With this years Cider Salon in Bristol just over two weeks away, I thought it was time I let you all know about some wonderful creations from across the pond, that I was lucky enough to get samples of at last years event. Now the Salon isn’t just about the ciders, it’s also an opportunity to meet and talk to the makers, which is a fantastic chance to hear the real stories behind their creations and hear the passion they have for their craft.
Ryan Burk – Angry Orchard
First up is ‘Edu’ from Ryan Burk of Angry Orchard, a homage to a friend from Asturias. The bottle describes it as a complex cider made from bittersweet and sharp apples, taking its cues from Spanish cider makers. Ryan was sharing this cider along with his “Understood in Motion” collaboration with Tom Oliver, and another, but embarrassingly I can’t recall…it has been nearly a year…
Angry Orchard Edu 6.9%
Popping the crown cap I’m greeted by green apple and slight citrus aromas and there’s some volatile acidity in there too. It pours a dark straw colour with a satisfying level of fizz. The initial taste is of both acidity and tannin bitterness, but in harmony and balance. It has a sour crispness that cleanses the palate, but then the finish is something of a journey; vanilla, candy floss, dipped (almost toffee) apple flowing into a residual subtle woody smoke at the end.
It is glorious in so many ways. I’ve tried many sidras over the years and this really captures their signature, but then goes on to add a marvellous twist. I’m really looking forward to what Ryan brings over this year.
Eleanor & Albert Léger – Eden specialty Ciders
The next two are from Eden Speciality Cider, who are based in Vermont. Firstly Eleanor and Albert are lovely people, so passionate about what they make, how they make it and wanting to share it. As well as the two below, they had a very limited Cellar Series: #2 The Falstaff, aged for 6 years in French Oak Barrels. Why am I mentioning it? Because it was exquisite and if they bring anything like it this year… make sure you grab a taste.
The Dry Heritage (below) is bottle conditioned, hand disgorged and naturally sparkling. This is the embodiment of fine cider; time, terroir and skill. Made from local heirloom and tannic apples (such as Kingston Black, Mcintosh, Roxbury Russet & Dabinett), it’s got a smidge of their ice cider for a lovely residual sweetness.
Eden Dry Heritage Cider – Extra Sec 8%
The colour is a rich golden straw colour, the aroma reminiscent of white wine; full of green apple, floral scents and tropical fruits. It has an intense fizz which dissipates quickly and the initial taste is one dominated by acidity. It’s light, crisp and those tropical fruit notes start to touch the palate. Subtle velvety and silky tannins come through that lead to an astringent finish. Wonderful.
Third and final is Eden’s Heirloom Blend Ice Cider, which is made from a blend of traditional and heirloom apple varieties all grown in Vermont, including, Empire, Macintosh, Russet (for full bodied sweetness), Caville Blanc (for acidity & citrus notes) Ashmead’s Kernel (natural tannin structure). It’s clear thought, time and skilful blending have more than gone into this one.
Eden Ice Cider – Heirloom blend
It’s a deep rich amber colour with aromas of candied fruit, apricots and brandy. It smells alcoholic which I think is coming from the phenolics of those tannic heirloom varieties. The texture is syrupy and the taste starts with a slight acidity which leads into intense sweetness. There is pure essence of apple along with caramel. It is absolutely sumptuous.
If those three don’t whet your appetite enough, look out next week for my three ciders to try at this year’s salon from three UK producers.