Hey! Welcome to Part 1 of The Pint Sized Review feat. Courtney Raffaele! You can find her on Instagram and as well as her own blog “words are for writers.” Go check her stuff out and she’ll make you feel beautiful! The results of our get-together was recorded on her podcast called “this is my podcast” and will be coming out soon! It’s a delicious mess and swear the more I drink. 

Still hope you’re proud of me, Mom.

Courtnasty, as I like to call her, can’t drink beer.

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She strangely doesn’t like tasting the same beer twice.

But honestly, she has an allergic reaction to it. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s bad and I’m not dealing with that shit (literally). What she CAN drink, however, is hard cider. And luckily for us, Michigan is full of some amazing cider mills and host to some of the best apples in the world! So, we popped the caps of a few bottles and got to business.

We realized that we don’t like each other all that much so we brought our significant others: my wife, Kate, and Court’s fiance, Dominic.

Blake’s Cider Flannel Mouth

Flannel Mouth Sign

We had three different ciders from Blake’s Hard Cider in Armada, MI. Truth be told, I’ve had quite a bit from them and they’ve yet to disappoint me.

Our first pint from Blake’s was Flannel Mouth! This cider is claimed to be made with hand-picked apples from late season pickings and dessert apples. A flagship classic cider.

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Security footage of the field workers at the orchard. It’s a living. 

When poured, it looks like super dehydrated pee. When I go to concerts I fast and dehydrate myself, and when I finally peepee afters singing my lungs out to Foo Fighters, this is what it looks like.

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This is a family website, perv.

Dominic: Flannel Mouth? Is that like, Michigan Cottonmouth?

After the midterms it most certainly is.

Smelling this cider it smells like an apple pie. I know, cliché but that’s what it smells like and I’m holding to that. Like, it would be good if you rimmed the glass with some caramel sauce. Oh man, that’d be delicious.

Tasting this, it tastes exactly how it smells! Like you took apples, bashed them apart, and let them rot for a while in a fermenter and drank it. Solid cider that tastes great and would probably do really well with a dash of caramel. Or cinnamon. Oh dang. 

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The mouthfeel of this is very thin, which isn’t a bad thing. If you’re drinking something as sweet as this you want to be able to stomach it well. But that’s the thing, I felt like I could drink four of five of these very easily. 10 points to Griffindor.

I’d pair this with a corn maze and a petting zoo.

 

Blake’s Cider Rosé

This next one on the list is-

*Kate interrupts* THEY SHOULD CALL THIS PINKY CUZ IT’S PINK.

… I agree, Honey.

Rose

This next pint we decided to dive into was also by Blake’s Cider and was called the Rosé! It poured a translucent pink and looked a lot like a Cosmopolitan or a, would you have it, rose wine. They said that it was made with strawberries and rose hips, and I’m interested to try it.

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Girls! The vodka has to go IN the drink first! You have to… whatever. Hand me one, too. 

The aroma of this cider was less cider and more so a very mild wine scent. Not vinegary, but a sweet and mild wine that-

*Kate interrupts again* I WANNA DRINK THIS WHILE RELAXING IN A POOL FLOATY SHAPED LIKE A UNICORN.

… I agree, Honey.

Going in for the sip, at first I… honestly couldn’t taste anything. It just felt cold. Like watered down rose water with no aftertaste to speak of. I actually felt very disappointed upon the first sips.

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When I find a drink I can’t identify with.

Here’s the thing about all sorts of brewed beverages though. You ever drink Coors? You know how they say to drink it, “Cold as the Rockies?” That’s marketing. You see, mass-produced beers such as that are typically served at very, very cold temperatures to help mask the flavor profiles as they are made with cheaper and lesser-quality ingredients (I’ve written before how it’s unrealistic to make such large quantities of beer with the best ingredients and still hope to achieve a delicious flavor for a low price point). Notice how when your beer warms up, it starts to taste malty and flat and like a corn smoothie. The flavors start to come out as the drink warms up a bit (partly why nobody wants to drink warm, cheap beer).

As the cider warmed up in my hands, I started to get a much stronger flavor profile. Like the strawberries and the rose hips did a bunch of benchpresses and ‘roids to bulk up and kick my ass. And I liked it (Editor’s note: please don’t kick my ass. I will not like it).

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I’ve been pushing too many pencils.

With the bolder flavors, it made me realize just how over-the-top the Flannel Mouth was and how not all ciders are so in-your-face with sweetness. This is much more of a segue into ciders than Flannel Mouth was. Milder, more subtle, and would be really badass to drink on a unicorn floaty.

This is a great cider, but I’d argue that it’s certainly more of a wine in flavor and feel. And at 6.9%, you’ll, like, can’t even.

I recommend pairing this with sitting in an English garden, rich housewives, Yeti branded bottles and The North Face.

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