Jul 7, 2015

Thats Not All Apples...

My new software arrived this week so having a bit of a noodle with it to touch up some bad photos. Which neatly brings me to the weird drink of the week...



Mash Brewing - Granny's Apples
Victoria, Australia.
2.8% ABV
500ml Crown cap, under wax.
$12.99 Mane Liquor Ascot


Smells like an funky oak aged Australian cider. Looks like an Australian cider. Tastes a lot like some of the cheaper Australian ciders. Except it's not cider. It's a sour apple Berliner Weisse - otherwise known as a sour wheat beer - with apple juice and elderflower in it.

There's not much complexity happening here. On tasting blind, you might think it was a weak cider, but the back palate of malt and slight cheesy odour give it away as something else.

I'm undecided whether I like it, I think because it falls too in between being a wheat beer and a crisp dry cider. It costs too much for either type of drink, and it's just not good at pretending to be either.

Jun 27, 2015

The Bottom of The Barrel


Rekorderlig Dry Apple Cider
Sweden.
5.0% ABV.
330ml screw-top cap.
$5.00 First Choice Liquor Midland.

I went in hoping that this might have some character or something - anything that might offer redemption for Swedish cider from the sugary horrors of Rekorderlig's usual offering. 

I was, perhaps unsurprisingly disappointed.

The "dry" description is both accurate and totally inadequate. While Rekorderlig have managed to cut the sugar content and seemingly brew the beverage drier, it's still slightly alcoholic sugar water. 

I had cordial in kindergarten with more character. Avoid.

May 31, 2015

As the sun goes down - Galafray Reserve Chardonnay 2004

Do wine and cars go together? My car is two years younger than this bottle from the museum, but sadly a lot less well maintained.


Galafrey Reserve Chardonnay 2004
Mount Barker, WA
14.0% ABV
750ml, under Cork

Bright gold, hints of oak and old leather, a touch maderised perhaps? But not in a bad way.

This was a bottle abused with inconsistent cellaring, and which desperately needed to be drunk. Yet the wine was still crisp, with a strong palate and bright peachy fruit.

Very complex. Remarkable. 


Mar 21, 2015

Heritage Cider



Maggie Beer Heritage Apple Cider
Adelaide Hills, SA
5.0% ABV
500ml Crown cap
$7.90 Dan Murphy's Midland

Proof that everyone is getting involved with the cider making craze, Maggie Beer has jumped on board with her Heritage Apple Cider brand.

There is no information on the bottle regarding what kinds of heritage apples were used, but there was a mention that Granny Smith was (predominately) the source of the juice. I suspect its some kind of marketing rather than the use of heritage varieties, which is really disappointing.

Maggie has come up with a well balanced dry style cider with good acidity and a flavour profile not disimilar to the English Aspells brand. BUT Maggie's cider is missing an artisanal quality that I hoped might have been there. Just something to say it's not industrially fermented apple juice.



Maggie Beer Heritage Pear Cider
Adelaide Hills, SA
5.0% ABV
500ml Crown cap
$6.90 Dan Murphy's Midland

This was the best of the pair (pun intended).

Beurre Bosc, Red Sensation and Duchess are all table varieties that one would not normally think of using in a pear cider. Years of breeding made these fruit good for the table, or long transport, and removed the characters that make the fruit good for cider. 

Somehow Maggie Beer has found acidity and structure in these fruit and presents us with a really refreshing drink. It's the cheddar cheese of ciders in that it's terribly quaffable, but a very commercial mass produced kind of drink.

I would buy it again though.

Feb 23, 2015

Apfelwin: Ah those crazy Germans...

Not easy to find in Australia, but I have been keeping an eye open after watching this video.

I finally found some and... er may have spent quite a bit of cash acquiring it. Oh, my liver...


Weidmann & Groh "Speierling" 2010
Friedberg, Germany
6.0% ABV.
1L Screw Cap,
$25 International Beer Shop, Leederville

Apfelwein is loosely described as a sour, still cider produced mostly in the Frankfurt region. It's got a long history and quite a culture built around it, but Speierling though is a bit special. It incorporates fruit from The Service Tree - not something easy to find - and the fruits are not normally thought of as edible.

So I'm rather happy to have gotten my hands on this specific bottle - it is, from what I understand, unusual to see outside Europe.

This is a really complex wine with a lot going on. Quite sour, but not unpleasant. Described as being halbtrocken, it's been made with a fairly large tannin content, and survived ageing well. At 5 years of age, it's also one of the oldest ciders I've tried and doing well.

A rustic deep golden yellow, there is a hint of barrel ageing, although I couldn't say whether this was entirely the fruit character or whether it was aged in old oak. There is something distinctive added by the Service Tree fruit. A very light residual carbonation present seems to lift everything as well - this is a cider for food pairing.

Compared with others I've reviewed this is up there with the best. Recommended.

Feb 4, 2015

I was cleaning my fridge out when...

Old Coast Road Brewery - South Cider Apple
Mylup, Western Australia
6.5% ABV.
500ml Crown Cap,
$7.50 Mane Liquor Ascot


The colour and appearance of cloudy apple juice. I found this one to taste more than a little odd. It seems to be completely devoid of acid. Normally when I say a cider has no acid, you at least get the tart flavours typical of even the sweetest red apple. Not so with this - it's carbonated, smells like your basic apple cider - and well, tastes odd.

Even more worrisome (and I did consider that I could just be going mad), but there is also a peculiar back of the palate chemical flavour that you would normally associate with soft drink that contains Aspartame. Kind of like the unnatural Coke Zero after-taste.

There is no mention of it on the bottle though, so I forced Ondine to try some. The reaction was "why does it taste like burnt plastic"?

On that, I'm going to sum up with "skip this one".

Jan 4, 2015

Not Really A Cider Review

Bundaberg Apple Cider
Bundaberg, Queensland
~0% ABV.
375ml bottle,  Pull Cap,
Found in just about any Deli.

Just for completeness sake, a soft cider. aka. Soft Drink.

Apparently Bundaberg brews the apple juice for two days... and as there is no alcohol, someone is being clever with their process. In the presence of oxygen yeast doesn't produce alcohol. Unfortunately without the protection of alcohol the feed is open to all sorts of contamination. This in turn requires the chemist to use pasteurisation or chemicals to control things - so this is pure industrial alchemy and not classic fermentation.

Surprisingly the resulting drink that isn't far off cider in taste. Just a bit too sweet, and the carbonation is typical of soft drink.

So if you can't take alcohol and want a fizzy apple juice with a hint of yeast. This is not terrible.