Yes, I have been slacking recently but since I have taken a position with Great Shoals, I truly feel a part of the cider industry even though my cider cyber presence has been lacking.
Don’t bury me yet! I am still breathing apples and to prove it I have two posts awaiting your approval. Here is the first.
I want to give a holler out to Merideth Collins on her new position with Bellwether up in NY. Looks like we both are riding the cider wave. Like we are becoming the Rat Pack of Cider. Oh hell, let’s call us the “Cider Pack.” What a good idea for my next post…
I recently reviewed a cider from Farnum Hill. It was their Extra Dry and what a cider it was. After visiting their web site and browsing their other available ciders, I noticed they had a summer selection. I had to have it so I asked Merideth if she would send one over and like a true player, she did. The weather will be breaking soon so I wanted to get my summer fix out-of-the-way.
I confess, up until the last 2 years I have dedicated most of my time toward craft beer and have seen a lot of changes over the years. One of the things the brewers have mastered is the art of seasonal releases. It reminds me of the produce markets. Local tomatoes and corn in the summer, pumpkins and apples in the fall and citrus in the winter.
Will the cider folks follow the same path? I hope so and it looks like some already are. Strawberries and rhubarb are hitting the blend, Pumpkin and Spices in the fall. But when I found Farnum Hill’s summer, I just knew this would be my first of many summer seasonals to come.
This is what I expect from a summer cider. A lighter but not weak body. Approachable but not bashful flavors. Softer tannins and balanced acidity though I wouldn’t mind a more acidic forward cider. A quick but not premature finish. And finally a mature carbonation. Not gassy but not still either. Lets see how Farnum Hill’s Summer fares.
Summer pours with a champagne appearance, tight and rapid bubbles. This looked and reminded me of a grand finale during a 4th of July fireworks. A white thin mousse forms and quickly dissipates.
The bouquet lived up to Farnum Hill’s reputation. A fresh and clean nose with subtle notes of apple skin, green grape and when I concentrated enough I pulled out a bit of coriander. In the end I was surprisingly hit with a bit of booziness.
I admit I spent a ridiculous amount of time whiffing this amazing cider. Like other Farnum Hill’s ciders, the body was full and creamy. Carbonation was softer than I expected, probably because I took so long smelling the damn thing. I bet the following pour will be different.
This reminded me of the ciders from Distillery Lane. The acidity is less intense and gives the body more texture and therefore slows the overall drinking experience. I got citrus in the middle and back palate. Well actually, it was lemon only. Tannins are there but not intimidating. Complexity is enough to remain a badass cider but light enough to drink as a summer quencher. It definitely had those familiar farmhouse qualities. The finish was clean and crisp, just as I anticipate a summer style to be.
My overall experience:
When I poured a second glass, the acidity and carbonation was more evident and created a perfect balance. Lemon and farmhouse qualities stole the show. Farnum Hill’s Summer had that outside warm weather attitude. The cider was complex enough but did not over stimulate the senses. Left enough room to enjoy the hot heat and BBQ banter. If it had a voice, it would have tapped the other ciders on the shoulder and said “Step aside fellas, I got this one.”