Last night I had the opportunity to sample a bottle of Lansdowne, the newest Artisanal Reserve cider from Minneapolis headquartered Crispin. This newest addition to the Crispin lineup is named after the Lansdowne Road Stadium, home to Irish rugby until it’s demolition in 2007. Crispin owner Joe Heron is a big rugby fan. The company even sponsors rugby teams.
Irish rugby is not the only thing Irish about this cider. Continuing the experiment started with The Saint, a cider fermented with Belgian ale yeast, Lansdowne is fermented with Irish ale yeast and finished off with organic molasses for a startlingly stout-like effect.
Lansdowne joins Honey Crisp and The Saint in the Artisanal Reserve series and should appear in stores in the next few weeks.
Here’s my notes:
Crispin Cider Company, Minneapolis, MN & Colfax, CA
Style: Cider with molasses and Irish ale yeast
Serving Style: 22 oz. Bottle
Aroma: Malty, caramel, and butterscotch. Perhaps even a bit toasty. Fresh apple isn’t timid, but stays slightly in the background. Reminds me of the apple butter my grandma used to make.
Appearance: Light fizz. Murky amber. Remember to rouse the yeast to get the proper effect. Not especially pretty to look at.
Flavor: Autumn. Ripe red apples. Mostly sweet, but has a light, balancing, acidic tartness that prevents it becoming cloying. The molasses comes through strong at the start giving mouth-filling caramel and burnt sugar flavors. Raisins. The yeasty butterscotch from the aroma carries into the flavor, again reminding me of grandma’s apple butter. Big and full-flavored.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied and slightly viscous. The thickness is cut by a refreshing, spritzy carbonation. A touch of warming alcohol.
Overall Impression: Upon first smelling this cider I got a mental image of fall-colored leaves blowing in the wind. This cider screams autumn. Big, rich, and sweet with complex caramel, fruit, and butterscotch flavors, it is perfect for the light chill of October in Minnesota. To those who complain that Crispin ciders are too sweet, this one will seem over the top, as the molasses/burnt sugar sweetness is only barely balanced by the apple acidity. Those who are particularly sensitive to buttery diacetyl may not be crazy about this one. I am particularly insensitive to diacetyl and found it quite pleasant. Perhaps my favorite of Crispin’s Artisanal Reserve ciders.