- Style: Hard Apple Cider with Loganberry
- ABV: 6.6%
This week in New York City is Cider Week, so I thought it would be nice to change things up a little and review a cider. I chose a cider from my favorite cidery, BlackBird Cider Works. They are located in Barker, New York on the shores of Lake Ontario. BlackBird Cider Works offers a range of cider styles including those made from estate grown apples, barrel aged hard ciders, and draft ciders. They grow their own apples, and produce and bottle right in their own facility.
“The story began in Fall 2006 when BlackBird Cider Works founder Scott Donovan purchased a commercial apple orchard in the Town of Somerset, Niagara County, New York from the Bittner family who operate Bittner Singer Farms, a large grower of apples, pears, and stone fruit in Niagara county. As they learned the commercial tree fruit business, Scott and co-founder Margaret Glover also began experimenting with blends of apples making small batches of hard cider using a restored 1920’s cider press. With the help of a very long-time friend and Finger Lakes winemaker Steve DiFrancisco, early hard cider recipes began to form in 5 glass gallon carboys. Just four years later, in late 2011, now able to competently grow quality apples and pears and produce quality ciders, the team secured their licenses to produce and sell hard cider. Having made small prototypes of four labels, and sold and served in local establishments in Rochester. On December 31st, 2011 with very basic bottling equipment, the team pulled off a 150 case New Year’s Eve production run, finishing the last case minutes before the New Year rang in. The BlackBird Cider Works tasting room was opened in March of 2012. That year a modest 900 gallons of hard cider was produced and sold. From those humble beginnings, with the help of many folks from far and wide, the company has now grown to a medium size producer of craft hard cider.” BlackBird Cider Works
The cider we are trying today is a medium-dry cider with Loganberry. The Loganberry is a hybrid of blackberry and raspberry. The plant and the fruit resemble the blackberry more than the raspberry. It is hollow like the blackberry, but the fruit color is a dark red, rather than black as in blackberries. The loganberry is a vigorous, nearly trailing plant with compound leaves of three to five leaflets and prickly canes. It is a deep wine-red, tart, and high-flavored fruit.
The first thing I noticed when pouring this cider was the rust-orange color. It was deep, yet so vibrant. If the light hit the glass at the right angle, the cider almost glowed orange. The second thing I noticed after pouring was the fabulous smell emanating from the glass. It was full of sweet berry notes of raspberry, blackberry, the tartness of a gooseberry, and even some strawberry, and white grape towards the back end. After sipping, I realized this cider was not as sweet as it smelled. The fruity notes certainly made it seem sweet, but in fact it ended dry. It was super fruity with flavors mirroring the aromas. The berry notes are noticed first, but then you get a crisp white grape flavor followed by an acidity to cut through some of the sweetness. After the initial berry flavor, Fuji and Honey-crisp apple flavors start to come through and lead into the semi-dry finish. Some minerality was noticed but added to the crisp mouthfeel. The medium carbonation made this cider extremely refreshing, and light to drink.
This cider was an excellent one, and I would definitely drink it again. I can see myself sitting on a dock fishing on a hot summer day quenching my thirst with this cider. The easiest way to describe this cider is that it was almost like a carbonated French rosé wine. Even though I tend to prefer my ciders a tad bit drier, this was still very delicious.