Portland RazzBerry

Review of Portland Cider’s RazzBerry, a new seasonal release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda Dry, Hop’Rageous, London Dry Gin, Apple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, Pineapple, Sangria, Mojito, Cranberry, Concord Grape, Perfect 10, Pumpkin Spice, Pineapple Rosé, and Peach Berry.

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  RazzBerry
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  6-packs of 12oz cans, 19.2oz single cans, and kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with raspberries, pears, and lemon zest

Photo Mar 20, 5 17 39 PM Photo Mar 20, 5 17 53 PM

Availability:  seasonally, starting March 2020, in Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California

Cider Description:  Loads of bright raspberries combine with Northwest grown apples, a touch of lemon zest, and Hood River Valley pears for a refreshing cider that everyone will love. Easy-drinking, thirst-quenching and refreshingly tart, the cider is 5.8% ABV and ideal for barbecues and outdoor adventures.

Cidery Description:  We started the Portland Cider Company in 2013 with the intent of marrying English cider traditions with the innovative Northwest micro-brewing culture.  Lynda hails from Somerset county of England, the traditional cider making region, and Jeff is a native Oregonian.  It all started from a desire to make the clean, dry cider Lynda grew to love in England, and Jeff yearned to find here.  The first batches began in our guest room closet, 5 gallons at a time, made to quench our own thirst.  We then introduced it to our friends and family, most never having drank cider before, and discovered we were on to something when our popularity soared and those small batches went fast!  That cider is what became our signature and bestselling “Kinda Dry.”  Now 6 years on, we continue to devote the same passion for 5000 gallon batches as we did for those first 5 gallon ones.  Only now we don’t worry about running out of what we love!  We hope you won’t run out of it either!

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $12.99 per 6-pack or ~ $4.29 per 19.2oz can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Mar 20, 5 17 10 PM

First Impression:  Moderate red hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart raspberry.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of raspberry, green apple, and lemon (no noticeable pear).  Moderate length tart finish.  High sessionability.  Low complexity and apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and raspberry flavor.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Not what I’d usually pick, but tasty, on the lighter side, and super sessionable, with the low ABV, mid-level sweetness, and simpler flavor profile.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve tried, as the raspberry ciders I’ve had were:
– much sweeter (from Washington Gold, Woodchuck, Wyder’s, Eaglemount, One Tree, Schilling, & Doc’s Draft)
– much drier & high ABV (Blue Moon Winery), or
– had other ingredients (Apple Outlaw Chocolate Raspberry, Bauman’s Peach Raspberry, Pear Up Rasperry, & Cockrell Raspberry Habanero)

Closing Notes:  Last summer’s seasonal from Portland Cider was Pineapple Rosé, which they made a year-round release, so this is the replacement.

Have you tried Portland Cider RazzBerry?  What did you think?

Eden Claudine Keeved Cider

Review of Eden’s Claudine, a French-style keeved cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, The FalstaffHeritageSiren SongEzekiel Kingston BlackHarvest, and Extra Sec.

Photo Feb 15, 6 45 53 PM (1)

Cider:  Claudine (Cellar Series)
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft French-style keeved cicder

Photo Feb 15, 6 46 06 PM Photo Feb 15, 6 46 17 PM Photo Feb 15, 6 46 29 PM

Availability:  online only, limited release

Cider Description:  Normandy-style keeved cider, made from 3 bittersweet apple varieties. This is a special version of a petillant naturel that retains residual sweetness, balanced by tannin rather than acidity. Its delicious, rich flavor is a fantastic accompaniment to traditional Normandy foods. Enjoy with a plate of cider-braised mussels, a bowl of pork stew, or a slather of Camembert cheese.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  $36 / 3 bottles (currently no single bottle option) + shipping
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  e-mail from the cidery

Photo Feb 15, 6 49 03 PM

First Impression:  Medium orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells sweet, of rich apple and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No funk or sourness.  Notes of rich complex apple pomace & juice and orange.  Quick finish with a hint of bitterness and tannins.  High apple flavor, sessionability, and overall flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really liked it.  On the simpler side, but most French and French-style ciders are, and its far from boring.  Sweeter than most other offerings from Eden, which I like, as my favorite non-ice cider from them is probably their semi-sweet Guinevere’s Pearls.  I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and a French cider.  I think it would be perfect for a weekend brunch.

Most Similar to:  a number of cleaner French ciders (no funk or sourness); see here for some of my past French cider reviews

Closing Notes:  Interesting they are only selling this in half-size 375ml bottles, especially with the low ABV.  From the price and style I’m guessing this cider cost them a lot to make, and the smaller bottle size kept the price much lower (vs. $24 / 750ml bottle assuming double the price of one 375ml bottle).

Have you tried Eden Claudine?  What did you think?

Kite & String Royal Cider

Review of Kite & String’s Royal Cider, ice cider fortified with apple brandy then oak barrel aged.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Baldwin and Honeoye.

Photo Jan 24, 8 47 08 PM

Cider:  Royal Cider
Cidery:  Kite & String (Finger Lakes Cider House)
Cidery Location:  Interlaken NY
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft barrel-aged brandy-fortified ice cider

Photo Jan 24, 8 47 21 PM Photo Jan 24, 8 47 39 PM

Availability:  limited, probably only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Fortified desert cider. A cold concentrated ice cider partially fermented then blended with a young apple brandy. Aged briefly in American oak. Deeply textured layers of caramel and vanilla balanced with refreshing acidity. Unfiltered and unfined.

Cidermaker’s Notes:  Following a passion for port wines, Royal Cider was born.  Beginning with a a high acid blend of heirloom apples cold concentrated in the winter of 2015 to 40+ brix. Fermented to 13% ABV then fermentation was arrested via fortification with apple brandy to 18% ABV. Then barrel aged to soften the edges and allow the brandy to settle in. Naturally clarifying, requiring no filtration.

Apple Varieties:  Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Honeycrisp, & Baldwin

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun.  ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York.  Please come visit us in the tasting room any time of year.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  online discussion

Photo Jan 24, 8 51 18 PM

First Impression:  Medium caramel amber hue.  No carbonation.  Smells sweet, high ABV, and of caramel & spice.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich baked apple, caramel,  vanilla, and spice.  Long warm finish.  High apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  More ice cider than Pommeau.

Most Similar to:  ice cider + a bit of Pommeau

Closing Notes:  I think Eden ice ciders are still my favorite so far.  My favorites from Eden are are The Falstaff and Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom.

Have you tried Kite & String Royal Cider?  What did you think?

 

Schilling Cider House Visit 36 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes #36 from the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts from the cider house here.

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I was here on a Monday afternoon with my husband and a friend from out of town.  We skipped work to hang out with our friend at Pike Place and the cider bar.  I ordered most of the ciders they had that I hadn’t previously tried.  It appears that most if not all of these are draft-only.

Photo Jan 27, 2 02 25 PM<left to right:  Schilling Brut, Independent Barreled Blackberry Perry, Channel Marker Quince, Finnriver Bourbon Barrel Aged Heritage, and Cider Riot New Wave>

Schilling (Auburn WA) Imperial Brut (8.5% ABV):  On the sweeter side of dry, tart, with rich bittersweet cider apple flavor

Independent Cider (Dryden WA) Barreled Blackberry Perry (5.9% ABV):  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, with berry, and a hint of oak (barrel), but no detectable pear

Channel Marker Cider (Seattle WA) Quince (7.8% ABV):  Dry to semi-dry, tart, with mild general fruitiness

Finnriver (Port Townsend WA) Bourbon Barrel Aged Heritage (9.5% ABV):  Semi-dry, with heirloom apple flavor with some tannins and bitterness

Cider Riot (Portland OR) New Wave (5.1% ABV):  Dry to semi-dry with sharp heirloom apple flavor

I liked the Blackberry Perry, but wasn’t too into the others, mostly as they were on the drier / tart / sharp / bitter side.  I probably should have just ordered something I knew I would like, but I like to try new ciders, especially at the lower price of a taster.  I was more excited about the bottle shopping I did – I picked up a bunch of Dunkertons (an English cider which is a favorite of mine that hasn’t been available for quite awhile) and Alpenfire (a local favorite), plus a few others.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says.  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Hemly Pear Cider

Review of Hemly’s Pear Cider (cider from apple & pear juice).  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Photo Jan 04, 7 19 23 PM

Cider:  Pear Cider
Cidery:  Hemly Cider
Cidery Location:  Cortland CA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four-pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American craft pear cider, from apple & pear juice

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Availability:  probably only in CA; see here

Cider Description:  Our flagship and most popular cider. This pear cider is medium sweet, tastes of fresh pear and has a beer like body. Our Original is made from Bosc and Bartlett Pears and a small amount of Gala Apples, is aged on oak and unfiltered. At 5.5% alc. Hemly Original is bright, refreshing and sessionable.

Cidery Description:  It may have taken us 165 years, but it’s definitely worth the wait! Six generations later, thanks to Josiah, we can share the heart of our pear ciders with you: fermented dry,aged on oak, unfiltered. A light refreshing, authentic and cloudy pear cider crafted for you to enjoy.  Our cider is made from 100% fresh pressed fruit straight from our orchards, never artificially flavored. We control the entire process from the roots to the glass. After six generations of growing pears, we have a gold worth sharing.

Price:  $11.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  on a business trip to Southern CA I picked up a number of singles

Photo Jan 04, 7 20 27 PM

First Impression:  Hazy yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells mild, of pear.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, pear, and lemon.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor, apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed the flavor.  However, it was quite mild overall.

Most Similar to:  Anthem Pear and Longdrop Tanager Pear Cider

Closing Notes:  Hemly also has at least two other pear ciders, Dry, and Sloughhouse (with Jalapeño).

Have you tried Hemly Pear Cider?  What did you think?

Eden Extra Sec

Review of Eden’s Extra Sec, their dry sparkling methode champenoise cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and New Hampshire.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, FalstaffHeritage 2018Siren SongEzekiel Kingston Black, and Harvest 2019.

Photo Dec 31, 5 13 12 PM.jpg

Cider:  Extra Sec
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  375ml & 750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom & cider apples, methode champenoise, dry

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Availability:  limited, although they have online sales

Cider Description:  Champagne-method cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and at Poverty Lane Orchards in New Hampshire. It is naturally sparkling and clean – we hand-disgorge the yeast from every bottle! Beautifully balanced between fruit, acid, and tannin. The barely perceptible dosage serves to bring forth the fruit character of the cider. Perfect with roast pork, turkey and vegetable gratin dishes.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $15
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

Photo Dec 31, 5 27 28 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of dry acidic heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of complex tart heirloom apples, lemon, wood/earth, and pineapple.  Long tart finish.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, especially as it isn’t fully dry, and has some complexity, but this isn’t my favorite style of cider.  My husband was predictably even a big fan, as its a favorite style of his.  I recommend this to fans of complex dry tart sparkling ciders; its very well made and an excellent value.

Most Similar to:  Eden Harvest cider, but sparkling, a touch drier, and more complex

Closing Notes:  Awhile back Eden replaced their flagship ‘Dry’ and ‘Semi-Dry’ ciders with ‘Brut Nature’ and ‘Extra Sec’, all of which are sparkling, with the former at 0% residual sugar and the later (reviewed here) at 0.9% residual sugar.  I think I preferred the ‘Semi-Dry’ a bit over Extra Sec, as it was a touch sweeter and richer, but anything from Eden is a good choice.

Have you tried Eden Extra Sec?  What did you think?

Superstition Meadery Hawaiian Honeymoon

Diverging a bit from cider, this is a review of Superstition Meadery’s Hawaiian Honeymoon, a pineapple-vanilla mead.  Mead is made by fermenting watered down honey.  It is my first time trying this one, but I sampled a number of Superstition’s varieties when I visited their tasting room (see here).

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Mead:  Hawaiian Honeymoon
Meadery:  Superstition Meadery
Location:  Prescott AZ
ABV:  13.5%
How Supplied:  375ml corked bottles
Style:  American craft mead (honey wine), with pineapple & vanilla added

Photo Dec 25, 4 31 26 PM Photo Dec 25, 4 31 37 PM

Availability:  limited; see here, plus they have online sales

Mead Description:  Hawaiian Honeymoon is a recent Superstition creation which has become an instant staff favorite. Big juicy Tahitian vanilla beans and pineapple, aged on toasted American oak staves, join forces with Arizona honey in this delicious craft beverage that will take you on vacation.

Meadery Description:  We have introduced over 200 unique meads and hard ciders since 2012.
Our products range from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, and easy drinking to the most flavorful beverage you have ever imagined.

Price:  ~ $24
Where Bought:  unknown
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  my husband got me this (and 1 other Superstition mead) for Christmas

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First Impression:  Light yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells of pineapple and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, funk, or sourness.  Notes of pineapple, honey, lemon, vanilla, and stone fruit.  Long warm finish, due to the high ABV.  Moderate honey flavor.  High flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  It was more pineapple than honey forward, and the vanilla was barely perceptible.  I see mead as a nice option in between cider and wine, and although there are more sessionable (low ABV) mead options, which often tend drier, I usually prefer the more traditional sweeter higher-ABV meads, which tend to be full-flavored.

Most Similar to:  High-ABV pineapple cider, or pineapple wine, with a hint of honey.

Closing Notes:  Superstition’s meads are at the higher end of the price spectrum, but they are also high quality.

Have you tried mead?  What did you think?