Our friend Dave Selden at 33 Books got ahold of us at CiderScene and offered us up a sampling of his 33 Mugs of Cider booklet and an original Cider Tasting Mug. We were very intrigued and accepted the offer. A few days later, a package came and here we are. We learned more about Dave and his vision of creating tasting tools. We have to say, his ideas are quite refreshing and his products & their quality stand alone. To learn more about Dave’s history follow the link here: https://www.33books.com/pages/about
Lets start with the Original Cider Tasting Mug since we need that to do sampling in the first place. As we may all know, there are not really any tasting vessels for cider like there are for beer and wine. This is where Dave stepped in and designed a mug to enhance and accentuate the fermented apple drink we all love. The mugs construction is a sturdy ceramic with unglazed stoneware on the outside. The inner glaze is white to contrast the color of the cider. The wide mouth puts the aroma up towards your nose, gathering from the tapered neck he designed. The ceramic design was purposeful to keep the cider colder longer and the unglazed exterior make the mug easy to grip. There is also a 33 stamped on the inside that create a nucleation site for bubbles and carbonation as well as more color contrast for the cider. Now we have used the mug quite a few times and would have to say we enjoy it quite a bit. The features described above work as described and it has a nice feel in the hand. The only downside is the color of the cider is a bit hard to see depending on the angle of the mug in consideration to any light source you have. We tipped the mug a bit to get some light in to check the colors of the ciders we sampled. I would certainly recommend this for a cider lover who wants a nice cold cider in a glass designed with it in mind. Even the 100% recycled packaging is a great addition and shows his attention to detail in all facets of his company, a spark of environmentally-conscious thought.
Now comes the 33 Mugs of Cider booklet for sampling notes. We have used this a few times and can say we enjoy the craftsmanship of the product and the fun additions 33 Books has made. The front cover shows the title of the book and a started and completed date. The idea is to remember better what you have sampled by creating tasting moments and memories attached to the book by description and flavor wheels. When you open up the book on the left you will see the terms of the industry and an explanation of the flavor wheel that is a nice refresher on the tastes of cider. The typical page displayed below shows a typical cider profile and what you would fill into it. As you can see there is enough of a description of notes/flavor wheel to get a good sense of what you are trying out. When we tried using the book, we found it to be a fun experience and well designed one at that. The flavor wheel really pins down the profile of the cider you have tasted and the notes give that further description. Looking back we could remember what we tasted better and with more detail then typically. This does not mean there are not issues with the book, the recycles exterior is nice to look at but it does not like water or liquids as much. This means at a festival or in the rain this book could get damaged a bit. Also ,the size is nice to fit into your pocket but, for us, larger writing folk, the section is a bit small to fit more detailed notes. This, of course, does not take away from the fun and great design of the booklet. Individuals who sample a lot of cider, especially at festivals, will find this useful. Dave even includes a bit of cider in the ink he used to print in certain section of the book (nice work Dave!).
So feel free to go out and grab your copies at www.33books.com and let us know what you think. I am sure we will be excited to see what he has in store for us in the future. Cheers!