Bishop Nectar

Review of Bishop Cider’s Nectar.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Nectar!
Cidery:  Bishop Cider
Cidery Location:  Dallas TX
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American modern cider from dessert apples, with honey

Photo Dec 14, 7 11 03 PM Photo Dec 14, 7 10 45 PM

(sorry these photos are pretty bad – I had to use my phone camera flash since the power was out during a wind storm here)

Availability:  probably only in Texas, plus online sales

Cider Description:  It was good enough for the gods and it’s good enough for you. Nectar is a filtered, semi-sweet apple cider made from different varietals of Pacific Northwest Apples and a touch of Texas honey to usher in divine intervention.

Note that it doesn’t appear they are currently producing this variety, as I didn’t see it on their website.

Cidery Description:  When our founders, Joel and Laura Malone, started making cider at home, it was out of necessity. The commercially available cider in Texas was trash. Just plain awful. Overly sweet, artificial candy drinks.  They sought to redeem cider. At Bishop, we make cider with ingredients that we can stand behind, rather than hide from.   We do not add additional sugar to our ciders. No cane sugar, fructose syrup, brown sugar, or even honey. The only form of “sugar” is juice and it is all sourced domestically from the Pacific Northwest.  All of our ciders are gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and made by Texans. They are currently available across all of Texas. To find the locations nearest you- Cider Finder.

They have a tasting room.

Price:  ~$2.50 / can (runs $9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  my husband picked this up when he was in Texas for business

Photo Dec 14, 7 11 19 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Hazy light pumpkin hue.  Low carbonation with foam.  Smells of sweet rich apple with a hint of honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of sweet apple and pomace, yeast, and honey.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor and overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  It had some uniqueness (reminded me of both beer and French cider), more complexity than expected, and was flavorful but not too sweet.

Most Similar to:  a cross between Downeast (sweeter apple forward unfiltered ciders) and French cider (apple and yeast forward)

Closing Notes:  Craft ciders seem to be cheaper in Texas than they are here in Washington, by a few dollars per six pack, at least from Austin Eastciders and Bishop, despite them having to transport in the apples or juice from Washington.  Strange.  I’m guessing it mostly comes down to the cost of doing business being higher here (like employee wages and building rent), and that we probably tax alcohol higher.

Have you tried Bishop Nectar?  What did you think?

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Eden Ezekiel Kingston Black

Review of Eden’s Cellar Series #8 ‘Ezekiel’ Kingston Black.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many varieties from Eden – Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The FalstaffHeritage (canned), and Siren Song.

Photo Dec 14, 6 25 15 PM.jpg

Cider:  Cellar Series #9, Ezekiel
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport, VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American heritage cider, Kingston Black single varietal

Photo Dec 14, 6 25 31 PM Photo Dec 14, 6 25 51 PM

Availability:  probably just online, although their regular ciders are sold in stores

Cider Description:  This cellar series cider is named after Ezekiel Goodband, the orchardist at Scott Farm who grew the apples from which it is made. 100% Kingston Black apples – a classic British cider variety that is known as one of the few apples that has sufficient sugar, acid and tannin to make a balanced single variety cider. Rare apples, pressed at harvest, carefully fermented and bottle-conditioned with our ice cider produce a cider that is exquisitely delicious and unique.

Winner: 2017 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, Silver Medal.  2016 Harvest.  100% Kingston Black, grown at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont.  Bottle-conditioned, naturally sparkling, residual lees…Limited run: Only 100 cases produced

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a Tasting Bar in Newport VT, and a Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar in Winooski VT.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  their online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, as I wanted to check if they had any new varieties since I last looked, and they did, so I ordered some, then they e-mailed to say they were offering free shipping! (through Dec 20 2018, on 3 or more bottles)

Photo Dec 14, 6 27 27 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of sharp tart apple.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple and pomace, lemon, mineral, and honey.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was a bit too tart and sharp for my liking.  Also, less rich than all the other five Kingston Black SVs I’ve tried, but the KB is a bittersharp not a bittersweet cider apple variety, so rich flavor notes shouldn’t be a given.  My husband was a big fan though, and happy to finish the bottle.

Most Similar to:  many of the drier tart heritage ciders from heirloom cider apples available in the NE

Closing Notes:  My favorite Kingston Black SV so far is from Liberty, although I’ve also tried ones from Farnum Hill, Eve’s, Dragon’s Head, and Whitewood.

Have you tried a Kingston Black single varietal?  What did you think?

Austin Eastciders Texas Honey

Review of Austin Eastciders Texas Honey cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Texas Honey
Cidery:  Austin Eastciders
Cidery Location:  Austin TX
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  6 and 12 packs of of 12oz cans (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert & bittersweet apples, with honey

Photo Dec 08, 6 53 55 PM Photo Dec 08, 6 54 09 PM

Availability:  year round in Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of the Northeast (see their cider locator here)

Cider Description:  Austin Eastciders Texas Honey Cider is a blend of bittersweet apples and dessert apples with Texas honey to create a delicious cider with a hint of sweet.

Cidery Description:  Could we move to an apple producing region, grow our own apples and make cider? Sure, but it wouldn’t be the delicious and complex cider we make today in good ol’ Texas. The most important thing to us is sourcing the best cider apples and using only high-quality natural ingredients.

See here for more info.  They have a taproom in Austin Texas.

Price:  ~$2 / can ? (runs $8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  my husband picked this up for me while in Texas for business

Photo Dec 08, 6 53 39 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of sweet apple with a hint of honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of sweet rich apple and honey with hints of apricot and floral.  Quick finish.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  Nice flavor, with more complexity than I was expecting, and a perfect amount of sweetness.  I’m curious what percentage of the mix the bittersweet cider apples were, as it seemed slightly richer than I’d expect using only dessert apples, but the price point seems low for much to be used.  Speaking of price, their ciders are much less than the going rate for similar ciders here in the Seattle area, by a few dollars per six pack.

Most Similar to:  This reminded me some of Finnriver Honey Meadow, Tieton Lavender Honey, and Seattle Cider Olympic Honey.

Closing Notes:  I have their Pineapple cider to try next.

Have you tried Austin Eastciders?  What did you think?

Eden Cellar Series #9 Siren Song

Review of Eden Cellar Series #9, Siren Song.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many varieties from Eden – Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The Falstaff, and Heritage (canned).

Photo Dec 07, 7 01 44 PM.jpg

Cider:  Cellar Series #9, Siren Song
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport, VT
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider

Photo Dec 07, 7 01 44 PM - Copy Photo Dec 07, 7 02 24 PM

Availability:  probably just online, although their regular ciders are sold in stores

Cider Description:  In Greek mythology the songs of the Sirens were enough to entice a Mariner to jump off his trireme, only to meet his end in the depths of the Adriatic Sea. This cider will beguile you with fruit, spice and smoke, cradled in an illusion of residual sweetness. As you follow it down to the depths of your glass, the tannins reveal themselves in astringency rather than bitterness. The complexity derives from a mix of over 20 apple varieties, harvest-pressed and fermented slow and cold as are all our heritage ciders. The curvaceous balance derives from skillful blending by our enraptured Cider team. Another glassful calls.

Limited run: Only 80 cases produced.  Winner 2018 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) Gold: Heritage Dry Cider.  2017 Harvest.  20 variety blend of tannic cider apples, including Kerr and Dolgo crabs, Russets and high acid heirlooms.  Filtered and carbonated.  7.5% ABV, 1.2% residual sweetness.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a Tasting Bar in Newport VT, and a Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar in Winooski VT.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  their online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, as I wanted to check if they had any new varieties since I last looked, and they did, so I ordered some, then they e-mailed to say they were offering free shipping! (through Dec 20 2018, on 3 or more bottles)

Photo Dec 07, 7 03 44 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart tannic rich apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, caramel, lemon, mineral, earth, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity, sessionability, and apple flavor.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Nice complexity with a unique flavor profile, a little of everything.  I definitely picked up more influence from crab and heirloom apples than bittersweet apples though.  I had this after dinner, but I think it would be even better suited to pair with a meal, nearly anything.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Ciderworks Hewe’s Crab SV

Closing Notes:  I also purchased Eden’s newish Extra Sec and Cellar Series Ezekiel (Kingston Black SV), both of which I’ll review soon, and another bottle of Guinevere’s Pearls, which I have to say I prefer over Siren Song.

Have you tried Eden Siren Song?  What did you think?

South City Ciderworks Original Blend

Review of South City Ciderworks’ Original Blend cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Original Blemd
Cidery:  South City Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  San Bruno CA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

Photo Dec 01, 6 02 20 PM Photo Dec 01, 6 02 42 PM

Availability:  probably only in Northern California, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The Original Blend is our very first cider, formerly known as “South City Cider”. We started the company because we wanted an easy-drinking cider we could bring camping, while hanging out at the beach, to the dog park, or really anywhere that glass wasn’t a good idea, and this blend was the result. This semi-sweet, dry finishing cider is known for it’s easy drinkability without being overly sweet. The Original Blend is available in 12-ounce cans and kegs.

Cidery Description:  We founded South City Ciderworks in 2015 as an urban cider company to make great cider and a difference. Using only fresh-pressed, West Coast apples our ciders are crafted to be well balanced and easy drinking. We support non-profits focused on helping the community, animals, and the environment. We’re here to Make Cider Make A Difference. 

Price:  ~$3 / can
Where Bought:  at the ferry terminal in San Francisco CA (they have a bunch of cool shops, many with local stuff – this was from a shop which had wine and some single bottles/cans of beers & ciders, but no idea which one unfortunately)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

Photo Dec 01, 6 02 06 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Moderate straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells mild, of sweet apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of non-specific apple with hints of lemon and floral.  Quick finish.  Low flavor intensity, complexity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it was a bit boring, like most unflavored ciders from dessert apples (ie. those without fruit/hops/spices/etc) are to me.  At least they made it a bit sweeter, as that does help these sorts of ciders have some flavor, but wasn’t anywhere near too sweet.

Most Similar to:  a bit like Blackfin Splash

Closing Notes:  I bet this selection would have a wide appeal, being mid level sweetness and no qualities to not make it entry level (like sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins).

Have you tried South City cider?  What did you think?

Cidrerie Milton CID Original Cider

Review of Cidrerie Milton’s CID Original Cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  CID Original Cider
Cidery:  Cidrerie Milton
Cidery Location:  Quebec Canda
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 355ml bottles
Style:  Canadian cider from heirloom apples

Photo Dec 01, 4 43 53 PM Photo Dec 01, 4 44 15 PM Photo Dec 01, 4 44 24 PM

Availability:  unknown

Cider Description (translated):   Developed from Mcintosh and Spartan apples, our Cid Original is the essential cider to keep the doctor away! Gerald the moose, the biggest animal in the province, must consume 30 bottles of original cid per day to satisfy his needs!  Refreshing.  Light.  Fresh apples.  Perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.

Price:  ~$4 / bottle?
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – this was a random selection as I couldn’t read the bottle (I assume its in French), but I thought I might as well give it a try

Photo Dec 01, 4 45 35 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mild, of sweet apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of non-specific apple with some pineapple and lemon.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor, complexity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  I had been expecting something more commercial tasting, but this was quite nice, with some light flavor.

Most Similar to:  a more refined and light version of Woodchuck 802 Collection ‘Lil Dry

Closing Notes:  I think this may be the first regular Quebec cider I’ve tried (although I think I had some ice cider from there).  Also, their website shows updated bottle labels, so who knows how old this bottle is.

Have you tried Canadian cider?  What did you think?

Hard Row to Hoe The Other Cider of the Lake

Review of Hard Row to Hoe’s The Other Cider of the Lake.  It is my first time trying anything from this winery (they primarily makes grape wine).

Cider:  The Other Cider of the Lake
Cidery:  Hard Row to Hoe
Cidery Location:  Chelan, WA
ABV:  4.7%
How Supplied:  16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

Photo Nov 24, 8 06 13 PM Photo Nov 24, 8 06 24 PM Photo Nov 24, 8 06 33 PM

Availability:  likely limited to the Chelan area, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The Other Cider of the Lake is our seasonal, small-batch, premium hard cider.  Made with Granny Smith, gala, fuji and honeycrisp apples and finishes dry and crisp.  The name harkens back to the Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards namesake story about a copper mine, a row boat and a brothel on the other side of the lake [Chelan].  This cider comes in a 4 pack of 16 ounce cans.

Cidery Description:  Making Serious Wines with a Lighthearted Approach

Price:  ~ $4 / can
Where Bought:  my husband picked this up for me at the winery when wine tasting
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

Photo Nov 24, 8 05 50 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Nearly clear.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sweet green apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Very light bodied.  Very low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple with a hint of pineapple.  Short finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Very low flavor intensity.  Very high sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average, plenty drinkable, but it didn’t hold my interest.  A bit watery and light in flavor, probably due to it being drier and made from non-cider apples.  My husband was a bigger fan.

Most Similar to:  Ulee’s Light Cider Dry and Number Six Dry 99

Closing Notes:  For the most part I haven’t been impressed by ciders made by wineries or breweries.

Have you tried The Other Cider of the Lake?  What did you think?