Cider Creek Hard Cider
Cider Creek officially formed in 2013, creating hard ciders using New York State apples and a cherished family recipe. Located in Canisteo, NY, Cider Creek is in good company, nestled just southwest of the famous Finger Lakes wine region.
I came across these ciders at a local liquor store. I had never seen them before, and while I sometimes shy away from grapes grown in New York, I never turn down New York apples! I was super intrigued by their Fall Seasonal, Fall-N-Cherry, and grabbed a bottle of their flagship Premium Farmhouse cider as well.
Premium Farmhouse Cider
My first thoughts upon tasting Cider Creek's Premium Farmhouse Cider is that it is made in a very traditional style. It is unfiltered. The cider makers actually suggest inverting the bottle before pouring it into a glass, so that the sediment is gently integrated back into the liquid. After tasting this cider both ways, with and without the sediment, I do agree. Mixing the sediment back into the cider adds wonderful character and complexity.
This cider tastes homemade, and it should. One visit to the Cider Creek's website will tell you that their ciders are all made by hand (hell, even the apples are handpicked by the cider makers). That care and love is evident in the bottle.
As you might expect, it is medium sweet, appley, and has balanced effervescence, but with every sip the flavors and aromas whisper "Old World." It is fermented with Champagne yeast, and like true Champagnes, this cider has the same biscuity, toasty notes on the nose and the palate. Those yeasty flavors mingle nicely with notes of applesauce and slate, leading to a clean and dry finish.
This is a cider for true wine snobs. If you only ever drink big fruit bombs from California and Australia, then you might not appreciate this cider. But if you're like me, and tend to gravitate towards Old World wines like Vacqueyras or Barolo, this Farmhouse cider will be right up your alley.
Cider Creek's fall seasonal offering is a doozey. From their website: "Our Fall-N-Cherry Hard Cider is a fusion of our classic cider with hickory maple & pecan smoked apples, cherries, & natural cherry juice. It’s fermented with a blend of Saison & Cider Yeast. Aged & conditioned in charred Kentucky bourbon barrels for 6 weeks."
So much going on in one 500ml bottle! This cider is fun and exciting and most definitely not traditional. The smoky woodiness from the bourbon barrels is apparent right from the start. The attention grabbing aromas are full of cherries, nuts, and toasted oak. There's a soft apple hint in there as well, but it takes a backseat to the cherries and oak.
Sweet cherry and orange flavors lead the way to more barrel smokiness. A refreshing undercurrent of acidity and minerality manages to keep the complex flavors from getting too intense. Subtle tannins from the oak aging are evident on the finish.
As Brandon said, "you'd really have to know what you're doing to be able to appreciate this." He has a point, and while this probably won't become my go-to, it was super fun to try something so very different from the norm. Which I think is probably what the cider makers were going for. Life is too short to always drink boring things!!
If you like cider, and whiskey, and cherries, then you should absolutely give this one a whirl. And as an added bonus, the tannins on the finish make this crazy cider surprisingly food friendly.