Welcome back to Tavern Time where Christy ( a craft beer connoisseur) and I (a craft beer noob and trash beer drinker) review random craft beers that catch our eye. For this entry we were trying to appease the CEO of Tavern of Tales, Nick, by finding a nice sour since he likes them quite a bit. Unfortunately, nothing really caught our eye, so we settled for a cider from Stormalong--a first for Tavern Time. I ended up choosing this entry because it had a sea serpent and the word “whiskey” on it. But as always, before we get to the review, let’s talk about Stormalong Cider.
So, Stormalong Cider was founded in 2014, and for a while had operated out of a farm in Sherborn, MA. The ideology for the cider was to restore a once prominent tradition within Sherborn: ciders. See, back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Sherborn was known for its large cider mills and would export “champagne cider” over to England and other international sites. Though Sherborn had the world’s largest refined cidery, due to the prohibition, cider making had died out in Sherborn. With their use of heirloom apples and passion for a variety of flavor profiles, Stormalong wants to put Sherborn back on the map. And with their knack of obscure history, even their name is influenced by lesser-known American Folklore: Captain Alfred Bulltop Stormalong. Anyways, let’s get to the review.
PROLOGUE: Is this a collaboration?
Christy: So what are we reviewing today?
JP: The Grand Banks by-
Nick: A collaboration specifically
JP: With, uh, Stormalong and Bully Boy.
Christy: Is this really a collaboration? I think Bully Boy just provided the barrels, but I don’t think they did anything else.
JP: Well, they made the whiskey that was in the barrels and then used for the cider.
Nick: Well, in the song, Apologize by One Republic, for some reason it features the other guy. Did he do anything for the song? No. But still it’s a collaboration.
Christy: So are you saying collaboration is a loose word?
JP: Ahem. Uh. Timbaland. He produced the song. He remixed it and made it into the top charting bop it is today.
Christy: Timbaland’s awesome.
Christy: Okay, but on their website it said that it was a fresh whiskey barrel, so I don’t know if that means that it didn’t have whiskey in it yet, if it was the barrel before whiskey or if it was like fresh whiskey just came out of it. I’ve got questions.
Nick: Well I still think it’s a collaboration anyways. I mean, you don’t know if it’s only Stormalong’s cider recipe. Maybe Bully Boy had something to do with it.
VERDICT: It’s a collaboration, but not in the way Nick thought it was. Grand Banks cider is stored within fresh whiskey barrels, i.e. freshly dumped of whiskey likely with residue left over, so that it can bask in the flavor of whiskey.
Christy: I like the can.
Christy: I like the color and the fonts.
JP: I like the sea serpent on the can. I wanna say that it’s Nessy, but of course it’s not. It’s not Nessy shaped.
Christy: It’s very reminiscent of whalers.
JP: Yeah. Wait. Ehhhhh.
JP: Whalers aren’t cool.
JP: Let’s not talk about whalers.
Christy: People who whale?
JP: They kill too many whales.
Christy: That was a huge industry in this part of the country.
JP: I know. And I’m glad it’s done with.
Christy: The cidery was named after a whaler.
Christy: Mhm. A.B. Stormalong.
JP: Oh. A real life whaler?
Christy: Yeah. He’s that guy.
FACT CHECK: A.B. Stormalong is a folk hero and was the subject of many maritime tall tales. He’s not confirmed to be real.
JP: I was really just hoping he was just named after Ahab.
Christy: He’s not, but he liked his cider.
JP: I just wish everything was a literary reference. Like Moby Dick cider.
Christy: There’s Moby Dick brewery. It’s in New Bedford.
JP: Okay. Let’s talk about the taste.
Christy: It tastes like whiskey. And it smells just like Jack Daniels.
Christy: Sweet whiskey.
Nick: Oh wow, it does have a little whiskey taste to it.
Christy: It’s boozy.
Nick: I like it.
Christy: It’s like sweet whiskey, which I don’t actually like. Also I don’t really like cider. I don’t think I could drink this whole thing.
JP: Aw, what a shame.
Christy: Anyways, it’s gluten free, not from concentrate, no sugar added. Freshly pressed apples. Oh and it’s between dry and medium dry.
Nick: It’s pretty strong, I have to just sip at this.
Christy: Yeah, it kinda warms the stomach like whiskey. I don’t know if a lot of cider people would like this though. Cause it’s real dry.
JP: I don’t know. I think a lot of actual cider fans would like it dry.
Christy: But the most popular ciders are the sugary sweet ones like Angry Orchard.
JP: Yeah, but I feel as though those are popular because just anyone drinks them, and not people who exclusively drink cider. Like one of my friends, she has an allergy to gluten, so she doesn’t really drink beer. Cider’s one of her go to’s and she doesn’t care for the sugary ones. She prefers it dry.
Nick: Yeah I feel like my girlfriend really likes drinking ciders because they’re sweet and they don’t really have a strong alcohol taste. I feel like this would be a good medium, because she doesn’t like to drink straight whiskey, but this kind of has the whiskey taste without any of whiskey burn.
JP: Whiskey burns?
Christy: Yeah. It makes you feel all warm inside. It’s like a blanket for your insides.
JP: Whiskey just makes me feel...like I exist.
*cut to Christy eyeroll*
Nick: Whenever I drink whiskey it just burns a trail of flames down my throat. But I wanna learn how to drink whiskey. Maybe I just can’t.
Christy: Maybe you can’t, but it makes you feel all warm and cozy.
JP: But y’know, this has a weird aftertaste.
Nick: A little.
JP: And the taste just feels like nothingness as it does down.
Nick: It’s like a unique taste compared to other ciders.
JP: See, for me, it doesn’t taste that sweet. That’s why I like it.
Christy: Well it’s not as sweet a like a lot of other ciders, but it’s still sweeter than beer.
JP: Yeah, so it’s not that sweet. You can taste a bit of the whiskey. The cider isn’t pungent. The taste is crisp.
Christy: As ciders tend to be.
JP: Is this Tavern of Tales approved?
JP: What do you mean, eugh?
Nick: I’d have it once.
Christy: I’d rather carry something else by Stormalong.
JP: So you’d want it in a rotation? A one time rotation.
Nick: Yeah. A one time rotation. Maybe when we do a game about whaling.
JP: Or...it could just be a game related to ships...since whaling isn’t cool.
VERDICT: We never deemed it Tavern of Tales approved or otherwise.