Review: Dead Horse Cider Far from the Tree Citrus Hopped Cider

Yesterday I posted a review of Shrugging Doctor's Apple Cinnamon Mead to change things up a bit here at BeerCrank.ca, I'm bored and have been stuck indoors for over five weeks now so I felt it was time to do a few non-beer reviews. Today is non beer review two of two, I might do more if there's interest but I have many, many beer reviews down the pipeline that have been sitting for months!

Last year for my fifth anniversary of writing the (now defunct) First Draught beer column in the Brandon Sun I was being nostalgic about how much the Manitoba craft beer industry had changed ever since I started writing the column, I can't believe the province went from two breweries and the Crown Royal plant to a real good handful of breweries, distilleries, wineries/meaderies and even a cidery. I wanted to review something completely different for the column and it was actually real easy - I saw Dead Horse Cider's Looking on the Bright Cide(r) at the local Liquor Marts for the very first time the week before. I wasn't familiar with the brand, I didn't see much talk about the Cidery and the LC product consultants weren't familiar with it at all. That very column ended up being Dead Horse's first ever review, ever, apparently. Since then, I've seen people and breweries raving about their products - there's even one lady who frequents the Liquor Mart I visit who usually buys twelve bottles at a time.

A few months ago I was looking on my Instagram and noticed that they posted a picture of a package of hops sourced from Prairie Mountain Hops. I immediately sent Randy from PMH a text and he confirmed that a cider featuring their dry hops was happening! Since that post I was waiting patiently day by day for the cider to pop up and two months later.. Far From the Tree Citrus Hopped Cider finally made its way to Brandon. 

I've never been a fan of cider, mainly because I've found most of them to be too much "full on apple juice" tasting, something I haven't enjoyed since I was a child, but with that being said - I've tried to make sure I've tried nearly every release Dead Horse has released so far.. they simply make a great product. One thing that surprises me is that I haven't reviewed many products that feature Boissevain's Prairie Mountain Hops, so breweries and the like.. get in touch with Prairie Mountain Hops!

From the label: This dry-hopped cider may have fallen far from the tree, but you'll be happy it did. We sourced a delightful blend of apples from Manitoba and Ontario, paired them with an aromatic bouquet of locally grown Prairie Mountain Hops and finally added a little grapefruit. It's citrusy, flavourful and downright provocative. 5.0% ABV

Appearance: The cider pours a somewhat cloudy white wine appearance to it - I can't really describe the colour.. but a faint lemon yellow? Starts off a with a moderate amount of carbonation as you pour it, but as it settles the carbonation in the body is light and has a light amount of white head that mostly attaches itself to the glassware.

Aroma: The first impression I got from Far from the Tree was a surprising one.. I really, really liked it. This isn't the typical apple juice-forward cider I'm used to, this is much more reminiscent of a nice yet light sour beer. The first thing I get in the aroma is the hops and a faint but aromatic note of grapefruit. The cider is floral and a bit tropical (pineapple, lemon) thanks to the hops, while the grapefruit is from likely both the hops as well as thanks to a splash of grapefruit juice to give this beer a bit of citrus kick to it. The apples themselves are a bit faint but give off a good amount of tartness to it.

Taste: This is a decently tart cider. I definitely get more of the apple this time around but everything seems to be complimenting each other here. The hops give off a floral flavour with a mild tropical presence of pineapple and lemon, the grapefruit juice gives it a light bite of grapefruit but it's in no way aggressive, while the apples are mildly tart, sweet and have a hint of pear-like characteristics to it. There's a tad bit of booziness burn at the back of my throat but at 5%, I shouldn't be feeling tipsy after this. The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated and dry but not too dry, while the aftertaste is apple peel and a slight hop bitterness at the end.

Overall Thoughts: This is a great example of why we should be supporting local businesses, especially right now - both Dead Horse Cider and Prairie Mountain Hops are based in rural Manitoba and make amazing products. I'm biased as hell but this is absolutely wowing me and with the beautiful weather we're having in rural Manitoba during isolation, perfect to self isolate in the middle of nowhere right now. Hops, grapefruit, tart apples, seriously yum. Who do I recommend this for? If you're a fan of mildly tart/sour beers, this is definitely for you.. The entire time I felt like I was drinking a sour and not so much a cider. Well, I'm going to have to start trying more ciders. Feel free to send recommendations on ciders I should be checking out.. but no, I will never drink Strongbow ever again.


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