Here at CiderScene, we do our absolute best to showcase those smaller craft cideries, special releases, and limited editions that may otherwise go unnoticed by many of the mainstream cider drinkers out there. However, we’re not the only ones (with twins at the head, I might add) trying to spread the word and share the wealth. This review would not have been possible without DoubleCider, a monthly cider subscription service working to help cider producers reach otherwise impossible regions and you, our cider seekers. It’s not too late to sign up for December’s Holiday Box containing Castle Hill Cider’s fruit-forward Serendipity and Eaglemount Cider’s refreshing Rhubarb along with a cider glass, a 33 Books Co. cider-tasting journal, and customized corkscrew! It’s the perfect thoughtful gift for your cider loving friend or yourself (we won’t tell). Check out this quality company and subscribe today at http://www.doublecider.com/. Use code CIDERSCENE10 for 10% off your subscription!
Below, we provided our reviews from the wonderful November offerings, Pernilla Perle & Old Hoot.
As the cold sets into many mountainous regions and states across the country, we gravitate toward warm drinks in front of roaring fireplaces or underneath cozy blankets on the couch. With the holiday season drawing near, we tend to search for those heartier substances worth sharing in the company of friends and family for good cheer. DoubleCider outdid themselves with the selection of this particular cider in their November box. We probably wouldn’t have had the chance to try it otherwise.
Hailing from the faraway reaches of northern Sweden – yes, a foreign cider – comes this artisanal semi-sweet cider crafted using Swedish-grown apples of the Russian, Finnish, and Swedish variety. Originally devised as a wedding gift from cider maker, Andreas, to his wife Pernilla (hence the name), this 8% abv cider is a surefire addition to any festive gathering. Pernilla Perle comes in a clear champagne bottle wrapped with a classy, cream-colored label and the name printed in silver script. Though it’s a pop-top, we weren’t any less excited to sip on this Swedish gold.
Pouring the cider into a glass caused the rich amber color to slightly pale while fine bubbles rose to the surface intermittently before disappearing. With a raise of the glass, the aroma of crisp apples deepens into undertones of bright flower blossoms and warm vanilla. The sweet scent reminded me somewhat of spun sugar or a complex, cooked down caramel syrup still hot in the pan. If that isn’t enough to make your mouth water, then read on.
The first swallow showcased an incredibly light and silky texture with little to no carbonation, much like wine. Sticking close to its nose, the taste is a luscious and slightly jammy blend of fresh apples and honey, perhaps less definable due to the uniquely Swedish style. The finish contains the tiniest hint of tart but overall, the flavors stay with you making this a wonderful complement to an aged cheeseboard or dessert on its own. We give Brännland Cider’s Pernilla Perla 4.5 out of 5.
Pernilla Perle is the only cider sold stateside, so check with your local stores to see if it’s in stock. If you’d like to learn more about the specialty ciders of Brännland, visit their website or find their cider served in Michelin star restaurants across Europe.
It’s the month when everyone is in the works of planning their Thanksgiving spread. You’ve ordered the turkey from your local grocery store. The piles of potatoes and chestnuts are covering your counter. The canned cranberry sauce your kids requested is in the fridge. The freezer is full of freshly baked pies. You’ve got this traditional celebration planned to a T. Well, that is if you’ve got the cider to go with it. We’re just saying that if the cider’s hard, perhaps the family will be less difficult. DoubleCider had its subscribers in mind with the inclusion of a Runcible Cider (whose motto is “Hard But Not Difficult”) in their November box.
Situated above the rocky prairies of Mosier, Oregon near the Columbia River Gorge, Runcible Cider has handcrafted an unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally sparkling treat in true farmhouse style. Using spitter apples from their own orchards, this cider is fermented and aged in small batches onsite before being distributed into 750ml bottles with reusable(!) swing top stoppers. The front label is an enchanting illustration of a little old owl fishing out of a rocking chair, bringing back fond memories of childhood storybooks and the days when things seemed simple. Cracking this bottle open, we found out Old Hoot is anything but simple.
The first whiff is of wild yeast and natural funk. Following the instructions to “pour gently to leave settled yeast in the bottle,” the nose expands to include layers of dampened soil and cut hay. The carbonation, though minimal on the tongue, dances excitedly in the glass, leaving lacing around the rim and legs while sipping. Quite hazy in appearance due to its unfiltered nature, the cider is a pale shade of golden yellow, like the yolk of a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg.
As we stated earlier, this cider is far from simple. The first mouthful is a swirl of complex and robust flavors with a medium body boasting an almost creamy consistency from the malolactic fermentation. Hitting first with a tartness and acidity akin to eating only the flesh of the apple, the dry cider then develops a somewhat smoky character as the flavor shifts to become slightly astringent. This drying out of the tongue is counteracted by the aftertaste, however, which mellows into a faintly buttery savor. While it may be a bit more rustic in style than most are used to, I will admit this one grew on me with every sip. We give Old Hoot a 4 out of 5.
Fun fact: run- ci – ble is a nonsense adjective that was “invented by the poet Edward Lear and used most famously in ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ (1871). To us it describes something of whimsy, necessity and spontaneity, the inspiration for our ciders!” Unfortunately for us, Runcible Cider is only sold in the state of Oregon but visit their website at www.runciblecider.com to learn more about their products and the story behind this growing cidery.