Here’s something I learned over the holidays. Apparently, dry and extra dry champagnes are still not the driest ones that you can buy. Brut and extra brut serve as the arid extremes for champers. Yeah, I didn’t know that. I’m not convinced that I’m a better for knowing it now, but now I have another piece of trivia that I can carry around in my head while trying to remember where I set my car keys down.
Apparently, the dry and brut distinction extends to hard cider. As we have previously discussed, dry ciders are fewer than you might think and the definition of dry varies from label to label. Harvest Moon calls their Rippleton Original an extra dry, and it does have the taste and body of a drier champagne. The dark and dry Woodchuck is more like a dry, a shade sweeter than the Rippleton. Before ruining everything, Strongbow made a sharp, dry cider that was extra dry to brut with a lighter body.
Crispin, a California-based cidery, makes a few different enjoyable semi-dry and sweet ciders. I particularly like the fact that their ciders are light bodied, regardless of where they fall on the sweetness range. The Brut is one of their original offerings, though I had not seen it locally before this purchase. The bottle’s purple label and golden contents stood out on the shelf as if it knew I was looking for it. I grabbed two singles off the shelf to bring home.
They weren’t kidding about the Brut distinction. This may be the driest cider I have ever tasted; drier than even the champagney Rippleton. Crispin ciders are made with apple juice and not a processed or sweetened concentrate. This allows the natural sugars to ferment and build the flavor profile naturally. As you might expect, the dryness brings on a tart flavor that hits at the back corners of your mouth. What surprised me was how little carbonation was in the glass. I gave it a hard pour, expecting some bubbles, and what I got was a lightly carbonated, fizzless glass of cider.
But, was it too dry? Have I really been looking for a dry cider only to find one that is too dry? Yes. But, maybe it was because I didn’t know what I was looking for. The bottle didn’t lie. It said “Brut” right on it. The Wife enjoyed it (and if she is happy, everyone is happy), but it’s possible that it might have been too dry for me.
And my search continues.
Brewer: Crispin Ciders
Style: Hard cider
ABV: 5.5% IBU: n/a
Container: 12 oz. bottle
Price: $2.48 (purchased as a single) Point of Purchase: Ithaca Coffee Company, Ithaca, N.Y.
To The Eye: Golden to amber. No carbonation and no foam.
To The Nose: A cross between apple juice and champagne.
To The Palate: Tart and tangy. It hits you immediately and doesn’t go away. Drinks like a still beverage with very little fizz. Crisp and, get this, it tasted like apples.
Aftertaste: It falls off after the swallow, leaving that tangy sensation and not much else.
Boozy Factor: About what I would expect. It’s a manageable 5.5%, easy to handle on a warm day as a refreshment, or as a wine replacement.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 7.5