Sunday, August 20, 2017

#6 - My First Review - Estate Reserve Semi-Dry Cider by Black Bird Cider Works

This will be my first full cider review, or at least my first full attempt. I will be enlisting resources from two books to help me describe notes. The first is "Cider Hard and Sweet" by Ben Watson and the second is "Tasting Cider" by Erin James and Cider Craft Magazine. I barely used Watson's book but largely relied on the flavor wheel found in "Tasting Cider."

I have been contemplating on which cider to pick for my first review. I thought maybe it would be easier trying to write about a cider that I have enjoyed many times through. I've never fully tried breaking down a cider before, nor do I consider myself a very good writer. Or, do I go down the spontaneous route and pick out something new?

I went spontaneous. While at Wegmans I reached for a cider that I have had my eye on for a while. Estate Reserve Semi-Dry Hard Cider by Black Bird Cider Works. Black Bird is located in western New York state near Lake Ontario. The cider comes in a 4 pack of 12 oz aluminum cans. I believe they were listed for $8.99 (don't quote me on that). The alcohol content is listed at 6.9% ABV.

Black Bird describes this cider as a "medium dry hard apple cider with a fruity apple aroma, crisp refreshing taste and a light finish. This classic American session cider pairs well with a wide range of artisan fare." Their website was a little more vague with its description: "A dry, lightly carbonated English style draft cider with an apple bouquet and honey notes."

On pouring the cider, a head immediately appeared and dissipated quickly. It had a strong carbonation with a lot of little bubbles appearing in the glass. I am still a little weak in color descriptors but I would classify the cider with a brilliant pale straw color. You be the judge.

On the nose I first felt like I was about to drink Mott's apple juice. And as I took sips and continue to sniff, I began to find aromas of uncooked apples.and vague notes of honey. 

On the palate, I got a soft acidic crisp taste with light amounts of citrus. It feels a little astringent as I swish the cider around my mouth. It has good carbonation with tiny bubbles. I know Black Bird describes it with a light finish, but I don't quite get that. It finishes thick with an after taste of maple syrup or honey. I am not quite fond of this component and it reminds me of Crispins "The Saint" in which they add apple juice concentrate to get this finish. 

As an overall view, I do like it. This won't be a go to cider for me. It's something that I have enjoyed and definitely appreciate. I don't care for the price of almost $10 for 4 cans, especially since it comes across more like a commercial cider than a craft. I'd rather spend the same amount to get a 6 pack of Bold Rock. It most resembles a Crispin. It starts refreshing and ends a bit syrupy. It does smells wonderful and looks great. 

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