Moonlight Meadery Thirteen 5

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s Thirteen 5.  This appears to be their ‘How Do You Like Them Apples’ with a new name, plus apparently it is now aged in new oak instead of whiskey barrels.  I assume Thirteen 5 refers to this being 13.5% ABV.  The name change is likely to differentiate it from their ‘How Do You Like Them Little Apples’, which is a lower ABV cider (instead of a higher ABV cyser like this).

I have previously tried How Do You Like Them Apples (canned), How Do You Like Them Little Apples (canned), and How Do You Like Them Little Apples (draft).  I’ve also tried a few other beverages from Moonlight Meadery:  Boys N BerriesLast Apple, and Crimes of Passion

Cider:  Thirteen 5
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  13.5%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft cyser (made from apple juice & honey), with brown sugar, barrel aged

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Availability:  Semi wide release, in the U.S., since January 2018.  In general Moonlight products are available in at least AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA, WA D.C., and WI, and Australia, China, and Japan.  They also have an online store.

Cider Description:  A New England Hard Cider, made from freshly pressed apple cider with a bit of natural sugar used to help reach the impressive strength, then we let it age in hand made American Foeders.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good”™.

They have been around since May 2010 and have a tasting room in Londonderry NH.

Price:  ~$6 / single can
Where Bought:   Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing; I was curious if this was a new or renamed product, and if they had fixed a previous issue I’ve noticed with their canned ciders turning sour/vinegary over time

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells rich and apple & honey forward.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  No bitterness or funk.  Hints of sourness, especially on the finish.  Notes of concentrated apple, honey, orange, oak, caramel, and brown sugar.  Moderate length finish, which is also the only time when the high ABV is noticeable.  Low oak/barrel influence.  Moderate to high apple and honey flavor.  Low sessionability.  High flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  At first I liked it.  However, same as I had experienced with previous canned batches of their ciders, with the finish, there were hints of sourness and vinegar.  So, it appears the issue hasn’t been fixed.  The longer these sit around, the worse they get (this batch said Dec 2017).  Unfortunately this makes it quite unlikely I’ll want to try any cans from them again, as now this is three different batches in a row spread out over time with apparently the same defect.

Most Similar to:  Ice cider and Moonlight Meadery Last Apple (although that one had more honey than apple flavor, in contrast to this one), which are both high ABV, sweet, and have concentrated rich flavor notes.


Have you tried Moonlight Meadery Thirteen 5?  What did you think?


Centre Ring Reserve Pear

Review of Centre Ring Reserve Pear, made by Pear UP (previously NV Cider, Neigel Vintners).  I tried this perry at an event last year (see here).  I’ve also had Pear UP’s Pear Essentials, Half Past PrudentCherry PerryWatermelon PerryWatermelon Raspberry PerryRaspberry PerryPearjito ColadaPearfect Pie, and Pineapple Pear.

Note that in the U.S., “perry” is fermented pear juice, and “pear cider” is a fermented apple juice-based cider with pear juice for flavor.  However, elsewhere (such as in the UK), they don’t really do pear-flavored apple cider, and use “perry” only for the fermented juice of specialty perry pear varieties, and “pear cider” is for fermented common (dessert) pear juice.

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Cider:  Reserve Pear
Cidery:  Centre Ring (whose perry & cider are made by Pear UP)
Cidery Location:  Wenatchee WA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft perry

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Availability:  very limited, likely only in WA

Cider Description:  After World War II, Kevin and Mark’s grandfather planted a small pear orchard in the Wenatchee Valley. Upon taking over the family orchard, they discovered that the native pear varieties provided a uniquely light and flavorful finish. Clean and honest flavors can be found throughout all their ciders, bringing simple gestures from the complex art of cider making without the weight of syrupy sugars. Join them in drinking the award-winning spoils of their harvest and the flavor of tradition.

Cidery Description:  Centre Ring expands outside selling spirits, wines, and craft beverages. We also represent select artisan foods, products, and reserves in addition to our alcohol selections.  We want to bring the experience of the homemade and personal touch of these products to everyone in the area.  We are including local cheese makers, bakers, jam & jellies, pickles, jerky, and much more from our local communities.  The key to building out your brand to reach consumers is to know what they are looking for. We study and follow industry trends and practices to help target the widest audience possible.  Each individual product has its own small directions that make them unique. However, we are beginning to see the lines between them blur as consumers are looking for new and different tastes to suit their needs

Price:  $12
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a WA Cider Week 2017 preview event (see here)

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First Impression:  Clear hue with a hint of pink.  Very low carbonation with some foam.  Smells of pear with a hint of fruitiness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of sourness.  No bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of canned & dried pear and pear juice, with hints of strawberry and vinegar.  Quick finish.  Moderate pear flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Low overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this perry when I tried it previously.  However, due to the hint of vinegar, this time I wasn’t a fan.  I believe this was a bad batch; unfortunately this happens sometimes.

Most Similar to:  a drier more complex version of Pear UP’s Pear Essentials perry

Closing Notes:  Centre Ring appears to be an interesting brand, bringing together various local producers of all sorts of products.  As of this post, they have this perry as well as a cider from Pear UP, plus beer, wine, spirits, and lots more made by other producers.

Have you tried perry?  What did you think?

Eve’s Scatterseed

Review of Eve’s Cidery’s Scatterseed.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Beckhorn HollowAutumn’s GoldKingston Black, and Rustica.

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Cider:  Scatterseed (2014 vintage)
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten NY
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  American artisan methode champenoise cider from cider apples

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Availability:  sold out per their website

Cider Description:  Aromas of damp earth, ripe waxy apple, tamari and beeswax focus (coalesce) into flavors of ripe fruit and game which are deep and layered. Textures of sandstone and chewy bittersweet apple. Finish is completely dry and savory with full, lingering tannin.

See here for more info on this cider; I like how they are very detailed in all their cider descriptions.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  the cidery’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium gold hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells dry, tannic, and rich.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate to high tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Earthy notes of caramel, leather, butterscotch, lemon, butter, and floral.  Long tannic finish.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  The tannins and flavor were great.  However, I would have preferred more sweetness and less acidity.  I’d love to see more tannic traditional ciders like this that are semi-dry instead of dry, as I think it brings out more flavor, and makes them more approachable.

Most Similar to:  very few ciders, as very few cideries are using such a high percentage of bittersweet & bittersharp cider apples in a cider (although it is getting more common, but usually they are blended with heirloom apples such that the bittersweet & bittersharp apple characteristics are muted)

Closing Notes:  my favorite Eve’s cider remains Rustica, but I’d love to see a slightly sweeter version of this or their Kingston Black

Have you tried Eve’s Scatterseed?  What did you think?

Malus zine

I recently received the first issue of Malus, a new cider zine.

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The first issue included:
– editor’s notes by Ellen Cavalli (of Tilted Shed)
– poetry by Bill Lyon (of Cider View Orchard)
The Trouble With Craft – It’s Not What You Think, by Mike Reis (of Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop and more)
Don’t Be Angry – Give Ryan Burk a Break, by Darlene Hayes (of All Into Cider and Cider Cocktails: Another Bite of the Apple)
Cider Cons – Considering the Triple Entendre, by Andy Brennan (of Aaron Burr)
Made in America – The Case for the Seedling, by Kim Hamblin (of Art+Science)

I really enjoyed it.  None of these articles would have been published in any mainstream way – they were unique, thought-provoking, and relevant.  I’d highly recommend this for any cider enthusiast.

You can subscribe on their website, for $25 per year (4 issues).  Without advertising (at least at this point), I doubt that covers much more than printing and postage.

Has anyone else read the first issue of Malus yet?

Ferme de Beau Soleil Cidre Fermier Brut

Review of Ferme de Beau Soleil’s Cidre Fermier Bio Brut, a French “Farmer’s Cider”.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery, although I am a fan of French cidre (see some of my reviews here).

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Cider:  Cidre Fermier Bio Brut
Cidery:  Ferme de Beau Soleil
Cidery Location:  Matignon, Brittany, France
ABV:  5%
How Supplied:  750ml champagne corked & caged bottles
Style:  Breton French cidre

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Availability:  likely limited, imported by “Wines of France”

Cider Description:  Google translated as To offer you this raw cider, I have selected and assembled the best varieties of apples live from my orchards.  Since a slow fermentation and craftsmanship, its characteristic fruity taste will seduce you with an aperitif, until dessert.

Cidery Description:  The Renouard family has been making cider since 1975, and were certified organic in 2008.  The current cidermaker is Thomas Renouard (one source said its a one-man operation-wow).

Price:  $12
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, the first time I had been in since their long closure for remodel

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet cider apples and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity, tannins, and funk.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples & pomace, caramel, yeast, earth, leather, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity and sessionability.

My Opinion:  Excellent!  This cider had some nice stages, from tart to flavorful & funky to tannic.  I really liked everything about it – flavor profile, complexity, tannins, funk, etc.  It was edging towards rustic, yet without any sourness (which is my least liked quality).  However, it didn’t quite have as much of that fluffy texture (body) I love with French cidres (which I assume is from the keeving process), I’m guessing as it wasn’t as carbonated as many selections.

Most Similar to:  Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet AOP Pays d’Auge CidreManoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier BrutL’Hermitiére Cidre Brut, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  I liked how this combined my favorite elements of both Brittany and Normandy ciders – sweeter, apple-forward, funky, but not sour.  It also hits a nice price point, about average of what I’ve seen.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

One Tree Staycation

Review of One Tree’s Staycation, a new ish pineapple mango cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have also had their Lemon Basil, Caramel Cinnamon, HuckleberryDark CherryCrisp AppleRaspberry, and Pina Colada.

Cider:  Staycation (Pineapple Mango)
Cidery:  One Tree
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  5.6%
How Supplied:  four pack of 16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with pineapple and mango

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Availability:  Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Illinois, since October 2017, plus limited online sales

Cider Description:
Tropical Vacations are overrated.
-Sharks eat people, period. End of story
-Vog, It’s volcanic fog… Seriously look it up
-In the rain forest, all it does is rain ALL.DAY.LONG
-Sally doesn’t really sell seashells by the sea shore
-When a jellyfish stings you, there’s only one solution…

Cidery Description:  It all started with a love for the Washington apple and a father’s day gift of an at home cider kit … and the rest is history. One Tree Hard Cider is made from locally grown ingredients right here in Washington State. When we started on the journey we wanted to use a wide range of ingredients and flavors in our hard ciders to show that it all starts with apples but it doesn’t end there! Our core ciders are Lemon Basil, Caramel Cinnamon, Huckleberry, and Raspberry. We also release seasonal ciders such as Peach Tea, Ginger Apricot, Pumpkin and Cranberry, and keep your eye out for special draft-only limited release ciders! Whether you like your cider sweet or tart, you’ll find a One Tree Hard Cider just for you!

They have a cider house in Spokane Washington.

Price:  $3.99 / single can ($11.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing (although I had been on the lookout for a single can, as I had seen it in four-packs)

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of pineapple with hints of coconut and mango.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple, coconut, mango, and lime.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  I can’t remember the last time I tried a flavored cider I liked this much; so many are too dry or too sweet, barely flavorful, one dimensional, etc.  I loved the coconut flavor, although they didn’t say they added any, so maybe its just me?

Most Similar to:  One Tree Pina Colada, except more pineapple than coconut, and much less sweet.

Closing Notes:  This appears to be a year round release – yay.

Have you tried One Tree Staycation?  What did you think?

Woodbox Double Barrel Ice Cider

Review of Woodbox’s Double Barrel Ice Cider.  I first tried this at Cider Rite of Spring (see here), but this time I am doing a full review of a bottle.  By the way, ice cider is made by using freezing temperatures to naturally concentrate the flavor and sugar content in apple juice before fermenting it.

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Cider:  Double Barrel Ice Cider
Cidery:  Woodbox
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  12.7%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft ice cider, whiskey barrel aged

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Availability:  In general their ciders are sold in parts of Oregon and Washington (see here), but this may be more limited.

Cider Description:  Layers of sweet and tart, bourbon and vanilla with hints of oak and dark caramel, this cider is meant for sipping. Cryoconcentrated to four times its normal strength, the juice is fermented then aged in whiskey barrels for six months giving it an irresistible bourbon kick, with alluring aromatics and a long warming finish.

Cidery Description:  Woodbox Cider was started [in 2015] by the Thierfelder brothers and their mother, Mama Gibson. We’re a family owned and operated boutique cidery. We source all our apples locally, from our home state of Oregon and production happens in Portland’s very own Northeast quadrant. We’re pretty stoked to present you with several, signature cider blends that are becoming famous for their unapologetically bone dry flavor profiles.

Price:  $17
Where Bought:  Cider Rite of Spring in Portland Oregon (2017)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  tasting at the event

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First Impression:  Medium caramel amber hue.  Still.  Smells of sweet caramelized baked apple, spice, whiskey, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Full bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, baked apple, spice, whiskey, oak, leather, and orange.  Long finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  High flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I remember liking it more at the event.  That always seems to happen to me when trying a cider for a second time, even at home when I haven’t had other ciders first (its especially common when I buy a single bottle and like it, then pick up a six pack and am not as impressed).  This time around it was a bit more dry and tart than I remembered.  However, it is still a really tasty dessert cider, an excellent value, and impressive for their first ice cider release.  This is significantly drier than most other ice ciders, so I imagine it may appeal to folks who typically find ice ciders too sweet.

Most Similar to:  Eden Specialty Ciders’ Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom and Northern Spy ice ciders (which I prefer; however, both cost almost twice as much and are much sweeter)

Closing Notes:  Its great to see a local ish producer making ice cider, as it is still relatively rare in the cider world, and as far as I know, has only been made in the U.S. for about a decade.

Have you tried ice cider?  What did you think?