J.K.’s Cuvée Winterruption Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider – Almar Orchards (2013)



BLC Says:
At it’s core (ouch!) Cider is a beverage made from apple juice and yeast. It is a beverage that is gaining in popularity with numerous varieties springing up in numerous styles and flavors. With the weather changing and becoming colder as the fall season stretches on, we wanted a richer fuller cider and J.K.’s Cuvée Winterruption Farmhouse Hard Cider was the one we chose.

This cider, with a mouthful of a name, comes from the great and chilly state of Michigan. Almar Orchards has a long and storied tradition of growing apples and producing cider. Currently the fourth and the fifth-generations of Koan’s own and operate the produce, grain and livestock which sprawls on for 500 acres featuring organic meadows and pastures. They suggest stopping by to enjoy a “slice” of Old-Tyme of American farm life. That sounds like some fun but tasting some farm-fresh cider makes it sound even better.

The cider pressed and fermented at Almar Orchards is bottled and branded under the name J.K.’s (which is said to stand either for Jim Koan or Jim & Karen Koan). J.K’s makes three varieties of cider but for the purposes of this review we are focusing on their Winter seasonal Winterruption. Solstice was the original name of their Winter cider but after a legal challenge from a brewery which Almar Orchardds declined to name they were forced to go with Winterruption (which seems like a subtle dig and nod to the trouble).

J.K.’s Cuvée Winterruption Farmhouse Cider is presented as being lightly spiced with ethically traded cinnamon, vanilla and some syrup from the old Maple trees at Almar Orchards. The cider is organic and unfiltered which shows as it pours a hazy, luminous yellow with a continuous steady flow of lazy carbonation. The aroma offers notes of cinammon, spice and a mild pepper. Touches of alcohol warmth mingle with the pronounced sweetness and apple qualities meeting a tartness toward the end of the whiff. More vanilla comes through as the cider warms and it begins to feel like a mulled cider with a touch cognac thrown in for good measure. During the sip, Winterruption moves uninterrupted across your palate. This cider is slick, medium bodied and a little chewy. A nice balanced level of carbonation guides flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, a touch of pepper, alcohol and of course loads of apples throughout the taste. This cider is spicy, sweet, warming with a slight dryness toward the finish. J.K.’s Cuvée Winterruption Hard Cider is one that would make an excellent after dinner drink and begs to be shared with friends.

What Alicia Thinks:
I definitely think this delicious fruity, sweet apple cider, but for me it is best enjoyed in small doses. The flavor is bold and the body on the thick side, so it may be a challenge to quickly down a cold pint of this one. However, I don’t think this was J.K’s intention anyway. In fact, more vanilla and spiced flavors present themselves as the cider sits, so no rush to finish your glass. I think this would be a great dessert cider, served alongside a slightly savory treat like olive oil cake or even a cheese plate. In fact, if we pick up another bottle, that’s exactly how it will be served.

What Kevin Thinks:
If you like a sweeter, spiced cider then this is the cider for you. J.K.’s Cuvée Winterruption is a slick, sugary apple spice explosion bedazzled with hints of vanilla and some warming alcohol qualities. A full 22 ounce bottle of this would be excellent to bring to share with a group of friends or as the bottle suggests it could even mend some fences with an enemy or two. A small glass of this full flavored cider goes a long way providing loads of spicy apple goodness and sets you up for another pour. When we picked this up I was expecting something a bit different when I saw “farmhouse” on the label but what we found was nice too and it should be a crowd pleaser for those who are looking for something different. For me this was a 7/10.

Style: Cider ABV: 6.9% IBU: x Color: Hazy Yellow Year: 2013 Cidery: Almar Orchard

The Brewery Says:
As the sun arcs low in the mid-day sky, this year’s harvest is slowly fermenting in its winter slumber. Everyone here at the Orchard enjoys a few days to remember the hard work in the last year’s harvest. We look forward to next year’s crop of apples.

To warm ourselves in the cold norther solstice we enjoy our winter cider. Lightly spiced with ethically traded cinnamon, vanilla and a wee drop of syrup from old Maple trees on the farm.

Formerly: “Winter Solstice”

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