From the website: “RedStreak is a proper English style draft cider. With its hazy lemon hue, scent of ripe apples and just a touch of oak, RedStreak has a crisp, tart finish that pairs perfectly with your favorite mature cheddar. First discovered in Herefordshire in the 1630s, the Redstreak bittersharp apple produced a cider so delicious it was deemed to be ‘fit for kings.’ Whether paired or on its own, RedStreak Cider is your next drink.“
- Appearance: Bright, Straw
- Aroma: Fresh Apple, Caramel, Spice, Oak, Melon, Peach
- Taste: Fresh Apple, Caramel, Spice, Oak
Background: Greg Hall, formally from Goose Island Brewing, is a former beer guru turned cider evangelist. After tasting Real Cider in Europe over ten years ago, Greg was hooked on what was quickly to become his new obsession. After he sold Goose Valley last year, Greg was finally able to realize his dream of making great Real Cider in Michigan. 6 weeks in England & France, and a 2 week internship at Domaine Dupont later, Greg was ready to cut his teeth in the cider business. From all information, Virtue has had one helluva year and is quickly taking over the Michigan & Chicago cider-market while adding new fans of cider along the way.
First Taste is: Delicious! The nose of this cider is of caramel, fresh apple, fruit (I noticed melon and peach) and finally a slight oakiness. It pours a 1/4″ mousse that subsides quickly. It starts clean and crisp and moves to a gentle tart bite with a balanced muted oak finish. There is a great balanced combination of fresh apple and oak that adds to the allure of this luscious tasting off-dry cider.
What’s in it? Apples & Sulfites. Nothing weird…Just the good stuff.
Overall: This is definitely a cider that is right up my alley. However, I was a little nervous trying this cider. There’s a lot of buzz about Virtue Cider and I was worried that perhaps the hype wouldn’t hold up to the expectations in my mind. Boy was I wrong. There’s a lot going on with this cider that makes it top-notch; The nose is fruity with caramel and is followed up with a balanced taste of fresh apple and oak. Speaking of oak, RedSteak has just the right amount, which marries with the fresh apple tones for a subtle layer of complexity. It really adds to the allure of this seductive cider. It doesn’t happen all that often, but RedSteak meets the hype and then some.
Would I buy it again? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Where to get it? I got this one sent to me from a friend and understand that this cider can only be found on tap. For a full listing look here.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
X-factor: Virtue Cider makes two other ciders; Lapinette, A French style cider and The Mitten, a bourbon barreled winter cider. If RedStreak is any indication as to the quality of the other ciders from Virtue, I’d be searching these out right away.
Full Disclosure: I was fortunate enough to have this sent to me by my friend Eric West at ciderguide.com. Eric is a fellow cider-nerd, Certified Cicerone, BJCP Judge, Registar at GLINTCAP, as well as writing his book (The Cider Guide) that’s soon to be published. Eric knows his cider.