It’s after 9PM, and I’ve just finished an enormous sushi dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in 6 months. We’re fat and happy…and thirsty. What better way to celebrate my triumphant return to Colorado, my triumphant reunion with a dear friend, and our triumphant annihilation of what was likely half the world’s remaining fish population than some cold ones in my buddy’s basement? We went to the liquor store and a seductive red-haired woman immediately caught my eye from the cider shelf. C Squared Cider’s Ginger, part of their Siren Series. As a ginger myself, and as a lover of everything ginger (and having just filled my belly with ginger alongside my sushi) I said “HELL YEAH” and took her home with me. If only it was always that easy to get a pretty redhead to come home with you, eh?
Ginger: The Basics
Cidery: C Squared Ciders (Denver, CO)
Style: Medium-Dry, with added ginger
Ginger: The Details
I’ll be honest. In my post-meal stupor, I was really expecting this cider to taste just like a ginger brew (a la Crabbies or other similar brews), basically ignoring the fact that this is a cider (you know, with apples, and not just ginger). However, when I first popped the bomber I’d brought home (I failed to find smaller bottles, and wasn’t super disappointed at the time), I thought maybe I’d be right. The first whiff was all ginger, all day. After I poured the cider (and was delighted by a color that looked quite like the inside of a ginger root), the ginger smell was joined by something definitively sweet. That was probably the apples, but I swear to God, it smelled like cotton candy. My buddy thought I was crazy, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Another super notable thing about this brew: the head! As I’ve said before, you aren’t usually going to expect your ciders to have much of a head (if any at all) since there aren’t any malts there to make it happen. But this stuff…a really significant, almost creamy head sat on top of my drink after the pour and stayed there till the very last sip. It laced really wonderfully on the glass, which was beautiful, but, again, super uncommon for cider. Anyway…the first sip was…not at all what I expected. It didn’t taste like any cider I’ve ever tried, nor did it taste like any ginger brew I’ve ever tried. Instead it was just a giant citrus explosion in my mouth. I’m pretty sure I said, “Whoa. Weird. Try this.” To which my buddy replied, “Whoa. Weird.” The more I sipped, the more the weird became really enjoyable. Each sip totally coated my mouth in this velvety feeling that eventually started to taste like some of the more subtle flavors you can get from ginger, once you get past how spicy it is. I couldn’t really taste apples at all, but that didn’t take away from this cider even in the slightest. Instead, each sip seemed to taste just a little different, from notes of mint, to super herbal, to some nice spices. So complex! The finish was looooooooong and bitter, but an herbal or citrus kind of bitter, not really like a hops kind of bitter. And it was, like the rest of the drink, super weird…and perfect.
This cider met exactly none of my expectations. It didn’t taste like cider, it didn’t taste like ginger beer, and everything about it was totally atypical for cider. And I absolutely loved it. For those of you ex-beer drinkers out there who miss the textures associated with beers (the head, the heavier, creamier body on some brews), this cider is going to be a great choice. The head was creamy and awesome, and the mouthfeel was velvety and much heavier than almost any other ciders I’ve had. For those of you who love a hit of citrus in your brews, this cider is going to be a great choice. The citrus (mostly lemon or grapefruit I would say) is completely unexpected, but really nice. For those of you out there just looking for something really complex and totally different, this cider is going to be a great choice for you. I couldn’t get over how different each sip was from the last, how many flavors were floating around in there, and how much I kept being reminded of cotton candy when I sniffed near my glass (maybe I’m crazy, but I swear that’s what it was). However, if you are looking for a traditional-style cider, this cider is not a good choice for you. But you’d be missing out. I, for one, am totally entranced by this red-headed siren’s song.