If you’re at all familiar with the Rochester, NY area, then you’ll know how large of a role lilacs play in the region. Each year, Rochester hosts a week-long festival dedicated to their favorite local flower; the lilac. Blue Toad Hard Cider, based in Rochester, recently released their spring seasonal: Flower City Lilac! What better way to celebrate Rochester than with a local Rochester product? Flower City Lilac will be featured at the festival all week long, from May 11-May 20. To learn more about the festival, click here. There will be art, a race, a parade, live entertainment, and all things lilac!

Flower City Lilac is a lovely blend of springtime in a can. It is produced by steeping locally sourced, hand-picked, dried lilac flowers in their Flower City Blonde hard cider. The end result is a delicious, light, and refreshing beverage that epitomizes springtime in Rochester. The lilac notes are accompanied by a hint of hibiscus, which also contributes to the floral aroma.

It pours light pink in hue and is lightly carbonated. The smell is not as apple forward as most ciders, but also isn’t as floral or perfume-y as I would have expected/ dreaded coming from a beverage highlighting a flower.

Flower City Lilac is semi-sweet and very crisp. It is super easy to drink and very enjoyable on the palate. The light carbonation allows just a few small bubbles to periodically rise throughout the drink so that it doesn’t seem flat and yet remains delicately smooth. The floral notes are noticeable, yet subtle. In my opinion, this is the perfect way to highlight the essence of the lilac without overpowering the concept of a cider. In some cases, floral flavors can lead to an overpowering flavor profile with almost an essence of soap. That it entirely not the case with this blend! I was very impressed by this cider as it exceeded my expectations.

Probably the most interesting (and my favorite) part of Blue Toad’s Flower City Lilac is the local sourcing, time, and dedication that went into creating such a unique concept. For a cidery based both in New York and Virginia, they certainly did an excellent job sticking to their roots on this one and giving those Rochestarians something to both look forward to and be proud of. So, if you’re in the Finger Lake area between May 11 and May 20, stop by the Rochester Lilac Festival and try some Flower City Lilac for yourself! Available in 16-ounce cans, as well as keg sizes.