I recently picked up some Irish ciders from Drinkstore and drink my way through them at the weekend. All are quite different; so thought it might be informative to compare and contrast.
Double LL up first in a nice 750ml bottle for sharing with Daisy (I had an oversized pint glass and she got the rest!) It Pours cloudy orange tinged yellow with gentle carbonation - certainly looks to be the real stuff. Dusty apple lofts on the nose. Quite tannic and dry in the mouth with residual sweetness to prevent tartness. Slight wild barnyard character & rich braeburn-like eating apples come later. A nice lengthy finish too, just what I look for in a cider. It certainly sounds like some thought has been put in to designing the blend of juices
Stonewell's effort is a blend of 5 apple varieties (Dabinett, Michelin, Jonagold, Elstar & Falstaff)
though I'm not sure what each brings to the party.*All are good juicing varieties and bring a blend of sweetness and tannins to make a decent cider. It pours an attractive deep burnished gold with apple pie and custard on the nose. Quite light
in body, sweet at first but a dry tannic finish with later vanilla
and caramel as it warms. The carbonation is quite light, which suggests bottle conditioning perhaps but the finish is very brief - perhaps some more cider apples in the mix would up the complexity.. The medium behaves in a similar vein but the sweetness actually helps the apple flavours to last longer in the mouth.
Something quite different is a "low-alcohol cider", Tobairin at 1.5%. Pours extremely pale blonde with greenish tinge and slight bubbly head. Steady stream of bubbles with unmistakable sweet jonagold juicy flesh on the nose. Fairly sweet but with a pleasant tartness in the finish which ups the body and prevents it from becoming cloying. I actually quite enjoyed it and is certainly a good stepping stone for the Koppaberg crowd to try the real stuff.
I must mention at this point the Republic's ridiculous tax laws on cider, meaning even this 1.5% cider ends up being sold at 4.20 a bottle, well north of beers even 4 times the strength. It shows that UK cider makers get a pretty decent deal actually. Extend the tax relief to Ireland's craft brewers!
So how does longueville house stack up? Its much darker than all the others Bright amber with white lacing dusty apple lofts and toffee apples. Tart granny smith and rotting hay, touch of wild yeast perhaps and very dry, slightly tannic finish building like a decent scrumpy but with slightly unusual turps note in the middle. Very much a scrumpy style but something I can't quite put my finger on which doesn't quite sit right. It appears to use just dabinett and michelin apples, which would certainly lead to a more tannic character! Certainly intrigued how their cider brandy will taste though!
So a great range of ciders, all of which are enjoyable and I look forward to trying other releases.Stay tuned next week for some reviews of ciders from North of the border!
Drinkstore kindly offers a 10% discount on Irish Craft Ciders and beers to Beoir members. So aside from supporting local businesses there are now also tangible benefits of being a member (spend 100euro in a year and make your membership fee back), why not join up![/recruitment drive]
*Jonagold is an eater- cross of golden delicious and jonathan. Michelin is a 140 year-old Midlands cider variety, Dabinett a slightly younger Somerset cider apple, Elstar, Falstaff & Jonagold are all eaters, Golden delicious crossed with jonathan, james grieve and Ingrid Marie respectively.