By Nick Thomas
Headquartered in the scenic Rocky Mountains, Denver’s Stem Ciders celebrates heirloom apple varieties and old-school, artisanal cider styles. The label’s Banjo cider variety comes in a 750-ml bottle with a rustic, chic label that’s individually hand-numbered by the producers for a friendly and personalized touch. The pour of this bourbon barrel-aged cider is a surprisingly light (for something barrel-aged) almost clear golden yellow with no residual head but does have giant bubbles clinging to the edges of the glass. The nose has a distinct ripe red apple rind note, with undertones of charred wood, whiskey and a sweet hint of sticky maple syrup. Banjo starts off with a green-apple tart bite that’s as golden crisp as it looks, but fades into the titular bourbon notes with a punch of spice and a smoky oaky finish.
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