New Jersey has a long history of growing apples and cider making, which dates all the way back to George Washington.
200+ years later, the Orchardists at New Ark Farms decided to take a radically different approach to apple farming and Ironbound Cider was born. At New Ark “regenerative farming” provides the land with what it needs to prosper naturally. No chemicals are used, rather they use natural process by encouraging insects and bio-organisms to bring the nutrients to produce beautiful fruit without exhausting the land.
This cider pours a very slight yellow, almost clear body. Plenty of carbonation swirls from the bottom of the glass all the way to the top. On the nose is pure apples, with a slight natural sweetness.
This cider is light and crisp, plenty of natural apple flavors and a smooth carbonation give way to an almost champagne like mouth feel. The finish is clean with a slight acidity. This cider falls right in the middle of the sugary six packs filling the shelves and the ultra-dry ciders produced by other craft producers.
Overall this was a fantastic cider. The crisp finish mixed with natural sweetness makes this ultra-refreshing to enjoy in the fall or year round. Try grabbing a six pack before your next tailgate along with your favorite craft beer.
The Beer/Cider Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints
Rogue is an American craft brewery founded in Ashland, Oregon. By 1989 the company opened their second brewpub in Newport, where they are now headquartered. Today, they operate brewpubs in Oregon, Washington, and California and export their beer throughout the US and internationally. Rogue Ales have been described as “invariably fun and full flavored.” Now, almost 30 years later, they have spread their wings and are tackling ciders. One of their first offerings is a cider made with cherries, plums, apples, pears, peaches and apricots appropriately named Fruit Salad.
The cider pours a deep red color with a purple tinge. The thin pink head dissipates quickly and leaves to lacing behind. The carbonation is similar to soda in that the bubbles tend to stick to the sides of glass rather than rising to the top.
Aromas of fermented apples dominate the nose and are somewhat reminiscent of a non-alcoholic sparkling cider. Berry and cherry notes are also very prominent. There is a generic sweet fruitiness that screams fruit punch.
The palate shows sangria like flavors. There is a lot of fresh fruit but also a fermented fruit component. Orchard fruits, stone fruits cherries and berries are all notable. You will not find the sweetness that the bouquet suggested. Instead you get a very dry, tart fruit profile similar to a fruit punch without the sugar.
A refreshingly dry fruit forward cider, it’s a break from the norm. Try pairing it with cheddar, pomegranate chicken or sour cherry crumb cake.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 2.5 Out of 5 Pints
Craft beer is one of the largest growing segments in the beverage industry. With the recent explosion, craft ciders have now entered the race. One of the best known names in hard cider, Woodchuck was founded in 1990, in the town of Proctorsville, Vermont. The name is in reference to a “Vermonter,” someone whose family has lived in the state for generations, and they have recently begun a new line of ciders called the Cellar Series. One of their latest offerings is a smoked apple cider.
The cider pours a clear, dark rusty color with orange hues. The thin white head dissipates immediately and leaves no lacing. The carbonation is notable, rising in the glass but most of the bubbles disappear at the surface.
On the nose you are hit with exactly what you would have expected – apple and smoke notes. Sweet yet crisp apple notes are evident, similar to the “appley” aroma in most balanced ciders. The smoke notes are actually rather complex. At first it seems akin to a Speyside peat. Upon a second investigation it seems more like the deep, rich smoke of a campfire. After diving even deeper it becomes a meaty smoke note. This aroma is reminiscent of smoked pork (think bacon or ham) with evident applewood smoke lingering behind the meat.
On the palate you notice a tug of war between the apple and smoke notes. First it is all crisp apple notes, that show sweetness without being overly sweet or syrupy. Then there is a transition where you think you are drinking the juice of an apple roasted over a campfire as if it were a marshmallow. Then the smoke waves begin – sweet applewood, campfire and smoked meat all make an appearance. Tugging back at this point is the apple which makes another appearance starting with the roasted apple and then back to its pure and crisp form. The next sip shows all the same notes, but not in the same order as the tug of war carries on.
A very interesting cider from Woodchuck. As strange as it seems it is actually rather enjoyable. This would be perfect with extra sharp cheddar, smoked brisket mopped with apple cider vinegar or a grilled apple cobbler.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5
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