Historically, I probably would’ve said that my all-time favorite Crispin would have to be Glover.
But after today, I’m afraid that Willard no longer owns quite as much real estate in my heart as he once did. Sorry dude – I didn’t actually expect this to happen. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve now tried Lansdowne by the folks at Crispin Cider and I’m impressed.
Fuck that, I’m blown away.
I snagged Lansdowne from the shelves of my local beer-dealer because I was lured in by its appearance. I ain’t no liar, and I can admit when visual aesthetics win me over. There’s something elegant, mayhaps even classy, about the 22-ounce container. Maybe it’s the black label or the little tree logo or the use of simple typography – whites and golds, print and script. But if I had to toss money on it, I’d say that it’s the interrelationships, the gropings and moanings in a darkened room bathed in auditory-lubrication, between all of the above that sold me. Looking at the bottle, it looks urbane as hell.
I’ll be damned if I can’t imagine Don Draper taking a rip from a bottle of Lansdowne.
So what is Lansdowne? Well, it’s apparently a member of the “Artisanal Reserves” line, which is Crispin’s attempt to up the ante in the cider-realm. In their words,
The Artisanal Reserves use racked unfiltered apple wine, fermented from fresh pressed apple juice, never from concentrate, and smoothed with novel organic natural sugars, such as honey or maple syrup. The unfiltered nature of the apple wine leaves a rich apple sediment in the bottom of every bottle, a true treat in a hurried world, every bottle should have a “Bottoms-Up!” tilt and swirl before opening to ensure even dispersion of the sediment and a fair sharing of the complex flavors. Good to the last drop.
After pouring the potable into a standard drinking glass, I took a liberal whiff. I detected an aroma that was sweet, but tempered. While I didn’t explicitly pick up on any fragrances of alcohol, my guess is that its inclusion prevents the beverage from entering the world of the saccharine.
Straight up – Lansdowne smells pretty much like soft cider.
Without much carbonation or bite, it pretty much tastes like cider, too. But dranking it all down, I got the impression that the brewers also wanted to conjure up memories of yesteryear’s apple-treats. At one point, my palette was overcome by caramel sensations, making me long for days of uninhibited food-sex with Paul Prudhomme:
But at other points, I also tasted a bready-element. It made me feel as though I were in my mom’s kitchen on an autumn Sunday, warm and fuzzy and ready to dig into the apple tart she’d been baking. Crispin Cider clearly knows that the intersection of nostalgia and inebriation is a lucrative spot.
Hell – who doesn’t want to pair family memories with a solid buzz?
Additionally, I’m impressed that the Lansdowne label actually includes nutrition facts. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the nutritional value (or lack thereof) quantified on a liquor label before. Not that I blame the manufacturers, of course — without obligation, what incentive do brewers have for explaining their products’ (lack of) nutritional value. With that being said, I think that the inclusion of said figures is honest, noble, and worth commending.
Lansdowne is a beverage worth consuming, touting a robust flavor that reveals itself in various ways. In fact, the only complaint I have about my dranking experience is that we’re at the tail-end of August, whereas the apple-stout stylings seem best suited for October. But I’ll make sure to pound this brew during next year’s OCTOBERFEAST.
Lansdowne, progeny of Crispin Cider, you’ve earned this mark: A