Crispin Grover: The Saint Artisinal Reserve Cider

13 Apr

Sometimes you just need a break from the barley. Ciders can be a nice beer alternative and pair well with food in their own right.  When I saw a new cider on the shelves at work brewed with Trappist yeast and organic maple syrup, my interest was piqued.  I had tried one of Crispin’s standard ciders before on a lark, somewhat intrigued by their insistence that it be served over ice.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, their website reads more like that of a new club-worthy liqueur than a craft-brewed beverage.  With their Super-Premium billing, extensive Mixology recipes and food pairings, it would seem they are targeting somewhat different audiences than the typical craft beer brewer.  Their new Artisinal Reserve cider, The Saint, however, seems aimed at the more adventurous craft beer drinker familiar with the legendary Trappist beers of the Belgian Abbeys.  They hit their mark with me, and a pairing with seared pork chops and curried potato salad seemed as appropriate as anything.

Crispin The Saint

Style: Hard Cider with Maple Syrup

Vitals: 6.9% abv; Trappist yeast, Organic Maple Syrup; ~$6.50/22oz bottle at Barriques Wine & Spirits

Company Line:

Prepare to be converted. The Saint is a uniquely debonair & elegant cider, a cider to convert skeptics.

Naturally fermented using a premium blend of fresh pressed apple juice, not from concentrate, and fermented with Belgian Trappist beer yeasts, The Saint boasts a sweet floral bouquet that develops a yeasty, herbal complexity.

The Saint is uncorrupted by added malt, spirit or grape alcohols, and is free of added sugar, colorants, sorbate and benzoate preservatives, and is filtered cold for crisp refreshment.

A small batch, hand-crafted, super-premium hard apple cider, The Saint is smoothed with pure organic maple syrup for a silky, sustained mouth-feel that develops complexity on the palate. The Saint is vinted to a 6.9 percent ABV for a full body, yet remains exceptionally easy to drink from the first crisp sip to the last drop.It’s very, very good. The Saint has an elevated drinkability that is never sacrificed to overbearing complexity.

Cloudy Filtration. The embodiment of artisanal style, The Saint uses rack-aged apple wine through our cloudy filtration process. Discerning drinkers will find residual apple wine sediment in each bottle for a rich full-bodied flavor that’s true to the apple and good to the last drop. Give a full Bottoms-Up! Tilt & swirl to disperse the apple-wine sediment evenly and to ensure an even taste profile through the entire bottle.

My take: pours a cloudy, opalescent lemon yellow with no head to speak of (though carbonation erupts briefly when poured over ice, as directed).  I sampled The Saint two ways: over ice as recommended and, you know, just in a glass.  Aroma is light and, well, crisp with hints of lemon and appleskin and an underlining banana-clove yeastiness and caramel sweetness.  Palate explodes with sweet, ripe apple, caramel/maple and the aforementioned, slightly funky Trappist yeast characterized by spice and green olive.  Finish is lightly sweet with a yeasty dryness lingering.

Certainly, among the more Belgian beer-like ciders I have sampled and overall a very interesting drink.  I preferred the sharper flavor profile of the un-iced version, but the chilled sample did example a slick smoothness that is appealing in its own way.  A fun change of pace from beer without giving up the great complexity of traditional Belgian beer.

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