Pollination (North Country Hard Cider)

Style: Semi-Dry Cyser

7.8% ABV

Cidery’s Note: “Pollination is an heirloom cider fermented with orchard blossom honey from Cooper Farms in West Paris, Maine. It’s 7.8% abv, semi-dry, complex and delicious, with the perfect amount of rich honey flavor.”

The cider pours out clear, clean, and brightly colored, somewhere between straw yellow and gold. A slight fizzle of scrim forms as a ring around the glass and then fades, but no carb bubbles are seen in the pristine body of the cider. On the nose, this beverage smells of musty apples, with a touch of apple brandy booziness touching slight spice alongside rich, sweet honey. Floral apple blossom dances between cellar-must and spicy booze to deliver a fresh, warming nose that remains crisp and summery despite its snap. On the tongue, the beer tastes initially delicately sweet and floral with beautiful honey that slowly snaps into semi-dry cider fruit sweetness. That sweetness carries through to a faintly honeyed finish. Bitterness builds slowly from the start of the sip with tannic skin that draws slight herb and baker’s spices and then slowly bakes the flavor into a warm finish that suggests slight alcoholic heat. Acidity plays a background role from the first sip into the finish. Slight lemon without the fruit sweetness brings a touch of brightness to the close. The flavor is of sweet, floral, delicate honey that builds into freshly cut apple before slowly baking the apple with spice, skin, and a little brandy. In the mouth, the cider feels medium bodied with a fuller pull and a touch of syrup from the rich honey. There is a faint carb that tingles and snaps, allowing brightness and the acidity to move across the tongue. It’s fresh, yet drying on the finish, bringing a semi-sweet feel despite the dryer influence of the cider flavors. Overall, this cider reflects the clean, crisp, simple cider that North Country has been delivering on point, but this steps up the complexity into a sipping cider, lush with honey yet fresh and boozy. I especially like the approachable apple brandy notes, and the fresh cider flavors manage to touch upon both the sweet New England style and the dry Farmhouse takes on the cider world (as far as my inexperienced cider-palate can see). I like this stuff a lot, and it is the perfect drink to welcome in the warm transition to fall.

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