Apples and booze

Odd pair makes a sweet alcoholic temptation

In the Book of Genesis, the devil disguises himself as a snake and entices Eve to commit the original sin of eating the forbidden apple. This, of course, leads to Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.

Well, beer is my Garden of Eden; the snake disguised himself as a brew and seduced me to try some of the tree’s forbidden, fermented fruit.

The apple’s mythical properties go back as far as creation, continued throughout Greek mythology and are still present in modern day literature. In the art world, Michelangelo depicted the fruit of knowledge in an image of his famed fresco in the Sistine Chapel.

Apples are the fruit of choice, it seems.

Today, artisan beverages abound and cider happens to be one of them. If you think of cider as a generic, mass-produced product, just think of the vast variety of artisan apples that grace our produce sections. Apples are more than just generic apple juice.

Here are some interesting combinations in our market:

Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy (7.3 per cent): Since we’ve already been kicked out of the Garden of Eden, let’s start a fight. Scrumpy is unfiltered and cloudy from the apple pulp, and the yeast is left in the bottle. Some cider houses in the U.K. won’t serve it, as they say this drink causes people to start brawls. I can find no logical reason for this school of thought, except that Scrumpy usually has a slightly higher alcohol content than most ciders. The British version of this branch of cider has a woody, funky “take a walk on the wild side” taste to it.

Sea Cider’s Rum Runner (12 per cent): The Sea Cider Vintage Cidery is located just outside Victoria, B.C., and is a stone’s throw away from the Georgia Strait. The Rum Runner is a dry sparkling cider fermented from certified organic heirloom apples and further aged in rum barrels. This cider picks up roughly half of its alcohol content from its aging in the rum barrel’s wood, which creates a truly unique beverage. Sips of this cider start off with some rum heat and a hint of rum’s brown sugary goodness, but it mellows towards an enticing leathery tart apple finish.

Michel Jodoin Sparkling Rosé Cider (7 per cent): This Quebec cider is seductive and sexy in two unique ways. Firstly, its unusual natural pink colour comes from the Geneva apples’ red flesh, making it pretty to drink. Secondly, this cider is treated in the méthode champenoise, which incorporates champagne’s elegance with nose-tickling bubbles that titillate the taste buds with sweetness. There are many more interesting ciders from this cidery in our market.

Le Trou du Diable Buteuse Brassine Special (10 per cent): This tiny brewpub takes its signature Belgian Tripel styled beer and barrel ages it in calvados barrels. Then it further dries out the beer with a secondary wild yeast that some Bordeaux oenophiles might know, brettanomyces. This beer is as unique as it is multilayered. Mouth-drying with a funk character and just a hint of apple brandy backbone that add to its devilish qualities. Le Trou du Diable translates as “The Devil’s Hole” and refers to the nearby whirlpools at the bottom of the hydroelectric dam in Shawinigan, Quebec. The beer is named for the priest featured on its label. All these not-so-forbidden drinks are sold in small quantities, but luckily are found in our market. According to some health experts, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so surely this must work in its liquid form, too. Here’s to hoping.


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