Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that's a little bit different and well worth seeking out.
Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider Original
I recently returned from upstate New York where apples were overflowing this season. Markets were filled with all styles and colors, great and small, firm and soft, just waiting to be bit into, cut up for apple pie or churned into apple-cinnamon ice cream.
A few of those who juice their apples still turn the liquid into hard apple cider, which is fermented. But most of us nowadays rely on folks like the good people at Crispin Hard Ciders to do that work for us.
Crispin is, as the name implies, a natural product made with filtered water and natural apple essence in addition to the cider. No malt or spirits were added.
The nose is filled with ripe, fresh apple and slight pear scents and a touch of yeast, all of which you can pick up on the palate. The color is a straw or pale yellow, that pours with just a touch of bubbles that quickly dissipate. (This isn't beer, really, so don't expect plenty of head.) One sip and you'll see just how clean and refreshing this is to drink. The taste is dry but fruity with a zippy feel on the tongue that just makes you want more. The alcohol level is 5 percent.
This is a gluten-free treat for those who want something with a little kick but without wheat or other dietary no-no's of that variety. It's also low in carbohydrates with only 12 grams per 12-ounce bottle.
Crispin goes great with every kind of food. At the Lion & Rose, you could pair it well with Bloke's Mushrooms, its clean taste balancing the fried button caps beautifully. Or try it with the Jester's Grilled Cheese with some applewood smoked bacon. For dessert lovers, this would be a great match with the Pear William Cake. It would also be good with any of the items on the gluten-sensitive menu.
Most of the ciders in the Crispin line, such as Honey Crisp and Brut, are great as a mixer, with ginger ale, whiskey, you name it. At the Lion and Rose, you can have the Original layered with Guinness in a version of Black Velvet. More cocktail ideas can be found on the company's website
, which featured this potent example:
The Empire Builder
2 ounces Crispin Original
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Starbucks Coffee Liquor (see note)
Dash of simple syrup
Mix Crispin, vodka, Starbucks and simple syrup in an ice filled shaker. Shake and pour into a chilled martini glass.
Note: Starbucks works here because its a liquor that's about the coffee first. Something like Kahlúa is too sticky-sweet and ruins the effect. It's completely unintuitive, but the Starbucks actually enhances and highlights the subtle apple essence of Crispin Original. Crispin Original has such a subtle flavor (closer to champagne than the typical brewed hard cider); its all too easy to obliterate it - trust me, this works.
Adapted from www.crispincider.com.