Who knew that the Apple Macintosh computer was named after a variety of apple? Well if you’re Canadian, maybe you did, as the McIntosh is the country’s national apple. Did you know you had a national apple? The variety was first discovered by one John McIntosh, growing in his orchard near the U.S. border in Ontario, and the fruit is now widely grown in Canada and the northeast U.S. as it’s one of those rare apples that can be eaten raw, is good for cooking, and is good for making cider.
Original Sin, the New York-based cider company, recently embarked on a series of single-varietal, unfiltered ciders, starting with the McIntosh and naturally using apples sourced from New York, the second-biggest apple-growing state. To follow will be ciders made with Golden Russet, Fuji, and Northern Spy apples.
At a time when gins are going down the vodka road with ever-wilder flavors and beers are seeking more complexity, it’s good to see something that gets back to simple basics — a cider that tastes of one type of apple. On the nose there is indeed a purity about it, a freshness, a mix of sour and sweet, and of citrus too. Obviously apple dominates, but there’s a touch of straw in there as well. It’s also quite filled with farm and country scents.
On the palate it’s less complex and you’re down to a simpler apple cider, that mix of sour from a mature, fermented apple balanced with sweetness from the fruit’s natural sugar. It’s a very subtle taste but at 6% abv it certainly isn’t a weak cider. On a hot day this would be very refreshing, while still packing a punch. As the other apple varieties emerge, it will be fascinating to do a cross-comparison. Watch for them in better beer stores over the coming months.
B+ / $12 per six-pack / origsin.com