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SIDRA MAYADOR: A CIDER JUDGE'S ASSESSMENT

CIDER BLOG

SIDRA MAYADOR: A CIDER JUDGE'S ASSESSMENT

Mark McTavish

Sidra Mayador: A Cider Judge’s Assessment

by Brian Trout

 

Yes. I am professional Beer, Mead, and Cider Judge. No, I don’t simply hang out and drink. Yes, it is a real thing. Yes, I have certifications to do this. Yes, it was not easy. I had to study a lot, take some pretty difficult exams, receive sensory trainings, and do many blind tastings in order to get the certifications. Yes, it is fun work. It is also a continual education that I have to stay up on almost daily in order to keep improving. Judging Competitions, Brewing (Beers, Ciders, and Meads), and Drinking with Judge Friends are three of the favorite ways to never stop learning.

 

Recently, I had the honor of judging all the entries for Ciders of Spain at the largest professional competition, 2016 GLINTCAP (Great Lakes Cider and Perry) with two kindred spirits in cider; Brian Rutzen – Owner and Operator of The Northman Cider Bar in Chicago and Jeremy Van Sice –  Cider and Mead Maker from Bee Well Meadery in Michigan.

 

During (this and other) competitions, judges only know very basic info and have zero knowledge of what cider we are given. This keeps things fair and unbiased. Glasses containing a smidge of cider get plopped down in front of us with a short description like, “Entry 3765. Still Spanish Cider.” Then with noses, eyes, mouths we assessed and wrote for a few minutes. We signaled we have finished by putting our pens down and raising our heads. A short chat ensues to assure that we had a we reached a consensus score. -- This is the part where you can have a small debate if your scores differ by a handful of points. If you find your scores are way off, then this becomes a larger debate. However, there was no debates to be had as the three of us were spot-on in our individual assessments and point scores. 

 

Later it was revealed at the awards ceremony that those ciders were from Mayador and we awarded them a whopping 45 point score! Those of you out there in internet-land who might be BJCP judges will understand what this almost unheard of score means. Those who are not, that point score is described as “Outstanding: World-Class example of the style.” at the bottom of the judging sheet.

 

Mayador has been making Sidra in Asturias since 1939. Their experience and tradition shows in the Sidras that they craft.

 

I’d like to share my “blind” judging assessment from these two “Outstanding” Mayador Sidras as it reveals my unbiased and untainted first try in this highly focused judging environment.

 

 

Sidra Mayador – Mayador Sidra Natural

 

Appearance:

Pale Gold with Orangey Hues, Hazy, Still Carbonation Level.

 

Bouquet/Aroma:

Vanilla, Coconut, Wood Lignins (Oaky), Ripe Apricots, Nectarines, Woody, Chalky, Fruity Olives (not brine), and some Low Basement Funk.

 

Flavor:

Acetic character is Low, Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, Wet Leather, Sea Salt, Fresh Bailed Hay (Sweet Grass), Fresh Olives.

 

Overall Impression:

Great! Excellent! A well-made cider.

 

45/50

Won Gold Medal for Spanish Cider at GLINTCAP 2016

Won Best in Category for Old World Cider at GLINTCAP 2016

 

 

Sidra Mayador – Mayador Sidra Espumante

 

Appearance:

Golden Sunset Color, Brilliant Clarity, Sparkling - Very High Carbonation.

 

Bouquet/Aroma:

Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Pears, Clover, Geranium, Rose Water. Soft, Round. Voluptuous.

 

Flavor:

Pears, Rounded Mouthfeel, Wildflower Honey, Clover Tips, Honeysuckle Blossoms, Soft Sweetness, Tannins on the Finish are Velvety.

 

Overall Impression:

Velvety Texture and Sweetness. Very well-made. Awesome!

 

45/50

Won Gold Medal for Spanish Cider at GLINTCAP 2016

WRITTEN BY: BRIAN TROUT, FORMERLY OF HALF PINT CIDERS