The Bittersweet apples from France are traditional cider apples, bred and selected for cidermaking, and are not very tasty to eat in raw form. We found that these Bittersweet apples, blended with the culinary apples, create a certain balance of tannin, acidity and sugar -- also known as BRIX -- that's really unique. European apples lend themselves to and have been grown specifically for their complexity.
Also, the craftsmanship and techniques we're using to make the cider are similar to making wine. Ee have a long fermentation process that includes wood aging. We age our ciders on oak, which gives the liquid an additional layer of complexity. We also use a wine yeast which is selected in part for its relatively "neutral" character that allows the fruit to express itself. To determine the right blend of apples in combination with our yeast, it often takes trial and error with test batch after test batch, until we get that blend right. An interesting note for your readers ... because of the yeast, oak aging and the tannic characteristics from the bittersweet apples, our ciders show wine-like characteristics.
Our Traditional Dry shows characteristics of New World Sauvignon Blancs, or lighter Chardonnays -- fruity, perhaps slightly herbaceous with a soft astringency. Our Crisp Apple is more in line with fruit-forward styles like a Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Vouvray or Voigner. Our Apple Ginger has common threads with Crisp but takes away from the wine perspective with its relative intensity of spice that not common in wine. It could stand in for a Gewurztraminer or Alsatian white.
Do you envision a future where cider is as comfortable in American pub culture as it is in Ireland, the U.K. and elsewhere? Are you starting to see that shift already?Sipes: In the U.S., we're seeing more and more tap handles for hard cider. In parts of the U.K., cider accounts for almost 20% of the beer market, whereas in the U.S. it's only about 0.4%. So we have a long way to go until American drinkers recognize cider like Europeans do, but we're hoping Angry Orchard can help introduce drinkers to the beverage many imbibe across the pond. You just debuted an elderflower version of Angry Orchard that's cidery on the nose, but drinks like a cocktail. Considering the popularity of elderflower products like St. Germain in recent years and the rise of artisanal cocktails, are you finding a lot of overlap among lovers of increasingly elaborate cocktails and cider drinkers? Sipes: While Angry Orchard hard ciders can be enjoyed on their own, incorporating cider into classic cocktail recipes creates a fun twist and also introduces cocktail drinkers to cider. We've teamed up with a mixologist and beer sommelier, Hayley Jensen of New York City's Taproom 307, who has mixed some innovative cocktails and provided some tips on how to incorporate cider into cocktail. Cider's carbonation can serve as a substitute for seltzer and its sweetness a lighter substitute for simple syrup. Or, to enhance the fruitiness of bourbon in a cocktail like a Manhattan, add cider, which will also complement the acidic flavor of oranges and cherries. You can even add to fruitier cocktails like a sangria and scale the recipe up to create a punch bowl. One of the consistent narratives in stories about cider's U.S. growth is its embrace by groups who generally shy away from beer. Does cider fill gaps in pubs and taprooms that beer just can't, and does it help improve the social drinking experience by offering drinkers something other than beer that they can drink at the same pace as their beer-loving friends? Sipes: Cider is definitely an alternative to beer, wine and spirits that we find drinkers are just now exploring and, much like craft beer fans, we found that cider drinkers are looking for a beverage crafted with quality ingredients. Angry Orchard ciders have a similar ABV to beer but unlike beer, is less carbonated, made from fermented apples (instead of hops and barley) and a wine yeast. So our district and complex flavor profiles could appeal to those who look to an alternative to beer or beer-lovers who are looking to drink something different. We even found that cider drinkers are evenly split between men and women, unlike craft beer, which skews 80% towards male drinkers. -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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