A few weeks ago, I received an email message from Crispin Cider asking if I would be interested in reviewing their various ciders. Although this is obviously a blog about beer, hard ciders are often sold and enjoyed along side craft beer. I'm also no stranger to good ciders as my parents live in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and are surrounded by orchards and estate wineries which produce some fantastic hard ciders. Coincidentally, I had also just started researching cider making in preparation for my first attempt to make my own this fall from the pears we get from the pear tree in our backyard. Needless to say, I replied that I was definitely interested and about a week later, a box arrived with a bottle of each of their ciders.
For a little background information, Crispin Cider was launched in the fall of 2008 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. The ciders they produce are all natural with no added sugars, colorants or preservatives. They have just recently entered the Texas market, mostly around Dallas, but plan to expand further into the state.
I decided that the Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time to try some of these ciders and I started with their Classic Blue Line. From their website:
Crispin Super Premium Hard Apple Cider, designed to be enjoyed over ice. Inspired by the classical, refined flavor styles of continental European cider making, Crispin "Blue Line" ciders are clean on the palate, with a crisp, not sweet, taste profile. They are deliciously untraditional with a strong "apple bomb" bouquet, fresh appley mouth-feel and pure & clean lingering aftertaste. Our ciders are not styled as traditional "sweet beers", they are not old-fashioned sweeter alternatives to beer, but sophisticated and crisp not sweet, dry and not "sticky" on the palate.
Definitely driving home the idea that their ciders are not sweet.
I started with the Crispin Light, America's first light cider. It was almost completely clear in the glass with an extremely light (almost non-existent) flavour. It tasted like a sparkling water that had slices of green apple soaking in it. If I really tried to taste it and perhaps let it warm in my mouth a little, I could get a bit of dry and slightly sour green apple flavour to the finish. Unfortunately, all aspects of this one were just far too light for my tastes. If I had another one, I'd try it without ice. Since the flavour is already so light, pouring it over ice just diminishes it even further.
Next up was the the Crispin Original. The colour was a dark gold with flavours and aromas of fresh, ripe apples. This one was more like the hard apple ciders that I like and enjoy. The finish was very crisp and dry with just enough sweetness to ensure it wasn't bitter. Very refreshing and my favourite of the three.
Lastly, we have the Crispin Brut. The flavour wasn't as strong as in the Crispin Original but was a little more smooth and subtle. The finish was very dry and lingering. This one also has the highest level of alcohol of the three which was slightly noticeable. Reminded me of drinking a dry white wine. I think it would be great served with food and would enhance the flavour even more then drinking it on its own. I probably wouldn't drink this one over ice either, just chilled in the fridge.
Next up for review will be the Honey Crisp and The Saint from their Artisanal Series. I'm definitely looking forward to these ones, particularly The Saint as its fermented using a Trappist beer yeast.