It's always fun to get something new and out of state in your local store, and that's the feeling when Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider from Warwick, NY showed up. Who doesn't want to try something that has a potential field trip attached one day? (You can visit their winery, distillery & orchards if you ever find yourself up there).
As the cider pours into the glass I was a bit surprised as it settled into a darker, lager-like brownish gold since it started off pouring in a frenzy of light bubbles as expected with champagne yeast in the cider, people often go with lighter styles. I was really curious if it was going to be as dry as I usually expect a champagne yeast cider to be. Well folks, there's only one way to find out & here I go...
The scent is sweet and slightly floral mixed in with the juicy apple tones, not that underlying sharpness that I was initially expecting, but making perfect sense when looking at the dark coloration.
Great first sip, it comes in with that sharpness from the nose, then bam! A surprise tartness that actually puckered my lips which then eases off into a jammy sweetness, much like apple butter if you've ever had it. I love a good sour beer and there are a lot of similarities here, such as that intial punch that prevents you from chugging down the glass. That said, it's not so strong that you have to baby sip through a sample. The unexpected crisp tartness mixed with the softer, preserved apple sweetness makes for an unexpected, but great, combination. A few more sips in, as the tartness becomes less in your face and more of a team player, you notice some of that almost tannic dryness on the back of the tongue. Interestingly enough most of the apple notes come through the nose after you swallow, there are some real surprises with this cider, all of them good. She mellows out as you get further into the glass but comes in swinging every time, just not the same knock out that unexpectedly greeted me in the first sip. If I were looking to create a dream meal with this one chicken keeps coming to mind. Some of Doc's Draft paired with a roasted or BBQ chicken with those savory flavors in every bite, nice rich sauce or glaze cooked in would match this one bite for sip. Doc's Draft does their tagline true: "Hard Apple Cider: The Great American Drink."
"Made from pressed NY State apples, fermented with champagne yeast & malic acide to excite the action" (produced by Warwick Valley Wine Co, Warwick NY)