February 22nd, 2010 beckel
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.
August 20th, 2009 beckel
So after a little delay Crispin’s Honey Crisp is on shelves now. I found my bottle at The Four Firkins when I was there on Tuesday to enjoy some tasty beer from our local Brau Brothers and got the chance to chat a bit with one of their brewers Dustin Brau. I had never consumed their Strawberry Wheat and was very impressed with the delicious real strawberry flavors and simple grain bill to compliment and balance the brew. But onto the topic of today. Honey Crisp is the newest beverage in the Crispin lineup and is fermented with organic honey produced nearby the cidery in California. Pours a hazy opaque white hue that is similar to grapefruit juice. Smelling strongly of rich sweet apples and some gentle honey. Tastes of fresh fermented apples, moderately sweet slightly dry finishing with some nice additional honey sweetness and gentle tartness. Mouhfeel is made slightly creamy by the honey but the body is very light making this hazy beverage very easy to drink any time and with a 6.5% ABV you can. Unquestionably a tasty beverage and one I have enjoyed every time I have had the opportunity to sample it. A welcome addition to the Crispin family and an innovative yet simply delicious take on cider that any fan will likely appreciate. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 3rd, 2009 beckel
I have sampled and enjoyed Crispin Cider many times from their first tasting many months ago at The Four Firkins to festivals such as Indulge and the Saint Paul Beer Fest and their most recent tasting event at the Firkins this previous Friday but have never gotten around to writing about it so I figured it was high time. Crispin is a local company headquartered in North East Minneapolis that is currently producing their cider with the help of a cidery located in Norther California. Unlike many ciders on the market Crispin is made from pure apple juice and is fermented with a white wine yeast. The currently produce three varieties of cider Original, Light and Brut my favorite and the one I will be primarily focusing on here. They have also produced a beer called Honey Crisp which is a cloudy cider with honey added but have yet to produce enough to distribute. It was intended to be available shortly after the St. Paul beer fest but due to some production problems at a facility closer to home they were left with a bad batch that contained some lingering unfiltered yeast that made the brew unacceptable for distribution. We were able to sample some of a fresh batch at the Firkins and I’m pleased to say it was as tasty and unique as the last two opportunities I had to sample it and hopefully we should be seeing it sometime soon for our purchasing pleasure. Crispin whole heartedly advocates serving of their beverages over ice and I would concur so long as you don’t plan on sitting on your drink for too long. Serving over ice ensures that your cider is cold as can be and I will happily admit that gulping down some of this cold light bodied brew after hopping off your bike is a wonderful refreshment as that is exactly what I did on Friday. Crispin Brut pours an incredibly translucent slightly golden white wine hue. Aroma is of sweet apples with a gentle dry alcohol note. Tastes of fresh moderately sweet apples with a nice dry bite in the finish. The body is light as can be and the mouthfeel is incredibly clean and smooth. It is unquestionably one easy beverage to drink and with a 5.5% ABV you can enjoy many with no worries. I’ve never been one to drink a ton of cider but I often find it refreshing and this beverage is unquestionably the most refreshing, easy to drink, and overall tasty cider I have had the opportunity to consume. Not to demean the Eric Bordelet 2004 I just consumed because that stuff was great, but in a different category as far as I am concerned. If you have never enjoyed a cider I would encourage you to disregard that prejudice as to me this cider has no real comparable competitors; at least available in our market. If you prefer a sweeter cider go with their Original and if you want something lower ABV their Light is basically just their Brut watered down to 3.2% ABV. Give it a shot and ride your bike.