Cider Review: Downeast Pumpkin Blend
I've been hanging on to a few pumpkin/spiced ciders for a while now. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy pumpkin spiced anything and with the cold, rainy weather we've been experiencing, I haven't been feeling it. Thanksgiving did the trick though, and the first of the pumpkin/spiced ciders I'm tasting is Downeast Pumpkin Blend.
Although I saw it in stores all over this fall, I passed over Downeast's Pumpkin Blend a few times, mainly due to the sugar content. While a cider should not be judged solely by residual sugar, or RS (and in many cases, added sugar), I prefer drier ciders. Other factors like acidity, tannins, adjuncts and how they all interact create exceptions, but a general rule-of-thumb for my preference is .5g RS or less to 1 oz of cider. At 16g RS in 12 ounces, I judged this cider by its can and avoided buying a pack. Then I saw a single can and curiosity outweighed risk.
After turning the can over a few times I cracked it open and poured it into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Cloudy amber with some deposits. Still aside from some dissolved co2 escaping.
The chai spices really come through on the nose. They aren't overbearing, but definitely can't be missed. In the background there are notes of sweet baked apples.
The chai spices are back, with nutmeg, clove and cinnamon dominating the palate. Baked apples and pumpkin follow but the spices never go away. There's some much needed acidity the whole way through that brightens the cider and balances the sweetness.
Semi-sweet but never cloying. Acidity keeps the cider light enough for me to keep raising the glass.
This cider surprised me with its balance of spices and sweetness. There are no apples on display but they do show up for a while. A little less sugar wouldn't hurt it, but it wasn't overly sweet. Easy enough to drink, though I'm not sure I'd want more than one. If you're in the mood for pumpkin spiced cider, grab a pack - or a can - and let me know what you think of it!