I had a great time with C Squared Ciders’ Ginger, and so I was immediately eager to try the other flavors in their Siren Series. As it happened, I enjoyed the Ginger so much that I forgot to take pictures, so I had to truck myself back to a liquor store (okay, three liquor stores) to find another bottle of the Ginger to photograph, and another Siren to be taken in by. Side note: the bad thing about C Squared is that it’s hard to find at liquor stores. Luckily, they have a handy Cider Finder on their website, but they sell out everywhere it seems! I guess I’m not the only one who’s been taken in by these Sirens’ songs. In any case, I was pleased to find that the particular liquor store where I found my second Ginger also carried many of C Squared Ciders’ other varieties. I opted to sample the Lila, a pretty purple bottle with a flowery-haired blonde smirking at you. I really love lavender and was excited to see how this would pair with the other flowers, apples, and honey that C Squared has added to the brew. Would it live up to the experience I’d had with Ginger?
Lila: The Basics
Cidery: C Squared Ciders (Denver, CO)
Style: Off-Dry, with lavender, rose hips, and local honey
Lila: The Details
As with the Ginger, I found that flavors and aromas with the Lila were in constant motion, so perhaps it’s easier to give a time-lapse of the experience. For the aromas: upon popping the bottle, there was a nice, fruity sweetness, with notes of pears. Then, after a few minutes, the lavender made itself extremely present – it was amazing what a change there was in aromas during just the first five minutes with the bottle open. Eventually, the aromas landed on caramel apple, and stayed there throughout the rest of the bomber – although I’ll admit a few whiffs did come back smelling like cotton candy – I don’t know what it is about these ciders! Unlike the Ginger, the Lila poured like a more typical cider – it was light and bubbly, and what little foam formed on the top dissipated within a few seconds. The color was a very pale straw, with some slight sediments at the bottom (but these did not impact how clear the cider was from beginning to end). The flavors, like the aromas, changed a lot during the first few sips. The first sip: Holy Lavender, Batman! Woo! It was like a purple field of flowers all over my mouth! That said, I find that sometimes lavender can be quite bitter, but this cider had a nice sweetness to it, from, I assume, the honey in the brew. A few sips later, I found that the the apple flavors started to come through very strongly – though it was reminiscent of green apple candy (not as sweet as candy, but had that kind of green Jolly Rancher kind of character). Finally, the two extremes mellowed out into a nice balance between the lavender and the apples. This lovely balance carried me all the way to the final sip and the last of the medium/long, lavender-y finish. Yum.
I loved this cider. It was definitely more, uh, predictable, than the Ginger, but that was all right by me. I loved the marriage of all the flower notes, sweetness, and apples, and I loved that somehow this brew took me from one extreme to the other with flavor dominance, finally ending in the middle with a really well-balanced cider. The aromas were lovely, even though they were, like some of the apple flavors, reminiscent of candy and caramel (a quality I usually dislike in my cider). Somehow, C Squared has managed to take ingredients that can be hard to use correctly (lavender is so easily over-steeped and made bitter) with flavors that are usually tough to stomach (caramel and green apple candy), and made them into another truly delightful experience. I would absolutely drink this one again, and you should too, if you want to experience something super mellow and truly sublime. C Squared, you’re quickly becoming one of my favorites in this town!