I’ve had a bit of an obsession with cider fermented with a Saison yeast. Funk Cider has such a beast and it’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about the Funk Saison Cider.
Over the last few years, I have been playing around with a little bit of garage cider making. I’ve been doing A/B tests with different types of yeasts. I keep coming back to the French saison yeasts. It’s a bit of a tricky one to work with. To push the yeast flavours the tank wants to be warmer. Get it too warm and the apple flavours are going to get pretty unpleasant. It will be interesting to see if Funk Cider has nailed this balance.
Now Talking about A/B Tests, halfway through this review I got a message from Funk Cider saying that they had changed the recipe on the Saison Cider and a new sample was in the mail. So here comes a rewrite. For simplicity let’s call them Version One and the Mark II.
It’s an interesting mix of a dry dusty farm road scent. Next comes a basic French style funky barnyard scent and for those of you who like an apple perfume in a cider, it’s here and it’s very much like a candied apple and a hint of cherry. Well, that was the original version. The Mark II dials all of that back a notch or 2 but replaces it with a bit more of a red-fruited vibe.
Version One is brutally dry, the sharp fizz highlights that lack of sugar. The shock fades into that Saison funk that I’m really into. The cherry scent gets converted to a dried apricot. It all keeps coming back to that saison funk, towards the finish it rears up again, it’s lively but dank. Most ciders start fruity and finish crisp but this seems to start crisp and finish a bit more fruity and even a tad biscuity.
The Mark II, much like the scent, winds things back. It’s now an off-dry maybe medium dry cider. The extra sweetness masks the Saison yeast flavours which only really show themselves late in the game as the sweetness dies back. Still very tasty just not as bold.
Final Thoughts on The Funk Saison Cider
I’m torn. Absolutely torn. I really liked the Version One of Funk Saison Cider. It stood out from the rest of the range with this type of super dry but super flavourful cider and is the type of thing that you could drink all night (responsibly and socially distanced of course). It would probably match pretty well with a pizza or just as a bevy to have a yarn over. But that fact it stood out too far away from the Sex Machine and the Perth Cider might have prompted the recent change.
The Mark II version of Funk Saison Cider is going to have a much wider appeal, it’s more approachable to new cider drinkers and it sits at an even step down in sweetness from the Sex Machine to the Perth now this whereas the Version One was two or three steps drier. Perhaps something even drier is in the works?
Which do I prefer? Version One, hands-down winner. If you are a beer drinker that has dismissed cider in the past, wake up and smell the Funk Saison Cider. Better than that taste the dam thing. it’s bloody good.
However, the commercial reality is that Funk Cider need to sell units and the Mark II is going to have wider appeal outside of cider geeks like me. It’s just different to any other saison cider out here with the big fruity hit. I’ve liked the Perth and Sex Machine Cider but If I get the chance to visit the Funk Farm, the Funk Saison Cider is the pint I’m ordering its my favourite of the range.
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