I’m pretty excited about this cider review. Not only is New England Cider Company one of the newest names in the Australian Cider industry they are also from my region of New South Wales. This makes their first cider, the Ice Breaker, as far as I can tell, the most northern cider in Australia.
I had a good chat with Sam Watson the Co-Founder of New England Cider Company about his new Ice Breaker cider
What’s the history of The New England Cider Company?
I have a wine making background. I have a wine consultancy business and I run a wine blog called thevinogeek.com.au
I was doing some consultancy for Sean and Kassy Cassidy of the Merilba Winery, when the idea of doing a cider came up. As we talked more, it became and a better idea. So the first batch was made at the Merilba Winery.
Tell me about the ice breaker. It’s made from Granny Smiths is that a flavour or a supplier decision?
So what your tasting is our first batch of a limited release cider most of the apples are from Stanthorpe in South East Queensland [the very top end of the New England region]. We wanted to show off the fruit. We wanted the Ice Breaker to be true to the Granny Smith apples. The 2014 season was a pretty small crop so sourcing apples was a challenge and we were lucky to get some apples from Stanthorpe.
Ice Breaker is a limited edition bottle conditioned Cider. So you will notice a lot of bubbles early on, but they will settle down to a constant fine bubble soon after.
New England climate can be quite varied. How do you think it affects the apples?
It’s actually a very similar climate to Adelaide hills. The apples from the warmer parts tend to be much sweeter, as they have had more time in the sun to develop. The fruit from the cooler parts tend to be a little smaller and lower in sugar but they bring their own set of flavours. We plan to blend the two together. The high sugar will create more alcohol and sweetness while the cold climate fruit will bring the flavour.
We may experiment with some flavoured ciders. We want to play with flavours that work with apples maybe some spices like cinnamon.
The New England region once had many orchards. Today many of them have been lost, bulldozed to make way for cattle grazing. There are a few orchards still out there. They’re what we call “Wild Orchards”. We would like to use these apples in the same way as grapes in wine: single estate, single vintage. It’s going to show case New England’s fruit and the terrior of the orchard. This will be in the form of a Methode Traditionalle cider in a 750ml bottle. The challenge may be identifying what is growing in the wild orchards, there may be something unique hidden in there.
As a raw and furiously bubbly cider leaves the 500ml bottle and enters my pint glass. My face is sprayed with that smell of sun-baked hay and crisp fresh Granny Smiths
This is a showcase of everything that comes to mind when you think Granny Smiths. Crisp, fresh, juicy.
The Ice Breaker, just like its ocean fairing names sake, is powerful and unapologetic. Powerful amounts of the Granny Smith acid and cloudiness that simple doesn’t care what you think.
The Bubbles start off so aggressive but by the half pint mark they have calmed down and by the end of the pint, it’s just a small, fine bead.
Lingering acidity keeps delivering until your ready for the next sip. Although at nearly 8% you want to space out those sips. With an alcohol level that high, it just starts to become noticeable not just in the taste but also in your ability to start conversations with girls well outside your league.
Final Thoughts on The Ice Breaker
I don’t know what I’m more excited about. Is it the Ice Breaker with its unapologetic bold acidity and its rolling effervescence?. Or what’s coming next?.
If New England Cider Co and pull off a nice dry single orchard, single vintage methode traditionalle cider I will be serious impressed and first in line to grab a bottle.
Back to the Ice Breaker. This is their first commercial attempt at a cider. They have nailed a cider that shows off those Granny Smiths like a champ, It’s going to only be sold in New England and east to the coast. It’s a very small batch so it won’t last long. If you’re travelling though the area it’s well worth keeping an eye out for.
|Company||New England Cider Company|
|Country of Origin||Australia|
|Region||New England Region, New South Wales|