One from the cellar…

In this edition of the Traveling Cider Lovers adventures we bring you one from the cellar. As occasionally happens geographic separation kept us from having a new adventure this week.  It did however present us with the opportunity to dig a cider with a story out of the cellar!  It is nice to have new adventures each week but going to the cellar is a chance for a trip down memory lane or a chance to rediscover a forgotten bottle stashed away in the depths.

In this case we didn’t have to reach too deep into the depths of our cellar to find a cider we were interested in trying; it even has an adventure that goes with it! At the beginning of February good fortune allowed half of our team to attend CiderCon in Portland, Oregon.  What a great event!

One of the stops on a tour of the Willamette Valley area was Wandering Aengus Ciderworks.  This place is definitely worth a visit if you ever get the chance.  The commitment to making delicious ciders as well as environmental stewardship was impressive to say the least.  Just check out their Alt Transport Program:

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Fortunately, some delicious Wandering Aengus cider survived the trip back to Western New York.  Bushwhacker Cider in Portland had among its amazing cider selection several of the Wandering Aengus ciders.  The one that made it out of the cellar this week is:  Ashmead’s Kernel

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Him:  Lightly golden but brilliant in color this single varietal is clear with larger bubbles.  First sniff is green and grassy but diving deeper into the nose brings sweetness a combination or ripe pear and apple aromas with a subtle hint of toasted nuts.  This is a bone dry, high acid cider that is light bodied at first though the alcohol brings it almost to a medium body.  The fruity apple and pear from the nose come through in the flavor as well.  They are joined by subtle caramel notes and gooseberry flavors.  It finishes with a slight bit of tannin though the acidity makes it a mostly clean finish.

Her : I love the color of this cider. Upon first smell, I immediately smelled pears. Upon second sniff, I found a nice aroma of apples and pears combined. Within the first sip and touch on the tongue, my mouth started watering. The more I try different ciders, the more I like the tart, dry style ciders. This cider has a nice clean finish that made me want to keep going back for more.

Until our next adventure

A & S

From the Far East to not so far from home

A clear benefit of working life in a global economy is the occasional opportunity to explore areas you would have never otherwise had the chance to visit. As a result this week’s edition is split between cider adventures from opposite ends of the globe. We begin in the Far East, destination Shanghai…

As often happens when exploring for new adventures and tastes in craft beverages, new friends are made along the way. In this case the venue is The BREW in Shanghai, a craft brewery inside Kerry Hotel across from Century Park in the Pudong half of the city. An oasis in the craft beverage desert that is China, The BREW was an excellent find!

With 7 beers and 1 cider on tap The BREW is the only place in Shanghai that currently makes its own cider!  There are imports to be found here and there but the offering at The BREW is the only uniquely domestically produced cider available.

Him: The Razorback cider is produced in an off-dry style that is medium bodied and fuller flavored and less sweet than mass market ciders available.  The color is light golden and it is clear.  The carbonation produces a mild bubble that quickly dissipates.  Aroma is fruity and floral which is also apparent in the flavor.  The acidity is lower than most of the ciders I have had recently but the sweetness could be masking some of the acid.  Finishes slightly sticky in the mouth but not overwhelmingly.  It is a change from the English style ciders from the last couple of weeks but very drinkable.

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As the craft beverage market booms, the Rochester area is in no shortage of places to find delicious cider. I had the pleasure to visit Muller’s Cider House on University Ave in Rochester. As there are only a limited number of cider bars around the country, it is pretty awesome to have this gem right around the corner from us. Sometimes all you have to do is travel around the corner to get an amazing experience.

This is not the first time I have been to Muller’s, but each time I go, it gets better and better. They have a wide selection of ciders from local to English, Spanish and even iced cider. You can get a flight which is a great opportunity to experiment with different varieties and widen your palette. The bar staff is well educated on the different types of ciders they are serving.  One thing I love about Muller’s is how much they support the local cidermakers while introducing people to a wide variety of unique ciders.

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Hers: My choice for the evening was The Little Boy Brett from Cider Creek Hard Cider. It is a new addition to their line of cider and very unique. It had a cloudy look to it, showing it is unfiltered. The initial smell is of pure apple pie. I sat there for a minute just taking in the aromas of this cider. On the first sip you get a cinnamon taste to it and then it has a long finish, highlight the Brett characteristics. This truly shows how much my tastes are changing as normally this is something I would have never tried in the past. We certainly will have to visit Cider Creek to see what other unique ciders they are working on.

Until our next adventure,

A & S

Adventuring across the pond…

As it occasionally happens, one of the two of us has the good fortune to venture into distant cider territories flying solo for our lives outside of the cider world.  In this case the location is the UK.  What a fortunate experience it was to be able to do some cider exploring there!  From first bag-in-box experiences in a proper pub to Westons on draft, the availability of cider in the UK is so much more prevalent than in the States. It was a challenge to even get started on which ciders to try, not to mention there was limited time to explore.

This journey started in Manchester with a colleague from Germany.  The cider scene in manchester is nothing like in the more southwestern portions of the nation but it seems to be growing with a few new local producers and a Cider and Perry Festival that is now in its 6th year.  Despite this there were still a few local spots where real cider could be found, with the Font  having one of the better selections from the limited exploring on this trip.

The real find of the trip however was on the southern edge of Birmingham at Cotteridge Wines.  Their selection of beer and cider was incredible.  A few bottles even had to make the trip back to the States.  The best manner to illustrate the products they had in stock is to dive right in to the tasting notes for the week!

Oliver’s Gold Rush #4 Cider

Him:  This is the third time I have had the Gold Rush #4, each time I have picked up on different aspects of the cider.  The first thing I notice about the cider is the color!  It is a deep golden brown color and crystal clear.  The aroma coming from the glass is fruity and earthy, like wet straw in mid-spring.  The smell seems to tell about the place where this cider came from.  It is carbonated, however this is only apparent when you first pour it as the bubbles are invisible in the glass and its only once you have a sip that you remember they are still there.  The carbonation gives a pleasant tingly sensation on the tongue that fades as the tannin in the cider takes over.  Full in the mouth the taste is fruity at first but transitions to slight caramel and subtly spicy before the finish of the tannin takes over.  On the finish the flavor is that of apple peel with a dryness comparable to a Cabernet or a Merlot.  Definitely a score for a cider explorer!

Her:  Another English style cider…another funky smell. This time it had a more subtle barnyard-y smell which I am learning to get past. I absolutely love the color of this cider. It’s golden brown just popped and was beautiful in the glass. After getting past the smell and taking an initial sip so many things ran through my mind. It started out fruity but soon the tannins take over and left my mouth dry. The dryness made my mouth salivate which in turn made me want to take another sip. I am slowly learning to appreciate this craft of cider and I think my palette will only continue to change as I am introduced to more and more incredible ciders.

Until our next adventure,

A & S

 

 

BlackBird singin’ in the dead of winter….

Our first adventure destination: A date weekend away at Niagara Falls. One of the first searches after deciding on the destination of our adventures is to see which cideries are along the travel path. Our search brought us to Blackbird Cider Works located along the Niagara Wine Trail. Although we have tried some of Blackbird’s cider, nothing is better than having the experience of visiting the birthplace of each unique cider.

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The drive to the cidery takes you through the scenic countryside that lies between Rochester and Buffalo.  Our favorite route to always take is the scenic route and this one was sure not to disappoint.  The drive brought us serene views of Lake Ontario, cold and icy, mixed with farmland and orchards.

Blackbird Cider Works is a farm based cidery.  Like many of the others in our neck of the woods their tasting room is located right next to their orchards where they grow organic and conventionally farmed English, heirloom and modern apple varieties.  As farmers and fermenters, their products reflect the care and appreciation it takes to be a fruit to bottle producer.

One of the best things about small craft beverages is walking into the tasting room and actually meeting the cidermakers. We were fortunate enough to be able to meet cidermaker Kristen. It was awesome to be able to chat cider with her.  If you get the chance to meet her we’re sure it will be a pleasure.

Cider Sample:  Dabinett

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Everyone has a different palette and we are no exception to that rule so our tasting section will be broken into his and hers each week.

This weeks review: Blackbird Cider Works Dabinett

His: This cider is a blend of English bittersweet fruit, which is still fairly uncommon to find in our area.  I enjoy the search for rare finds in craft beverages so needless to say I was excited for the opportunity to try this cider.  I was not disappointed.  Although I would not recommend it for a beginning cider drinker, I enjoy fuller bodied, tannic ciders like this.  A deep golden in the glass with aromas of fermenting straw, I found the cider to be fruit forward with a nice clean finish.

Hers: Two years ago if you took me on a wine tour all my tastings would be checked under the sweet section. I couldn’t even imagine trying a dry wine without wrinkling my nose. As I have started to dabble in craft beverages my palette has drastically changed. I now prefer a dry red wine over a Moscato any day. One thing I love about going to cideries is seeing their small batch ciders. I enjoy tasting and talking about the ideas behind the blends and the stories of how each cider came to be. One of the ciders that we tried was the Dabinett, which is a limited edition as only 75 cases were made in 2014. As soon as I heard English style when Kristen presented the Dabinett to us I was a little skeptical. I am still learning how to appreciate the uniqueness of English style ciders. As I smelled it, I immediately knew it was a true English style cider; it had that funk, as I refer to it. It certainly has been a learning curve to me to get past the funky smell that is often associated with English ciders. Once getting past that “on the farm” smell, the Dabinett had a nice clean, crisp, dryness to it.

Until our next adventure,

A & S

 

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Travel to get exCIDERed about

So, it all started with a shared love of good food, craft beverages and a want to travel and explore the world. Yes, we are talking about our relationship but also about the purpose and idea behind this blog. We want to take you with us on each of our adventures in search of cider and through time see how our palettes for craft beverages, specifically cider, have evolved and changed.

Like we do on most of our adventures, one of our favorite things is to dive in and find out who is behind the product that we are sampling. We like to find out what their story is and what brought them to where they are today. To be fair and follow our own rule of getting to know the people we meet wherever we go, here is a spinet of our story!

We are Alex and Steph. Our main love is traveling. Both of us have traveled to several parts of the world separately: Europe, China, Ghana, Panama, Korea, Japan, Thailand. Together, we are exploring the good ole’ USA one state at a time.MtWashington

Along with travel, we love good, local food and beverages. We are huge supporters in buying and supporting what is local. This philosophy extends to wherever we travel. During our early traveling days, we focused on finding the best local food places around. Lately, as our love for cider has grown, we have focused our travels on also finding local cider. Since we live in upstate New York, many ciders will be from the Northeast but we try to travel as much as possible. Hopefully, one day, branching outside the USA together!

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We hope you can join us in our journey. If you’re a cider lover, maybe you’ll find something new to try, if you’ve heard of cider but haven’t tried it maybe you’ll venture out and expand your palette.

Either way, we only have one rule here: HAVE FUN EXPLORING THE WORLD OF CIDER!

Until our next adventure,

A & S