Sea Cider Bittersweet

Review of Sea Cider’s Bittersweet cider variety, which is apparently relatively new.  A friend brought this to my cider tasting for us to try.  They bought it in Canada, and as far as I know its not available in the U.S. yet (Sea Cider has more varieties available in Canada than the U.S.).

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Cider:  Bittersweet
Cidery:  Sea Cider
Cidery Location:  Saanichton, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  7.2%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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Availability:  Sea Cider is sold at least in Canada (B.C., Alberta, & Manitoba) and the U.S. (WA, IL, & OR), but this variety is likely only found in Canada.

Cider Description:  Bittersweet apples are the backbone of traditional English cider and are some of the rarest apples in Canada. We grow several of these prized varietals, which can be heart breaking to grow, yet produce some of the world’s finest cider. Our Bittersweet cider is an off-dry sparkler expressing the classic phenolic character of this coveted fruit. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to a bittersweet tradition!

Sea Cider’s Bittersweet is a cider truly rooted in tradition. Dabinetts, Yarlington Mills and other English bittersweets have been patiently cultivated on Sea Cider’s farm to bring you this rare libation. While most people would consider bittersweet apples inedible in a culinary sense, their bitter flavour imparts a cider full of character. These apples are high in tannin, low in acid and provide the classic flavour of the finest English ciders. Enthusiasm for these varietals and their importance in cider making apples goes back to the 13th century!

In a market increasingly dominated with ciders made from dessert apples, Bittersweet brings the classic phenolic character that can only come from the true cider-making apples of yesteryear.

Cidery Description:  Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Our ten acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.  Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business in 2007 when owner Kristen Jordan purchased the property with a vision of creating an organic farm and orchard and producing traditional fermented artisan ciders. Since then, we’ve grown to an annual cider production of over 7,000 cases and growing. We continue to pride ourselves on crafting traditionally fermented ciders from organically grown apples.

Price:  n/a (but likely around $20 USD, same as most of their ciders)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Copper-amber hue.  Still (no carbonation), although apparently it is supposed to have some and was likely because it had been open awhile.  Rich bittersweet apple scent.

Opinion:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Low acidity, tartness, and bitterness.  Low to moderate tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Medium bodied.  Moderate finish length.  This is a rich full-flavored cider, exactly how I like them.  Lovely burnt caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla notes.  The flavors remained on the milder side (but I was told it had been open nearly a week–that would never happen in my house!).

Most Similar to:  Many English and English-style ciders.

Closing Notes:   Yum!  I really love cider from bittersweet apples, and this didn’t disappoint.  I’m kinda bummed I can’t find this locally, but thankfully there are some great locally-available bittersweet apple ciders, such as the one I just tried from Locust in Woodinville WA.

Have you tried Sea Cider Bittersweet?  What did you think?

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