Well, I had another cider, J.K. Scrumpy's Farmhouse Sparkling Hard Cider, Orchard Gate Gold. A long name, yes, but I liked it. The ingredients are listed as "Fresh apple juice, yeast." It is USDA Certified Organic -- take that for what it's worth, I know a lot of people bitch about this, but it's not meaningless -- unfiltered, and they say they grow, harvest, and press all the apples right there on their farm in Flushing, Michigan. Take a look. If something shady is going on here -- as someone rather vehemently told me is going on with Crispin -- it's beyond me what it is.
Bruce Wright, the fellow from Scrumpy who sent me the sample, asked me to "Please remember we decided not to emulate English, Norman, or Spanish cider, rather a American cider with our apples." I find that interesting and notable, especially as a bourbon drinker.
And it was quite different from those. It was sweet, but not the soda-sweet that disagrees with me in too many commercial ciders; this was a round, full sweetness that tasted like real apple juice, the kind of rich fruit flavor I love in vineyard grape juice. It was sweetness with depth and flavor. Not all that is sweet is insipid or stupid; just have a good doublebock and you'll know that. This is quite tasty, and it was delicious with a slice of a beautiful big miche I bought on Friday, and enticingly friendly with some French double creme cheese I got at the same time. There was one moment of mouthful when everything came together so well -- apple sweetness bringing out cheese richness, wild-yeast bread bringing out hint of cider tart/tannin, smooth paste of cheese crashing into solid bread structure -- that I moaned. And was immediately glad that no one was around to hear me.
I may have to have the other bottle with dinner: a leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary. Sounds pretty damned good to me. Although maybe that's the 22 oz. of 6% cider talking.