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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Regarding Cider

posted by on November 14 at 15:10 PM

I just read this Seattlest lament about the sudden shortage of cider on tap (oh, go get some Rockridge at the U District Farmer’s Market), and was reminded of a question that’s been bothering me for months.

I submit to the commenters: Why does Normandy hard cider taste distinctly of farm? Not like bales of hay. Like, barnyard. Like, nasty. How does that taste even get in the cider? Are they rolling the apples in the pigsty before popping them into the press?

I was in Normandy in September, and Washington should obviously get on making imitation Calvados: It’s delicious, and buying imported is too expensive. But I shudder every time people start saying our fair state should be making French-style cider. Have you ever tasted it? It tastes like shit.

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And UP with Southern Comfort Egg Nog!! I bought some of that at Safeway and creamed my jeans!!

Cider never again for the holidays. It is Southern Comfort Egg Nog forever!!

Posted by Down with Cider | November 14, 2007 3:17 PM

Have you tried Domaine Dupont? It's cider made by the calvodos company. it's better than most of the swill made for english teenagers. the harvard market qfc has it.

Posted by doink | November 14, 2007 3:18 PM

Some farms use apples that have hit the ground for cider. Animals (deer) roam orchards eating apples, and incidentally, they poop. That's where apples that fall out of the tees land. Let's just say, it's not the pretty apples that get made into cider.

Yup, grew up around farms.

Posted by kueven | November 14, 2007 3:21 PM

The prettiest girl I ever saw was sipping cider through a straw.

Posted by My only comment on cider. | November 14, 2007 3:27 PM

You think French cider (cidre) is bad?

Try Australian cider.

Or, better yet ... don't.

It's all about the terroir.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 14, 2007 3:38 PM

Six Arms was out of Edgefield cider on Sunday. :(

Posted by Anon | November 14, 2007 3:52 PM
Six Arms was out of Edgefield cider on Sunday.

Well you dodged a bullet there. That Edgefield cider tastes like piss flavored lemonade.

I love their pear brandy and some of their beers, but that cider is filtered through a goat's bladder or I don't know what.

Posted by Judah | November 14, 2007 4:07 PM

Tu m'enmerdres.

Posted by Marcel | November 14, 2007 4:23 PM

The flavor you refer to is generally called exactly that: "barnyard." Usually attributed to the yeasts involved in fermentation of the cider, those of the genera Brettanomyces likely being the culprit whether by design (spontaneous fermentation/conscious addition) or infection (accidental exposure).

The shit flavor, however, may be due to the fact that some ciders will be spontaneously fermented from "wild" yeasts a.k.a. bacteria in the air which will likely include enteric beasties a.k.a. intestinal bacteria. Sounds worse than it is; track down a nice lambic (not Lindeman's) to see this.

Posted by ben | November 14, 2007 4:36 PM

Thanks, Ben. Brett was my first thought too. Some people actually like a little of that barnyard tang in wine. Some people deliberately brew beer with brett and other bacteria in.

Posted by Fnarf | November 14, 2007 4:57 PM

Cider is for wankers, people who wear neck scarves regardless of weather conditions and babies.

Posted by frederick r | November 14, 2007 5:36 PM

Washington can't make Calvados, or any other distilled liquor. Against the law. Hence Oregon is making gins and brandies while we stick to wine and beer.

Posted by Eric F | November 15, 2007 1:02 AM

i just wish we could get good sweet cider here in seattle...the thick brown stuff with all the sediment in the bottom

Posted by Jiberish | November 15, 2007 10:30 AM

Annie, you're no Maggie Dutton...

Posted by Plagarism | November 15, 2007 12:23 PM

Just to add to Ben's excellent answer: the barnyard flavor is particularly prized in wine. Some of the best French producers - in Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhone - have a flavor that's often compared to a leather saddle after it has been taken off of a horse. It's a pretentious cliche, but accurate. (not as good, though as my favorite French description for a rich, sweet, opulent red wine: "like Jesus Christ, as a little boy, in velvet shorts")

Many of the best French producers have been making wine for centuries, and the yeast strains tend to stick around and add flavor Which is why comparatively new producers in the U.S. and Australia make wines without barnyard flavors: they use sterile steel tanks instead of oak vats for vinification, producing vibrant, fruity wines without the funk.

I like the fruit and the funk: it's like tasting history. Wines are farm products, and I like them to taste that way.

Posted by mslaas | November 15, 2007 2:55 PM

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