Cider Review: Hogan’s Panking Pole

Despite having what, at first blush–if you’re wired like me–seems to be a dirty name, this cider is a gem.

A rather large gem, truth be told, in an all-too-convenient, 3-liter bag-in-box package…as my companions, Dick and Diane Dunn, and I discovered over the course of sampling it. 

First up, let’s clear the air on what a panking pole is. It’s a stick with a hooked end used to shake fruit from the branches of tall fruit trees. Not…whatever you were thinking. See here for a similar discussion.

Now, to the substance…

Summary:

Hogan’s Panking Pole is a hazy, dry, uncarbonated farmhouse cider with some wild yeast character and phenolics, and which has undergone malo-lactic fermentation. It has a soft, tannic character whose grit lingers a bit on the tongue. None of these factors is over the top, resulting in an interesting, balanced-despite-having-many-characteristics cider that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Appearance:

Hazy, golden, with visible particles in suspension that could be disturbing compared to the standard, hyper-filtered clarity of most ciders these days.

Aroma:

Slight hints of caramel and pear.

Flavor:

A twinge of funk/phenol…just a hint of the classic band-aid flavor of phenols (very little indeed compared to, say, Bitter Sweet Funk). Very soft acidity due to the malo-lactic fermentation. A bit of soft tannin that leaves a hint of grit behind in the mouth that lingers. Complex. Slightly spicy. Interesting. Very drinkable; nothing out of balance which interferes with the experience.

Inasmuch as I’d label any farmhouse cider a ‘session’ cider, this is the main candidate for me at this point. Highly recommended; a great introduction to the farmhouse style without going overboard on the funky flavors.

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