Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Golden Axe Apple Cider

When I think of the name ‘Golden Axe’ cider, I picture barbarian men with ripped muscles and long cascading brown hair slaying mythical dragons in a distant time. How this description would fit in with cider is beyond me, but funnily enough what you really get is a cartoon lumberjack straight out of a Super Nintendo game from the 80’s. In actual fact, Golden Axe was a computer game on Sega from the 80’s, so that’s a funny connection that I didn’t know. He’s a cute little dude, designed by an American illustrator called Mikey Burton and it really stands out. It’s quite a change from the many sophisticated cider label designs in Australia, a little cheeky perhaps? Anyways, I think it’s cool and it really caught my eye. To quote Callum, “We think the ultimate design really stands out on the shelf and lends itself to some fun brand-building concepts; so watch this space!” There you go!
So who and what is Golden Axe cider? From Victoria, It’s a project devised by Wine Marketer Callum Reeves, his wife Clara and his brother and homebrew nerd Nat Reeves. The slogan ‘The Home Brewer, The Wine Marketer and The Computer Game Designer – a golden recipe for an apple cider like no other’ I have to say is pretty hilarious and clever. Like many cider producers in Australia, their philosophy is to use fresh, local apples with absolutely no added concentrate or sugar. The apples used in Golden Axe consist of Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Sundowner and Fuji and all are sourced from the Yarra Valley, Gippsland and Shepparton. And what’s the definition of ‘winning’? - Having a mate who owns a juicing plant on an orchard in Melbourne’s outer East - and that’s what Golden Axe have in their favour…..lucky buggers.

This cider is claimed to be made very simple and reductively (no oxygen contact) to only highlight the fresh apple characters. Therefore, I was not expecting huge complexity or anything outside the square. What I did want to see was freshness and purity of fruit, structure and definition - all paramount in this style of cider. Now to the cider itself!
The colour was almost clear with just a tinge of straw evident. The carbonation was quite aggressive at first, but died down fairly fast in the glass. Nose wise, what first came to mind was that this was very fresh, very delicate and very feminine. Although the nose was quite subdued with no real punch, there were lovely soft and delicate fresh apple aromas. Other notes of tropical fruits, citrus and musk all added an extra dimension which was pleasing. It was a very one dimensional nose, but fault free and apple dominated. This definitely nails the brief and very typical of many Aussie ciders.

On the palate it tasted clean, fresh and pure. Nothing’s better than 100 per cent fermented apples! There was a nice balance of up front sweetness, along with a lower level of acidity. The lower acidity did leave a mid palate hole, but a good level of carbonation did fill some of the void. The mouth feel was very soft, almost cloud like and lovely fresh apples from the clean ferment complimented this. A really nice creaminess was also evident, and I wasn’t expecting this at all. The cider slid down the throat with ease; however, it did produce a fade away better than anything Michael Jordan could muster. It seemed to die quite fast which was a bit of a shame. But being true to its simplistic nature, there was no bitterness or astringency just pure freshness.
This cider was exactly what I was expecting. It was simple, fresh, clean and unpretentious. The simple nature of this cider would be perfect for new comers to cider. It’s not in you face, it’s not offensive, but it’s quite refreshing. You may argue that it lacks a little personality, but it’s made to a style and this needs to be taken into account. It would definitely be one of the most simple and straightforward ciders I have tasted, but that is by no means a disadvantage. Every cider has its place. You know what you get every single time with this example and many consumers would like this consistency. I found it was getting better with each mouthful too. I really look forward to tasting future batches of this cider.

Producer: South East Brewing Company Pty Ltd
Country: Australia (Victoria)
Alcohol: 5.2%
Website: www.goldenaxe.com.au

Rating: 6.5 out of 10


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