Fox Barrel’s Rhubarb & Elderberry Cider Reserve
Well, another fully stocked Monday night meeting has come and gone, and now it’s time to take a closer look at one of the standouts from our laborious research. Recently, we’ve covered a number of rare craft beers and spirits with the hopes of introducing some of the more difficult to find brews and elusive elixirs to a wider audience. So it’s with that mindset that I introduce the Fox Barrel’s Rhubarb & Elderberry Cider Reserve; an unfiltered pear cider made with organic honey and infused with both Rhubarb and Elderberry juices. I know that this all sounds pretty crazy, but I can honestly say that this is the best tasting and most refreshing cider I have ever had!
Now some of you may be familiar with a popular cider company named Crispin, a producer of premium hard apple ciders. However, as far as I can tell, few people have heard of the other half of their empire, Fox Barrel Ciders. As “America’s first, truly pure pear-juice based cider line,” Fox Barrel has managed to carve out a very unique niche in the alternative craft beer market. Their ciders are naturally fermented using 100% pear juice and are then cold filtered for added purity. Rather than use artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives that tend to impart a chemically aftertaste, Fox Barrel infuses natural sweeteners like organic honey and 100% juices in their various makes and models. Currently, it’s fairly easy to find the six pack incarnations of Fox Barrel, like their Apricot Pear or Blackberry Pear ciders at most beer and wine megastores. However, Fox Barrel’s Cidery Reserves might prove to be a bit more challenging to find. The Cidery Reserves include wild combinations of flavors like Ginger and Black Currant, Orange Peel and Coriander, and of course the aforementioned Rhubarb and Elderberry.
First things first, it’s hard not to take notice of the cider once it’s poured. It has a deep hazy red almost purplish hue and the cider effervesces like an Emergen C tablet dropped in a glass of water. So what does Rhubarb and Elderberry taste like, you might be wondering? Well thankfully for my unwitting palette, Elderberry’s taste very similar to what raspberry’s tastes like. Due to the pear base, there’s a mild sweet and dry note similar to a green apple that develops on the finish. The cider is tart, but not artificially so, so there’s not that acidic after burn that unfortunately appears in so many other flavored brews. The flavors are all very bold and bright with a crispness that tastes natural and fresh squeezed; As much as you could squeeze rhubarb of course. This is essentially, the perfect hot summer day beverage and for those of us who live in the Phoenix area, you should be stocking up! Fox Barrel’s Rhubarb & Elderberry Cidery Reserve runs about $7.00 a bottle, so go track this one down for your next summer party and prepare to be impressed!