Sunday, 10 February 2013

Coldstream Brewery - Crushed Apple Cider

Coldstream Brewery – Crushed Apple Cider
So another day, yet another Yarra Valley cider review. It seems like the Yarra Valley is featuring quite a lot on All About Cider at the moment. Simple theory: Make good cider, get noticed. So the Yarra Valley, along with Tasmania are notable high flyer's in the Australian cider world currently. Coldstream Brewery is yet another brewing company who have added cider/cider making to their portfolio. The brewery is famous for producing their pilsners, ales and porters in an old converted wool shed in Coldstream, Yarra Valley. I would like to also add that Coldstream Brewery along with St. Ronan’s Cider, Napoleone Cider, White Rabbit Brewing, Kelly Brothers Cider, Hargreaves Hill Brewing and Giverny Estate are apart of the Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail. This is a brilliant initiative which gives consumers/tourist the opportunity to sample the fines Yarra Valley beverages on offer. A beautifully composed map (which can be driven, ridden or group toured) gives you detailed directions and information to all producers on the trail. And the beauty about all this? It is only 50km’s away from Melbourne!! This is definitely on my bucket list for this to do! To find out more, click here:

A Typical Rack and Cloth Press
Coldstream Brewery state that their ciders are made using the traditional rack and cloth pressing method. Say what? If you’re a little unfamiliar of cider production then you probably haven’t heard about this pressing method. Many ciders produced in Australia are either pressed out in a basket press or membrane press. Now I did say many, but not all! The rack and cloth press is the most used, and popular amongst the English cider makers. It consists of a heavy duty frame which utilises hydraulic down force to squeeze the apple or pear pomace which has been packed into layers or cheeses. The layers are wrapped up into cloth to aid in filtration and are packed in between racks – either wooden or hard plastic. Funny to note that the traditional cloth was originally made from horse hair! But if this wasn’t available, the cloth was replaced with straw. But what you get after pressing in this fashion is cleaner, high yielding juice. This method is labour intensive, but well worth the hard work. If you ever get the chance to check one out in operation, or even get the chance to pack a press load, then I am sure you’ll be fascinated and intrigued. A brilliant, romantic and traditional method for pressing apples, I love it. Coldstream Brewery, I’d love to see some pictures??!!......

Righty oh, now to the cider in question. The first thing which caught my eye on the label was the ‘cool fermented and cold filtered’. Why you may ask? Well from this I expected to see super fresh aromatics and huge freshness. Cooler temperatures during ferment retain more aromatics and flavour compounds, and this is very important to apple cider. The colour of the cider was very light in straw, almost bordering on colourless. I think I have made my point on very light, colourless ciders in previous reviews – I am not overly keen on it. But I let the actual cider as a whole do the talking and not rely on just one element, so I’ll move on. There was next to no carbonation, mousse or bead in the glass either. I found I had to swoosh the glass quite vigorously to get any action - but I am fond of ciders which have lower levels of fizz, so it was a pleasant surprise.

The nose lived up to my expectations of lively aromatics and freshness. The huge dominating character of this nose was pineapple! Pineapple here, pineapple there! Pineapple, pineapple, pineapple!! A huge punch of tanginess (if tangy can be smelt) along with floral, peach, stone fruit, table grape and summer fruit aromas exploded out the glass. A hint of spiciness was also noted. This was uncannily similar to a bowl of fruit salad; it was like summer in a glass. As a whole, the nose reminded me of a bold Gewurtztraminer wine, being floral, spicy and overly ostentatious. I really digged it, and loved the super fresh, clean and crisp characteristics. Very cool.
The palate offered up a really nice mouth filling, off dry sweetness. For some weird reason I thought this cider was going to be very dry, so to see some sweetness was good. Judging by the super fresh primary characters on the nose, and the residual sweetness on the palate, I am tipping some fresh juice was added back to the final product before filtration. I may be wrong but it definitely seemed that way. The BIG pineapple characters followed through onto the palate, along with some fresh apple notes. The acidity was very crisp and punchy with a funky tangy undertone. The flavour does fade quite fast however on the back palate, leaving you with some lingering bitterness. There was a wee bit of astringency, but you really need to swirl the cider in your mouth to find it. The lower level of carbonation foamed up nicely too, added another dimension to the fuller and rounded mouth feel. The modest 5 per cent alcohol was almost undetectable on the back palate, which was a good sign of balance.

Well this cider is a good little example, and its drinkability is through the roof. It’s almost too easy to drink. The nose was the real hero. It would be perfect on a hot summer’s day and would be perfectly suited to a draught style on tap. It was clean, fresh and simple with no over complicated features, and had honest flavours. This is a commendable cider that is very fruit forward and perfectly suited to the high Aussie summer temperatures. It’s also worthy to note that this cider is the official cider of a certain car race which will be held in Melbourne next month. This cider is found in all the major liquor outlets in Australia. So if you’re keen for an easy drinking cider which you can have standing around a barbie, then this is a good choice.
Producer: Coldstream Brewery Pty Ltd
Country: Australia (Coldstream - Yarra Valley, Victoria)
Alcohol: 5.0%

Rating: 7 out of 10
*Picture taken from


  1. Pineapple, pineapple, pineapple. Did you say pineapple. Good review and good find. Send some my way.

  2. I haven't had Coldstream in ages, maybe a year.... I believe I liked it though:

  3. I would bery very surprised if a brewer were making a commercial cider with a rack press. Nice story... and good marketing angle... but really.

  4. Tastes great ,looks good and healthy.
    I like it