Our wonderful sister Riley graduated from high school this weekend, which means that the Barley Babes were reunited for a weekend of family, fun, and beer! We drank a couple of cool beers that we’re excited to tell you about later in the week, but in honor of Riley, let us begin with cider.
Riles is more into cider than beer, so we planned a cider tasting on Saturday afternoon. We started things off with Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider, a medium-dry cider with a clean apple flavor. This one set the bar high; our tasters raved about how crisp and flavorful it was.
Cider two is one of Riley’s go-tos: Crispin Original. We all agreed that it was a bit of a let down after Samuel Smith’s. After getting used to SS’s higher level of carbonation, Crispin seemed almost flat. The semi-sweet apple taste is very present at the beginning of each sip, but it dissipates too quickly, leaving you wanting more flavor.
Next we gave Bold Rock’s new pear cider a try. We’ve posted about Bold Rock several times, and as you know, we think all of their ciders are delicious. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of pear from this one! It mostly just tasted like Bold Rock Virginia Apple. Our mom and Riley said the pear flavor is more predominant in Crispin Pacific Pear.
Fourth on the menu was DeMunck’s Belgian-Style Hard Cider, a cider made by NY-based brewing company Southern Tier. Like all the other ciders we tasted, this one only weighs in at around 5% ABV, but our tasters found it to be boozy and almost reminiscent of wine, which was mentioned by other reviewers when I looked this one up on RateBeer.
The next standout was B. Nektar’s The Dude’s Rug, a cider made with tea and chai spices. This was Riley’s favorite of the tasting!! Seriously, if you’re in a pinch and need an easy, last-minute present for her, grab some Dude’s Rug.** As a huge fan of chai tea lattes, she loved the spicy cinnamon and ginger flavors. We all agreed that this would be a great fall beverage, and made plans to try warming some once the weather gets colder to make a mulled wine-esque concoction. It’ll be perfect to sip on while cuddled up together in front of the Family Stone!
We closed with an oldy but a goody, Potter’s Hop Cider. We first fell in love with this at a cider festival at Castle Hill, a cidery located in Keswick, VA. We’re so excited to finally be able to find it in bottles! Potter’s Hop drinks like a standard semi-dry hard cider, but has a subtle hop flavor from the addition of Citra and Amarillo hops. I read that they use a device called a hop back to run the hops through the cider just long enough to add hop flavor and aroma. Because the hops aren’t heated, the bitterness is left out. This cider is delicious, but what we like most is that it bridges the gap between cider and beer. At the end of the day, we’re still the Barley Babes!
Congratulations, Riles! We love you and are so proud of all you’ve accomplished!
**Once she is 21. It was legal for Riley to drink at this tasting because she’s over 18, it occurred at a private non-alcohol selling premise (our home), and she had parental consent. No laws were broken during this afternoon of fun!