Greetings readers! It's time to unveil some of Bailey's favorites from the Chicago Cider Summit festival.
We are still reeling from what a great time was had at the festival. It was so wonderful to see so many people enjoying (and possibly discovering) hard cider. This week we are going to be reviewing Bailey's top 4 ciders.
#1 Eden Ice Cider Company - "Heirloom Blend"
This cider is made from Macintosh, Empire, and Russet apples. It is pretty strong with an ABV of 10%. Ice ciders are used as a "desert wine" because of their sweetness. The winter cold helps to concentrate the juice before it is processed. You can read all about it and find different varieties here: http://www.edenicecider.com/index.html
This cider has a very nice golden color with a hint of orange. It is also very clear and free of carbonation. Bailey gives it a 5/5 apples.
The aroma of this cider is very balanced. It has sour and sweet notes of fermented apple and is very pleasing indeed! Bailey rates this with another 5/5 apples.
Taste / Complexity:
Upon sipping, Bailey noticed that this cider seems to have a thicker viscosity than normal ciders. It certainly isn't like drinking syrup, but you will notice it is thicker than a normal hard cider. The taste is very sweet with sour undertones. If you don't enjoy sweet things, this might not be for you. Bailey however, loved it and rates it with a 5/5 apples.
Surprisingly, all of the sweet and sour flavors linger in the aftertaste. Nothing seems to change, but it does leave you wanting another sip. Bailey was very impressed and gives it yet another 5/5 apples.
If you have a sweet tooth, this cider will satisfy the craving. There is a little sour to offset the sweetness so as not to make it overpowering. The flavors of the different apple varieties are nominally present and blend together well. The thickness makes this cider one more for sipping in Bailey's opinion, but one definitely worth trying! Overall, this cider scored a 20/20 apples, or a green apple!
#2 Orchard Gate - "J.K Scrumpy Orchard Gate Gold"
This cider is organic and boasts only two ingredients: apple juice and yeast. This cider is fermented for six months and hand bottled. Their hard work pays off in Bailey's opinion. You can find all of their varieties here: http://organicscrumpy.com/
This cider is a beautiful golden orange, which is slightly cloudy. The true color is not perfectly represented by the picture because of the lighting. Bailey gives the color a 5/5 apples.
This is what fermented apples should smell like! Slightly spicy and a perfect combination of sweet and sour. This smell will visit you in your dreams later. She rates it with a 5/5 apples.
Taste / Complexity:
The taste is somewhat like Grandma's apple pie. It has a very slight spice to it that reminds you of nutmeg or clove. It has a very good balance between sweet and bitter flavors. Bailey also gives the taste a 5/5 apples.
The aftertaste is a bit sour, but does not linger very long. Mostly, you just want to take another drink to bring back the flavor. Bailey gives this a 4/5 apples.
Bailey was in love with this cider. This would make a perfect cider to sip by a campfire in summer or autumn. She highly recommends trying this one! Overall, this cider scored a 19/20 apples, or a green apple!
#4 Citizen Cider - "Unified Press"
This cider is made from a staggering 10 different varieties of apples grown all in Vermont. It is described as off-dry, clean and crisp and has a ABV of 6.8%. You can find a list of their ciders here: http://new.citizencider.com/
The color of this cider is a very light lemon yellow. It has some carbonation, but is very clear. Bailey gives it a 5/5 apples.
The smell is somewhat faint but has a sweet aroma with some alcohol mixed in. Since the apples take a back seat to the alcohol, Bailey rates this with a 3/5 apples.
Taste / Complexity:
It was somewhat difficult to come up with the words for a description of the taste. This cider is very crisp and clean. It gives you a refreshed feeling after drinking it and also has a hint of sweetness. It also has some acidity to it. Bailey really enjoyed it and rates it with a 5/5 apples.
Because the taste is so light, the aftertaste doesn't have much power. You will get a slight sour taste on the back of the tongue, but not much more. Bailey also gives this a 3/5 apples.
This would be a great starter cider for someone who isn't feeling adventurous quite yet. It would also be a great summer cider that will quench a thirst on a hot day. This cider's flavor doesn't pack a punch, but the crispness makes it a good one to try. Overall, Bailey rates this cider with a 16/20 apples, or a green apple.
#3 Uncle John's - "Draught Cider"
This cider is made from Michigan grown apples and comes in a can with some carbonation. Their cider mill has quite a history to it as you can read about here: http://www.ujcidermill.com/cidermill.htm
They have several varieties of cider which you can find here:
This cider was surprisingly light. It almost had a clear-white color with the tiniest bit of yellow tint. It was very clear with some carbonation. Bailey gives this cider a 5/5 apples for color.
The smell was not as powerful as she was expecting. It was a little bit of sour mixed with bitter aromas. She rates this with a 3/5 apples.
Taste / Complexity:
This cider was very crisp, almost like biting into a juicy apple. It has what Bailey would describe as a golden apple flavor. It was slightly acidic with bitter flavors mixed in. The flavor is not overpowering, but it will quench a thirst. Bailey gives this cider a 4/5 apples.
The bitter and sour flavors continue into the aftertaste, but they are pleasant. The acidity fades out and leaves you feeling refreshed. She gives the aftertaste a 3/5 apples.
This is definitely a summer cider. Bailey was very surprised at how this cider left you feeling very refreshed and cooler somehow. It's hard to explain, but you will just have to try it for yourself. The flavors are not very powerful, but the crispness and overall lightness of this cider places it in Bailey's top four. Overall, she rates this cider with a 15/20 apples, or a yellow apple.
We finally made it! There were plenty of other ciders at the festival and we will be reviewing those from time to time. Next time, we will be rating some cider from Tieton Cider Works. If you are a fruit lover, they make an apricot cider that is going to knock your socks off! Stay tuned and have a great week!