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Sonoma Cider Offers Great Alternatives to Beer

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Looking for something different than beer? How about ciders?


While we typically discuss beer here, sometimes, you may have friends or family who may not be as much into beer as you are (I know, it happens). So what else can you offer your friends or family who are beer-averse? This is where apple cider can fill your options of offerings.


I recently tried some ciders from Sonoma Cider,* the award-winning brand, along with my wife, who is not so into beer. Another benefit of cider is that it is gluten-free, which is also amenable to my wife. So, I was glad that I got to share some drinks with her!


We started off with Sonoma Cider’s newest offering, The Jax (6% ABV), a breakfast cereal cider, which is part of its “Limited Run” series, a collection of unique flavors that express the team¹s creativity and inventive nature.  The Jax is a hard cider made from Organic Pacific Northwest apples are combined with gluten-free buckwheat, cinnamon, and honey. 


The Jax has scents of toasted grain and apple-cinnamon, which reminded my wife of an instant breakfast apple cinnamon oatmeal, which was neat. Also, this cider is not sweet like apple pie, but rather, almost like a breakfast crisp. Furthermore, this cider is somewhat dry, especially on the finish.


Next up we drank a very seasonal offering, The Sleigh (5.5% ABV), a winter spice cider. As a winter spice beverage, it definitely lives up to its name! With cloves and nutmeg very noticeable spices, as well as cinnamon, this beverage is unforgettable. Also, it was a very even-keeled beverage, with the spices remaining constant from the aroma, through the palate and on into the finish.


Then, we upped the spicing-level to sample The Cutter (5.5% ABV), a gingerbread cider. This was a very gingery cider, so much so that it was too much for my wife, but intriguing for me. It has some similar spices as The Sleigh, but slightly less so. However, it has some really prominent gingery spice, so much so that it lingers on the finish. This lingering spice may not be for those not comfortable with spiciness, but, for those that are, it’s quite fascinating.


Finally, we moved on to an incredibly exquisite beverage, which is also quite distinct from the first three ciders. That would be The Imperial (11.5% ABV), an apple-honey wine aged in whiskey barrels for six months. Granted, I am partial to any beverage that’s aged in whiskey barrels, so I knew I was in for a treat!  The Imperial has a delicious nose, with apple, honey, oak, and vanilla booziness from the barrels, which was very noticeable (and delicious-smelling). On the palate, it had a lovely honey, apple, and a little oakeyness, as well as a delicious crispness. With the finish, there was an incredible dryness, as well as a fermented honey taste that lingered on the palate.

This is an exceptional and special beverage and definitely not for the ordinary consumer of ciders. But, if you’re looking for something special, whether for you or as a gift for someone else, this is it. And it's not just me who thinks so, as it has won gold at the 2015 California Cider Competition and silver at Dan Berger¹s International Wine and Cider Competition in 2016.


Sonoma Cider handcrafts the only full line of organic ciders in the U.S., each made with distinctive, all natural, gluten-free ingredients.  Sonoma Ciders are produced from freshly squeezed, organic apples in micro batches to deliver intensity of flavor and a refined experience for this rapidly growing category. Sonoma Cider has taken top honors at various competitions nation-wide, including being named the 2015 Cider Producer of the Year at the New York International Beer Competition. 



*Disclosure: these ciders were provided to BierBuzz for review purposes.



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Guest Saturday, 24 February 2018

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