Cheers - November 2015

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 34 of 51 35 November/December 2015 • use it in broths and the same ways you would cook with beer or wine, Harvey notes. Cider has similar sweetness and acids, but with a lower ABV, it does not flame out like wine. Reed's American Table in St. Louis boasts a novel-length menu that includes everything from beer, wine and absinthe to gourmet coffee and a handful of ciders. "It's still a small part of what we're doing," says advanced sommelier/beverage director Andrey Ivanov of cider. "It's something we have to hand-sell." But after Reed's employees open up a bottle of premium cider, and pour out a sample, customers are surprised at the taste and quickly become interested. Orders typically come from two types of patrons, Ivanov explains: those who already enjoy cider, or wine drinkers who want to try something new. Not as many craft beer fans have crossed over into cider yet at Reed's, he notes. Among the bottle offerings is the sparkling Cidre Bouche ($11 for a 375-ml.), from Dupont in France, where the elevation is too high to grow grapes. Ivanov recommends matching this cider with Reed's roasted pork belly with shaved brussels, shiitakes, leeks, carrot and maple-date jus ($12). EXTREME APPLES With cider drinkers tending towards the adventurous, Reed's includes a few curveballs on their menu. The Bordatto "Basandare" from French Basque country is a blend of a whopping 38 apples. And most of these have such acute flavors that they are not commonly eaten. "It's a funky, gnarly cider," Ivanov says. "It smells like blue cheese, and is quite tannic on the palate." What dish will match up with such an extreme cider? Ivanov nominates the pork steak ($16), with braised collard greens, white beans and apple barbeque sauce. The steak and Basandare share strong, rustic flavors. Another apple beverage a bit off the beaten path is the Bonnydoon "Querry." This California cider is brewed with pear and quince—the name Querry is a play on perry, or pear cider—and sold for $18 per 25.2- oz. bottle. On one recent research trip through New Zealand, the Reed's team came across Peckham's Elderflower. Intrigued by this elegant cider expression, in which the producers steep elderflower during production, Ivanov tracked down its U.S. distribution. Reed's now offers it for $15 for a 16.8-oz. bottle. Pairing-wise, Ivanov suggests the apple salad with the Peckham's, as the elderflower adds character add a layer of complexity to this fall-themed dish. "It gives an aromatic lift that's not there in the salad." Reed's also offers La Face Cachée de la Pomme "Neige." An apple cider from Quebec, it's produced in the fashion of ice wine, and sold at Reed's for $9 a glass, $56 for a 375-ml. bottle and $38 for bottle take-out. The apple ice cider can make for a dessert pairing with the restaurant's apple-date crisp and ginger ice cream ($8). "This might seem like too many apple notes," Ivanov says, "but the dessert has cinnamon and granola notes to balance it out." EDUCATING CONSUMERS ON CIDER Although the cider category is booming, it still has a way to go. Many drinkers remain unsure of the nuances, like the difference between French and Spanish styles. Or European and American—even East Coast vs. West Coast. Some consumers are even more in the dark. "We still get a lot of people asking for a cider beer," says Chambers. That's why cider spots spend time educating customers on the finer details. Asking what wines they drink is a good place to start Chambers believes. This can help determine whether a diner would prefer a dry, crisp, sweet or acidic cider. The next step is delving into the difference between apples, and explaining the unique complexities. As they have with wine, consumers will eventually become more sophisticated about cider. "We're all looking forward to when [consumer] knowledge matches where the industry is," Chambers says. Reed's American Table in St. Louis carries a number of unique and food-friendly ciders, including Peckham's Elderflower from New Zealand and Bonnydoon "Querry," a Californian cider brewed with pear and quince.

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