Turning our attention to a Brut(e) of a cider by Lobo Cider. The first time I reviewed a Lobo it was just a bit too sweet for me. Now I get to review Norman by Lobo, their “European” style bottle conditioned dry cider. If I can stop admiring the artwork on the bottle I might lift the cap.

LOBO Norman Cider ReviewLobo was started by Warwick, born and bred in deepest darkest Somerset. Warwick grew up picking and fermenting apples in the local orchards.

The other half of Lobo is Michael, a fifth generation apple grower. Now plying his trade in the Adelaide Hills.

Chatting with Warrick we talked about food pairing. Warrick didn’t buy much into the theory of recommending foods to match with his ciders. He prefers people just go out and experiment. But he did acknowledge the classic pairing of a dry cider and cheese. The 2 styles of West Country Cider and cheddar cheese were developed together; they will naturally complement each other.

Conversely to this, Warrick is seeing a lot of bottles of Norman being snapped up by Chinese restaurants. The 750ml bottle is easy to split and share over some duck pancakes.

Lobo is bringing on more and more traditional cider apple varieties. This should give them more room to experiment and trace their Somerset roots. A black label may be the result of this. Lobo are also experimenting with apple and pear ciders matured in oak barrels. I’m most interested in a keeved cider currently in the works, something we haven’t seen much of in Australia to date.

The Nose

Lobo’s Norman has a certain dunk mustiness about it, cut with a phenolic sharpness.

The Taste

Proper thick tannins Somerset treat. Those tannins are dry and cutting. You wouldn’t need a cheese knife to get though a lump of cheddar with Norman around. There is nothing that resembles an apple off the shelf in Woolworths. Why would there be? This is almost exclusive from old English cider apples. We’re talking your classic: Kingston Blacks, Yarlington Mill, Sunset Red Streak and the wonderfully named Winter Banana.

Being a bottle conditioned cider I was expecting a bigger bead in the fizz. Norman has surprisingly tight little bubbles. Maybe they’re tiny because they are fighting to get thick cloudy cider.

Final Thoughts on Norman

Lobo calls Norman a European cider. I’m guessing that means it has both English and French influence. I can’t say that there is anything that I relate as French in Norman but as for the English. Well that wolf on the bottle is more pommie than a British Bulldog in a union jack raincoat.

Norman is a challenge to the conventional Aussie cider, we’re so used to seeing light, spritzy semi sweet ciders. This has a big aroma and a bold taste. The ciders apples used here add so much more depth. I drank the cider by itself, it was crying out for some food to go along with it. I think you could have some fun playing with some combination there.

Product Norman, Brute Cloudy Cider
Company Lobo Juice and Cider
Sweetness Off Dry
Alc/Vol 8.1%
Website loboapple.com
Country of Origin Australia
Region Adelaide Hills, South Australia