My wife loves this stuff.
From the first day we met Colin Schilling at Bushwhacker Cider in April 2013 until yesterday, my lovely lady has raved about the “two drinks in one” Original and now, more recently, the amazing Oak Aged (better when cool, not cold). While I’m loving the Oak Aged first, the Ginger second, and Original third, they’re so close I usually rank them 1, 1a and 1b.
But enough about cider, let’s talk about Colin, the man behind all of this. After graduating a few years ago, Colin spent five months in corporate America and did not approve. He decided it was time to turn his lifelong hobby into a business, and started fermenting his various flavors. My household is glad he did.
The following is a collection of first impressions after drinking a can of each. They’ve been edited to make sense, but should be considered drafts. Check back on Wednesday for a video interview cidermaker Colin Schilling.
The first aroma I noticed smelled like hops, the first sip made me think of frothy beer. But it’s certainly not beer, and the hops aren’t hoppy in the way light beer hops are, this hits my nose at the beginning and my throat just enough at the end to remind me.
The hoppy aroma and apple mix well, my wife would tell you it’s two drinks in one. The bubbles are at a minimum, and I suspect more would drown out the flavor of the juice itself.
Schilling Oak Aged
The idea of living in a wood cabin would delight many. The soft, woody smell in the dry months followed by the wet dog aroma turns many off. But what if you could find a sweet spot, right in between soft and woody and a little wet? Would that be amazing to bottle or can and sip around a campfire or while BBQing dinner?
You’re damn right it would be, and that’s exactly what they Oak Aged cider evokes. Like the ever-changing aroma of wood itself, this also tastes and smells differently depending on temperature. When cold, it’s cinnamon-y and harsh. Slightly less cold, there’s some vanilla. Left out for 30 minutes to reach cool, that vanilla blends with the soft wood to trick my mind into thinking I’m sucking on a piece of cut wood ready to be made into a table or chair.
That slight whiff is all you’ll get, there’s no forest-y pine or dirt to be had, just that sweet, sweet smell of a cigar case and whittling knife my grandpa always kept in his tool shed. Here’s to you, Grandpa. You’d have liked this cider, and I’d have hoped you’d have passed it on.
I swear this is ginger cider. I’m not talking about apple cider with ginger added, I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if this was fermented ginger with some bubbles added. Either way, the ginger makes this brew amazing.
The first whiff is strong but not overpowering, with a mellow apple middle and quick finish. The apples taste English-y (the opposite of tart and bitter but still as biting) and the aroma is enough make me think twice about laying line of powdered, candied ginger and going to town.
This makes me want horseradish. Or wasabi. Sushi!