Alpenfire 3 Pommes (Apple, Pear, Quince)

Review of Alpenfire’s 3 Pommes, made with apples, pears, and quince (which is a pomme fruit most similar to pears and apples).  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their DungenessSparkSmokeApoCalypsoEmberSimple CiderCalypsoPirate’s PlankGlowCindersShrubSpiced Tonic ShrubTraditional Heirloom CiderFlameTempestFoxwhelp SV, and Rosy Pommeau.

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Cider:  3 Pommes – Apple, Pear, Quince (2016 vintage, released 2018)
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from estate pomme fruit (apples, pears, & quince)
Varietals:  Muscadet de Dieppe, Dolgo Crab, Vilberie, Dabinett, & Pink Pearl apples; Bosc, Hendre Huffcap, & Romanian pears; Quince

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Availability:  likely limited to Western Washington, plus online sales

Cider Description:  A blend of estate bittersweet apples, perry & wild foraged pears, and locally grown quince. The early pears, crab apples and quince are hand pressed macerated and fermented in stainless. The late season apples are pressed and fermented then blended with the early fruit for aging. Very light bottle conditioning gives this cider a petulant carbonation, just enough to tease the nose.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown 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!

Price:  ~ $17.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells primarily of canned pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of pear, tropical fruit, tart heirloom apples, and honey.  Long tannic finish.  Low apple flavor, Moderate pear flavor, flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it, and so did the others I tasted it with.  Way unique.  Wine-like.  Fruity, but barely sweet.  However, it wasn’t sparkling like I had expected per the label, although it worked as a nearly still cider, and was probably easier to drink.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had cider with quince from Eaglemount and CiderHead, and this had some of the same tart tropical & honey notes, but the pear was more prominent.

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire is one of my favorite PNW cideries, and has a wide variety of unique selections.  My favorites however are probably their richest selections, Smoke and Ember.

Have you tried cider with quince?  What did you think?


Le Pere Jules Cidre de Normandie

Review of Le Pere Jules Cidre de Normandie.  I previously tried this (see here), but it was a bad bottle, so especially as I was able to find a small bottle, I wanted to give it another go.

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Cider:  Cidre de Normandie
Cidery:  Le Pere Jules
Cidery Location:  Normandy France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  11.2 oz bottle
Style:  French cidre from bittersweet cider apples

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Availability:  semi wide release, although easier to find in 750ml corked bottles

Cider Description (translated):  Pours a hazy amber color with a thin ring of head.  Aroma of dry apples, mild barnyard, hay, glue and vinous notes. The taste is sweet apples, tannic notes, mild must and vanilla.  Medium bodied, good balance, soft carbonation.

Cidery Description (translated):  Since 1919, quality and rigor are the key words of four generations of producers, faithful to ancestral traditions and lovers of their craft.  Their one and only wish, to offer you great products.  All our products are elaborated from varieties of apples and pears carefully selected from traditional orchards high stems in zone protected designation of origin.

Price:  ~$5 / single bottle
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Dark orange hue,  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of bittersweet apple juice and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness, funk, and tannins.  No sourness.  Notes of bittersweet apple juice and pomace, orange, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Distinctively French and easy to drink.

Most Similar to:  A slightly less complex version of Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I gave this one another try.

Have you tried Le Pere Jules?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 34 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 34th visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Its actually been a few times more than that as sometimes I just pop in to buy bottles.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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<tap list>

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<“firkin” options from Wildcraft Ciderworks – my husband tried both and liked them, but I don’t do 20% ABV at room temperature>

I was there on a Friday afternoon with my husband and two out of town friends, after taking the day off and visiting Pike Place market.  I got another awesome poke (sushi) bowl from Just Poke a few doors down to share with my husband.  I ordered a couple flights for our friends and a few tasters for me, getting about half of the 32 ciders on tap (basically everything but the driest and sweetest ones).

Its awesome even with how many ciders I’ve tried, they always have at least a few new to me selections.  And they always have some really interesting stuff too, like Earl Grey tea infused, rhubarb-hops, and grapefruit gin, plus occasionally some imported selections (this time they had Louis Raison – see my previous tasting notes here).  I only have tasting notes on the few I ordered just for myself though.

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<left to right:  Moonlight Meadery Last Apple, Cider Riot La Luna, Liberty Kingston Black>

Moonlight Meadery (Londonderry NH) Last Apple (16% ABV):  A barrel aged cyser (cider from apples + mead from honey).  Also available in bottles, such as on their website, $27-28 / 375ml.  See my previous full review here.  Sweet.  Full bodied.  Full flavored sweet rich apple and honey notes with a quick finish.  I didn’t detect any barrel influence this time, but I’m guessing it smoothed out the flavor and contributed to the well-hidden ABV.  I may have drank it a bit too cold – warmed may have maximized its complexity.

Cider Riot! (Portland OR) La Luna (7.0% ABV):  Made from bittersweet cider apples with some dessert apples, then oak barrel aged.  Also available in bottles, but probably only in their taproom.  Completely dry.  Predominately oaky (more so than most barrel aged ciders I’ve had) with a hint of rich bittersweet cider apple flavor.  Low tartness and tannins.  I think I would have liked this more with some sweetness, as it had a low flavor intensity, especially in comparison to the next selection – the oak was my favorite part.

Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA) Kingston Black (8.0% ABV):  A single varietal from Kingston Black cider apples.  Previously available in bottles for ~ $15, although they don’t have any current availability on their website, and I haven’t seen it locally, so this specific batch may be draft-only.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Lovely bold bittersweet cider apple flavor with hints of honey and oak.  High tartness and moderate tannins.  I liked that they went a tad sweeter with this, as often they seem to go full dry, which can make a cider seem a bit harsh, especially if it is tart.

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Both me and my husband loved the Liberty Kingston Black – its probably my favorite Kingston Black single varietal to date (including from Farnum Hill, Eve’s, Whitewood, and Dragon’s Head).  So, we split a pint.


I picked up some awesome bottles to take home, and even an Eric Bordelet (French cidre) 5L mini keg!  A bit spendy, but a rare opportunity.  Unfortunately it is getting more difficult to get English ciders, like Newton’s Court Gasping Goose and Dunkertons Black Fox, due to distributors going out of business or dropping cideries, but at least I was able to pick up some Worley’s Mendip Hills, my favorite of their four varieties available in the U.S.

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

Portland Cider Cranberry 2018

Review of Portland Cider Company’s Cranberry seasonal cider.  I had this last year, plus I’ve had their Passion FruitPearfect PerryKinda DryHop’RageousLondon Dry GinAppleScrumpyStrawperryPineappleSangriaMojitoConcord GrapePerfect 10, and Pumpkin Spice.

<This is a review of a sample bottle 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 this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

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Cider:  Cranberry
Cidery:  Portland Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  22oz clear bottles (and draft)
Style:  seasonal American craft cider from dessert apples, with cranberries

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Availability:  seasonably (~ Nov-Jan), in Oregon and Washington

Cider Description:  Our cranberry cider is a blend of fresh NW grown cranberries & apples, Slightly tart & semi-sweet, with a rich apple taste at its core. Tastes like fresh cranberry relish!

Cidery Description:  Authentically crafted Cider with quality Northwest ingredients.  Our business is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail.  Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from 100% Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it, using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are ciders that are high quality – easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  That’s why we say, Drink it, it’s Good!

They were founded in 2012 and have tap rooms in Hawthorne and Clackamas in Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidery contacted me

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First Impression:  Red-pink hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells mild – fruity and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of berry and citrus to start, then distinctive tart cranberry on the long finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This had some great real cranberry flavor.  However, due to that, if you are like me and not really a fan of cranberry, it may not be appealing.  If you like cranberry, you are likely to enjoy it.

Most Similar to:  Tieton Ciderworks CranberryApple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel, and d’s Wickled Cranny Granny (which is sweeter).

However, I prefer the less intensely cranberry ciders, like Downeast Cranberry BlendFinnriver Cranberry Rosehip, and Schilling Mischief Maker Pom-Cran,

Closing Notes:  The cidery has three suggested cocktail recipes – one with vodka (similar to a Cosmo)a cranberry Sangria, and another with Vodka & ginger.

Do you like cranberry cider?  What did you think?

Fresh Cut Watermelon Cider

Review of Fresh Cut Watermelon Cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Watermelon Cider
Cidery:  Fresh Cut (by Central City Brewers + Distillers)
Cidery Location:  Surrey B.C. Canada
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  single 500ml can
Style:  Canadian craft? cider from dessert apples with natural watermelon flavor

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Availability:  likely only in British Columbia

Cider Description:  Bursting with flavour like a fresh cut watermelon, Fresh Cut is a fruity, lightly sweet and delicious twist on apple cider. Chill, relax and enjoy Fresh Cut Watermelon with friends.

Cidery Description:  Fresh Cut is a fruity, lightly sweet and delicious twist on apple cider. Try Fresh Cut Cider in flavours like fresh cut pineapple and watermelon.  Chill, relax and enjoy Fresh Cut Pineapple with friends!

Price: ~ $4 CAN
Where Bought:  a shop in Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing during a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Light pink hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells like a hint of watermelon.

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

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  My expectations were low, as from the packaging and flavor (and the high prevalence of non-cider “ciders” in the area), I had assumed this would be commercial (fake) tasting and super sweet.  However, it had some nice light flavor and a mid-level sweetness.

Most Similar to:  Locust Watermelon

Closing Notes:  I didn’t realize it at the time of purchase, but this cidery is part of Central City Brewers, which made a cider that I bought last year in B.C. that was amazing (probably my favorite cider of the couple cases I purchased, and my favorite cider ever made by a brewery), and I was super disappointed not to find it again this year – Central City Limited Edition Imperial Cider.  Central City Brewers also makes Hopping Mad Cider, although I haven’t spotted it in Victoria.

Have you tried Fresh Cut Cider?  What did you think?

Heidrun Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Honey Mead

Review of Heidrun Meadery’s Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Varietal Honey Naturally Sparkling Mead.  It is my first time trying anything from this meadery.  Not cider, I know, but mead is another alternative beverage I enjoy.

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Mead:  Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Varietal Honey Naturally Sparkling Mead
Meadery:  Heidrun
Meadery Location:  Point Reyes Station, CA
ABV:  12.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  American craft mead from Hawaiian macadamia nut honey (and water), dry, naturally sparkling (methode champenoise)

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Availability:  likely limited to Northern California (although they have online sales – this one is currently listed at $25 + shipping of course)

Mead Description:  A few years ago, we had the pleasure of visiting an apiary on the Big Island of Hawaii. Beekeepers here alternate between pollinating cultivated crops and allowing their bees to forage freely in the native tropical flora. The Macadamia is a cultivated tree, of course, and honey produced from its nectar is as succulent and rich as the macadamia nut itself. That richness results in a full-bodied, brut dry mead of subtle complexity and exceptional balance that pairs with a wide variety of foods, from raw oysters to smoked duck.

Meadery Description:  We produce naturally sparkling varietal meads using the traditional French Méthode Champenoise. Our trademark Champagne-style of mead is light, dry, delicate and refreshing, with subtle exotic aromas and flavors found
only in the essence of honey.  The Meadery was founded in 1997 in Arcata, California. In 2011,  the meadery relocated to a farm in Point Reyes Station (just across the 
Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) to develop its botanical and agicultural programs.

Price:  $21.99
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – they had a large selection of meads from this meadery, from just under $20 up to $50

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First Impression:  Very high carbonation.  Light caramel hue.  Smells of tart burnt honey.

Tasting Notes:  It was very difficult to determine the perceived sweetness level with the high carbonation & tartness and sweet flavor notes, but I settled on dry to semi-dry.  Light boded with a fluffy texture.  High tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, caramel, wood, nut, citrus, and burnt/smoke.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate honey flavor and flavor intensity.  High complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor, but with the tartness, carbonation, and dryness, it was a bit much for me.  It mellowed out a bit the next day though (less carbonation and tartness).  My husband was a bigger fan.  This was super complex and interesting, and a memorable purchase, but I usually prefer the sweeter still meads.

Most Similar to:  The complexity of a fine mead (such as from Superstition Meadery in AZ), except methode champenoise (a labor intensive method for natural carbonation).

Closing Notes:  This is my first methode champenoise mead – all the others I’ve tried have been either still (usually sweeter and higher ABV) or force carbonated (usually drier and lower ABV, “session” style).

Have you tried mead?  What did you think?

Eric Bordelet Sidre Brut Tendre

Review of Eric Bordelet’s Sidre Brut Tendre.  I’ve previously had the non-Brut (sweeter) version of this same cider (see here), as well as his Poire Authentique and Nouvelle Vague Sidre.

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Cider:  Sidre Brut Tendre
Cidery:  Eric Bordelet
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French craft cider from cider apples, sparkling, brut (dry), naturally fermented

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Availability:  Semi wide release.  In addition to France and the U.S.A., the website says the 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:  Traditional semi dry cider.

They also make a non-brut (sweet) version of this cider.  I’ve read the only difference between the two is that this drier version was allowed to ferment fully, while the sweeter version has fermentation stopped early.

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:  $12
Where Bought:  Cheese Plus in San Francisco CA (across the street from The Jug Shop) – I highly recommend both shops
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a cruise port stop – it was a really neat store, with lots of fancy wine and other beverages (they probably had 8 cider varieties, national, Spanish, and French – I also picked up some cans of Embark cider), cheese, charcuterie, and other fine foods – perfect to pick up items for a dinner party, or just a sandwich for lunch

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First Impression:  Moderate gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of apple pomace.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Moderate tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apple juice and pomace, yeast, caramel, oak, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I think I enjoyed this more than the sweeter version.  I loved the complexity (more than the sweeter version).  Completely clean (no sourness or funk), so it would be a great introduction to French cider.  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 it is food-friendly (I had it with some smoked salmon).

Most Similar to:  Bordelet Sidre Tendre (non-brut), Bordelet Nouvelle Vague Sidre, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge

Closing Notes:  It looked like this bottle sat around for awhile in the store, as the label was messed up (and it was at a lower price than I’d expect).  It was also a bit less carbonated than I’d expect, which can happen over time.  However, it was still awesome.  Ciders like this can even improve with age.

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