Apple Cider Search Part III – The Triple Play

25 10 2009
Left to Right: Rockridge Orchards Honeycrisp Cider, Minea Farms Granny Smith Cider, Jerzy Boyz Farm Honeycrip/Heirloom Apple Juice

Left to Right: Rockridge Orchards Honeycrisp Cider, Minea Farms Granny Smith Cider, Jerzy Boyz Farm Honeycrip/Heirloom Apple Juice

My search continues for a comparable apple cider thanks to the farmers market and the sous chef.  First up….

Rockridge Farms Honeycrisp Apple Cider

Rockridge Farms at the year-long farmers market defacto apple cider people. I’ve already tried their Strawberry Apple Cider on accident.  This time I was going to try their ‘standard’ apple cider and made sure to find a cap that was unmarked but the woman at the stand pointed out that the ones with the “H”s on top where honeycrisp which peaked my interest.  I haven’t formally reviewed their standard apple cider but my experience is that it isn’t a match for Hollmeyers but perhaps the honey crisp was…so Ibought some!

So how did the Honeycrisp cider stack up? Colloquially: A sweeter version of Rockridge’s standard apple cider.  Very good but no Hollmeyers.  And on the formal scale? It is light in color, medium to heavy opacity, but still doesn’t taste like liquid apples.  A step up from the strawberry but not a step to the top. Sadly not a surprise to me.

Minea Farms Granny Smith Cider

The sous chef picked this up at the heeding of a friend when they were out trampsing through a corn maze.  Evidentially there were 3 kinds: Aurora, Granny Smith, and a mix of the two.  The sous chef choose the Granny Smith variety to bring home for comparison.

The color is getting on the nice brown end of the spectrum (but not deep brown) and the opacity is good.  So far it is boding well.  And how about the liquid apple taste test? Yes it does taste like liquid Granny Smith apples!!! Its got the same bite the Granny Smiths have when you bit into them and it even has a bit of a delay like a Granny Smith.  It starts sweet and ends up bitter? I’m not sure the word to use there exactly. [EDIT – the sous chef wins the word I am looking for is: tart]. If you like Granny Smiths this is the cider for you! For me though I’m looking for something between the tang of the Granny Smith Cider and the really sweet ciders. Overall a very good cider just not what I am looking for.

Jerzy Boyz Farm Honeycrisp/Heirloom Apple Juice

Visually this one has the most promise which is ironic because they call it juice and to me visually it is squarely in the apple cider category.  Anyway, this is from my local farmers market today and I almost missed it.  There was a single half-gallon jug on the table behind people but it caught my eye quick enough. Ironically, the folks at the stand didn’t know how much they were supposed to sell it for so even though I was ready to buy it right then I had to make a lap round the market to purchase it.  They made the phone call and I got my cider to try.  They also gave me a small sample before I made my lap and I knew at that point it was a strong contender.  Now let’s get “official”…

The color is a great dark brown and it is very opaque.  Right on target! Smell has not been in my formal review but this ones smells great too so far: not to sweet but VERY full of apples in its bouquet. Actually its entire bouquet is apples. Ironic? I think not. And what about taste? Liquid apples: check. Not to sweet but not to tart: Check.  Finally a cider that is a worthy contender for the Hollmeyer’s throw down!! Without having them right next to each other I can’t say which one I would like better (but I have to say if it comes down to tasting equal I’m going with my childhood memories and voting for Hollmeyers).   Congrats to Jerzy Boyz Farm for being the first Washington apple cider to make it to the final round with the Ohio apple cider. Ironic statement I know.

Jerzy Boyz Farm Apple Cider Label - Simple and Tasty!

Jerzy Boyz Farm Apple Cider Label - Simple and Tasty!

Lesson Learned About Apple Cider: Apple variety matters!

Intellectually, I probably would have said that different apples make apple ciders with different properties and tastes. But I had NO IDEA how tuned my preference was to a certain variety. A mystery variety at that since I have no idea what apples Hollmeyer’s use in their cider but I sure want to ask next time I’m there.

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