Jan 23, 2013

The next crop... West Australian Cider

A good Western Australian made cider has been rather absent from the market for years. In part it's because we don't have cider apples produced in any real quantities here, but I reckon the problem is that the kinds of people that get into cider making are the pubs or big commercial brewers. This means most of the ciders here are really just carbonated, flavourless, low alcohol apple wine alternatives to beer, rather than boutique products with individual styles.

Here's the latest crop of West Australian ciders hitting the shelves at the locals and some of them I'd buy again. It looks like things are improving for the west.

Vinaceous! Forbidden Fruit Pear Cider
6.5% Alcohol
Perth, Western Australia
500ml bottle, crown cap.
Dan Murpheys Midland

A sweet style pear cider, that can still claim to be a cider and not just lolly water.

It of course has a very cute label, that is on form with the rest of Vinaceous's marketing - you can identify it by the semi naked guy, the chick with the fruit and the wildlife. It's supposed to represent temptation or something, but I'm not sure it does it for me. It is after all a rather plain cider.

I really do prefer a bit more flavour in my beverages, so it's not a bad drink if sweet ciders are your thing. Side note: This could be quite good with the addition of some spices and served hot. 

Bootleg Brewery "Prinsep Cider"
4.5% Alcohol
Margaret River, Western Australia
330ml bottle, crown cap.
$4.50 - Mane Liquor Ascot.

Distinctive apple funk, some colour depth, and good acid bite. I had high hopes for this one when I opened it, but it does fall short overall on flavour.  A good example of a "crisp" draught cider, without a heap of marketing buzz, fancy labelling or premium price tags. It's also one of the better local offerings.

I'd love to see this aged on oak for a while to give it some depth. Recommended.

Matso's Mango Cider (with Desert Lime)

4.0% Alcohol
Broome, Western Australia
500ml, Crown cap.
$8.00 - Mane Liquor Ascot.

I'm a big supporter of local produce, but I'm afraid Matso's are really pricing themselves well above the competition for some pretty ordinary products. I've tried their Mango beer and wasn't impressed. Their ginger beer, on the other hand, was interesting, but ridiculously priced for what amounts to soft drink. Now they have released a range of fruit ciders. 

Well the mango cider is an off-sweet style, with good acid and an obvious tropical fruit perfume. The wild lime was a more distinctive a flavour than any mango though. Passable as a generic fruit cider, but nothing remarkable and I wouldn't recommend this to the traditionalist cider drinker. Over priced? Definitely.

Matso's Lime Cider (with Wild Ginger)
4.0% Alcohol
Broome, Western Australia
500ml, Crown cap.
$8.00 - Mane Liquor Ascot.

The second in Matso's new cider range. Pale, cloudy, and with a distinct ginger nose - this does not taste like cider - it's a ginger ale with lime in it. Very different from any other cider product I've tried so far, and as such, may be a good base for several rum cocktails. 

It has enough acid to be a very refreshing hot weather drink. While I would suggest it as something unusual worth trying this summer, I could not recommend it on price.

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