Farnum Hill Ciders come from Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, NH (yes they are open to visitors Thursdays in the summer & nearly all week in the fall for visits, check website for details - and they do growler pours & pick your own!). The Dooryard Series of ciders means that this is part of a small batch of custom blend that they thought was really tasty & wanted to share, but didn't fit into one of their usual labels. I received a bottle from Batch #1134 from my brother (thanks Colin!) that got shuffled & hidden in my spare room and was found with great excitement earlier today. So, without any further wait - it's time to bust this bad boy open!
Pop! As soon as the cork comes out with a touch of force, a little cloud of misty apple-fresh moisture sprays out, reminiscent of when you first bite into a really fresh apple and break the skin. It pours a half to three-quarters inch head that quickly fizzles away to not even a ring around the glass, but just a steady pace of little bubbles and mini clusters running for the surface. Every time I come in for a sip I still get the apple cloud, almost an apple humidity if you will, that smells a bit dry and tannic with a number of different apple notes from dry to juicy. This makes sense since Farnum Hill mentions that many of their ciders have a tannic quality that not everyone expects due to the apples they use having a high level of tannins all the way through the fruit, not just the skin like a grape produces in red wines. The color is a rich brownish golden, like a deep mountain pond or river, and looks almost exactly like a rich lager.
The first sip comes in juicy and refreshing and, by the time it hits the middle of my tongue, we're in fairly dry territory. Somehow this is a dryness more similar to tea than champagne if that makes any sense. This batch of Dooryard has some sweetness but it never clings to your tongue or coats your mouth. Even though there isn't any ring of bubbles, just a slow steady pace of random bubbles from the bottom of the glass, it finishes like a far more active cider than it starts - lots of dryness over your whole mouth wiping out that sweet start you can still tasty on your lips. Yet it goes down far more smoothly than expected as you swallow. This is a bottle to share because each sip is like three different tastes! The way the dryness cleans out your mouth makes me think that this would be really good with a rich pork dish or any lamb as it would cut through and cleanse the palate without annihilating your enjoyment of either your cider or the meat. I know that there are many other offerings from Farnum Hill out there to try and hopefully a trip northeast of Boston will bring me there in the coming weeks to stock up on bottles and growler-fills to share with lucky friends.