While I fully intend to review a wide variety of ciders, the fact that 50% of my current submissions have focused on Graft Cider undermines those intentions a bit. I’ve only recently become acquainted with Graft, but their wide variety of unusual offerings has piqued my curiosity and I find myself searching for their ciders whenever I’m out shopping. So when I recently stumbled upon “Where Secrets Lie” at my local co-op, I was really excited.
Not only does Graft feature unusual flavors, they focus just as much creativity on their labels as they do on the production of their cider. The “Where Secrets Lie” label presents what appears to be the same characters from their “Endless Fields” label, a rural 19th century couple engaged in what at first glance seems to be a romantic boat ride. But a closer look reveals a disturbing scene in the depths of the water beneath them, where a skeleton and a sunken boat lie submerged for all eternity.
The playfully dark scene depicted on the can contrasts nicely with the light and fruity nature of the cider. This is a wild yeast fermented beverage, which imparts to it a very dry, traditional farmhouse cider quality. When I poured it, I was instantly struck by its maroon color, which matches the label almost perfectly. It’s fairly effervescent and the bitterness of the cider can almost be smelled as well as tasted. Although its ingredients include “hibiscus, rose petals, lavendar [sic], (and) pink sea salt,” I had trouble discerning them. I think they mostly serve to contribute to the maroon color of this cider and provide only a very slight floral overtone. The somewhat heavy bitterness and moderate sourness mask whatever other more subtle flavors might be present here. There’s also a lingering aftertaste that’s mildly cloying and unpleasant, similar to the aftereffects of a dose of grape Robitussin. At 6.9% abv, this cider is moderately potent.
I wanted to enjoy “Where Secrets Lie”, but it’s inspired and promising ingredients ended up failing to impress. Although this may not have been my best experience with Graft Cider, I’ll definitely be checking out their many other products. I appreciate a company that’s bold enough to take risks in the name of creativity even if it may end up being at the expense of sales.