Some of my favorite ciders, like Woodchuck or Downeast, are sold in containers with very basic designs. I’ve always thought these companies’ inattention to artistic details was a positive sign. They’re so busy making delicious ciders that they don’t have the time to focus on such picayune details as the quality of the artwork on their cans and bottles. So whenever I come across a beverage that features a highly creative label, I’m instantly skeptical. How terrible must this cider be that its creators focused so much attention on the can? In the case of Graft Ciders Endless Fields, my worries were completely unfounded.
The Endless Fields label features what at first appears to be an idyllic portrait of 19th century rural life, apparently a time when fields stretched to the horizon and animals serenely mingled with humans. But upon closer inspection, it appears that the woman shooting an arrow into the distance isn’t attempting to hunt these animals, but is instead trying to kill a hapless farmer.
Putting this troubling tableaux out of my mind, I turned my attention to the ingredients list. This cider has a lot going on. To begin with it’s a radler, featuring a likely 50-50 mix of gose and cider. Graft attempted to enhance the natural sourness of the gose by adding elderflower, coriander, lemon zest and especially grapefruit zest. After taking my first sip and instantly puckering my mouth as though I had consumed an entire pack of SweeTarts at once, I found that they had succeeded. This cider is by far the most sour I’ve ever tasted. But it’s flavor profile doesn’t end there. It’s not only tart but moderately spicy, almost like a strong ginger beer. And though it’s unhopped, there are definite hoppy notes, possibly from the coriander. Endless Fields is also notable in its smell and appearance. When I first started pouring, it appeared there had been a mistake and that a can of Country Time lemonade had been mislabeled. But the strong floral and citrus smell quickly disavowed me of that notion. With an ABV of 6.9%, this is also a relatively strong cider, which is readily evident after taking one sip.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Endless Fields. Many ciders with a plethora of ingredients lack balance and are usually overwhelmed by a specific flavor. But Graft did a very nice job of choosing ingredients that complement each other and combine to create an extremely unique taste. I will definitely be trying this one again!