Which Cider You On?
I know. You don’t have to choose a side for everything, it’s just a punny blog title okay?
Fall has just arrived, the weather’s cooling down, and we’ve all been drinking Oktoberfest since August. While light ales, sessions, and crisp, citrusy IPAs are great all year round, there are types of beers and other boozy beverages that lend themselves to multi-layered outfits and fall foliage. There’s ales crafted with pumpkin, and some with autumn spices; and there’s beers brewed with coffee, or roasty malts that tease coffee flavors from dark porters and stouts.
There’s one fall beverage in particular that has a good portion of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic world spoken for; and that’s cider. This time of year in the Greater Buffalo area, we’re reminded why we layer up, as a crisp autumn morning in the 50’s turns into a sunny fall afternoon with highs in the 70’s. That type of uncertainty calls for a drink like cider that hits the spot while served hot, cold, or in slush form; you know, like the one you stand in line for at Mayer Bros Cider Mill in West Seneca.
When it comes to the alcoholic cider, it’s been tough finding one that I can bring out and drink with a group of people and have everyone enjoy it. Ciders have similar options as wine, and are available in dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet variants. Recently I’ve enjoyed the Semi-Dry cider that Black Bird Cider Works puts out. They understand the necessity of having options, and they have options. They’ve got semi-dry and semi-sweet ciders that don’t pull any punches, they smell like apple cider, and taste like apple cider; that’s enough to love them already. Then they offer dry and sweet ciders, both aged in oak barrels. Like anything aged in wood, these ciders take on esters from that process, and Black Bird says that the dry barrel-aged cider finishes with hints of pear, while the sweet barrel-aged cider hints at a peachy profile.
So when it comes to ciders, I’d say I’m still searching to something that could be my drink of the night; but if I’m going to pick one, it’s got to be dry. Of course you can age it in an oak barrel, or dry hop it and I’m sold as well. And for fall beers? Give me all the pumpkin, coffee, and malt you’ve got.
***Looking to drink some Black Bird fresh out the tap? Head out to their orchard and tap room in Barker NY, or head over to their new Cider Hall on Chandler St in North Buffalo. The grand opening is October 19th!