Worley’s Mendip Hills

Review of Worley’s Mendip Hills English cider.  Its my first time trying this variety, but I’ve tried Worley’s other 2 ciders available locally, Special Reserve and Premium Vintage.

Cider:  Mendip Hills
Cidery:  Worley’s
Cidery Location:  Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  English cider from cider apples

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Availability:  Semi wide release

Cider Description:  A slightly sparkling medium cider – smooth and rounded flavour with complex, mellow notes. Best served chilled.  To create ciders of great depth and roundness, it’s imperative to blend a number of apple varieties and Mendip Hills is a lovely example of this art. Containing some 16 apple varieties, the flavour profile of Mendip Hills is full and rounded, yet smooth and satisfying. This accomplished cider is made from punchy late-season fruit that has had longer to mature in the cool orchard grass of some of Somerset’s finest orchards, before being fermented by wild yeasts and matured for several months. A very light carbonation is applied at bottling to produce a velvet-smooth cider with oodles of warm, spicy apple-pie notes.

Cidery Description:  A hobby that got out of control.  We first made cider as a bit of fun for ourselves and our friends. Now here we are nearly a decade later and we’re still having fun but we’re making a lot more cider!  Our first experience of making was when we bought 50 gallons of juice off the farm press from the iconic Roger Wilkins in Mudgely, Somerset. We made the mistake of adding in a bit of sugar and ended up with 10.5% cider. It was lethal and one of the neighbours spent a few hours in a ditch as a result of downing a couple of pints.  Lesson learned, we began to find our own fruit in various small Somerset orchards and gradually started to master the mysterious arts of fruit selection and fermentation.  A few years ago we decided if wanted to carry on making cider we’d need the cider to start making a contribution to its upkeep. So we gradually started selling a bit. Now we’re making over 30,000 litres a year and don’t have time to have proper jobs any more!

Price:  $11
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve tried the other 2 varieties from Worleys available locally, and figured I’d try the 3rd one.

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First Impression:  Medium pumpkin amber.  Moderate carbonation with some foam.  Smells tannic, sweet, and of cider apples.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of cider apples, pomace, orange, leather, and caramelized sugar.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor and complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  I prefer this to their Premium Vintage and Special Reserve.

Most Similar to:  Other English ciders, compared to which its on the entry level end, due to its sweetness, lower tannins, and no sourness or funk.  I also found some similarities with French cider, with its higher carbonation, sweetness, and being apple-forward.

Closing Notes:   I hope Worley’s offers more ciders in the U.S. soon.

Have you tried Worleys cider?  What did you think?

Reverend Nat’s Revival

Review of Reverend Nat’s Revival.  I’ve tried this cider before in 500ml bottles and draft, but not a six pack.  I’ve also previously tried his ¡Tepache!, Hopland #5 / Envy, Newtown Pippin, Ciderkin, Winter Abbey SpiceHallelujah Hopricot, Deliverance Gin & Tonic, Revival Dry, Sour Cherry, The Passion, and Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant.

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Cider:  Revival
Cidery:  Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and 500ml bottles & draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with Mexican piloncillo sugar and two yeast strains

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Availability:  Year round in AK, CA (Southern), HI, ID, OR, and WA, as well as B.C. Canada, Singapore, and Tokyo & Nagano Japan, although the 500ml bottles are easiest to find.

Cider Description:  My newest release is Revival Hard Apple and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you. I start with a secret blend of Washington-grown apples and add piloncillo, dark brown evaporated cane juice, purchased direct from Michoacan, Mexico. I ferment this dark base to all the way to dry using two exotic yeast strains: a beer yeast known for the round mouthfeel in Saisons and a rarely-used secret culture which produces aromas of pineapple, guava and peaches. This cider is brilliantly golden in color and deeply complex while remaining subtly familiar, with just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to be an everyday beverage.

Cidery Description:  Reverend Nat is a single-minded cider evangelist who searches the world for superior ingredients to handcraft the most unusual ciders that no one else will make.

Price:  $13.99
Where Bought:  Target
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  Its easy to find the single 500ml bottles, but this is only the second time I’ve seen the six packs.  The first was at Whole Foods, but only once.  Per ounce the six packs are a good deal.  I was very surprised to see it at Target, which otherwise only had commercial ciders.

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

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of apple juice, apple pomace, yeast, brown sugar, and honey.  Slight richness.  Quick finish length.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  This is a tasty everyday cider.  It varies quite a bit batch to batch, more than any other cider I’ve tried (but that is typical for craft ciders).  Sometimes I like it better than other times, but its always good.

Most Similar to:  Breton French cider, as it is apple-forward and yeast-forward, although less carbonation.

Closing Notes:   This is Reverend Nat’s most typical cider, and my favorite from him.

Have you tried Reverend Nat’s Revival?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Spark!

Review of Alpenfire Spark!, their semi-sweet cider.  I’ve tried it a couple times before, but only bottle pours.  I’ve tried most of Alpenfire’s ciders–DungenessSpark, SmokeApoCalypsoEmberSimple Cider, Calypso, Pirate’s Plank, Glow, Cinders, and Shrub.

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Cider:  Spark!
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  8.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Organic American craft cider from heirloom & cider apple varieties, sugar added

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Availability:  Year round in Washington and their online store

Cider Description:  Spark! is blended from Melrose, Kings, Gravenstein, Winter banana, burgundys and other heritage apples as well as traditional cider apples. This bottle conditioned, unfiltered cider has the wonderfully crisp flavor of a just picked fall apple. This semi sweet cider is delicious with a appetizers, especially cheese and fruit.

Cidery Description:  Alpenfire Organic Cider is made from our estate and locally grown organic apples. We planted our WSDA certified organic orchard in 2004 with over 800 trees and 10 varieties of English, French & Early American cider specific apples. These apples have been used for hundreds of years for the unique qualities they bring to cider production. Namely the tannins and bitters not found in dessert style apples. While the juice, much less the fruit, of many of these apples would be hard to enjoy by the glass they become amazing with a little fermentation. One of our favorites, the “Muscadet de Dieppe”, has a viscous, winey, yes, even musky juice. It takes months of slow, cool fermentation for that to develop the subtle aroma and flavor you will find in our bone-dry cider. We augment our juice and mellow the flavors with organic apples from other local orchards.

Price:  $15.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I’ve been wanting to pick up an Alpenfire bottle, and this is one of my favorites from them (in addition to SmokeApoCalypso, and Glow).

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First Impression:  Light pumpkin amber hue.  Low carbonation and foam.  Smells tannic, of honey and apple pomace.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acid.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Apple-forward and rich.  Notes of apple pomace, honey, orange, and leather.  Moderate finish length.  Moderate to high apple flavor, sessionability, and flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity,

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I forgot how much I like this cider.  Its easily in my top 10 favorites, and has all my favorite cider qualities.  It would be a great introduction to “real” cider (made with cider apples), as it is sweeter and doesn’t have any overwhelming qualities.

Most Similar to:  English cider such as from Aspall (except a bit sweeter and less yeast-forward), Bertolinos, and E.Z. Orchards Semi-Dry.

Closing Notes:   I think this cider is a great choice and a good value too.  Their Smoke is my favorite, but I need to be in a certain mood for that one…Spark is way more easy drinking.

Have you tried Alpenfire Spark?  What did you think?

Nectar Creek Waggle Wildflower Session Mead

Review of Nectar Creek’s Waggle, a Wildflower Session Mead (lower alcohol content). I’ve previously only tried their Honeycone hopped session mead, at Cider Summit last month (see here).  This obviously isn’t a cider, but sometimes I cover non-cider beverages.

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Mead:  Waggle, Wildflower Session Mead
Meadery:  Nectar Creek (Oregon Honey Products)
Meadery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft mead (made from Oregon wildflower honey, water, yeast, and sulfites)

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Availability:  Year-round, at least in CA, GA, ID, MN, OR, TX, and WA (see their locator)

Mead Description:  The complex essence of Oregon wildflower honey is captured in this session mead with flavors and aromas of ripe fruit and fresh honeycomb.

Meadery Description:  Founded by two brothers native to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Nectar Creek combines a passion for beekeeping, agriculture and brewing into delicious, sessionable meads.

They were founded in 2012 and have a tasting room in Corvallis Oregon (which is also home to 2 Towns cider).

Price:  $8.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of honey with a hint of floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Simple flavor, primarily of honey, with some floral and citrus.  Quick finish length.  Low to moderate honey flavor.  Low flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty.  I liked it.  Simple and sessionable.  However, I prefer more flavor.  It tasted a bit watered down.

Most Similar to:  This was similar to their Honeycone, except Waggle was more honey forward and not hopped.  Nectar Creek is the only session mead maker on the market I’ve seen.

Closing Notes:   This was nice, but I think I prefer the higher ABV sweeter meads, which I’ve found to be more flavorful.  Check out some of my other mead reviews here.

Have you tried Nectar Creek Session Meads?  What did you think?

Ole Swede Blend of 9 Cider

Review of Ole Swede’s Blend of 9 Cider.  I’ve previously tried their Blueberry cider.

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Cider:  Blend of 9 Cider
Cidery:  Old Swede
Cidery Location:  Tonasket WA
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert & cider apple varieties, oak aged

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Availability:  Only in WA

Cider Description:  A unique blend of Kingston Black, Storks Red, Harry Masters Jersey, Dabinett, Rome Beauty, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady apples.  Lightly oaked.

Cidery Description:  Our ciders are hand crafted from farm to bottle.  Out family farm was homesteaded in 1899 as new territories were opened in the west, near Havillah, Washington.  Old Swede is born from our roots in North Central Washington’s Okanagan Highlands, a place of natural beauty perched above a valley known around the world for apple production.  We moved back to the family homestead in 2014 and began to take our cider into the world in 2015.

They don’t have a tasting room, but do offer mobile juicing and event catering.

Price:  $9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of oak and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey and citrus.  Moderate length finish with some warming.  Low apple flavor, oak influence, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really liked the flavor, but wanted more of it.  It tasted a bit watery.

Most Similar to:  Nashi Orchards Barrel Fermented Cider, Wandering Aengus Wanderlust, and Finnriver Oak and Apple.

Closing Notes:   This is the third cider from Ole Swede I’ve seen in the Seattle area (in addition to Blueberry and Cherry Perry).

Have you tried Ole Swede cider?  What did you think?

Longdrop Over Yonder

Review of Longdrop’s Over Yonder, from Idaho.  I’ve previously tried their Tanager Pear Cider, Vanilla Honey, Derby Canyon, Semi-Sweet, and Electric Cherry.


Cider:  Over Yonder
Cidery:  Longdrop
Cidery Location:  Eagle Idaho
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from Idaho-grown Jonathan apples (single varietal)

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Availability:  Year round in Idaho, Seattle WA, and Portland OR.

Cider Description:  Idaho Jonathan cider.  Fresh pressed in Fall.

Cidery Description:  The wise chef knows to start with the ingredient, not the recipe. That’s our philosophy as well. We work with a team of local and regional foragers who source ingredients for ciders that respect the seasons. We never use stuff like high fructose corn syrup, or phony colors and flavors. Just Northwest and Idaho grown apples and other of the earth’s goodness. Enjoy.

They will soon have a Cider House in Boise Idaho.

Price:  $7.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I have tried the other Longdrop varieties available locally, but keep missing this one on draft, so I picked up a bottle.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of sharp apples, honey, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apples, citrus, honey, mineral, and floral.  Moderate to long bitter finish.  Moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I found this a bit average.  There was some bitterness and sharpness I wasn’t expecting from it being made from dessert apples (Jonathans).  My favorite part was the honey notes.

Most Similar to:  Wandering Aengus Wanderlust

Closing Notes:   Longdrop’s Vanilla Honey remains my favorite so far.

Have you tried Longdrop Over Yonder?  What did you think?

One Tree Crisp Apple

Review of One Tree’s Crisp Apple cider.  I’ve tried it before, but only a draft sample, not canned.  I’ve also tried their Lemon Basil, Caramel Cinnamon, Huckleberry, Dark Cherry, and Raspberry ciders.

Cider:  Crisp Apple
Cidery:  One Tree
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples

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Availability:  Year-round in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana; see here.

Cider Description:  An army of apple have made their way to your door, housed in a tough metal can. This cider is crisp and delicious with just enough tart apple flavor to keep you coming back for more. Keep that ice chest stocked with One Tree Hard Cider cans. Your taste buds will thank you.

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 flavors range from Lemon Basil, Crisp Apple, and Caramel Cinnamon to Huckleberry, Cranberry and other seasonal or limited release options. Whether you like your cider sweet or tart, you’ll find a One Tree Hard Cider just for you!

They have a tasting room in Spokane WA.

Price:  ~$ 3 / single can (runs ~$10.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried Crisp Apple at One Tree’s release party at the Schilling Cider House in Seattle awhile back (see here), and wanted to give it another go, but only a single can.

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First Impression:  Hazy orange lemonade hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of baked apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of baked apple, citrus, and a hint of cinnamon.  Quick finish length.  High apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  Its simple, but tasty.  I like that its less filtered and flavorful, and less sweet than their other ciders (my preference is semi-dry to semi-sweet).

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Out Cider, except it is slightly sweeter and more flavorful.

Closing Notes:   This is probably my favorite One Tree cider so far; it is the most drinkable of their ciders for me, something I could actually have an entire pint of.  Sweet sells though, and One Tree’s ciders are very popular in the Seattle area.  They won the Fruit Cider Challenge at Cider Summit Seattle 2016 with their Raspberry cider with peanut butter whipped cream (see here).

Side note:  “Crisp Apple” is a popular name for ciders…Angry Orchard, Flatbed, Zeffer, Hornsby’s, Foster’s, and Newton’s all also use it.

Have you tried One Tree Crisp Apple?  What did you think?