Specifically what we have on the table today is Stassen Cidre Brut and Cidre Cuvee Rose, two choices from the premium brewer based in Belgium.
If you’ve not heard of Stassen, that’s OK, but keep them in mind because I think you’ll be seeing bottles of this around especially in summer this year. The family brand has been around since 1895 but is now owned by Heineken, so it’s much more accessible than days gone by.
To start with I sampled the Cidre Brut, a crisp and very dry cider that has a fair amount of fiz and a sharpness to match. The bottle has an air of premium design and feel about it, and who doesn’t love a caged cork to add to the theatre and spectacle of any tipple?
There’s an injection of pear juice in this cider to add to the depth of flavour, but overall the taste is subtle yet refreshing. The bottle design and carbonation in the cider match the champagne notes and I don’t think this was a coincidence. In the end, this dry cider is a great choice for anyone looking for a premium option to match with food, or who doesn’t have a sweet tooth.
Following on from the Brut is the Cuvee Rose, this time it’s a sweeter drink, with a punchier flavour and colour thanks to the red flesh apples used. Again it’s kept in champagne-esk bottle to maintain that premium look and feel, and it certainly works for me.
The cider is perhaps more enjoyable for the bigger demographic of casual cider drinkers thanks to its gentle sweetness. It’s definitely more refined than other sweet fruity ciders, and the faint cherry notes add a touch of interest to the palate.
Both options will be wonderful paired with food; think bbq’s and salads in the garden during summer, and if you’re looking for an option somewhere between the two, then try the third choice on offer, the Grand Cru. All are available online or at your local supermarket for around £7 for a 750ml bottle.