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Along Came a Cider: Cider Review: Virtue Cider’s Baldwin

For once, I’m trying to be prepared and ahead of the game. When this goes live, I’ll hopefully be traveling with The Tall One. We need a bit of respite. But between this moment and that anticipated one there are snow storms and cross-country flights. I write in hope because I prefer it to other available options. Fingers crossed, cider friends!

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Virtue Cider’s Baldwin. For those who aren’t familiar with Virtue Cider. The company was founded in Michigan in 2011 by Greg Hall. The cidery offers many different cider styles, many of which are inspired by different cider making traditions from cider regions of the world or local Michigan ingredients.

This cider came to me as a sample of Virtue’s first Cider Society box. That’s their regular subscription or cider club. You can read more about Cider Society here: https://virtuecider.com/pages/cider-society

Virtue Ciders have appeared many times on this blog in the past. Here’s the full list. You can also find additional background information on Virtue in these earlier posts.

Spitz: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/10/cider-review-virtue-ciders-spitz.html

Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-pear-and.html

Michigan Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-1911-rose-and-virtue.html

Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-1911-rose-and-virtue.html

Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-tree-tapper.html

The Mitten Reserve: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-whitewood-cider-cos-olivia.html

Percheron: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/10/cider-review-virtue-ciders-percheron.html

Ledbury: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/02/cider-review-roundup-virtue-slyboro.htm

The Mitten: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-mitten-and.htm

Red Streak: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/06/trying-virtue-and-olivers-ciders-at.htm

You can find out more about any of these ciders and much more at Virtue’s website: https://www.virtuecider.com

Here’s the official description for the Baldwin, “Part of our Apple Fest Series which features a single apple varietal. The Baldwin apple is a large crimson red and coppery green apple that is crisp, juicy, and aromatic with a spicy sweet-tart flavor.” This cider’s ABV is 7.7%.

Appearance: bubbly, brilliant, medium straw

Virtue Cider’s Baldwin reminds me of many modern American ciders in its appearance. The cider is brilliant with visible bubbles and a medium color intensity. The hue reminds me of ripe straw.

Aromas: Cooked apples, apple skin, Pixi Stix

The Baldwin reminds me most of cooked apples when I let its aroma notes waft to me. I can get other inklings as well: green apple skins, Pixy Stix, and grapefruit.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

This cider is neither dominated by sweetness nor completely reliant on it. There is enough sweetness to keep things easy-going and approachable and not a bit too much. What sweetness I do detect is very appley and natural.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, minerals, high acid, well-balanced

I appreciate how this tart and minerally cider feels so fresh on the palate. It really does feel so green apple tart to me; it’s somehow high acid without being overly austere or pointed. The Baldwin is a well-balanced crowd pleaser of a cider. I enjoy the strong bubbles and medium full mouthfeel.

I had this at a lovely quiet dinner of pescatarian okonomiyaki, dumpling soup, and cucumber salad. What a set of pairings! Each dish brought out a different element of the cider, and all were delicious. I would enthusiastically recommend exactly this to anyone who wants to explore such a well-balanced cider in all its visissitudes. And my eternal gratitude to my dear friends who cook so well and share their gifts.

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Cider

7 Hopped Ciders You Can’t Be Bitter About

When it comes to hops, more often than not, you’ll find them in beer. Hops are small, green seed cones that are introduced during the brewing process to provide flavor, create balance through bittering, and to add stability to the brew. But hops aren’t just reserved for beer.

When hops are introduced to cider, it can truly kick the drink up a notch. Different types of hops provide different characteristics, with some introducing citrus flavors, while others introducing floral or even pineapple notes. And for those looking for a hard cider that’s a bit more akin to beer, or for those interested in something a bit different, hopped ciders are the ideal answer.

Castle Hill Cider | Dry Hopped Hard Cider | Keswick, Va. | 6% ABV

A blend of estate-grown fruit meets three types of hops in this cider. Cascade, Citra and Zappa hops bring notes of citrus and tropical fruit to the mix, creating a semi-sweet cider for easy sipping on warm spring days.

Pinball Cider | Hopped Pink Lady | Seattle, Wash. | 7% Abv

Pink Lady apples make for a bright, fresh cider — and hops make it that much more complex. Citra and Amarillo hops are added to this cider to bring forward a floral nose thanks to the hop bouquet, not to mention a hint of citrus. It’s exceptionally dry with just a touch of haze, making it perfect for warm-weather sipping.

Citizen Cider | The Lake Hopper | Burlington, Vt. | 6.2% ABV

This offering from Citizen Cider starts with freshly pressed apples. Local Cascade hops are then introduced as a celebration of local farmers and landscapes. It’s crisp and dry, with notes of grapefruit and thyme for a refreshing sip.

Union Hill Cider Co. | Hopped & Hazy | East Wenatchee, Wash. | 7.8% ABV

This cider combines Snowdrift Crabapples, Muscadet de Lens and Rave — a Honeycrisp and MonArk hybrid — to create a unique blend. Mosaic and Liberty hops are added in to bring notes of citrus into the mix with a hint of bitterness on the finish.

Stormalong | Light of the Sun | Sherborn, Mass. | 6.5%

Looking for a punch of tropical fruit? This cider features Citra and Ekuanot hops for a hit of citrus. Guava is added to round out the flavor, creating a wildly refreshing cider just on the edge of dry and semi-dry.

Swift Cider | Pineapple Hop | Portland, Ore. | 6.2% ABV

Fresh-pressed apples are combined with pineapple juice, along with Centennial, Chinook and Ekuanot hops, to make this zippy cider. It’s semi-dry with juicy notes of pineapple, citrus and pine for light, aromatic drink.

Chain Yard Cider | Hopped Up | Halifax, Nova Scotia | 6% ABV

This dry cider is taken to the next level with the addition of Cascade and Centennial hops. Floral aromas and notes of citrus create a complex, yet easy drinking, cider.

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Cider

Along Came a Cider: Cider Review: Bent Ladder Cider’s Original

Yesterday I saw my first outdoor blooms of the season. What season, one might reasonably ask? It’s still Winter here, but I saw snowdrops. Yesterday the sun was powerful enough to melt feet of ice and tempt many people outdoors. I’m grateful for that little preview of Spring. Today, it’s a gray world of rain and mist, but I remember the look of a blue sky. Today’s cider is one that reminds me of Summer. A friend of mine sought out a selection of Bent Ladder Cider for me, and that makes me value it all the more. Bent Laddery Ciders and Wines come to us from Doylestown, Ohio. The company was founded in 2015. Here’s how the website describes the process,

Each cider is made from a selection of our estate-grown apples which we crush, ferment, age and keg in-house. Even if you have never tried a hard cider before, our wide selection ensures that you will be able to find something that you love.

I recommend learning about Bent Ladder Ciders and Wines on the company’s homepage here: https://bentladder.com/ As this is the cidery’s first appearance on the blog, I wanted to start with The Original. Here’s how the Original is described.

A blend of apples including Northern Spy, Jonathan and Winesap. Aromas of green apple and ripe pear. Fruit forward flavors of ripe apple, blossoms and nectar. Well balanced and easy drinking with a clean mellow finish.

Medium Sweet

6.5% ABV

Appearance: brilliant, lots of bubbles, medium intensity warm straw

This cider has a classic look with medium intensity warm straw color. I see many bubbles in the glass. As the image reveals, Bent Ladder’s Original is brilliant in terms of clarity. Aromas: baked apple muffins, spices, bready, ripe apple The Original reminds me of a brunchy weekend breakfast in the best of all possible ways. It smells like a fresh apple danish with notes of baking spice, clean yeastiness, powdered sugar, and ripe apples. There’s also just a hint sweet orange in the mix. I am so very reminded of baked goods! The aroma is clean and enticing. Sweetness/Dryness: Semi-sweet This cider strikes me exactly as the cidery it describes, semi-sweet. The sweetness in The Original is beautifully integrated in the whole experience, and it’s a super approachable level of sweetness in a cider. Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, medium acid, honey, ripe apple So much of what I noticed in the aroma comes through in this cider’s flavors as well. It does remind me of a sweet apple-y dessert. The Original brings lots of bubbles to my glass, and I’m grateful. It has medium acidity, a beautifully honeyed flavor, and a generous share of fresh apple. The whole experience tastes jammy to me. Its a sunny, summertime cider in my book. I enjoyed this with a hearty veggie soup and homemade bread, but I’d love to see this with a quiche and muffins.



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Cider

Blake Cider’s Paloma Release & Review

Blake’s Hard Cider (BHC), the Midwest’s largest craft cidery, announces the release of its first-ever Bar Cart Series, a line of hard ciders inspired by favorite cocktails. Drinkable on its own or with the addition of liquor to create a proper cocktail, Paloma is the first of three in the new line. It will be available across BHC’s 20+ state footprint beginning Friday, Jan. 7 with the two others to follow later in the year.

Paloma, a nod to the traditional cocktail made with grapefruit juice, lime, and tequila, is a semi-sweet hard cider that delivers the perfect balance of citrus and sweetness from agave flavors over an apple cider base. Serve it chilled, over ice or add a shot of tequila and a salted rim to take it to cocktail level. The Bar Cart Series (ABV 6.5% – 8%) will be sold in six-pack 12 oz. cans, MSRP $10.99-$12.99.

“The idea behind our Bar Cart Series stemmed from the variety of cider-based cocktails Blake’s Hard Cider fans make and enjoy, so it was a natural evolution for us to create a line of cocktail-themed ciders,” said Andrew Blake, founder and president, Blake’s Hard Cider. “Cider drinkers are adventurous and not limited to just classic apple. They appreciate the craft side of the beverage and will enjoy the versatility and complexity of our new ciders on their own or with added alcohol if you choose.”

Our Review of Blake’s Paloma Cider

The ready-to drink-market (RTD) has exploded recently and Blake’s joined in on the fun with their Bar Cart Series. Their first offering is the citrusy Paloma. Starting with the can design, we are greeted with bright orange and pink tones, highlighting the ingredients in the product. The design is punchy and simple, with a creative font used for the word Paloma. Looks like a pre-made cocktail can so their mission is accomplished.

Once you open the can, you get the aroma of grapefruit, high acid, and lime juice — a citrusy burst, really. Some of the sweetness pokes through via natural sugars and added agave. It smells mostly citrusy with the smaller and later notes being sweetness. On the pour, you are greeted with a light pinkish product with a healthy amount of carbonation, but it is certainly not overdone. Much of the color looks like it comes from the grapefruit itself. A fun color if you use this cider for a cocktail base. It has more character in the color department than most ciders.

As you take your first sip, you become fully aware of the tangy, tart, citrusy notes that we caught on the nose. This 6.5% ABV is slightly bitter from the involved fruits. You get a bunch of those bitter, tangy fruit notes throughout the experience. Given the qualities of some of these fruits, you experience some of that drying effect on the mouth, too. Moves from the roof of the mouth to the cheeks and so on with its drying magic. After a few sips, you gain a deeper understanding of the sweetness and it comes into deeper balance with the acidic notes. High acid accentuates the agave and they dance well together like most tequila or mezcal drinks that include the same ingredients.

All in all, we see why this is a cocktail-inspired cider and it is elevated with a salt-rimmed glass or some added boozy punch from tequila. This might not be for individuals that hate grapefruit or can only handle so much citrus, but the bitter notes and long-term sweetness make this a perfect RTD beverage and an even better mixer for those that like their hard liquor.

For more information on Blake’s Hard Cider, store locations and availability, visit www.blakeshardcider.com


About Blake’s Hard Cider Co.

Blake’s Hard Cider Co., established in 2013, is an independent, family-owned, and operated craft cidery. Located on a 1000-acre orchard in Armada, Mich., Blake’s Hard Cider was founded on the values ​​of its more than 75-year farming roots. By growing, pressing, and fermenting our own apples on our farm, we’re able to proudly and consistently produce a truly authentic and uncompromised craft hard cider experience. Blake’s Hard Cider’s success and growth has been driven by creating adventurous flavor profiles such as Mango Habanero, Triple Berry, and Caramel Apple. Its line-up has expanded further to include the industry’s first 100 calorie Lite Ciders and its rotating #KinderCider Series to support and raise awareness for social and environmental issues and organizations which share Blake’s values. Find and buy Blake’s Hard Cider online at www.blakeshardcider.com.

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Haykin Family Ciders’ 2018 Method Ancestrale Ela Family Farms Cuvee

This week’s cider was part of a small birthday dinner for a dear friend. It still feels new to me to host little parties again, but it’s the most delicious kind of new. This time of year is perfect for it. I have more tomatoes than I’ve ever had access to in my life, and bread baking is very dinner-party friendly. Plus, my cider stores are rather brimming from all of the dinner parties I haven’t hosted for the past 18 months. This meal got accidentally planned around focaccia bread, the birthday lady’s caprese salad, and my desire to break into a bottle of Haykin Family Cider.

Haykin Family Cider comes to us from Colorado. The cidery is extremely well-decorated from many GLINTCAP wins over the years. The cidery was founded by Talia and Daniel Haykin in Aurora, Colorado. You can visit a tasting room, order Haykin Family Cider online or join the cider club. This cider was shared with me for review, but as always my opinions are my own.

I’ve only ever reviewed Haykin Family Cider’s Harrow Pear before: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/06/perry-reviews-haykin-family-ciders.html

You can visit the cidery online: https://www.haykinfamilycider.com/

Here’s Haykin Family Ciders’ official description for the 2018 Method Ancestrale Ela Family Farms Cuvee.

A blend from Ela Family Farms, a fourth generation Colorado fruit grower, including Cox’s Orange Pippin, Ashmead’s Kernel, Jonathan, Golden Delicious and others. This sparkling cider boasts the character of pear, banana, cardamom, lime, and substantial minerality. This bottle was aged 15 months sur lees and disgorged by hand. This cider is semi-dry. 5% of sales of this cider goes back to Steve Ela and Ela Family Farms to help rebuild their orchard after a devastating frost. 7.9% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, gentle warm straw, bubbly

The Ela Family Farms Cuvée looks decidedly bubbly. I had to pour a second time to make sure we got enough cider and not just lovely frothy bubbles in our glasses. The color is gently warm straw; it isn’t intense. The cider is just a bit hazy and gets more so towards the end of the bottle.

Aromas: Mellow mineral, spices, ripe apple, lemon, honey

I’m expecting something mellow and structured based on what I smell in this cider. Immediately, I get notes of minerals, spices, ripe apples, lemon, and honey. My appetite is most decidedly whetted.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry/semi-sweet

The level of sweetness on this cider surprised me. I thought it would be drier, but while this is semi-dry it’s nearly semi-sweet. Lots of fruit flavors are accessed through the cider’s sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins, medium high acid, woody, minerals, creamy

What a heavenly journey. This cider rolls across my palate with lushness and surprises. At first I was surprised by how near to a semi-sweet cider these tastes. The Ela Family Farms Cuvee follows that surprise with high tannins and medium acidity. I love the excellent sparkle that can only be obtained with the laborious Method Ancestrale. This cider gifts us notes of wood, minerals orange peel, banana, and ripe apple. I love little touches of bitterness that layer between the fruit flavors. The finish is creamy and perfumed. All in all, this cider is such a neat mix of gentleness and firm structure.

We paired this cider with herbed focaccia bread, caprese salad, sauteed zucchini and cauliflower, and veggieful pasta dish with feta. It was a full-flavored summery meal with a cider pairing well matched for the zesty bright garden flavors. What a treat!

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Along Came a Cider: Cider Review: Virtue Cider’s Spitz

Fall is showing a strange facet this week; it’s warm and rainy. Much of the summer was the same way, so this feels like a look back at the season just passed. But it’s still Fall, the season of apples. That’s the perfect time to review Virtue Cider’s Spitz and introduce Virtue’s Cider Society.

Virtue Cider comes to us all from Michigan. This cidery was founded in 2011; congrats on turning 10 Virtue! Greg Hall started this cidery after his tenure at Goose Island Brewing. Today, Virtue cider has three cider houses and an array of farm animals, including pigs and chickens.

I’ve reviewed several Virtue Ciders in the past. Here’s the rundown.

Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-pear-and.html

Michigan Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-1911-rose-and-virtue.html

Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-1911-rose-and-virtue.html

Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-tree-tapper.html

The Mitten Reserve: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-whitewood-cider-cos-olivia.html

Percheron: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/10/cider-review-virtue-ciders-percheron.html

Ledbury: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/02/cider-review-roundup-virtue-slyboro.html

The Mitten: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-mitten-and.html

Red Streak: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/06/trying-virtue-and-olivers-ciders-at.html

You can find out more about any of these ciders and much more at Virtue’s website: https://www.virtuecider.com/

Part of what I want to do today is to introduce Virtue’s Cider Society!

This cider club will allow members to taste special small batch Virtue ciders that are not available to the wider public. The club ships four times a year, unlocks special discounts, gains member access to club events, and includes gift certificates in each box.

Read all about it here: https://virtuecider.com/pages/cider-society.

I was lucky enough to receive a sample of October’s box with four new Virtue ciders: Spitz, Jonathan, Golden Russet, and Baldwin. These ciders highlight special apple varieties, hence being named after these four heirloom apples. As you can see the package is stunning. I think this is such a treat, and would make an awesome gift for any cider lover in your life.

I don’t have a lot of individual info about the Spitz, aside from it featuring that apple. It’s ABV is 7.3%, and it won a Silver medal at this past year’s GLINTCAP competition. I wish I knew more.

Appearance: Brilliant, warm straw, no visible bubbles

This is a lovely cider. The color classically describeds what I see most often as warm straw. It’s brilliant and shining, but I don’t see visible bubbles in the glass.

Aromas: fusel oil, peach, minerals, ripe apple

The Spitz offers up an intensely inviting aroma. It reminds me of tart apples, peaches, minerals and just a bit of fusel oil. It smells tantalizing.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

Everyone tasting agreed that this cider is a semi-sweet. It’s fruity but not cloying.

Flavors and drinking experience: Tannic, high acid, overripe apples, creamy

I appreciate it so much that the Spitz cider manages to taste tannic and pleasingly tart. The cider brings flavors of overripe apples, sweet cream, oranges, and peaches. None of the elements or flavors comes across as sharp or pointed; Instead, the cider feels creamy in my mouth. The level of fizz is relatively low; I’d call it petillant rather than truly sparkling.

We paired this cider with two vegetarian pizzas from a beloved local pizza place I can’t believe I’ve not yet tried. Takeout pizza is always a treat, but having this super-fresh delicious pizza with a wonderfully full-bodied cider was amazing.

I can’t wait to try the rest of the ciders in my October box from Virtue’s Cider Society!


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Stowe Cider’s Brain Waves Key Lime Pie

I’ve not traveled often or far lately, it’s true. I’ been both busy at home andve cautious. My trip to Michigan for GLINTCAP was definitely the biggest trip of 2021 so far, and it’s likely to stay that way. But I do find other kinds of exploration, including an online class through Morbid Anatomy about contemporary folklore and legend tripping. Last week, our teacher encouraged us to bring a tasty beverage to the last half of class, and I was happy to comply. I chose to bust out a can of Brain Waves: Key Lime Pie by Stowe Cider.

Stowe cider comes to us from Stowe, Vermont. The company maintains a small core of cider styles that are always available, but the majority of the offerings are seasonal, limited, or collaborative. Stowe Cider makes adventurous choices, often pushing the boundaries of what has been tried in cider.

Here are all of Stowe Ciders’ previous appearances on the blog.

Gin and Juice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/07/cider-review-stowe-ciders-gin-and-juice.html

Juniper Sessions: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/11/cider-review-stowe-ciders-juniper.html

High and Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/08/cider-review-grand-illusion-hard-cider.html

Local Infusion Snow’s Raspberry Hard Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-rose-and.html

My 2016 visit to the tasting room as part of my Great Vermont Cider Tour: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-1.html

I recommend visiting Stowe Cider’s website to learn more: https://www.stowecider.com/home

Brain waves is a line of one time experiments by Stowe cider. I was stoked to try the Key lime pie after reading about it. Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite desserts in the world; I am practically obsessed. Stowe Cider did share this sample with me for review, so many thanks! Samples do not however sway my opinion or even guarantee a review. I’m afraid that my review queue is a bit full at the moment!

Here’s the description that caught my eye.

“Cider fermented with Suzie-Uie gluten free graham cracker crumbs, key lime, coconut, & brown sugar. 6% ABV

Appearance: Cloudy, floating bits, lemon curd

The cider really looks wild. As the picture shows, it’s totally cloudy. Where my hand is on the back of the glass, none of that is visible through the cider. The color reminds me of lemon curd. There are little floaty bits as well; that could be lime flesh, crumbs of graham cracker, or tiny bits of coconut. With this cider, anything is possible!

Aromas: Lime, apple, graham cracker, and coconut

Key Lime Pie smells emphatically like lime! I do get other notes, including some ripe apple, coconut, and graham cracker. The lime is what dominates though.

Sweetness/Dryness: Semi dry

It’s a little hard to tell how sweet this is because this cider’s acidity is off the charts.

Flavors and drinking experience: Lime, graham, apple, but mostly lime

The Brain Waves Key Lime Pie tastes mostly of fresh limes, but like with the aromas, I do get notes of apple and graham as well. The coconut disappears though. The drinking experience goes more purely lime as I keep sipping. It’s a full-bodied cider, which I really like. The acidity is delightfully intense. I did share this cider with a couple of fellow tasters, and I was the most fond of it. I think it will be more popular with devoted fans of lime!

This cider was a fabulous pairing with popcorn and fun spooky learning. I kept the snack simple, so my brain could be free to absorb the cool class!

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Along Came a Cider: Cider Review: Wild State Cider’s Semi-Dry

We’re almost a month into Fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, but sunny days with highs in the 70s are still occasionally surprising us. Since so much of the summer was cool and rainy, I’m not going to complain overmuch. These sunny days are tremendously pleasant, and I find them perfect for enjoying a cider on my porch. That’s exactly what I did with Wild State Cider’s Semi-Dry.

Wild State Cider comes from Minnesota. The cidery is based in Duluth with a spot that hosts both production and a tap room. You can visit the cidery seven days a week. The company takes its identity from the notion of wildness. The founders Adam Ruhland and Andrew Price both make a point to speak about their connections with nature in their professional bios on the Wild State website. And the company’s most prominent slogan is “Naturally good cider” going on to emphasize what they do not add to their cider: concentrate, sweeteners, sorbates, and interestingly, compromises. It’s a clear vision, and I’m excited to see how that translates to taste.

I’m starting with the Semi-dry as it’s one of the flagship ciders. It was shared with me for review, so my thanks to the folks at Wild State! This is my first Wild State Cider review.

Read more for yourself online here: https://www.wildstatecider.com/ciders

Here’s how Wild State describes the Semi-dry online, “This is where it all started – a crisp cider with champagne vibes. 6.4% ABV, 165 calories and only 3g sugar.” And I was able to find just a bit more description elsewhere online, “Our original cider, Semi Dry is a staple in the taproom. Light floral, crisp, hint of spice.”

Appearance: brilliant, goldenrod, bubbly

The color reminds me of the goldenrod blooms that I’m still seeing in the edge of gardens and forests. The cider is brilliant and bubbly with a medium intensity of color.

Aromas: mineral, ripe apple, anticipating tannins

I’m tantalized by the limestone mineral aroma, it’s slightly bitter. I get instant acids and tannins on the smell. It’s not exactly that I smell them directly, but something about what I smell leads me to expect them. I wish I could articulate that better. What I do smell are notes of sun-warmed apples. It’s approachable and appealing.

Sweetness/dryness: off dry

Wild State says semi-dry, and it’s legitimately off-dry. Nice work. I am very used to hearing that a cider is quite a bit drier than what I taste. I appreciate that it doesn’t have the usual commercial inflation of dryness.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, high tannins, spruce, woody

Oooh, complex! The Semi-dry tastes bitter but pleasant! The whole experience feels full and low in the mouth. The cider brings a different acid profile than I’m used to. These acids are present and blend with carbonation effortlessly, but are not the bright pointed malic notes that I taste most either in canned ciders or the more austere sharp acids of northeastern dry ciders.

I taste no sourness; the Semi-dry is beautifully clean in its fermentation. There are woody notes and a little spruce too. The cider has a very nice filling mouthfeel and a clean, tannic finish.

I paired this cider with veggie pizza and it cuts through fats like a knife. What a wonderful pairing for anything cheesy. I cannot recommend that enough! This is a lovely cider, and I’m excited to taste the rest of what Wild State makes!

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Seasonal Ciders at Elegast| Netherlands

Arjen Meeusem shares his story of living in Portland, Oregon and how a stop at Reverend Nat’s Hard cider to taste the cider inspired him to find out more about this niche market and its viability to make cider in the Netherlands.

Cider Chat episode 306 Arjen of Elegast Cidery

Arjen Meeuwsen outside the estate based cidery

Arjen and his business partners began their cidery in an old green house and then moved to their current location in a 250 square meter shed and utilize the outdoor space for storing their cider.

In 2022, the cidery is expanded with a new tasting room and expand production area just outside of Amsterdam set to be open in the summer.

Elegast’s goal is to use the rising interest in cider to help steer consumers to drink cider to help the orchards aka Drink Cider ~ Save Orchards!

Elegast Ciders and Seasonal Offerings

Elegast’s Saison Cider is a lovely frothy cider with a nod to Saison beers with a cider structure all its own.

Cider Chat episode306 Elegast Cidery

The goal is to balance the acidity and boost the profile so that there is enough mouthfeel to entice the drinker despite the lack of tannins in the current apples now growing in the Netherlands.

The cidery has access to old estate orchards with trees dating back to 1939, which is actually an Unesco Heritage Site marking the demarcation line and trenches used during the World War I.

All of Elegast Ciders can be drunk year round, but some might find your palate requesting them during select months.

Barrel Aged Ciders – Elegast has a range of barrel aged ciders that can be drunk in the winter and equally enjoyed by fans on a chilly spring, summer or fall evening.

Fruit Cider Series – Whole fruits are co-fermented and macerated to incorporate the taste and color of the skin and fruit

And excellent cider for the Spring and Summer

Terroir Series – Apples from specific orchards and allowed to ferment with the ambient yeast or what is often referred to as spontaneous yeasts

Contact for Elegast Cidery

Website: https://elegastcider.nl/

Address: Hoorneboeg 4a, 1213 RE Hilversum, Netherlands

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Cider

Black Diamond Farm and Redbyrd Orchard Cider’s Black is Gold

It has been far too long since I’ve gotten to share anything by Redbyrd Orchard Cider, and even Black Diamond Cider hasn’t graced the blog recently enough. I was thrilled to learn of their first annual collaboration: Black is Gold.

Black Diamond Farm and Redbyrd Orchard Cider both anchor the Finger Lakes cider scene; they are each based nearest to Trumansburg, New York. You can find plenty of introductory info on both orchards and cideries in earlier entries. I encourage you to go back and check them out. Both of these ciders are special endeavors that produce delicious ciders.

Here’s my list of Redbyrd Orchard Cider reviews:

Celeste Sur Lie 2015: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/10/redbyrd-orchard-ciders-celeste-sur-lie.html

The Andromeda Crab: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/01/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

Their presence at an all FLX pairing dinner: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html

The North Star: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/01/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

The Starblossom: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/finger-lakes-cider-week-special-review.html

The Dry Harvest Cider 2013: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/12/cider-review-reddbyrd-2013-harvest-cider.html

The Wild Pippin (my #1 cider of 2014, the Wild Pippin): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

Visit Redbyrd Orchard Cider online here: https://redbyrdorchardcider.com/

And the full rundown of Black Diamond Cider Reviews:

Black Diamond Cider’s 2018 Rosé: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/09/cider-review-eden-ciders-peak-bloom-and.html

Shin Hollow: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/08/cider-review-mountain-west-ciders-sweet.html

Jaywalker: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/03/cider-review-alpenfires-dungeness-and.html

Geneva Tremlett’s: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-black-diamonds-geneva.html

Somerset Jersey: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/05/very-perry-may-with-vandermills-ice-ice.html

Slatestone: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/11/cider-reviews-big-hill-ciderworks.html

Hickster: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/12/cider-review-black-diamond-ciders.html

Porter’s Pommeau: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html

Solstice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/08/cider-review-black-diamonds-solstice.html

Rabblerouser: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-black-diamonds.html

Learn more about Black Diamond Cidery online here: https://www.blackdiamondcider.com/

The BIG Project: A Collaboration Cider is called Black is Gold. Here’s how the label describes the cider.

Black is Gold

Semi-dry Carbonated Cider

The BIG Project: An Annual Collaboration from Black Diamond Farm and Redbyrd Orchard

Made with love and care in support of the fight for racial equity and justice

The first year a blend of Goldrush, Tremlett’s Bitter, Wickson Crab, Harrison, Dabinett, Roxbury Russet, Black Oxford, Suncrisp, Razor Russet.

8.0% Alc/vol 750ml


Appearance: shining gold, brilliant, few visible bubbles

This cider looks warm, shining, and totally brilliant. The color is a toasty gold. I can see some bubbles; they are very active and tiny. What instant appeal!

Aromas: lemon, baked apple, peach, breadcrumbs, minerals

It was fun picking out aroma notes in the Black is Gold. I noticed lemon, bread crumbs and minerality. One of my co-tasters zeroed in on the baked apple and ripe peach notes. The cider smells cleanly inviting and fruit but complex.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

The Black is Gold tastes semi-dry: exactly as the label said it would. I get enough sweetness to open up the layers of flavor and fruit but not more than that. The sweetness isn’t distracting at all.

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, tannic, high acid, tropical fruit, citrus, balanced

This cider! Oh my goodness, I love this. The Black is Gold blooms into a full lush experience centering on tropical fruit, sweet citrus, and juicy acidity. The cider is delightfully bubbly too. The tannic presence helps to anchor the cider, maintaining a sophisticated sense of balance.

What a complete delight! The tropical fruit notes keep me coming back for more sips, and the ciders lovely clean finish just keeps making me smile. I’m really digging this collaboration. The Black is Gold brings everything I enjoy to the experience: tart clean citrus, awesome bubbles, structural tannins, and enjoy fruit to keep everything fun and lively.

We paired the cider with pasta, marinara sauce, and homemade veggie meatballs. Having all of the lightness from the bubbles and cutting acidity made for a remarkably good pairing. This cider is something special!