Cider Review: Clear Fork Cider Dolgo Sour
For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed sour foods and drinks. As a small child, I would bite into lemon wedges and “smile” as if the peel of the lemon were my teeth, mostly to get a rise out of the adults. I was all about the sour candies, too: Sour Patch Kids, SweetTarts, Nerds…but Warheads were king. I don’t eat much candy these days (put a bowl of sour candy in front of me and all bets are off) but I have ways to get my sour fix. Cider is one of them. See, the acid used to give sour candy its real kick isn’t citric acid from, say, lemons. It’s malic acid, which is the primary acid in apples.
Colorado’s Clear Fork Cider makes a single varietal cider from Dolgo Crabapples – aptly called Dolgo Sour. Dolgos are great little crabapples with good cold tolerance, disease resistance and a long flowering period, making them an ideal pollinator for other varieties of apple. Many consider them to be ornamental, but cidermakers know they are a goldmine of acidic astringency. With my sour-loving background, a cider made from Dolgos only is most appealing to me.
Amber with a light copper tint. Lots of carbonation upon pouring that quickly dissipates, leaving a few strands of bubbles in the glass and a short ring of bubbles that cling to the inside of the glass. The first pour was pretty clear while the second pour was opaque.
Very aromatic with sour green apple dominating, followed by diminishing honey, floral and woody notes.
Right away the sourness hits you, but in the best way (it may make you pucker a bit). There is a lot of malic acid and it makes itself known. The sourness doesn't let up and I don't want it to. Bitter tannins start to show up halfway through and take some of the edge off. Holding it on the tongue releases lots of carbonation that prickles the taste buds even more. This is a lively cider.
Sour and off-dry. There’s some sugar to help round things out but the drying astringency can’t stop and won’t stop. Medium bodied. Some yeastiness, primarily in the second pour. Lingering acidity makes keeps the mouth watering for the next sip.
If you’re like me and enjoy sourness, find this cider. Though not a “sour” cider by USACM guidelines, this will give any Bretty or otherwise bacterially soured cider a run for its money. It’s not volatile like acetaldehyde even though it possesses some green apple character. The tannins help bitter things just enough, and the sugar that is present rounds the whole experience out. Sour apple anything will never be the same. Step aside green apple, and make way for the Dolgo crab: the superior provider of sour apple flavor.
This would be probably work very well in a Whiskey Sour...I should have tried that.