1911 Established is the spirits project of Beak & Skiff, a five-generation family-owned and operated apple orchard in upstate New York. It was founded by George Skiff (originally an onion farmer) and has since become a destination with a full service tavern and music festivals hosted on premises. The distillery has become prolific, experimenting and releasing a variety of beverages over the years (wines, bourbon, vodka, ciders) which usually feature their orchard apples, and with the occasional blueberry making an appearance. Shandy is the newest addition to their growing cider lineup.
Here we review the Shandy as well as two other offerings.
1911 Established Hard Cider Shandy – The apple flavor is crisp and tart, which is kicked up with some lemon. The drink overall is very refreshing, not overly sweet (based on their own sweetness ratings, the sweetness is a 4 out of 6), very light and with the right amount of effervescence. This is an easy cider to grab and enjoy more than once. 6.5% abv. B+
1911 Established Hard Cider Tropical – The nose is strong on the Jolly Rancheresque delivery of pineapple and mango. These flavors are immediate but quickly give way to the classic apple cider sweet/tart character. This is also 4 out of 6 on 1911’s sweetness scale. The tropical layers make this cider a bit more bold, and it’s a nice twist if you’re looking for a different take on cider. 6.5% abv. B
1911 Established Hard Cider Blueberry – The coloring of this cider is more of a rose. Out of the berry family, blueberry tends to be the least versatile as a flavoring. They often come off artificial or undetectable as blueberry. The nose on this drink does hint at a berry, but in a generic sense, making for a muted version of strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, etc. There is a refreshing tartness to this generic berry profile however, with an unexpected but pleasant popcorn note in the mix. The sweetness is also a little lower at 3 out of 6. Overall this was a pleasant departure from expectations, and I dare say a rather sophisticated cider. 5.5% abv. B+
Although I found the Shandy to be a more reliable option, it’s a flavor that delivers on familiar expectations. I was pleasantly won over by the Blueberry twist. The sweetness scale in the descriptions on the company’s website is a nice touch. If the three varieties are any indication of what the others have to offer, I would recommend experimenting and finding your own surprising personal favorite.
each $12 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans / 1911established.com