It’s August and that means it’s time for our annual cider tour to Phoenix. Usually, that involves a lunch stop at Phoenix’s only cidery, Cider Corp, to sample their latest creations while getting a bite to eat from a food truck parked out front or their pizza oven. Face masks and social distancing changed that aspect of our annual trip, but it didn’t stop us from having a great day searching for new hard ciders we haven’t tried. It did entailed curbside pickup at True Food Kitchen for lunch and meant we expanded our route to include more bottle shops. Overall, we found 26 new hard ciders and cysers to try.
A good portion of these were local from Arizona including 9 from Cider Corps, which is based in Mesa. I didn’t find any new hard ciders from Stoic Cider, which is based in Prescott, Arizona. Luckily, the Total Wine & More near me started carrying them so I already sampled several their new offerings. Superstition Meadery, also located in Prescott, often provides some interesting adjunct hard ciders. While I didn’t find any, I did get 4 cysers from them including a cooperation with Newtopia Cyder in San Diego. I found a beautiful rose cidre from France and a fusion cider from Meinklang in Austria that is made with apples and grapes. I also discovered a new cidery from California called Common Cider company and was able to pick up a couple offerings from them. Lastly, I picked up some new offering from across the US. It’s always fun to find and try new hard ciders. They give me inspiration for my own ciders and I love to see how people think about cider. Seeing a rose cidre from France is a great example of how even locations steeped in a long history of hard cider making can be innovative.
One of the first inspirations was Plum Grenade from Cider Corps. Cider Corps has several themed cider styles. One of those is their grenade style. This style incorporates chili peppers and heat. Last year, we had Kiwi Grenade, which we really liked. This year, we were able to pick up their Plum Grenade hard cider, which uses red plums, habanero peppers and morita peppers, which is also known as a chipotle. I love spicy. I made a chipotle cinnamon hard cider several, years ago. I have been toying with a jalapeño cider and this one has made that pow made it official. However, I stepped it up a notch when I sourced some Carolina Reapers, the world’s hottest pepper. My reaper cider is fermenting as a write this. Look for the recipe in a future post! However, this is just one example about how I find inspiration in other hard ciders. Sometimes, I also find examples of things that I want to avoid. Cider Corps’ Pair-a-Troopers with raspberry reminded me how I still don’t enjoy coffee, especially in hard cider. I’ll keep trying them but I don’t see me making a coffee adjunct hard cider. Here is a short review of some of the hard ciders and cysers that I have already sampled from this batch. Remember, you can find all my cider reviews on the Cider Expert app, where you can follow me, PricklyCider. I use the Cider Expert app as a way to track and document all the ciders I find and try. It helps me remember things that I would like to reproduce.
Cyser by Charm City
This was a very light and refreshing cyser. It’s dry with good amount of carbonation. It reminded us of Perrier with some floral and honey notes. We enjoyed it.
Dry by Colorado Cider Co.
Dry, tart, and slightly astringent is how I describe this cider. It is slightly effervescent and we enjoyed it.
Hazy Strawberry by Tieton
More sour than strawberry, this cider and I didn’t connect. It’s slightly hazy as expected.
Mortal Kumquat by Superstition Meadery
This one had a lot of potential. The kumquat and hops were quite nice but it was just way to sweet for me.
Pair-a-Trooper by Cider Corps
Coffee and raspberry are not two of my favorite flavors. I would not naturally pair them and this offering didn’t change my mind any. The raspberry comes through but I just don’t enjoy the coffee.
Plum Grenade by Cider Corps
An inspiration for my current Carolina Reaper based hard cider that is fermenting, this is probably my current favorite of those have tried.
Purple Heart Bomb by Cider Corps
It’s a bomb of flavors but the coconut is the prevailing element that comes through. It’s pretty sweet from all the fresh juice that was added.
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