Sunday Sour Sunday

Maker: Odd Brothers, Homer, Michigan, USA

Style: Apple cider with Concord grape juice.

ABV: 6.5%

Purchased for: I don’t remember at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market.

Appearance: Dark burgundy with light carbonation.

Nose: Concord grape juice.

Palate: Medium-bodied. Tangy and grapey.

Finish: Foxy, sour.

Parting words: One Saturday morning a few months ago there was a booth at the Royal Oak Farmer’s market sellin Odd Brothers cider. I had never heard of the place before, so I walked up to the young man there and asked him to tell me about the ciders he was selling. He told me to look at the sign and that would tell me what they all were. I then asked him where the cidery was located. He gave me a vague description of where it was. So I found one on the wall, bought a four pack and left.

What Odd Brothers lacks in sales patter, they make up for in creativity. They don’t really have a classic dry or semi-dry cider, what they do have is a wide variety of (naturally) flavored ciders. They use everything from the more traditional fruit juices and cinnamon to marshmallow fluff, green tea, and spruce.

Sunday, Sour, Sunday is one of their least odd combos, but it’s tasty and proof that they can play it more or less straight when they want to. This cider lives up to its name delivering a lot of mouth-puckering tartness on par with a sour ale. While it isn’t exactly sessionable, it’s a nice change of pace from the dry or funky ciders I usually seek out. I don’t remember what I paid for it but I don’t recall thinking “it better be life-changing at this price,” so it couldn’t be too bad. Sunday, Sour Sunday is recommended.

Gelas Selection

Maker: Gelas, Vic-Fezenac, Gers, Ocittania, France (negociant)

Region: Bas-Armagnac

Age: 3-5 y/o (according to website)

ABV: 40%

Purchased for $45 (Vine & Table)

Appearance: Dark copper.

Nose: French oak, anise, leather, horehound, red pepper.

Palate: Full-bodied and sweet. Caramel, white chocolate, crushed pink peppercorns.

Finish: Red licorice, caramel, black licorice.

Parting words: Maison Gelas is a 150 year old Armagnac negociant. It’s located in Vic-Fezenac, a small town most notable for being one of the few places in France where bullfighting still takes place and for being the birthplace of current French Prime Minister Jean Castex, whose politics this blog does not endorse.

As far as I can tell, this brandy is Gelas’s entry level Armagnac. It’s not quite a VO, not quite a VSOP, but makes for a decent weeknight sipper. The nose is good, and it’s inoffensive and easy to drink, but it lacks the rustic, floral character that Armagnac is known for. I suspect that it has relatively high amounts of caramel, sugar and possibly boisé (although it’s rare in Armagnac). If they would ease off the sugar a bit, I might enjoy this blend more, even if it might taste less refined. As it is, it’s ok, but there are better values at just a few dollars more. Gelas Selection is mildly recommended.