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February 26. 2013 6:55PM

A trip through the apple orchard


 

We're going a little off the beaten path today.

As we've seen in this column before, a grape is just one of many fruits that can be fermented. It's the sugar in the fruit, when it interacts with yeast, that produces alcohol. And since any fruit, has sugar, most any fruit can be fermented. When you ferment a grape, you get wine. But the world contains many other fruits, including apples. Let's take a look at the world of fermented apples today.

This will be the first time we've tried a fermented cider, so a few words are in order. Hard cider is a fermented brew, typically fermented apples or pears. We'll focus here on the apple ones, since that's what we're tasting today.

Common fermented ciders are made from table apples, the kind you run into here in New Hampshire - Macintosh, Delicious, Baldwin. They typically have medium body, and are clear, often in the gold color range. One characteristic they have in common is that they should have an immediately refreshing character. Tannin levels can vary by apple variety.

Such ciders are typically low in alcohol, and can often pair with a variety of foods. This having been said:

Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Elderflower, 5% abv. As it says on the label, this is a gluten free brew, which means it doesn't have the protein type material that can cause people intestinal trouble. What it means in the making is that it's made from materials containing no gluten, such as malted sorghum, buckwheat and common millet. No head, just a hint of white as you pour; pale-yellow in color; low malt and hops on the nose, flavors of elderflower, apple and in the background, cotton candy. Light bodied, refreshing.

And while we are on the topic of apples: Redd's Apple Ale (Ale with natural apple flavors and caramel color), 5% abv. The appearance is that of apple juice; low malt, apple nose and apple flavors, a very little bit of citrus in the back. Off-dry, low bitterness, acidity, tannin and carbonation. Nonetheless, it's refreshing, with well-integrated alcohol, a medium body and texture presentation, apple cider flavor from start to finish.

Finally, a plain old-fashioned, no-apple beer. Third Shift Amber Lager, 5.3% abv. It's got a small head, frothy in appearance, gold-amber color range, medium malt nose, bread and grain. Low hops. The palate is dry, with medium bitterness, medium acidity, and alcohol that are well integrated. Medium body, medium flavor intensity.

Wine Dinner: One Mile West in Sunapee presents a special wine dinner featuring the foods and wines of Spain, Germany, France, and Italy on Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m.

The cost is $70 per person plus tax and gratuity, and the number for reservations is 863-7500.

Reach local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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