Things sure are getting mighty apple-y with our Beer of the Week feature. No, no! We haven’t been running into beers with high levels of acetaldehyde! It’s just that there’s been a mighty solid run of ciders hitting shelves and we really are yearning for brighter, sunnier days. I know, I know. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was lamenting the fact that we will start to see less and less dark beers on store shelves and featured on city taps. (Don’t worry, I have more on that, later this week.) Cut me some slack though, ok? I’m tired of the rain and I can’t wait to rush into summer. In fact, if there was a way to grab an express ticket right to the season, I might just do that. Sadly, this is a thought or pure fiction. However, if you want to expedite the process for your tastebuds, you’re in luck: BX Press has some delicious ciders, that will have you thinking of short-shorts and sandals in no time. This week, we look at The Bandit, an apple cider, with a generous helping of cherries.
Located just outside of Vernon, BC, BX Press borrows its name from the famous Barnard’s Express stagecoach line—the oldest, largest, and longest running stagecoach line in North America. Currently operated by 3rd-generation apple growers, BX Press focuses on crafting wonderful, refined, small-batch ciders. And when I say small-batch, I really do mean small-batch. How small? Well, in 2014, BX Press only bottled enough of The Bandit to fill 297 cases. That’s not a lot of cider to go around BC! This ensures that every batch is an experience well worth sniffing out.
Speaking of sniffing, boy does this cider smell like heaven! Showcasing two of BC’s premier agro-products, The Bandit features 24 different varieties of apples, complimented with a heaping handful of cherries. Despite its prominence on the nose and the colour (The Bandit pours an unreal, crimson colour) the cherry is subtle on the palate. Due to the fact that only natural cherries were added, shortly before bottling, the flavour mostly comes through by giving the cider a perceived sweetness—though a heavy dose of wild cherry awaits you on the finish. A wonderful balance between the acidity of the apple and brightness of the cherry, The Bandit skirts the line between dry and sweet, living up to its namesake, as a true outlaw would.
I recommend snagging a couple of bottles to enjoy while concocting your next railroad heist. Or, if you prefer a slower-paced life, pair The Bandit with some good friends, a homemade cherry pie, and pore over some 19th c., BC Gold Rush diaries, and live vicariously through the ne’er do wells of the past.
Down the Hatch!