Left Field Cider – Cidermaker’s Select “Bourbon Barrel”

Left Field "Bourbon Barrel" Cidermaker's Select

Left Field “Bourbon Barrel” Cidermaker’s Select

I’m going into this “Bourbon Barrel” limited release from Left Field somewhat blind, as it’s not described on their website or the bottle (beyond some info about the Cidermaker’s Select series in general). I gathered from Left Field’s Facebook that it’s fermented in bourbon barrels, but have no idea about age or anything else really.

Much like the Pear Dry, it pours a very pale, clear yellow. I feel pretty safe in saying that if you like one thing they’ve made, you’re likely to enjoy the rest of their catalog.

The aroma is mainly apples, mainly tart — I’m guessing cider apples, not so many dessert apples — with some drier, almost papery notes and a touch of funk likely coming in from the bourbon barrels.

While drinking this and trying to formulate a review, I went back over some of the other ciders I’ve tagged as “barrel-aged,” and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s a very diverse category. You’ve got your Prohibitions, intense in flavor and color, and then you’ve got your Oaked Maples which come out a little weird, but not so definitively asserting “this came from a barrel.”

Left Field is more the latter than the former — it tastes different than a non-barrel-aged cider, but not in a drastic way. It’s pretty dry, crisp, and acidic, and the aftertaste gets a slight bit woody.

In hindsight I should have held on to the other Left Field ciders I had to do a comparison tasting. Some cideries’ offerings tend to have a certain familial resemblance, while others vary wildly; Left Field seems to be one of the former. From what I can recall, I would say this comes out closest to their English Dry variety.

All in all it’s not bad but I prefer their Pear Dry, or the Big/Little Dry. The bourbon-barrel fermentation just doesn’t add that much (unless, I guess, you’re into very subtle taste variations). Still, again — if you like one of their ciders you’ll probably like others.

Angry Orchard – Summer Honey

RIP Elderflower Cider

RIP Elderflower Cider


My love for Angry Orchard’s Elderflower seasonal release is well-documented here on Bad Rider, so it should come as no surprise that anticipation of its return was a major part of my excitement for the 2015 summer seasonals to start appearing.


Rather than bring back last year’s practically-perfect-in-every-way seasonal release, Angry Orchard decided to mix things up and release something different this summer.

Something boring.

Their “Summer Honey” seasonal isn’t terrible. It’s fairly generic, tasting very much like Angry Orchard’s regular offerings, with some slight honey notes to the aroma and taste. In fact, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like ciders with more powerful honey influence, you may still find it worth your time to give this one a try, as it’s quite mild.

That said: it’s no Elderflower cider, that’s for sure. You may as well be drinking regular Angry Orchard, or better yet, something local from a small cidery.

Want to try it? Find it wherever you usually find Angry Orchard. Me, I’ll be over here sulking with a Crispin and a dash of St. Germain to fill the Elderflower-shaped hole in my heart.

Left Field Cider – Pear Dry

Left Field Cider Co - Pear Dry

Earlier this summer, my Bad Rider partner in crime Andrea came down to visit and brought some cider from BC’s Left Field Cider Company for me to try.

Most of it, alas, I drank without reviewing, but I’ve saved their award-winning Pear Dry and their “Bourbon Barrel” Cidermaker’s Select because I wanted to be sure to get reviews written for them. Today I’m covering the Pear Dry.

(I will say of their Big Dry and Little Dry that they were not nearly as dry as I was expecting — both very nice, drinkable and crisp.)

The Pear Dry has a distinct pear aroma, sweet and light — not surprising given it’s a 100% pear cider, not an apple/pear mix or an apple cider flavored with pear after fermentation. It’s clear light yellow in color and clocks in at 6% ABV.

I can see why this cider has won awards. It’s got an interesting flavor — definitely pear-y, crisp, and quite surprisingly tart. It does come in more on the dry side than the sweet side (though like the Big Dry and Little Dry, it’s not as dry as one might expect), and there’s an aspect of juiciness to the flavor that I don’t usually associate with dry ciders.

This cider could be a really nice complement to the right meal, or a pleasant drink to have on its own. If you find yourself in BC or Alberta and can get your hands on some Left Field, I recommend giving them a try.