2 Towns Cosmic Currant

Review of 2 Towns Cosmic Currant, a new fruit seasonal with cranberries and black currants.  It is my first time tying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  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:  Cosmic Currant
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans (and 500ml bottles and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with cranberries and black currants

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Availability:  seasonal (winter), in Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana

Cider Description: Crafted with a transcendent blend of Oregon-grown cranberries, black currants, and Northwest apples, Cosmic Currant’s complex profile takes you on a voyage to the cosmos. Deep ruby red hues radiate with a hint of cane fruit sweetness and earthy cassis liqueur, finishing with a robust cranberry tannin. This brilliant winter warmer creates a celestial cider experience best enjoyed on a crisp, clear night under a blanket of stars.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality, whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We refuse to add processed sugars, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing a true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  retails for ~ $11.99 / six pack
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium red hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart berry.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No funk or sourness.  Notes of cranberry with hints of black currant, green apple, and lemon.  Long tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate sessionability and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I’m not a big fan of cranberry, drier ciders, or tart ciders, so I wasn’t really into this.  However, my husband loved it, as he likes all of those things.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Cranberry, Apple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel, and Tieton Cranberry

Closing Notes:  Its interesting that they only put currant in the title when it tastes more like cranberry.

Have you tried 2 Towns Cosmic Currant?  What did you think?

Author Semi-Sweet Draft Mead

Not a cider review, but a mead (honey wine) review, of Author Mead’s “draft” Semi-Sweet variety.

Mead Name:  Semi-Sweet
Meadery Name:  Author Mead Co.
Meadery Location:  Vancouver WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft “draft” style mead, lower ABV and carbonated, and made using brewing techniques

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Availability:  Washington and Oregon (see here)

Mead Description:  Thanks to the simplicity of ingredients – water, Raw American Honey and yeast – Semi-Sweet is truly a gateway into Draft Mead for those who don’t drink it on a regular basis. We left just enough residual sugars to balance out its crispness and still allow it to go down smooth. People say it tastes a lot more like its lager craft beer cousin than other mead out there today.

Meadery Description:  Crafted to be different…we assembled an all-star team of brewers and dreamers to explore how to help mead rise in the ranks of the craft brew world.  Our process of craft brewing mead advances that goal and we strive daily to deliver you something unique and tasty.  Game changed…get ready to meet the product that is changing the game in craft brewing.  We re-envisioned traditional mead to create crisp, carbonated and perfectly balanced style that pair equally well with a weekend exploring outdoors, a dinner party with friends or hanging out at your favorite tap house.  Let us introduce you to Author Draft Mead.

Where Bought:  Whole Foods in Western WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mild, of sweet honey with a hint of floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of honey with hints of floral and lemon.  Long bitter beer-like chemically finish.  Low to moderate honey flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor until it got to the finish, which ruined it for me.  I assume it was from using brewing instead of wine (and cider & mead) techniques, which is the first time I’ve heard of this for mead.  I had 2 other people try it and they agreed with me, so it wasn’t just me.

Most Similar to:  drier sessionable meads like Nectar Creek Waggle, except with a weird finish

Closing Notes:  I’d recommend this for beer fans who want to try mead, but not so much for folks who like typical meads and cider.

Side Note:  I’ve found I prefer the more traditional meads, which are typically fuller flavored, sweeter, and higher ABV, over the drier carbonated session meads like this.

Have you tried Author Mead?  What did you think?

Angioletti Secco

Review of Angioletti’s Secco cider, from Italy.  It is my first time trying this cider.

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Cider:  Secco sparkling Italian craft cider
Cidery:  Angioletti Vero Sidro Italiano
Cidery Location:  Italy
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  Italian craft cider

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description:  Made from 100% Italian apple juice (no concentrate).  5% vol.  Style: ‘Secco’ / Medium-dry.  Tasting note: Fine bubbles; aromas of fresh apple and white blossom are followed by intense, fresh flavours of orchard fruits, and a satisfying, clean, crisp aftertaste.  Serving suggestion: Serve chilled in a large flute glass as an apéritif or alongside antipasti.  Cider-maker: Matteo Corazzolla.  Closure: Mushroom cork.  Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  Gluten Free.

Cidery Description:  Angioletti craft Italian ciders are made from selected apples exclusively grown in the Italian dolomites.  Our ciders are made from 100% juice and contain no artificial flavourings or colourings.  Based in the UK (the world’s largest cider market), we are the sales office for family-run craft Italian cider and beer ‘Sidro Birrificio’ Lucia Maria Melchiori, where all our craft ciders and beers are made.  As well as Angioletti craft Italian ciders, we supply the Birra Val Di Non range of unfiltered Italian craft beers, named after the picturesque valley in which our ‘Sidro Birrificio’ is situated.

Price:  $5.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine in Southern CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a work trip

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, slightly sweet and acidic, and somehow reminiscent of sparkling wine.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of green apple, lemon, mineral, and floral.  Quick finish, with the flavor and bubbles going flat..  Low apple flavor and overall flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was pretty average.  $5.99 is quite a low price though, so maybe my expectations were too high.

Most Similar to:  Scandinavian Green Apple Craft Cider, although Angioletti Secco had much lower carbonation (Maybe it was an old bottle though?  I’m guessing imports don’t move as quickly as local favorites.)

Closing Notes:  I prefer the only other Italian cider I’ve tried, Bertolinos.

Have you tried Angioletti Secco?  What did you think?

Marquis de Saint-Loup Cidre de Normandie Brut

Review of Marquis de Saint-Loup’s Cidre de Normandie Brut.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Cidre de Normandie Brut
Cidery:  Marquis de Saint-Loup
Cidery Location:  France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  in Western Washington, plus online sales (to AK, CA, DC, ID, ND, NH, NM, NV, OR, and WA), both through  Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.

Cider Description:  This is an approachable brut cidre—all natural, fermented, pure apple juice, lightly sparkling and not too sweet. A go-to cidre for nearly any occasion, it is equally well-suited for a meal of shareable small plates or for grander special occasions. Delicious served by the glass at the bar, in an ice bucket tableside, or to guests at a rehearsal dinner. This cidre has an effervescence that lasts.

Cidery Description:  see here

Price:  ~ $11.99
Where Bought:  Central Market, North of Seattle
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Notes of apple juice & pomace with hints of orange.  Quick finish.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it was less complex than many of the other French ciders I’ve had.

Most Similar to:  Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  French cider is one of my favorites.

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Common Cider Pineapple Guava

Review of Common Cider’s Pineapple Guava.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Hibiscus Saison.

Cider:  Pineapple Guava
Cidery:  Common Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Drytown CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  6 pack of 12oz slim cans (or 22oz bottles)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with pineapple and guava

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Availability:  probably only in California (see their locator)

Cider Description:  An artfully effervescent hard apple cider heightened with tropical pineapple and guava to celebrate the warmth of social festivity.  Our Hawaii-inspired pineapple guava hard cider actually started out as a seasonal in 2017 but response was so strong that we have made it one of our year round products. It’s bright, fruity and off-dry; perfect with light food dishes or just by itself, with a few friends of course.

This gem also took home the Silver medal at the 2018 New York International Beer Competition, and at the 2018 World Cider Competition.  Fun Fact: When you see a pineapple you think Hawaii but they actually originated in South America and are believed to have made their way to Hawaii via the Spanish in the 16th century.

Cidery Description:  To open a Common Cider is to open your heart to the world.  To invite conversation, to entertain new ideas, to celebrate what we all have in common.  While the rest of the brewing world is busily promoting hard cider, we’re engaged with in the art of crafting human cider.  Cider as a solvent for cynicism.  Cider as symbol of balance and sanity.  Cider as a delivery system for joy.

Price:  ~ $3 / single can (runs ~ $13.99 / 6 pack, or $8.99 / 22oz bottle)
Where Bought:  Total Wine in southern CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a business trip, where I had extra suitcase space on the way back after dropping off work stuff so I picked up quite a few ciders

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First Impression:  Low carbonation.  Light straw yellow hue.  Smells mild, tart and tropical.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or bitterness.  Notes of green apple, pineapple, and a bit of something else, which tasted more like strawberry than guava to me.  Moderate length finish.  Low flavor intensity, complexity, and apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was ok, not really to my personal preferences, as it was so mild in flavor.

Most Similar to:  Apple Outlaw Pineapple Getaway and Seattle Cider Pineapple Agave

Closing Notes:  My favorite pineapple cider (of ~ 18 I’ve tried) is probably 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple, as it has tons of flavor without much sweetness, which is a rare combination.

Have you tried Common Cider Pineapple Guava?  What did you think?

2 Towns Hollow Jack’d

Review of 2 Towns’ Hollow Jack’d, a seasonal imperial-style pumpkin and spice cider.  I sampled a non-imperial (lower ABV) version of this previously (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  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:  Hollow Jack’d
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles, kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with caramelized heirloom pumpkin, sweet potato, honey, and spices

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Availability:  October 2019, in Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana.  See their Cider Finder.

Cider Description:  Extra mischievous, Hollow Jack’D takes our fall classic of fresh-pressed apples, caramelized pumpkins and sweet potatoes that are finished with local honey and spices to a whole new level.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99 / 500ml
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it at Cider Summit Seattle 2016, but this time it just showed up

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First Impression:  Hazy straw yellow hue.  Nearly still (low carbonation).  Smells of caramelized apple and spice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple and spices, with hints of pumpkin, sweet potato, and caramel.  Moderate length boozy finish.  Low to moderate sessionability and apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low to moderate pumpkin & sweet potato flavor and spice.

My Opinion:  Although I’m not a huge pumpkin / spiced cider fan, I liked this one.

Most Similar to:  Doc’s Draft Pumpkin cider (although that was a full sweet) and Tieton’s Smoked Pumpkin cider (although that was quite intensely flavored compared to this).  I’ve also tried pumpkin ciders from Ace and Woodchuck.

Closing Notes:  Unlike many pumpkin ciders (and beers), this one is actually made with pumpkin.  Many just add the pie spices but still call it a pumpkin cider (or beer).  Also, it is well balanced, with both the pumpkin and spices remaining light.

Have you tried 2 Towns Hollow Jack’d?  What did you think?

Dragon’s Head Heritage Rosé

Review of Dragon’s Head Heritage Rosé cider, made from red-fleshed apples.  This differs from a modern rosé cider which would add non-apple juice, hibiscus, etc, to get the red hue.  I tried this at a WA Cider Week preview event at Dragon Head’s own orchard (see here), plus I’ve had their Traditional CiderWild FermentedKingston BlackColumbia Crab, Methode Champenoise Perry, Perry, ManchurianSummer Cider, and Heritage.

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Cider:  Heritage Rosé
Cidery:  Dragon’s Head Cider
Cidery Location:  Vashon Island WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples

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Availability:  probably only in Washington and Oregon (see a list of retailers here), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Our Heritage Rosé Cider gets its lively pink color entirely from the Redfield and Mountain Rose apples we use to make it. Unlike typical apple varieties, in the Spring the blossoms on these trees are pink, the leaves are even a reddish bronze, and amazingly the flesh of these unique apples is red in color. When the apples are pressed the juice is a crimson color that lightens and clears into the beautiful rosé that you see in the bottle.

Cidery Description:  From apple to bottle, all right here on our farm.  At Dragon’s Head Cider, we take a traditional approach to cider making. Our focus is on the apple varieties that we use and the quality of the fruit. We love the story that apples alone can tell through cider, altering the flavor by changing the blend of apple varieties that we carefully select. The process is simple and the ingredients list is short. Perhaps we’re a little old fashioned.

Price:  ~ $19
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a tasting event (see here),

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First Impression:  Medium pink hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of complex heirloom & tart green apple with hints of lemon, berry, rhubarb, and watermelon.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I personally prefer ciders which are a bit sweeter and fuller flavored.  I’d recommend this for folks who like a fruity cider but without the sweetness that most have.  I’m always amazed by how many different flavors can occur just from apples, like the fruitiness from red-fleshed apples.

Most Similar to:  Other heritage rosé ciders made from 100% red-fleshed apples, such as Snowdrift Red (a tad sweeter and more tart), Tieton Russian Red (sweeter), Alpenfire Glow (much sweeter and very full-flavored), and Alpenfire Cinders (drier and super bubbly since its methode champenoise).

Closing Notes:  I’m often torn between heritage and modern ciders, as they both have so much to offer, but thankfully I don’t have to choose between them.

Have you tried heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples?  What did you think?