vanilla,  particularly on last sip. Empty glass reverberates notes of sweet and wood. Light body, balanced leaning toward bitter/tannin axis, medium acidity, short to medium finish, no real aftertaste, slight warming effect on tip of tongue.

Taste Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High: ANTHEM Cider gets: Bitter 6,  Sour 4.5, Sweet 3, Salty 1, Umami 1.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Tried with chorizo sausage and garlicy kale. Nice and chewy with the fiery spice of the chorizo and the bite of the garlic and bitter greens. (As noted in several past reviews – we think cider is a great mate to bitter greens).

Overall Impressions: Very accessible complexity. Cleverly comes on tarted up like a mass market cider, then delivers something quite different. Instead of the saccharine flavors the initial aromas might suggest,  Anthem is surprisingly more complex, with incontestable tannins, distinct bitter notes, and only hints of sweet, sweet apple. Anthem is definitely a gateway cider.  

Reviewers NoteANTHEM Cider possesses a unique damp orchard  aroma. Hints of a distinctly Northwest sous bois or at least a Wandering Aengus/Anthem cidermakers sous bois’. More on this in our review of Wandering Aengus’ Wanderlust, coming up.