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About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.

Cheers!
Mike

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blackbird Buffalo Bluegrass Kentucky Barrel Aged Cider


Every time some says "cider" to me, I think of this classic Simpsons exchange:

Principal Skinner: "They're very slowly getting away!"
Moe: "They're headed to the Old Mill!"
Homer: "No we're not!"
Moe: "Let's go to the Old Mill anyway and get some cider!"

I should've mentioned this in my cider post from 2011.

Hard ciders as a segment of the "beer" market have been growing these last few years: a 49% growth in sales last year alone. Fortunately here in New York State, the legislation hasn't really caught up with the appearance of this new market so ciders are available in both grocery and liquor stores. But this really depends on the distributors and what brands they own so you may not be able to buy Woodchuck Hard Cider (the most popular cider) at a liquor store since it is "owned" by a beer distributor.

Blackbird Cidery officially opened in Barker, NY in 2011. I first visited their cidery and orchard in 2013. Through both open/wild fermentation or use of specific yeast strains they make all styles: dry to sweet, and still to sparkling.

This Buffalo Bluegrass Kentucky Barrel Aged Cider is a limited-edition release so I picked up two bottles when it first became available at my liquor store. Initially, it was not what I was expecting. The oak from the barrel was a bit overpowering and it was considerably drier than I thought it would be. Yet this may be because my previous barrel-aged beer experience influenced my expectations of this cider. In barrel-aged stouts the vanillin and oak compliment the malty sweetness of the beer. With a cider, it has more in common with a lighter, drier sparkling grape wine. Therefore with a change in perspective, the more sips I took the more this cider grew on me. The barrel-aging offers notes of smoke, vanillin, and oak while the "open fermentation" gives the cider wild floral and yeasty notes. It paired extremely well with salmon and a bunch of earthier vegetables - all flavored with fresh dill.

It reminded me of Blackbird's Orchardist's Reserve Cider (my favorite of their ciders), although this Kentucky Bluegrass cider is much drier. If you are expecting a sweet hard cider, like many other available on the market, then you'll be disappointed. However, open yourself to new experiences and give this (and other dry ciders) a try - you may be pleasantly surprised.

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