I was able to visit Bushwacker Cidery a couple weeks back and the girlfriend and I got sampler trays.
I know, I know, cider in a beer blog?
But I like libations of all sorts and mixing things up is good to help keep the palate interested.
Which brings us to the sampler tray:
Pretty eh? Colorful and luminous, ciders don’t offer the same kind of weight that some styles of beer will. They’re all pretty drinkable and while the Bushwacker isn’t huge, it feels pretty spacious so it’s easy to get comfortable while you try out their wares.
In addition, they server multiple beer-cider mixes. I’m not sure if these would be officially called cocktails but we had a couple and they were very pleasant. I’m not going to insist that cider be a seasonal drink but I do think that Bushwacker is a place people ought to stop in during the summer months.
The drawback to cider, for me, is that there is no nose. Of the 6 samples, I could really only get a scent off the blackberry cider and the ability to smell it helped push it to the fore of my favorites. The house cider was also very tasty, so resembling a white wine that the girlfriend and I agreed that if we hadn’t been told it was cider, we could have easily mistaken it for wine.
The lack of a nose on most of these samples though made it difficult to get a sense of them. Smell matters a lot and every good beer taster will start of with how it looks and smells. Tasting ciders, as a result, present some challenges I’m not used to. It’s possible that they should be approached more like wine, breathing in little sips of air while the cider is in your mouth, in order to get a better sense of flavors.
Instead, we noticed things like mouthfeel, where the cider felt dry on the tongue, if there were sweet or tart notes and where they rested in the mouth; all in all, the more physical characteristics we could accumulate, the more interesting the cider was. For a neophyte I feel like I found something to start with on these ciders and the next time I come back, I’ll have more context to judge them by.
As an added bonus, before we left we were able to strike up a conversation with the owner, who told us of some of his hopes for future cider batches and gave us a taste of a smokey cider that he said wasn’t quite ready for prime time yet, but would be in a few weeks.
It was smokey and a little sweet, cloudy and a bit mad sciencey looking. I do believe I’ll be returning soon to try the more mellow version.