French hard cider is often my "go to" for a refreshingly funky apple beverage. But recently I found a more locally based product; Bad Seed Cider,a Highland Hills, New York state-based producer. Devin Ritter, one of the owner-brewers periodically sells his brew at the Union Square Green Market. If you get a chance to visit the market, try to find him. He'll give you an education in cider varieties. Meeting him, I purchased a few bottles of his "IPC," which uses IPA beer yeast, along with some "semi dry," which Devin said wasn't quite as funky as French cider but has similar crispness. What I like about these ciders is the clean taste, effervesence more akin to a champagne. They drink well and go good with almost any food.
I found this beauty in my neigborhood at Beer World , a funky grocery with the nicest brothers selling all sorts of Russian and eastern European stuff and of course beer! Recently fixing a stuffed cabbage dish, I looked for some good beer to accompany it.
I don't know if it was the oddity of beer brewed with grapes, or it's from Switzerland? I'm almost sure I was in this town Chasselas while visiting my sister too! Well, let me say, I wasn't at first that impressed, well ok I was, this stuff is almost champagne? Or bieré? Awesome and fruity with flavors so complex, I got to get another soon!
Then I got this because it's name, Murder and manslaughter! As well I like Schwarz Bier, (Black beer, literally!).
Dark, and yet subtle, but it catches you, or murders you!
Then this one, a Norwegian, and you don't see many here in the States! Rignes was the one I was most familiar with as a kid. After demolishing the first two with some Hungarian stuffed cabbage, this baby was deep in flavor and about knocked me out!
Cidre, or cider, is a refreshing apple beverage with a bit of alcohol. It's been a favorite of mine since I was introduced by my brother when I was a wee lad. Sundays we'd sometimes enjoy a lobster brunch, drenched with butter and quenched with, what else, cider!
On a recent outing to the supermarket, I found a bottle of Cherry Tree cider, produced by Original Sin. Black and sitting in the craft-beer section of the market, it comes in non-descript bottles but has a highly describable impact. Refreshing, delicious, satisfying. I have heard of Belgian kriek, the Belgian ale that's cherry flavored, and generally I detest flavored drinks, but my curiosity prevailed. Fast forward - a long 13 hour day, a cold bottle of cherry cider in the fridge, and some liver pate, ok....pop!
It's almost a shade of rose, with a bouquet that's not overly dry and not coyingly sweet, well balanced. It reminds me of Norman cidre more then most of the other ciders I've had on the market that usually are either too sweet or extremely dry and with out complexity.
Oh, and it went great with liver pate and German mustard!
To help guide me into the new world of cocktails and wine, I decided to ask one of Los Angeles' top mixologist. Her name is Dee Ann Quinones. She agreed to to talk to me about her work, especially how she pairs a myriad of flavors to a thirsty crowd.
From cocktails and wine, she shares her knowledge and advises us on good deals in wine, as well as pairing drinks with food. An innovator and true professional, Dee Ann continues to explore flavors and gives a new twist to old favorites. She is also one of six finalists in the LA Best Bartender contest!
Sometimes labels can catch your eye, especially when they're labeling drinkable substances. I have tasted a large number of beers labeled as local; Brooklyn Beer, Shmaltz brewing company and others. Shopping for supplies at Wholefoods this weekend, I spied lots of familiar labels of different style beers. There were the hugely popular Belgian krieks, IPAs and lagers, but this particular bottle had a look that reminded me of Alice-in-Wonderland, albeit with a David Bowie reference. It's called Pretty Thing, Jack'Dor-American Saison. Of course I snatched it up, and will taste it with some pizza. Who wants soda when you can have beer!
With some closer research, this is not only an Artisanal beer, it's a gypsy company based in Cambridge, with no home brewery, and working on a shoe string budget according to there homemade website! Just goes to show you how small business are the heart of this country!
Postscript: I Couldn't wait till tomorrow for the pizza! In any case it tasted great,no...Superb with a perfect foamy head, fabulous fruit tones, full bodied...get this stuff, it's addictive, and with my tuna crunchy sprout salad and walnut cranberry bread, mmmmm to die for!