Happy Friday the 13th! Today I thought it’d be fun to recount the 13 ciders I have tried over the past 6-1/2 months at my local cidery called Nine Pine Cider. They have (for the past few years) done a 26er challenge where you sign up to try and drink 26 new cider releases throughout the year. They release a new cider every 2 weeks and you have those 2 weeks to get to the cider tasting room in downtown Albany to try the cider (and get a hole punch).
I had heard about it and was very interested but over the past few years I have been so busy traveling I thought “why sign up for something I can’t follow through with?” That was until a few friends decided to also sign up for it. Even I need accountability so I figured ok, let’s do this! If completed you get some sweet perks at the end of the year and for life! Here’s to hoping we make it.
Everyone likes a challenge right? Well Nine Pin is smart and realized this, the cool thing is that every cider you buy some of the profits get donated to the Adirondack Mountain Club which supports the Adirondack Mountains, I’m into that. The other cool thing is that it encourages me (and my friends) to get out into Albany a bit more. I definitely have not always been exploring Albany since moving here but feel as though this challenge has made me get out there and not let Albany be boring.
Anywho, there are 26 ciders to be drank this year and we have just finished #13, soon to be 14 this weekend. Sounds like we are on our way to crush this challenge!
Oh, We’re Halfway There!
That’s right, it’s been over 13 weeks and we’ve made it to 13/13 ciders this year. I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself. I talk about consistency and encourage all of my clients to just stay the course and stick to the plan but I have to say even for me it can be a challenge, no matter what the task at hand. This task is fun but honestly there should be so many reasons why I can’t.
Here’s the thing, most of the time you make those reasons and it’s on you to decide if they are reason enough to stop you. If you prioritize whatever it is you want to accomplish, you almost always will (within reason). So without further ado let’s check out the 13 ciders that I’ve had the pleasure to taste.
1: Blueberry Pancakes
Nine Pin, you started the 26er challenge off with a bang. The Blueberry Pancake flavor was and still is one of my favorites. As you probably know I love berries but for some reason I thought I wouldn’t like this because it would be too sweet. Good news, it was not too sweet and was just so tasty and smooth. Cheers and Bottoms Up!
2: Crimson Crab
One of those that was good but was just not memorable. I’d drink it again but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it. it was made with Crabapples and unfiltered to provide a sharp and dry flavor, sounds like most general ciders to me, next!
3: Blackberry Nectar
I love berries, they’re my favorite fruit (sorry, broken record). I wish this was sold in cans, just going to throw that out there. Give me ALL the berries, all the time. Not as sweet as one would think, nice and tart and pretty dry. GIVE ME MORE!
4: Honey Hop
Oh this one, yeah we brought snacks because we were hungry. The cool thing is that Nine Pin now has some food on their menu and they usually have Cider Belly donuts and/or some local scones. However, we decided we’d bring our own snacks, because we are always hungry. This Honey Hop was good, but not a stand out in my book, just a standard cider, clearly the snacks stand out more.
5: Perry Cherry
This was a great day. We had learned to curl earlier in the day and decided to keep the party going by meeting at Nine Pin to get the latest and greatest cider. Pink-A-Boo was quite delicious, however, I wish it had been more pink in color 🙂 A Pink-A-Boo apple apparently has the skin of a granny smith with a bright red flesh interior, which is pretty dang cool. After we enjoyed this we finished the evening at Druthers in Albany for a dinner with friends and a lot of laughs.
7: Black Currant
8: Matcha Melon
Oh this one was interesting. I got a small sample of this flavor as I thought I might not like it. With the first taste, I was still convinced I didn’t like it and then after a few I realized it wasn’t that bad. I like green tea and matcha but have to say I usually am not a fan of honey dew or canteloupe. It’s a drink I’d have a sample of again but not sure I’d drink an entire glass, next!
9: Super Ginger
I absolutely LOVE the color of this one, which should come to no surprise to you if you know me. I love Nine Pin’s ginger cider so it’s no surprise I also enjoyed their Super Ginger. This one was also flavored with beets, hence the pink color. If I had to choose I’d pick the normal ginger but this one was still pretty good.
10: Hop of the Forest
Oh this might have been one of my favorites. While some of them blend together, this one was not one of them. A lot of hoppiness, some hints of grapefruit and just full of flavor. We got a small one here because it was before Murph Monday, and I didn’t want to have any regrets doing that long workout. After all, these Nine Pin ciders are not low on the ABV front.
11: Two Spies
The name of this one is amazing, it makes me think that 2 spies are going to pop out of my cider. For this one, I got a small taster glass because I had a competition the next morning. We also had dogs with us (not mine) so it was a little chaotic but I’ll never complain about dogs and time with friends.
We somehow convinced all of our friends to swing by for this one on a Tuesday night. My friends and I are starting to be inseparable and co-dependent, I wonder if Nine Pin has noticed yet…I digress, the plum was peppery with a fruity finish of sorts. Not my favorite but pretty dang good.
13: Cherry Slice
This might be one of my favorites but it could also be because I LOVE cherries. It was tart and refreshing. We stopped by to taste this one after we had dinner at Ama Cocina down the road a few miles. On this night me and my 3 other friends were wearing matching hats, because, why not. We even made Gabby (the girl that puts up with us at Nine Pin) try one on and we then got asked if we were in a girl band. Guess what, we aren’t, and you don’t want us to be because we CANNOT sing.
Phew! That was a lot of cider!
The good news is we are on to Week 14 this week. I figure at the end of the year i’ll bring you the rest of the 13 ciders as a means of entertainment but also accountability. I love that this challenge donates to the Adirondack Mountain Club as I love getting up to the Adirondacks and enjoying all their beauty. I also love that it makes me get out into the community with friends and explore a bit.
Would love to hear from you and what you do in your town/city to enjoy all it has to offer!