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Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry Has A Subtle Sourness That First-Time Drinkers Are Sure To Enjoy Without Having To Pucker Up.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry.

Fast Facts on Bishop Cider Co. Sour Cherry.
Style: Cider.
ABV: 6 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): Not available.
Color: Peach.
Availability: Cans and limited draft.

Overview.
Of all of the things I have not kept up with in this column, cider is one of them. And I know that cider isn’t exactly beer, and beer is what On Tap is really about. But standards be damned. Bishop Cider Co. is going on three years now of cranking out some interesting and delicious ciders, and it’s time to expand our coverage and include this style of fermented beverage.

In case you have been living under a rock, or not residing in North Texas, Bishop Cider Co. launched in 2014. And, for the most part, they have remained relatively small, which is surprising because I see their product all over the place here inside the loop. Some folks report that they have a tough time finding Bishop’s product, which I find weird; I guess I’m hitting the right spots for the most part.

But fear not, cider hunters! Recently, Bishop announced that it purchased three new 70BBL fermenters, which will bring its capacity up to 15,000 barrels per year. The last time I visited Bishop’s tasting room, we had a group of about six people us — previous On Tap column host Colin Alsheimer included! — and it was nuts-to-butts in there. If you can snag a table, go for it! Otherwise, you’re standing at the bar, constantly negotiating for room. For a much more entertaining Plan B option, head over to the Design District (where most of Dallas’ breweries are located anyways) and check out Cidercade, Bishop’s cider bar that has 24 ciders on tap and 125-ish arcade games.

Background on Cider.
Unlike beer, cider is made from pressed fruit juice. And I mean apples. When it comes to fermentation and sugars, all apples are certainly not created equal. So don’t expect to just pop over to your local whatever store, pick up some sad, shitty apple juice and make perfection your first go-round. For the most part, ciders are enjoyed carbonated, but still cider is not as uncommon as you might think. Body on a cider can be super-dry, when yeast gobbles up almost all available sugar. On the other hand, some ciders can be back-sweetened to provide a more round drinking experience. Speaking of yeast, champagne yeast is a common choice, as is a dry wine yeast. Most cider makers will do some sort of step in order to get the cider off of the yeast once terminal gravity is reached. Furthermore, SO2 (sulphur dioxide) is a common addition either pre- or post-fermentation to help control which yeast does the work or to help clean up any oxidation-type flavors that yeast tends to leave behind. This method is somewhat akin to winemaking. So what about hops? Well, hops can play a role too! I do enjoy a dry-hopped cider myself! For Bishop Cider Co., what you’re likely to see is less middle-of-the-road standard cider and more of the types that push the boundaries of cidermaking.

Appearance.
Sour Cherry pours a deep blush-peach sort of color into the glass. I do notice some fizzing here, even though the can tells me to pucker up for some “non-carbonated acidity.” There is no noticeable foam situation, but that’s not really a thing that happens with ciders of this ilk. Overall, Sour Cherry looks very inviting.

Aroma.
Since this is my first time trying Sour Cherry, I wasn’t 100 percent sure on what to expect. I mean, I’ve had tons of Bishop’s stuff over the past few years, but this is new to me. Plus, the term ‘sour carries with it all kinds of expectations and sensory latitude when we talk about beer. Sour Cherry smells very inviting. I don’t get much sour sensation on the nose. It has a cherry and apple pie thing going on. Sugars seem in check and dialed down here, and the fruitiness shines through. The aroma is a smidge on the tart side, but not in a super-tart apple sort of way where you can feel your mouth pucker.

Flavor.
Tartness is turned up just a little bit in the flavor. But it’s subtle and the sweetness seems to balance out the mild acidity just right for me. I think that seeing the word “sour” and the phrase “100% shock factor” on the can had my brain primed, ready for an imminently sour situation. But the pain of the sour here isn’t anything like what I was expecting, and I mean this in the best kind of way. The cherry flavor is definitely there — it feels like I’m biting into fresh cherries. But while the cherry flavor is here in a major way, it aligns nicely with the apple backbone. Alcohol notes are hidden very well behind the apple and cherry, and I don’t get any hints of booze until the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel.
For me, the carbonation situation is akin to drinking a Vino Verde, a white wine style that has just a tiny kiss of carbonation on it. As sweet as it seems on my cheeks, the finish is bright and dry. This provides a good balance for me, as I don’t feel super-psyched about drinking more full-bodied ciders.

Overall Impression.
So I guess that Bishop should keep the word “sour” in the name of the cider. After all, it could be a bit of a surprise for first-time drinkers. But maybe they should change the name to Slightly Sour Cherry. To me, it’s not that sour. As a huge fan of sour beers, my mind begins to wander over in to lambic-land, pedio-town, or brettanomyces-ville — my bias totally gets in the way here. But that’s not what’s going on here with Bishop’s Sour Cherry. So, yeah, there’s a bit of tartness. But I get more round, inviting and enjoyable sweetness and less sour or tart. I’m a big fan of this cider and I will absolutely buy more of it.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Bishop Cider Co. Sour Cherry a 8.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Martin House River Horse: 9.75.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.2
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Poblano Paradise: 8.75.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
• Lakewood’s Peach Artsy Tarsty: 8.25.
• Lakewood Brewing Grand Allowance: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale: 8.
Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
• Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry: 8.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Pegasus City Brewing’ Nine Volt: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Four Corners Brewing Company Homie Brew: 7.75.
• Cedar Creek’s Grapefruit Haze: 7.75.
TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Chimera Dirty Dog: 7.5.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Deep Ellum Rye Pils: 7.
3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Billy Jenkins: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Maui Wowie: 6.25.
On Rotation’s Mexican Barleywine: 6.25.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Good Neighbor Brews Slim Sweetness: 3.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
903 Brewers’ Mythical Creatures: 2.5.
Miller Lite: 1.

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