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Bite Club: Vermont's Food & Drink Blog

Midweek Swig

January 30, 2014

Midweek Swig: Cidre Bourgeois From Citizen Cider

Cidre_bourgeoisThis week: Cidre Bourgeois from Citizen Cider

Cost: $11.99 for a 750-ml bottle at Healthy Living Market in South Burlington

Strength: 6.2 percent abv.

The pour: Almost clear but faintly tinged with gold. There's no head to speak of, just a few lazy bubbles bobbing around the glass. It's barely aromatic, with just the subtlest whiffs of green apples and maybe lemon.

The taste: Light, crisp, a touch tart, drying. The label calls this "floral," but I tasted lemon and quince, with hints of lemon curd around the edges. The finish is puckery and the texture is akin to that of an effervescent white wine such as vinho verde.

Drink it with: I thought this would go well with an aged goat cheese, but I was wrong — the heft and character of aged cheddar (in this case, Grafton Cave-Aged Clothbound Cheddar) makes this cider seem lusher and rounder. I'd also drink it with sole meunière or shrimp scampi. (Now I'm hungry).

Backstory: For this "bourgeois" quaff, the guys at Citizen Cider culled heirloom apples from New Haven's Kent Ridge Orchards. It's a limited release, and lower in alcohol than the rest of their ciders.

Verdict: This is much drier than the company's flagship drink, Unified Press. With its brightness and faint effervescence, it's very food friendly. It's a shame Cidre Bourgeois might run out soon, though, as it would be perfect to sip on a warm, late-spring day. I'm socking a few bottles away until May.

Midweek Swig tackles a new liquid release each week. If you have suggestions for something to sample, send them to Corin at corin@sevendaysvt.com.

December 18, 2013

Midweek Swig: Steven Sour

Steven_sourThis week: Steven Sour, a "sour IPA" collaboration of Magic Hat Brewing Co. and Vermont Pub & Brewery.

Cost: Sample provided by Magic Hat, but 22-ounce bottles are for sale for $4.99 throughout Vermont (the beer is also on tap throughout the state).

Strength: 5.6 percent abv.

The pour: A murky, burnt orange with a faint head that quickly dissipates. The beer has little to no aroma, but if you try hard you might smell apricots.

The taste: There's zestier carbonation than its appearance suggests, and each sip bristles and roughs up the tip of your tongue before rolling across the middle with the slightest hint of sourness. It's quenching, with dry, lingering wisps of grapefruit — but it's also ever so chalky.

Drink it with: This made me want to start whipping up a chicken curry with almonds and apricots — or maybe just a plate of Comté, sliced baguette and quince paste.

Backstory: Two Vermont brewing heavyweights got together to brew this beer in celebration of VPB's 25th anniversary, and it's only for sale (in bottles and on tap) in Vermont.

Continue reading "Midweek Swig: Steven Sour" »

December 5, 2013

Midweek Swig: Noonan Black IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Black_IPAThis week: Noonan Black IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Co., Portsmouth, N.H.

Cost: $1.55 for a 12-ounce bottle at Lebanon Health Food Store, Lebanon, N.H.

Strength: 5.7 percent a.b.v.

The pour: Inky and almost syrupy, like a porter, with a foamy head that holds its form for up to 10 minutes. The beer smells vaguely like a Dove Dark Chocolate Promise dipped in pine resin. 

The taste: Hoppy-ho, this is bittah! At least to my wino palate. It's dry but substantial in the mouth, with coffee-like edges, hints of smoke and a roasty undercarriage. It lingers a looooong time on the back of the tongue.

Drink it with: I would love this with a plate of chicken molé, a sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwich (on Harpoon miche from King Arthur Flour — I'm just sayin') or hunks of Callebaut chocolate. As it was, I sipped it on its own.

Continue reading "Midweek Swig: Noonan Black IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Co." »

November 27, 2013

Midweek Swig: Lincoln Peak Marquette 2012

MarquetteThis week: Lincoln Peak Vineyard Marquette 2012

Cost: $14.99 at Norwich Wine & Spirits

Strength: 13.9 percent a.b.v.

The pour: A dark, inky violet with an almost opaque core. It ain't leggy — instead, it clings to the sides of the glass in sheets. Warming aromatics of blackberries and currants tangle with hints of mint and cinnamon.

The taste: Juicy! The wine has pronounced, quenching acidity that tempers the stewed cherry and cranberry flavors. It's tart, sprightly and lighter-bodied than the color (and even the bottle) suggests, with quiet tannins and a simmering finish.

Drink it with: I picked this up to see if it might work on the Thanksgiving table. Though it would slightly overwhelm turkey, the wine would stand up well to the richer dishes on the table — a potato gratin, creamed spinach, harder cheeses served at the end of the meal. It might even work with the bird if the latter were slathered in a dark pomegranate gravy. Yet this Marquette's true moment will come later in the season — when we're gorging on mac-and-cheese, sausage and braised meats.

Continue reading "Midweek Swig: Lincoln Peak Marquette 2012" »

November 20, 2013

Midweek Swig: Woodchuck Cellar Series Smoked Apple Cider

Woodchuck_smoked_ciderWith a constant flow of newly released beers, ciders, wines, spirits and even kombuchas from the state's artisans, we thought we'd review one each Wednesday. Welcome to the Midweek Swig.

Our inaugural drink: Woodchuck Cellar Series Smoked Apple Cider, released at the end of October.

Cost: $4.39 for a 22-ounce bottle at Beverage King, West Lebanon, N.H.

Strength: 6.9 percent a.b.v.

The pour: A gorgeous coppery color with no head to speak of. It smells like a blend of bacon, apple jelly and lemons, with the barest hints of ... asphalt?

The taste: At first, the unusual meaty flavor wallops your palate, but soon treads a middle road between smoke and citrus, tinged with vanilla. The carbonation is faint but rough, and the texture is rich and round. It tastes like November, somehow.

Drink it with: Kielbasa, a smoked-cheddar grilled-cheese sandwich, chili or just on its own.

Backstory: This limited-release cider was made with pomace that was smoked with maple and applewood chips inside Vermont Smoke & Cure's smokehouse. It's the second release of Woodchuck's Cellar Series line.

Verdict: "Cider with a twist" is a growing category, and it's heartening that this grew out of a collaboration of two Vermont companies. However, its novelty may not appeal much beyond adventurous drinkers and lovers of rauchbier.

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