Cider Review: Forward Cider Bare Brut & Cuvée Cru
#DryCiderJanuary is the American Cider Association’s campaign to celebrate the wonderful world of dry cider. For our purposes “dry” is not a marketing buzzword, but instead refers to cider with little to no residual sugar. We'll get into perceived dryness/sweetness some other time...Anyhow, we had the opportunity to taste two such ciders from Forward Cider.
In a Wisconsin barn, Alec Steinmetz combines Midwest work ethic and French bittersweet apples to create Forward's unique ciders. The two bottles we had, Bare Brut and Cuvée Cru (bonus points for the naming consonance) are naturally sugar-free as they're fermented to dryness, meaning the yeast converted all of the natural sugar into alcohol. Yay, science!
Both are made from French bittersweet apples and aged in barrels – Bare Brut in Brandy Barrels (more consonance – an active choice or coincidence?) made from French Oak, and Cuvée Cru in Spanish Cedar.
Appearance & Aroma
Both ciders pour opaque copper and still. Bare Brut smells of yeast and overripe apples while Cuvée Cru is woody with a hint of acetification.
Flavor & Finish
Bare Brut’s fruity esters evoke sweetness reminiscent of dried apricot. It’s smooth but spiced from its time in the wood. Apple and oak tannin accentuate the dryness of the cider without becoming harsh.
Cuvée Cru is less fruity but does retain an apple flavor. It’s slightly resinous with traces of cracked pepper. The acid content on this one is a bit higher and it finishes dry, tannic, and mildly acetic.
Cider is great on its own, but it’s also incredibly food-friendly. The back label of each bottle features infographics to make food pairing easy with glassware and fare suggestions, as well as tasting notes.
We poured Bare Brut with Thai yellow curry per the suggestion of Southeastern Asian dishes. Although a fully dry cider can make spicy food more abrasive, this one didn't and complimented the spices nicely. Cuvée Cru sounded more rustic so instead of the suggestion of Italian dishes, we went with earthy salads and savory oven-roasted potatoes. This worked well as the cider’s acidity brightened up the salads and cut through the char, oil, and salt on the potatoes.