Tieton Hazy Strawberry

Review of Tieton’s Hazy Strawberry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

Cider:  Hazy Strawberry
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with strawberries

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Availability:  seasonally, around May thru August, at least in AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IL, NJ, NM, NV, OR, TX, and WA; check their cider finder

Cider Description:  As Washington farmers we like to support local growers and Northwest strawberries are some of the very best!  This blend of hand-picked juicy strawberries and fresh-pressed cider pours as a ruby blush.  It is unfiltered for added body and accentuated flavors.  Enjoy this fruity summer beverage with smoky bar-b-que and fresh cheeses.

Cidery Description: From our orchards to your glass, TCW controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. TCW boasts the largest orchard of cider apple varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our cider fruit with all Washington apples. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  ~ $2 / single can (runs ~ $11.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Trader Joes (note that they will sell a single can/bottle of any multi-pack, and don’t mark it up beyond the unit price like most other stores)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing the store, although I saw it first in the Hard Cider Appreciation Society Facebook group

Photo May 08, 6 56 23 PM

First Impression:  Deep red-pink hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of mild sweet berry.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry and granny smith apple.  Quick tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Interestingly it tasted much drier than the stated sugar content (19g / can), I’m guessing because of the tartness.  Nice real strawberry flavor.

Most Similar to:  My list says I’ve only tried four strawberry ciders (from Bull Run, Cider Brothers – William Tell, Longdrop, and Seattle Cider), and the later 2 had additional flavors.  Tieton Hazy Strawberry is most like Bull Run Strawberry Fields, with a similar level of sweetness and flavor profile.

Closing Notes:  I like being able to pick up single cans/bottles of multipacks, so I don’t get stuck with selections I don’t like, although in this case I wouldn’t have minded having 5 more cans.

Have you tried Tieton Hazy Strawberry?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Traditional Cuvée

Review of Alpenfire Traditional Cuvée.  It is my first time trying this variety, but I have had most of their lineup (see here).

Photo May 08, 4 45 58 PM

Cider: Traditional Cuvée
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American orchard-based cider from heirloom & cider apple varieties, dry

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Availability:  probably only through their website and in a limited number of specialty shops in WA

Cider Description:  This cider cuvée has a classic balance of traditional & heirloom apples. The cider apples are organically grown in our orchard while the heirloom apples come from two other organic growers, Lazy J Farm in Port Angeles and Heirloom Orchards in Hood River. Cider apples provide depth of flavor and a tannic sizzle while heirloom apples provide acidity and bright flavors. Cool fermentation, lengthy maturation and no filtration create complexity and rich body. Try this well rounded orchard based cider with breads & cheese, burgers, or just about everything.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown heritage ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers. Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us. Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you! Try Alpenfire Cider today and find your favorite expression of the Northwest.

Price:  $11.99
Where Bought:  Alpenfire’s online shop
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing their website when I made a large order when they were offering free shipping

Photo May 08, 4 48 12 PM

First Impression:  Medium gold hue.  Smells of dry, tart, tannic, heirloom apple with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of heirloom apple juice & pomace, wood, lemon, and floral.  Moderate length tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, and overall flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  It didn’t seem quite as tart/sharp as many other dry ciders, which I enjoyed, as I usually tend towards sweeter ciders, and tartness makes dry ciders taste even drier for me.

Most Similar to:  Eden Heritage Cider, Dragon’s Head Heritage, and also reminiscent of Snowdrift but not any 1 specific release

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire’s lineup is really wide-ranging in type, so there is something for everyone

Have you tried Alpenfire Traditional Cuvée?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Smoke

Review of Alpenfire’s Smoke Pommeau (cider + apple brandy), their barrel aged dessert cider.  I’ve had a previous version of this (see here), plus I’ve tried most of their lineup (see here).  I missed out on the only release that I knew of in between the previous one I tried years ago and this one, so I was excited to buy some.

Photo Apr 25, 5 54 29 PM

Cider:  Smoke, 2017 Harvest
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft apple brandy-fortified barrel-aged cider from Estate-grown bittersweet cider apple varieties

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Availability:  very limited, likely mostly online, plus some specialty shops in WA

Cider Description:  A barrel aged desert cider blended for those who love a rich full bodied cider and a touch of peaty smoke in their whiskey. This after dinner tipple sits as the 2nd best cider in the world on RateBeer’s best of list….Harvested in 2017 and fermented dry, referemented and aged in a rye whiskey barrel, then matured in a peated whiskey barrel, then blended with cider aged over oak chips before estate Bittersweet apple brandy is added in to bring it up to 18%.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown heritage ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers.  Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us.  Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you!  Try Alpenfire Cider today and find your favorite expression of the Northwest.

Price:  $24.99
Where Bought:  their online shop
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  originally, browsing a shop

Photo Apr 25, 5 59 26 PM

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of rich bittersweet apple, brandy / high ABV, aged spirits (esp. scotch), and oak barrel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium body.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples, oak, smoke, scotch/whiskey, and a hint of peat.  Long warm finish.  Moderate to high complexity and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I have to say that it didn’t live up to the previous version I tried, which was truly epic and one of the best things I’ve ever drank.  I imagine the years I waited to buy more of this served to further elevate my opinion on the previous version.  Never the less, as a stand-alone product, this Pommeau is superb, and I’ll happily drink the 3 bottles I bought.

Most Similar to:  a slightly lighter (less rich) and less sweet version of their previous Smoke, or a typical Pommeau with added barrel/smoke flavor

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire is a favorite of mine, and a highlight is their vast lineup, with offerings from dry to semi-sweet, fruity to rich, sessionable to not, and everything in between, all of which are exceptional.

Have you tried Alpenfire Smoke?  What did you think?

Portland CiderAde

Review of Portland Cider’s CiderAde, a special release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda DryHop’RageousLondon Dry GinApple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, Pineapple, Sangria, Mojito, Cranberry, Concord GrapePerfect 10Pumpkin SpicePineapple Rosé, Peach Berry, and Razzberry.

>>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:  CiderAde
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  19.2oz “proper pint” single cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with lemon, lime, and salt (as electrolytes)

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Availability:  small batch special release, starting April 2020, in Oregon (including to-go at Portland Cider’s 2 taprooms), Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California

Cider Description:  The cider that aids you! Freshly squeezed lemons and limes brighten this cider made with 100% Northwest apples. A cider that’s refreshing & replenishes with electrolytes sourced from sea salt harvested in Netarts Bay along the Oregon coast by Jacobsen Salt Company. Rejuvenation & relaxation in a glass!

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 ~ $4 per 19.2oz can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Apr 12, 4 40 35 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, lemon, salt, and lime.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low apple flavor, sessionability, and complexity.  Very high sessionability.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t super into this, as I tend towards slightly sweeter ciders, but my husband who is a bigger fan of dry tart ciders liked it.

Most Similar to:  Ulee’s Light Cider with some salt and lime

Closing Notes:  I’m not one to mix outdoor activities in hot weather with alcohol, so I don’t really get the appeal of this, but I can imagine others having the opposite opinion.  Good thing there is a wide range of ciders so there is something for everyone.

Have you tried Portland CiderAde?  What did you think?

Double Mountain Wickson Crab Cider

Review of Double Mountain Brewery’s Wickson Crab cider.  It is my second time trying this (see here for the first).  I’ve also had their Jumpin Jack Heirloom CiderDry, and Arkansas Black.

Photo Mar 28, 5 29 39 PM

Cider:  Wickson Crab
Maker:  Double Mountain
Location:  Hood River Oregon
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Wickson crabapples

Photo Mar 28, 5 29 45 PM Photo Mar 28, 5 30 07 PM Photo Mar 28, 5 29 57 PM

Availability:  likely only in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia

Cider Description:  This late season variety is tiny on the tree, but big on flavor. Sweet, tart, and earthy, this scrappy little apple makes for a robust cider. Honeydew, ripe kiwi, and big juicy apple fill the mouth, finishing less tart and a hint of sweetness.  There is nothing small about this variety of crabapple.  Wickson is bringing the sweet to balance it’s tart kick.

Cidery Description:  Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom was established in 2007 in the heart of downtown Hood River, OR.  Founder, Matt Swihart, opened the brewery with a clear mission: make great beer for craft beer fans. The unique location of Double Mountain provides the use of pure and clean glacial water for beers and ciders, while also take advantage of regionally grown hops. Reusable bottles allow customers to partake in a softer environmental footprint, affirming they are part of a sustainable future. Double Mountain may be found on tap and in bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

They have 2 taprooms, in Hood River and Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Mar 28, 5 31 25 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp crabapple & green apple, lemon, and floral.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low sessionability and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t into this cider, but my husband was a big fan, as its his favorite style (dry, tart, and higher ABV).  This was drier, more tart, and higher ABV than their previous version.

Most Similar to:  Dragon’s Head Columbia Crab and Greenwood Red River Wolf Crab

Closing Notes:  Its unique to see a brewery make cider, especially heritage (vs. modern) cider.

Have you tried crabapple cider?  What did you think?

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

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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

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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?