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Cider

Right Bee Cider Clementine Barrel Aged Series

I hear from my mom that daffodils are striving several inches from the ground in her yard in Kentucky. I witness some upstate daffodils just barely poking their heads above the soil; that was on the one day we had bare ground between different blankets of snow. Surely this means that Spring will arrive, perhaps even before too terribly long. But for right now, I’m grateful for the warmth of friends and loved ones.

This past week, the cider community launched #OpenThatCiderBottle across a few social media platforms, directing all of us to take the time to look at the cider we have and choose something special. We then opened our ciders and shared the stories of what makes the bottles meaningful or exciting. I’m all about using and enjoying the good things we have. I shared Right Bee Cider’s Clementine from the Barrel-Aged Series, because it was a surprise gift from my cider friend Matt.

Matt not only shared a lovely cider with me, but he helped me out with some supplies I needed for an art project that is still in process. As soon as I put out the call for help, he answered and got me not only what I needed but this cider too. I feel touched by his perceptive generosity! And what an intriguing cider; I’ve never gotten to review anything by Right Bee Cider before.

Right Bee Cider is based in Chicago by Katie Morgan and Charlie Davis in 2014. Here’s how they describe themselves as cider producers, “We are passionate about the art of cider-making, made by hand with natural ingredients and sustainable practices. Our cider brought us together, and we hope it continues to bring others together as well.”

I’m so excited to share my thoughts on the limited-release Clementine (Barrel Aged Series).

You can visit the cidery website here: https://www.rightbeecider.com/

I don’t have a lot of info about the cider, but it is “Aged in Thornton Distilling Dead Drop Bourbon Barrels.” The ABV is 6%.

Appearance: intense warm copper, brilliant, fine bubbles

Oh, this color is amazing. I’ve never seen a cider with such a deep warm copper hue. It’s brilliant with fine visible bubbles.

Aromas: cherries, apricots, butterscotch, old paper

The Clementine has aroma notes of old paper, cherries, and apricots. I also smell minerals, water, and intense butterscotch. There’s a rich apple concentration that reminds me of fruit on the equipment after it has been pressed; juices that have dried and intensified. I get notes of barrel and dust as well.

Dryness/sweetness: Off-dry

I find it a little challenging to determine sweetness level in barrel aged ciders. I’m perceiving a more complex set of qualities that all affect one another. This cider has a lot going on in multiple dimensions, but it’s not notably sweet. At the same time, it’s also not bone-dry, so I’ll call it off-dry and acknowledge the imprecision!

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity acid, buzzy, gently bitter

The first impression I get is that this cider is in some ways like an oaked Chardonnay. The Clementine tastes refreshing, acidic and not too tannic. The cider rises with a little wave of gentle bitterness a second or two after the initial taste. I find the texture petillant, with a silky body. I appreciate the wonderful interactions between bright fruity acid and the dark barrel notes. The whole experience is full and complex with a long dark pleasant finish.

I had my co-tasters investigate for diacetyl acid, because I’m not particularly sensitive to it, but they assure me that the buttery-ness is barrel-y not popcorny or oily.

Though the barrel characteristics are emphatic, they do not unbalance the drinking experience. Another wine reminder arrived in the buzzy sense of alcohol, but this remains absolutely clearly a cider, just one with a few wine-like characteristics.

I enjoyed the Clementine with wonderful companionship and a funky tasty cheese. Yet again, I must say that I am thankful for friends, family, loved ones. A special bottle shared with special people made for a very warm and cozy night.

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Cider

Single Varietal Series: KeepSake Cider

As we became more engrained in the world of cider, we have been able to explore ciders that are less commercialized and truer to the apple. We have tasted ciders that are naturally fermented, aged, foraged, locally sourced, and everything in between, but one of our favorite explorations in the world of cider is single varietal hard ciders.

Single varietal ciders are created by using a single delicious, nuanced, and regional apple in a large or small batch. Without blending several apples together, you get to experience the specific character of a particular apple, may it be its acidity, taste, or aroma.

To get a better understanding of different regions of the United States, and discover what single varietal ciders are being cooked up across the country, we started by asking Keepsake Cidery for their insights on single varietal ciders and the apples they are using for their products.

Tell Us More About Your Cidery

Keepsake Cidery is an orchard based, family farm cidery in the Cannon River Valley of Minnesota. We are heavily influenced by the ciders of Hereford and Somerset England, Normandy and Brittany France and the Basque region. We only use particular apples grown in our orchard and fellow orchards in our region and we press 100% of our juice before spontaneously fermenting then aging our ciders in a mix of stainless steel, HDPE, and barrels.

Our ciders are unfiltered, unfined, no tannin, acid, sulfite or sugar additions. Just cider. Sometimes we age on local farmed and foraged ingredients. Average aging time is about 18 months. Our ciders are Pet Nat, Charmat Method, or Still.

What Single Varietals Ciders Do You Make?

Single varietal ciders we have made in small and large batches:

  • Chestnut Crab
  • Jonathan
  • Keepsake
  • Dabinette
  • Kingston Black
  • Golden Russet
  • Dolgo Crab

Why Make Single Varietals Over Blends?

We make single varietal ciders for three main reasons:

  • They are delicious and fun for the drinker.
  • They are also a great way for the cider maker to truly get to know the fruit and its fermentation habits and flavors.
  • They help educate the consumer.

Great cider is made with great apples. When a cider maker showcases one apple, it takes away the advantages that blending can give you. It requires truly attention to detail in the process. Especially if the apple is approached like we do at Keepsake with no additions- no sugars, no acids, no sulfites, no tannins added- nothing but the apple.
The process should be the same whether you are making a blend or SV.

We select particular locally grown apples for their unique flavors. Will this apple contribute to a great finished cider? What will it bring? Tannin, phenolics, acidity, minerality,,,, sometimes we come across an apple that we think makes a great cider by itself, so we approach making a SV (single varietal) like all our ciders, just don’t blend it with other apples .

Having said all that, I think that the best ciders are usually blends. As you know, many “Single Varietals” in the cider world and wine world are also blends, usually 75%-80% has to be one varietal in order to label it a SV. I’m not sure if the cider world has made an official decision. Do you know?

We try to make all our SVs at 100% or very close. Whether or not the cider is a single varietal, the cider industry would benefit from more producers highlighting the apples they use in their ciders.

Describe Some Of Your Favorites Cider Apples & Their Unique Characteristics

The incredible differences between SV ciders from producer to producer add another layer of enjoyment. It’s good fun comparing a Dabinett SV made in Herefordshire with one made in Minnesota. The differences are due to the terroir and the processes used by the makers, and they can be VERY different despite using the same apple. As I am sure you have found.

Keepsake – This upstart apple from University of MN is one of our obvious favorites. The flavors are full of stone fruit and a chalky texture, acidity is present but lower than most American Dessert apples. For us this apple ferments very slowly and has repeatedly keeved for an arrested fermentation, leaving a perfect natural medium cider. We have found this cider to marry well with barrel aging too. It lacks tannin, but can offer a touch of bitterness some years.

Dabinette One of the classics SV from the Somerset, Herefordshire, and Wales. We love the smoke, leather and black tea elements of this cider. It also has that unique bittersweet fruit- reminds us of a cross between papaya and pear or some other make believe fruit. This apple tends to be a great candidate for keeping in our limited experience. Its fault is that it isn’t grown more in our region. We need more!

Chestnut Another great Minnesota apple. It’s small but full of flavor. We have had this clock in at 17 brix. Tasting notes include smoke, leather, black pepper, pear. Lots of phenolics and medicinal flavors, low on tannin. Some years brings a tangy acidity, some years it’s muted. Great as both medium and dry, but tends to finish dry.

Quick notes:
From a grower’s perspective, both Keepsake and Chestnut make a wonderful cider and are great to eat! Also, in a small competition during our Eat an Apple Drink an Apple Event- Keepsake beat out Dabinett, Golden Russet, Kingston Black and Chestnut!

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Cider

Breweries With Cider Series: Benny Boy Brewing

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Cider

2 Towns Expands Cosmic Explorer Cider Series – CiderScene

Launching off its astronomical success with award-winning Cosmic Crisp®, 2 Towns Ciderhouse expands its interstellar imperial series with two bold, new flavor frontiers, Tropical Cosmic Crisp® and Blueberry Cosmic Crisp® (both at 8% ABV).

Hitting earthling stores in early FebruaryTropical Cosmic Crisp® and Blueberry Cosmic Crisp® join the original Cosmic Crisp® (launched in 2021) to round out the Cosmic Explorer Series—the new, high ABV, imperial cider line from 2 Towns.

All three high gravity ciders (Tropical Cosmic Crisp®, Blueberry Cosmic Crisp®, and the original Cosmic Crisp®) are crafted with Cosmic Crisp® apples and designed to transport you straight across the galaxy. Tropical Cosmic Crisp® embodies purple passion fruit, hibiscus flowers, and Cosmic Crisp® apples and will have you getting pitted on some epic solar flares! On a nearby planet, Blueberry Cosmic Crisp® hits the flavor notes of Northwest blueberries jammin’ with Cosmic Crisp® apples, creating the ultimate space-age cider.

“We are thrilled to launch these new varieties of the Cosmic Explorer Series”, says Dave Takush, head cider maker. “The spectacular flavor of the Cosmic Crisp apple really supports the tangy and tropical vibes of the passionfruit and hibiscus. I also love how the character of the NW Blueberries really shine through in the Blueberry Cosmic. Both of these new Cosmic ciders are out of this world.”

The Cosmic Crisp® apple is the work of 20 years of study and research by Washington State University, resulting in a classically bred hybrid of Enterprise and Honeycrisp apples. The resulting fruit is a large, round, crisp, and super juicy apple that is perfect for snacking, baking, and clearly, cider making. Large, round, crisp, and super juicy, these bi-color apples have a rich red that almost sparkles with starburst-like lenticels—which is where the name “Cosmic” comes from.

“Undoubtedly, the partnership with 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Cosmic Crisp® will live long and prosper,” said Kathryn Grandy, chief marketing officer, Cosmic Crisp®. “We are delighted to build upon this natural alliance and excited to be collaborating on such incredible flavor innovations with 2 Towns.”

Cosmic Explorer Series Details

Tropical Cosmic Crisp®

  • 8.0% ABV | Imperial Passion Fruit
  • Crafted with Cosmic Crisp® apples, purple passion fruit, and hibiscus flowers
  • Passion fruit-forward with a hint of fresh hibiscus flowers, brought together by Cosmic Crisp® apples.

Blueberry Cosmic Crisp®

  • 8.0% ABV | Imperial Blueberry
  • Crafted with Cosmic Crisp® apples and Pacific Northwest blueberries
  • Fresh Cosmic Crisp® apples profile upfront with a Northwest blueberry party in the back.

Original Cosmic Crisp®

  • 8.0% ABV | Imperial Cider
  • Crafted with Cosmic Crisp® apples
  • Crisp, clean, high acid profile. Beautiful apple forward flavor and aromas.

The Cosmic Explorer Series will be available in 4 x 6 x 12 oz cans, ½ bbl & ⅙ bbl kegs through distributors in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona.


About 2 Towns Ciderhouse

At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar or concentrates and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and the enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider. For more information on 2 Towns Ciderhouse, visit www.2townsciderhouse.com.


About Cosmic Crisp®

The Cosmic Crisp® brand apple is the remarkable result of 20 years of study and research by Washington State University’s world-class tree fruit breeding program. Classically bred and grown in Washington State, the Cosmic Crisp® is a cross of the Enterprise and Honeycrisp varieties. The apple has a perfectly balanced flavor, striking color, and crisp texture, making it ideal for snacking, cooking, baking, and entertaining. Find recipes, inspiration, and more at www.cosmiccrisp.com.

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Cider

Aepptreow Winery’s Single Barrel Series Americana Still Cider

We may be halfway through #DryCiderJanuary, but we finally have proper snow at Finger Lakes. I feel like I’ve waited for this snow longer than ever since my childhood. It’s not about the possibility of a snowy day (although those things are nice!), but winter here just doesn’t feel real without snow. It’s always a time of cold, slow, and dark, but snow is the recharging, transformation, and beauty of the season. I don’t like to drive in it, but I do like to watch it, photograph it, walk through it, and enjoy its reflective brightness.

As part of Dry Cider January, I sat down with Emily of Cider Culture and talked about a few of my favorite dry ciders these days. Aeppeltreow’s Americana opened up for this chat, and here’s my review of this delightfully dry selection.

You can find reviews of Aeppeltreow Ciders in several previous blog posts along with plenty of background for a winery, cache, and distillery in Burlington, Wisconsin. I love how they describe themselves.

In ÆppelTreow:

We are the real Apple

Old English for the apple tree or the truth of the apple

We are the Cidermakers

Apples and pears are the core of our products

We are orchards

True flavors come from the trees and the earth

We are historians

History and tradition are our inspiration

We are local

Local ingredients and local customers

we are Family

Three generations on hand from sprig to bottle.

You can find all Aeppeltreow’s fermented and distilled offerings online: https://aeppeltreow.com/.

Here is a summary of all my previous reviews on the AeppelTreow Ciders.

Siskin Scrumpy: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/05/cider-review-big-fish-cider-cos-wild.html

Scarlett Rosy Cedre: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/07/cider-review-aeppeltreow-scarlett-rosey.html

Sparrow Spiced Apple Juice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/01/cider-review-aeppeltreow-sparrow-spiced.html

Cranberry Blackbird: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-aeppeltreow.html

Orchard Oriol Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-aeppeltreows-orchard.html

Apple Prot: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-appeltreow-winerys-appley.html

Brilliance Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html

Kinglet Bitter: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/09/cider-review-appletreow-kinglet-bitter.html

Barnswallow The Apple Cider Project: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/03/cider-review-appeltreow-barnswallow.html

Here’s how the label describes Americana Aeppeltreow.

“Aepptreow Winey Americana juice is the culmination of a decade of Aeppeltreow-style innovation. That’s why cider is back to our roots. We grafted surviving Colonial American apples. Raised them tenderly. Taliaferro.” 7.5% ABV

Appearance: intense harvest yellow, ring of bubbles on the edge, shiny

Americana uses clear glass for the bottle, so I can appreciate the color before I pour it. It’s a dense yellow harvest that reminds me of polenta, aged gouda, or the moon on certain nights of the year. He is beautiful, mature and satisfying. The apple juice is shiny with just a ring of bubbles on the edge of the liquid.

Flavors: peach, plum, ripe apple

I love the amazing bountiful scents that jump out of my glass. Apple juice is brimming with the aroma of peaches, plums and ripe apples. Pleasant and exuberant aroma is one of the surest ways to this apple juice lover’s heart.

Sweetness / Dryness: Dry but fruity

This apple juice is dry but tastes fruity. It’s a wonderful combination.

Experiment with flavors and drink: peach, blackberry, tart, almost wort

I’ve noticed that this apple juice tastes so sour and sour that it can almost be perceived as a vegetable oil, even though it is described as a still juice. I had a chat with the germ maker Charles and he told me that low levels of CO2 were used in the bottle, and I can notice that too. Either way, it’s not a bubble but almost a nice tickle of texture.

Americana brings tons of fruity acid to the party. The fruit leaves remind me of blackberries and peaches in the best possible way. I see winter but taste summer. The cider has a medium, plump texture and soft fermented flavors, but it’s all about fermentation very clean.

Sip after sip, peaches appear as the dominant flavor to me. She is luscious, mature and soft. What a treat. I had it with homemade soft pretzel, but I could also see enjoying this apple cider with corn soup or creamy pasta bread. It has enough acidity that you don’t need bubbles to raise the flavor of the food.

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Cider

Newair Anniversary Series: Limited Edition Fridge Review

When it comes to the cider game and the number of reviews we have to do here at CiderScene HQ, we need the ultimate solution to keep these cider cans cold. While we do have fridges that we use for cider, we needed a fridge fully dedicated to our apple products. In our search, we were lucky enough to get our hands on Newair’s 20th-anniversary limited-edition mini-fridge and it is the perfect cider sample holder. With a small floor footprint and classic features, the fridge is a great pick-up for cider seekers! Let’s get into the nitty-gritty on how well this thing keeps our ciders cold and learn a bit more about these features.



Design & Features

If you are unfamiliar with Newair, they have a wide variety of products with sleek exterior designs. This model is no different when it comes to design – the double-paned glass pops from the sleek black frame. The cans inside are highlighted by the bright LED light and the adjustable shelves make it easy to switch from storing 12 oz cans to 16 oz cans, or even bottles. With the ideal setup, you can fit around 100 cans, but we have yet to try this arrangement out yet. When you want to change the temperature there is a simple to use set-and-forget thermostat that can get those ciders down to a chilly 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

All in all, the biggest reasons we love the fridge are its small floor space usage, clean design, and flexible storage options at a great price.


Function

In regards to their claims on temperature, this one seems quite accurate. We have another mini-fridge that is similar in design and they keep ciders around the same temperature. They do have a 1-year warranty on new appliances as well so that function is backed by comfort. Moving shelves around are quite simple as there are a few different heights in the inside of the unit that you can place the shelves or remove them. After turning the fridge on and letting it cool down for 2 hours, we put the ciders in and they have stayed around the same temperature ever since. If that needs to be adjusted you can just slide the knob to your desired coldness. The same simple operation of the light switch on the top right inside of the unit will illuminate your cans and create a focal point for any bar or kitchen space.


Overall Impressions

For the price of the fridge, it is clean, crisp, and very functional. While it may not have high-end features, what is included in the price is more than adequate. If you have a tight space or want a nice value fridge behind the bar, this is the one for you!

If you want to get your own fridge you can visit the link below and enter code CIDERSCENE for a discount!


Product Part Details

Model: NBCA20BK00 | UPC: 810028284661