A couple of weeks ago, Sean and I joined the Northman on the Chicago Riverwalk for a Cider Cruise aboard “Chicago’s Classic Lady” (part of Chicago’s First Lady Fleet).
The event was a great start to fall (except it’s still been 80 degrees in Chicago) with several producers sampling cider, light bites, and chocolate. The cruise, which we hope will be one of many to come, took us down the Chicago River and gave us a chance to get some great shots from below.
It was great to see many of our #ciderfriends and also get a chance to try a couple of new and different ciders. Out of all the ciders we tasted here are some that made us think of fall.
The first of these was “Straw and Oak” from Sanford Orchards in the UK. This English-style cider is pressed through reed and barley straw before being aged for one year in oak barrels. The resulting cider is not as astringent as English-style cider can be, but there is still a bit of sharpness which is balanced out by hits of slightly sour grapefruit flavors.
Blake’s Hard Cider Co.’s “Black Phillip” cider is a unique twist on a more traditional seasonal cider. The blood orange and cranberry flavors remind me of the holidays. The sharpness of the cranberries is balanced out by the sweetness of the orange and apples and would pair nicely with a Thanksgiving turkey.
2 Towns Ciderhouse “Pommeau”, barrel-aged apple wine made from bittersweet apples, was a perfect finish to our fall-inspired tasting. The barrel aging provides dried fruit and burnt sugar qualities which add complexity to the sweet and spirited base.
Nothing screams fall like “Pumpkin Spice” and Seattle Cider Co.’s take on this classic is no exception. The semi-sweet cider has a light wine-like apple taste and hints of pumpkin. The finish is full of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove flavors.