Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis the Season!

Tis the season for crap that we don’t like!

Whether it’s your grandma Gertrude's pound your head against the wall fruit cake, or spending time with your fruitcake uncle, there are a lot of things that we would rather not think about for the rest of the year.

But one thing I look forward to is finding some sort of holiday spiced cider to warm my belly and numb my senses when the family gathers.

This week, I found J.K.’s Solstice cider.  Made from Michigan apples and USDA Certified organic, this spiced hard cider is pretty palatable for the novice.

It pours with light carbonation and the color of Motts Apple Juice. The nose reveals the secrets of the season. Cinnamon and apples dominate, but with time and warming, a vanilla background appears. I sensed a pronounced cider vinegar that Jessica did not. There is no alcohol bite, no pronounced yeast character and very little body. This is like drinking lightly carbonated apple juice with a tiny bit of Vodka.

I don’t much care for the surprising flavor of the maple mixed with the apple and cinnamon. It creates a bit of funk that I simply am not enjoying.

It is not very often that I can not find something to enjoy in a drink, and this is no exception. While I would rate this cider very low on a scale of 0-100, it isn’t all bad. There is a aura of sophistication that I can only wish I could accomplish in a cider. There is a complexity that reveals masterful blending of the source apples and the end product is something that most people will very much enjoy... Jessica included. She enjoyed this more than she does most.
Jessica tends to like some things that I have a hard time with. She dearly loves the funk, and I think that may be my biggest complaint about this cider.  While it isn't sour or bitter, the nose is screaming at me that it should taste like vinegar. There is something unsettling to me about having my nose tell me one thing and my taste buds saying something else.

Another thing that I must admit to disliking is saison style beers. There are certainly some that I very much enjoy, but as a whole, it is perhaps the only style that I can say that I do not like. 
I wonder if it isn't that same set of flavors that are coming together to help turn my opinion of this cider. There is certainly a warm fermented farm house feel to this drink, and so it should be. Hell, the label says right on it "FARMHOUSE"

A quick google search reveals that gives this cider a whopping score of 97! I would put it much closer to 60, but I tend to rate on a thumbs up or down scale rather than a numbers and structured system.

This cider became much more enjoyable as I drank, and perhaps the third or fourth would be spectacular.

While I have no serious or specific complaints, I simply did not enjoy this one. I did not find it particularly offensive,  it is just not for me!
 It is times like this that I am very glad that there is homebrew on tap, and a cellar full of second choices!


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