On any trip to Georgia, I have to make a pit stop to Atlanta. There is just something about the city, the sites, the food, and, more importantly, the cider. My favorite depot happens to be Urban Tree Cidery.  Going to their taproom is a real treasure, trying all of the offerings right from the source. I honestly haven’t had something there I wasn’t a fan of, seriously. That alone should get you on Urban Tree’s cider. I recently was able to have a few of their seasonals, Das Hops & Vintage Gala. Both were right up my alley, but I had a deeper appreciation for the 2015 Vintage Gala offerings.

Vintage ciders make for an experience that brings out what I believe to be my alter-ego, a sophisticated wine type. This 6.5% ABV cider was as complex as a fine wine and I enjoyed it as such, in a goblet glass made for the finest of beverages. I put my silk robe over my shirt. I dimmed the lights and played some smooth jazz. Even now I am comforted. I found myself the most comfortable chair and began the experience.

Urban Trees description: We made a cider from our 2015 harvest Gala apples and aged it in our Nicaraguan Rum Barrels. We kept it local by adding just a touch of South Georgian Pure Cane Syrup to create a complex, amazing cider.

 The Tasting

When I cracked open the bottle, the pour flowed evenly with mild carbonation. The bubbles clung to the glass, escaping slowly through the entire tasting. The color was a light honey, very clear. A very elegant experience from the pour by appearance and smell.

The aroma was very wine-like. You received a deep, rich scent of apples, but it went into a floral, almost baby-powder scent. I know that may not sound extremely pleasant, but it was a very masked, comforting scent. You got a bit of the smoky hints and somehow sensed the acidity right from the nostrils.

The scent invited a more welcomed taste to my tongue. On the first sip, I was greeted with a sugary, granny smith taste. Much more of a pronounced sugary taste than I would expect from a cider made with such few ingredients — must be the sugar cane this cider is created with. The deeper, smokey flavors developed while meeting with some of the finer wine qualities. The taste was every changing and complex. More of a tingling mouthfeel than I ever expected, hiding a bit of warmth, too.

The more I drank, the more pronounced the wine flavors; the sugary qualities deteriorated into a much smokier, dry experience. I would say this would be a perfect one-and-done night for individuals. What I mean it when you only are having one drink, this would be ideal. It changes qualities the more you drink and as the temperature shifts. You get a more candied experience to a much more sophisticated experience as it sits on the tongue.


Urban Tree is no novice when it comes to cidermaking. Their Vintage Gala had all the qualities of an aged product with its deep flavors, but I was surprised with the sugary, more accessible frontend. The first sip would work for a lover of most types of drinks, but the later sips would be enough for any experienced cider seeker This cider would pair well with cheeses, likely of the bitter variety. I would also suggest enjoying part of the bottle at room temperature and part refrigerated. It was definitely a different experience — even more than normal, I would say. This 2015 vintage was doing more than enough to keep me interested through the entire bottle. For that, and the sake that it was made in Nicaraguan Rum Barrels, I give Urban Tree Cider’s Vintage Gala many high marks!