Art+Science Symbiosis

Review of Art+Science Symbiosis cider, 50% apple + 50% grape.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Symbiosis, 2015
Cidery:  Art+Science
Cidery Location:  Sheridan OR
ABV:  10.8%
How Supplied:  750ml crown capped bottle with attached flip top
Ingredients:  50% foraged apple + 50% Grüner Veltliner white grape
Style:  American craft apple & grape wine, wild yeast fermented, ancestral method, white wine barrel aged for 10 months, secondary fermentation in bottle

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Availability:  Oregon (especially Portland), California, Washington, New Orleans LA, and New York NY, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Symbiosis: any type of a close and long-term biological interaction between two different species, be it mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic. Symbiosis is made from foraged apples in the Willamette Valley and Grüner Veltliner grown at Johan Vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Grüner Veltliner is the most widely planted white grape in Austria. The apples are milled and pressed and the apple juice is added to the destemmed and crushed Grüner Veltliner. It is 50% apples and 50% white grapes and is naturally fermented with native yeast on the skins of the gruner for 3 weeks then aged in used white wine barrels for 10 months. Then it is re-sweetened and put in bottle to finish a secondary fermentation to add some carbonation. This beverage is made with no added acid, no forced carbonation and no pasteurization. It is the most vinous cider we produce with great mid pallet weight. Take a sip and take a breath of fresh air….. 

Cidery Description:  Welcome to Art+Science! We are natural cider, perry, and wine producers using primarily foraged fruit & fermenting with indigenous yeast in rural Yamhill County, Oregon. We are working towards building a tasting room in 2018, but we welcome visitors by appointment to drink at our kitchen table with us!

They are associated with Roshamboart Farm and started commercially making wine in 2011 and cider in 2013.

Price:  $12.99 (looks like I got a good deal, as the online price is $28)
Where Bought:  K&L Wines in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, while we were in port during a cruise

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First Impression:  Moderate hazy yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of citrus, vinegar, and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low sourness, tannins, bitterness, and funk.  Notes of grapefruit, lemon, honey, yeast, white grape, vinegar, oak, must, and cork.  Long warming sour finish.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low apple & grape flavor, barrel influence, and sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I was ambivalent about this cider.  I didn’t dislike it, but I wouldn’t choose it again.  It was definitely nice to try though, and very unique, wine-like.  A lot of effort obviously went into producing it.  I would recommend this cider for folks who enjoy a more rustic farmhouse-style cider and/or Spanish Sidra.  Note that this was the front of the palate sourness, not as brash (to me at least) as Sidra, but did have a bit of that vinegar type flavor.

Most Similar to:  The only grape cider I think I’ve had is 2 Towns Cidre Moscato (with Muscat grapes), but I’m not sure that was co-fermented, and it was a completely different style.  However, the rustic (wild fermented) style of this cider reminded me of Runcible Cider Light of the Moon, Alpenfire Pirate’s Plank, Angry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Wrangletown Cider Co.’s lineup.  The other ciders I’ve had with a white grape flavor were sweeter & fruity, which this cider was not.

Closing Notes:  At the same shop I also picked up a bottle of Art+Science’s 100% Quince cider (although in that case it would just be fruit wine).  Their website says they are distributed in WA, and I was told it was through ‘Walden’, but I don’t think I’ve spotted anything made by them yet.

Have you tried Art+Science Symbiosis?  What did you think?

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Liberty Reserve Series Porter’s Perfection Single Varietal

Review of Liberty’s Reserve Series Porter’s Perfection Single Varietal.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Manchurian Crabapple Single VarietalCrabensteinEnglish StyleAbbessStonewall Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel AgedGravensteinCellar Series #G15New World StyleCellar Series (unknown)McIntoshGolden Russet SVSpokane Scrumpy, and Hewe’s Crab.

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Cider:  Reserve Series #0216 Porter’s Perfection Single Varietal
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  8.6%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Porter’s Perfection cider apples, barrel aged

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Availability:  In general you can find their ciders in Washington and Oregon (see a list of locations here).  However, this variety was very limited (12 cases), mostly just their tap room and cider club members, plus possibly online sales through Vino Shipper (although at the time of review it was not listed)

Cider Description:  Porter’s Perfection apples are another UK favorite, valued in blending and as a stand-alone. Dry, tannic and satisfying, our 2015 Porter’s is a blend of apples from both our Palouse-based suppliers (Bishops’ Orchard & Steury Orchards). Aged in a used whiskey barrel (already stripped of whiskey by our award-winning Stonewall cider), this cider pairs beautifully with smoked poultry, pork and red meat dishes. (12 cases bottled still in 750 ml bottles, RS 0.2%)

Cidery Description:  Located in the largest apple-growing region on the continent, Liberty Ciderworks is all about the apple, showcasing the diversity and wonders of locally grown fruit. From well known apples like McIntosh and Jonathan to rare, cider-specific fruit like Kingston Black and Dabinett, Liberty ciders put apples in their proper place: Front and center.  We started Liberty Ciderworks in 2013 with a simple, two-part mission: 1) Using apples from local farms and fields to create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Sharing them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest.  Welcome to the cider revolution. 

They have a tap room in Spokane WA, which also now has a bottle shop of selections from around the world.

Price:  $15.75
Where Bought:  Capitol Cider in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Perusing their cider bottle list.  I was surprised to find this, as I didn’t think the Reserve Series left their tap room.

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of bittersweet apple juice, caramel, and tannins.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  Moderate tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet apple, caramel, brown sugar, orange, and leather.  Long dry tannic finish.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I think I would have liked a bit more body and residual sweetness, as I think that would have brought out more flavor.  However, as-is, it is incredibly food friendly.

Most Similar to:  Eve’s Kingston Black, Farnum Hill Kingston Black, and Alpenfire Ember (which is sweeter)

Closing Notes:  Next up I have their Pink Pearl to try, another Reserve Series single varietal.

Have you tried any single varietal ciders?  What did you think?

Oliver’s Gold Rush Cider

Review of Oliver’s Gold Rush Cider, batch #2.  This was a collaboration between Tom Oliver (of Oliver’s Cider and Perry in the UK) and Gregory Hall (of Virtue Cider in Chicago).  I’ve previously tried Oliver’s Herefordshire Perry and Desire.

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Cider:  Gold Rush
Cidery:  Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Cidery Location:  Herefordshire United Kingdom
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  750ml twist-top bottle
Style:  English still cider from cider apples, wild yeast fermented, oak aged, secondary fermentation

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Availability:  limited, although in general Oliver’s can at least be found in the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, and USA (see here).

Cider Description:  Have you noticed similarities between Tom Oliver’s wild yeast- fermented ciders and traditional lambics?  You aren’t the only one.  During a visit to Oliver’s farm in 2011, Greg Hall – former brewmaster at Goose Island, and current cidermaker at Virtue Cider in Chicago – proposed a collaborative cider made in the traditional way, but with a lambic yeast thrown in for further complexity.  The result is the Gold Rush: a…sparkling, medium dry cider with a deep, burnished color made from 100% bittersweet and sharp vintage cider apples from traditional Herefordshire farms. The juice was slow fermented by wild yeasts in old oak barrels through a cold winter and underwent malolactic fermentation in the warm spring.  Oliver then added fruit sugar and lambic yeasts for a second alcoholic fermentation, adding a touch more alcohol and complexity. It was finished in oak, for maturity, before final blending and bottling.  The first transatlantic cider that is everything a bittersweet cider should be.

Cidery Description:  Oliver’s strives to produce premium products, while valuing the health and well being of its consumers, its employees, the earth’s natural resources, and the environment. In fact, Oliver’s have created a charter that they hope all cider makers will follow. Its tenets are these:

  • To help secure the future of UK orchards and their ecosystems
  • Preserve the integrity of cider and perry as valuable products of recognized quality using only UK fruit
  • Declare ingredients (with traceability), based on a minimum juice content of 85%, control and minimize additives and use only natural products.”

Price:  $14.99
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing during a cruise port stop.

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First Impression:  Moderate amber hue.  Still (no carbonation) with some froth.  Smells amazingly complex, of bittersweet apple juice, caramel, and a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  High tannins.  Hints of funk.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apple, caramel, leather, orange, brown sugar, must, and spice.  Long finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor and complexity.  Low sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Amazing!  This was crazy rich and complex.  I love the color too – it is so rare to find such a naturally dark cider.  I was surprised to not find more funk or any sourness, which is rare for a wild fermented cider.  This is now one of my favorite English ciders.  Best drank at cellar temperature (in between fridge and room temperature).

Most Similar to:  Henney’s VintageRocquette XC Exceptional Cider, and Finnegan Harvest Blend

Closing Notes:  I hope I get the opportunity to try more varieties from Oliver’s!  I liked this one just slightly more than Desire (as Gold Rush was more tannic and complex).

Have you tried Oliver’s Gold Rush?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 31 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 31st visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there on a Tuesday afternoon with my husband, during our Winter Break.  I got a flight, as usual.

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<left to right:  Dragon’s Head Manchurian, Number 6 Peach, Sea Cider Sassamanash, Alpenfire Traditional Heirloom, Elemental Acai, and 2 Towns Naughty & Nice>

Dragon’s Head (Vashon WA) Manchurian (6.9% ABV):  This is made from Manchurian Crabapples, and also available in bottles.  Dry.  Moderate tartness and high acidity.  Mild flavor, with notes of citrus, honey, stone fruit, and floral.

Number 6 (Seattle WA) Peach (unknown ABV):  This appears to be a draft-only cider, but I couldn’t find anything online about it.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Definite moderate peach flavor, but it finished with an odd sourness I wasn’t a fan of.

Sea Cider (Saanichton, B.C., Canada) Sassamanash (9.9% ABV):  This is a new seasonal release, with cranberry and hibiscus, and also available in bottles.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Mild cranberry flavor with a hint of floral.  I enjoyed this more once it warmed up a bit, and you’d never guess it was nearly 10% ABV.

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Traditional Heirloom (6.9% ABV):  This is the name for their rotating draft-only cider from heirloom apples.  Dry.  Low tartness and moderate acidity, with some mild tannins.  The flavor was very mild, mostly citrus with some floral.  This one was also more enjoyable once it warmed up a bit, as it was less sharp.  I’ve had this previously, but it was likely a different batch; see here.

Elemental (Woodinville WA) Acai (6.0% ABV):  This appears to be a tap-only release.  Semi-dry.  I don’t know what acai tastes like, but I found it to have a mild pomegranate-cranberry flavor.  Moderate tartness and acidity.

2 Towns (Corvallis OR) Nice & Naughty (10.5% ABV):  This is an imperial spiced cider, also available in bottles.  Semi-dry.  Apple-forward with some mild pie spices.  I’ve had this before, see here (and I’ve also had the draft-only barrel aged version of it; see here).

I also got a larger pour of Reverend Nat’s The Passion, which I’ve had previously (see here).  Then, my friend and manager of the cider house Sarah shared some ciders.

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland OR) The Passion (6.9% ABV):  This cider is made using passion fruit juice, coconut, and vanilla, and also available in bottles.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate passion fruit flavor with hints of coconut, vanilla, and pineapple.  Yummy!

Carlton Cyderworks (McMinnville OR) Summer Set (7.1% ABV):  This is made from heirloom apples.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and high acidity.  Sharp heirloom apple flavor, with notes of citrus, floral, and honey.

Oliver’s (Hereford UK) Desire (4.2% ABV): This is a keeved English cider, which drank similar to a French cider, except it was still.  Semi-sweet.  Lovely rich bittersweet apple flavor with some caramel and brown sugar notes, and even some tannins.  Awesome!

My favorites were the selections from Sea Cider, Alpenfire, Reverend Nat’s, and Oliver’s.

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

Central City Limited Edition Imperial Cider

Review of Central City Brewers and Distillers’ Brewer’s Reserve Small Batch Series Limited Edition Imperial Cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.  I picked it up in Victoria in September, when we were in port for a cruise.

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Cider:  Limited Edition Imperial Cider
Cidery:  Central City Brewing
Cidery Location:  Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Canadian cider from local apples, bourbon barrel aged

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Availability:  limited seasonal release, since fall 2016, only in British Columbia (although in general their products are available throughout Canada; see here)

Cider Description:  Central City Brewers & Distillers’ Oak Aged Craft Cider is a limited edition, small batch apple cider. Made from 100% Okanangan Valley apples, oak aged with subtle bourbon tones. The resulting flavour is complex with notes of vanilla bringing balance to a rich, crisp apple character. The effervescent finish makes for a refreshing and flavourful cider experience.

Cidery Description:  This brewery opened in 2003.  In addition to beer, they also produce spirits and cider.

Price:  $16.44 CAD (~ $13.00 U.S.)
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had never heard of this producer, and it sounded like a cider I’d like.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of alcohol, oak, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, lemon, bourbon, oak, and caramelized sugar.  Long boozy finish.  Low oak influence, apple flavor, and sessionability.  Moderate bourbon flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I loved the flavor profile of this cider.  It was quite alcoholic, but well balanced and tasty.  The bourbon was definitely noticeable, which I liked, but not overwhelming.  I shared it with a friend on Christmas day, and it was a great choice.  The high quality surprised me, as I haven’t enjoyed too many ciders from breweries.  Often they are rather beer-like.

Most Similar to:  (1) Moonlight Meadery Little Apples (the new canned version like this, but without the first batch can liner issue; it remains much drier than their previous draft version); (2) Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series Guinevere’s Pearls (except it lacks bourbon); and (3) 2 Towns Bad Apple (except it also lacks bourbon)

Closing Notes:  I hope to be able to find this again.  It was an awesome value too!

Have you tried Central City’s Imperial Cider?  What did you think?

Eric Bordelet Sidre Tendre

Review of Eric Bordelet’s Sidre Tendre.  It is my first time trying this one, but I’ve previously tried Bordelet’s Poire Authentique and Nouvelle Vague Sidre.

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Cider:  Sidre Tendre
Cidery:  Eric Bordelet
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  3.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  sweet sparkling French cidre from cider apples, wild yeast fermented

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Availability:  Semi wide release.  In adition to France and the U.S.A., the website says their ciders are available in Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Brasil, and South Africa.

Cider Description:  Smooth fruity citrus cider with aromas of wild apples from low alcoholic autumn – 3.5% / vol. (Accompanies perfectly on desserts and pastries). 

They also make a Brut (dry) version of this cider.  The only difference between the two is that this sweeter version has the fermentation stopped early, while the Brut is allowed to ferment dry.

Cidery Description:  The Bordelet family’s biodynamic orchards are in southern Normandy. The orchards as well as the cider making is undertaken by former Paris sommelier Eric Bordelet. All tolled, the orchard is 37 acres, seven and a half of which bear apple and pear trees 50 years old. The estate holds 20 varieties of apples and 15 varieties of pear. This is cider you are going to want to make a special effort to seek out.

See here and here for more information.

Price:  50% off $17.99
Where Bought:  Downtown Spirits in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, after attending a cider tasting class taught by Rev Nat.  The shop had a 50% off shelf filled with all sorts of awesome ciders!

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells of complex sweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of overripe bittersweet cider apple, yeast, and orange.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  Although this lovely cider is rather juice-like and lower complexity, it is far from boring.  This would make a wonderful introduction to fine cider for someone who is used to drinking sweet commercial cider.  It retained the apple & yeast forward qualities of French cider, but lacks any of the more difficult to appreciate qualities often found in Normandy French cider, such as sourness & funk.  It is amazing that Bordelet can create such a clean cider with wild fermentation.

This would also make a nice brunch cider, due to the lower ABV, and its complex simplicity would make it food-friendly.  Also, although it is rather sweet, it drank like a drier cider (I drank the entire bottle myself and it wasn’t a sugar overload).

Most Similar to:  Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge and Eric Bordelet’s Nouvelle Vague Sidre, although both of those are significantly drier.  Clos des Ducs is sweeter than this, but Eric Bordelet’s ciders are far superior in flavor and complexity.

Closing Notes:  I hope I can find more Eric Bordelet varieties to try!

Have you tried Eric Bordelet sidre?  What did you think?

Sancho Libre Peach Sangria

Review of Bite Hard’s Sancho Libre Peach Sangria.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their regular Bite Hard cider.

Cider:  Sancho Libre Peach Sangria
Cidery:  Bite Hard Cider
Cidery Location:  Boonville CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12 or 16oz cans (I got a single 16oz can, but they appear to have since moved on to 12oz cans)
Style:  peach flavored cider-based beverage

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description:  Crisp and refreshing, Sancho Libre Peach blends citrus tang with stone fruit sweetness.  Slightly sparkling and refreshing.

Cidery Description:  Welcome to the world of Sancho! It gives me great pleasure to know you want to learn more about my sangria.  I have crafted them special just for you.  Be sure to tell your friends just how much you enjoy your Sancho.

Price:  ~ $12.99 / four 12oz cans
Where Bought:  a bottle shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Pale peach hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of peach-flavored candy.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of peach, mango, lime, and strawberry.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, this is something best drank quickly on a hot day, not savored in the evening with dinner.  It tastes rather commercial, which is how I’d describe it, as they add sugar and flavor.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider’s Sangria, although that is more natural tasting, and I preferred its flavor.

Closing Notes:  They also have a “Red” variety of this sangria.

Have you tried Sancho Libre?  What did you think?