Finnriver Honey Meadow

Review of Honey Meadow from Finnriver, their Spring seasonal botanical release.  I’ve tried a number of other Finnriver ciders (Oak & Apple, Habanero, Black Currant, Lavender Black Currant, & Fire Barrel), but this is the first full Finnriver review at Cider Says!  Finnriver has gorgeous bottles, an awesomely informative website, and of course, tasty ciders!  They also make fruit wine (brandy and port-style).  Here is a great illustrated Finnriver product guide.

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Cider:  Honey Meadow
Cidery:  Finnriver
Cidery Location:  Chimacum WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle

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Availability:  Spring time in WA, OR, CA, AZ, NV, TX, IL, CO, and Alberta & BC Canada (detailed info here).  They also have an online store (which can ship to WA, OR, CA, AK, CO, MN, FL, & WA D.C.)

Cider Description:  Finnriver’s ‘Elijah K. Swan’ Infused Botanical Hard Ciders are named after the good folks who sold us the farm (Lige & Kay Christian) and who first planted apple trees here, as well as for the trumpeter swans that overwinter in the valley.  This cider is a tribute to our neighbors and to those big white birds who remind us that earth is still wild.  Each season the ‘Elijah K. Swan’ release seeks to capture the wild and garden-grown taste of life on the Olympic Peninsula.

The Honey Meadow cider is our SPRING release, featuring Finnriver’s bright base of fermented organic apples, backsweetened with Olympic Peninsula honey and infused with local lemon balm and chamomile.  With thanks to Denise at Mountain Spirit Herbal Company and Tinker Cavallero, local gardener extraordinaire, for finding us just the right herbs for this blend.  Drinking this might make you feel like a happy honeybee after a great green day among the blossoms…

Cidery Description:  At Finnriver we gather and ferment the flavors of the land to offer you farmcrafted hard ciders and spirited fruit wines. We are inspired by the allure of the fruit, the ancient history of the craft of fermentation and the lively traditions we now seek to revive.  Our mission is to inspire a deeper connection to the land that sustains us….Some of these ciders are small-batch, seasonal and labor-intensive. Others are produced with contemporary methods and more readily available year-round…Finnriver grows over twenty varieties of traditional and heirloom apples in our organic orchard, to feature in our traditional and specialty ciders.  (they have a tasting room open seven days a week, noon to 5pm)

Price:  $7.99 (on sale from $9.99)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, but I had heard of this cider before.

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First Impression:  Honey yellow hue.  Medium carbonation upon pouring, and tiny bubbles remain.  Smells of ripe apples, honey, and chamomile.

Opinion:  Semi-sweet.  Tastes of the honey and chamomile it smells like.  I think I pick up the lemon balm more with the moderate tartness (I wouldn’t have identified it without the description).  Carbonated mouthfeel and medium bodied.  Mild sourness and bitterness.  Mild earthy funk, and a flavor that makes me think of honeycomb?  Very unique and semi-complex.  I like the herbal qualities and don’t think it is overdone at all (which I was afraid of, but was unfounded).  Great for spring & summer time!  I picked this cider up a couple weeks ago and knew I wanted to drink it before the seasons changed (where has the summer gone?).

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Out on a Limb Oopsy Daisy, which although it is a significantly sweeter and commercially-made cider, has some similar honey & chamomile flavors.  i think the Finnriver cider is much better done, with a more complex crafted balanced flavor.  I’ve had one other honey cider as well, Angry Orchard Summer Honey, but wasn’t a fan (tasted syrupy to me).

Closing Notes:   Tasty!  This makes me want to try more of their seasonal botanical line, as I liked both Honey Meadow and Lavender Black Currant.  I also really want to try some of Finnriver’s special releases (Artisan Sparkling, Apple Blueberry, Golden Russet, and Apple Abbey), but don’t remember seeing any of them near me.  Maybe now that I start looking I will though.

Have you tried Finnriver Honey Meadow?  What did you think?

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