I had the opportunity to sample this inventive cider at The Four Firkins last week and couldn’t help but grab a bottle for myself to further indulge and share. As I’m sure many of you know Crispin is a local cider company that has been around for just over a year and has strived to reinvent the cider industry in The United States. For some time they have been in the process of locating a permanent cidery and last month accomplished that task with the acquisition of the Fox Barrel Cider Company which is located in Colfax, California. Due to this acquisition those of us in Minnesota will have the opportunity to try a number of Fox Barrel’s products which I have been told will include their apple, pear and black currant ciders. Crispin’s focus on quality and inventiveness has always had an attractive allure in my opinion and their newest venture The Saint is no exception. Crafted with apples from the west coast, organic maple syrup and Trappist ale yeast this is one unique cider. Like all of their ciders Crispin suggests you serve The Saint over ice, but after sampling it both ways I disagree. While ice may be a quick and refreshing way to cool down your beverage I don’t find it adds anything to this cider and simply causes it to become watered down more quickly. Pours a cloudy very pale golden yellow hue that is incredibly opaque. Head is almost nonexistent. Smells strongly of slightly tart, crisp apples and a variety of earthy and herbal yeast esters. Initial taste is wonderfully sweet due to the maple syrup used in this ale followed by notes of gently tart fresh apples and soft herbal accents from the Trappist yeast. Overall flavor profile is a wonderful contrast between semi tart apples and sweet maple syrup, though the influence of the Trappist yeast is less than I had initially expected. While gentle alcohol adds some additional character to this ale it is much less than one would expect for a cider coming in at a very solid 6.9% ABV. Mouthfeel is quite carbonated but at the same time quite full due to the use of maple syrup giving it a slightly sticky quality but managing to go down very smoothly none the less. Unquestionably a delicious hard cider that is one of the more intriguing I have had the opportunity to sample. If you enjoy quality artisanal cider you will likely enjoy this one, particularly if you enjoy sweet and sour flavor profiles. Give it a shot and ride your bike.