McMenamins Edgefield Hard Cider

Review of Edgefield Hard Cider, only available at McMenamins.  I tried this at their new Anderson School location in Bothell WA.  I was surprised to learn that Edgefield has been supplying McMenamins with cider for their locations since 1992, well before the more recent cider boom.

Cider:  Edgefield Hard Cider (Original)
Cidery:  McMenamins (made by Edgefield Winery)
Cidery Location:  Troutdale OR
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  tap-only (I am surprised they don’t sell it bottled, as they sell bottles of all their beers and wines onsite)

Availability:  All McMenamins locations (WA & OR)

Cider Description:  Pale yellow gold in color, Edgefield Hard Cider has aromas of fresh apple, apple skin, and pie spices.  Lively on the tongue, fresh apple flavor dominates with hints of pear and honey. Crisp and refreshing, the sweetness in this semi-sweet cider is balanced out by tart acidity.

Cidery Description: McMenamins has been crafting hard cider to serve in our pubs since 1992, offering clean, crisp flavors that highlight the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Using quality juices pressed from neighboring orchards in the Columbia River Gorge, we craft this gluten-free cider year-round at Edgefield Winery. The apples pressed off for our cider are primarily a blend of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious (added for color), Granny Smith (for acidity), and Fuji, Galas, and Honeycrisp (to increase sweetness). All of our ciders are lightly carbonated, just under 7% ABV and made with gluten-free ingredients.  The freshly pressed juice arrives at the Edgefield Winery, where it is pumped into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.  Employing a cool fermentation to maintain as much of the fresh apple aromas as possible, we ferment the cider until it is completely dry.  A bit of fresh-pressed apple juice is then blended back into the hard cider for some sweetness and to balance the acidity.  We keg the cider with some CO2 spritz, and ship it off to all of our locations to enjoy!

Price:  $6.50 / pint
Where Drank:  McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell WA
How Found:  I had heard online that McMenamins made their own cider and it was pretty good, so when we attended an event at McMenamins, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  At the Anderson School they had Edgefield Apple and Blackberry ciders, and Schilling Ginger and Chai ciders (at the main bar…the smaller bars only had this one).  The actual location (literally a previous school) is pretty cool, with a hotel, multiple restaurants, multiple bars, a swimming pool, gift shop, brewery, movie theater, and event spaces.  There is definitely a lack of parking and though, and its pretty busy as they just opened.

2015-11-07 11.46.15

First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  High carbonation (bubbles rising from bottom to top, which you can actually kinda see in the photo) and a bit of foam.  Smells of crisp fresh apples with a hint of yeast, but not much else.

Opinion:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  I was expecting sweeter (to appeal to the masses), so it was nice to find it more middle of the road.  I wouldn’t have guessed it was back sweetened (where they add un-fermented juice after fermentation to increase sweetness), as it isn’t really juice-like (as can often happen with back sweetened cider).  It was however obviously force-carbonated, but I enjoy high carbonation levels.  High acidity.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate astringency.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Light bodied.  Crisp and refreshing.  I pick up green apples, citrus, and tropical notes.

Most Similar to:  A lot of flagship ciders, such as Boonville Bite Hard, which is also acidic & tart, but a bit drier.

Closing Notes:   I’d definitely drink this again, but for my tastes it honestly isn’t too much above average (which isn’t really bad at all, as half of all ciders statistically would be below average in my book).  I thought it was quite good for an American flagship cider (which I usually tend away from liking), but I prefer a richer flavor.  I’m interested to try their other varieties.  For seasonal releases, Edgefield has Black Cherry (April-July), Blackberry (July-Oct), Ginger Perry (Nov-Jan), and Pomegranate (Jan-April).  Also, their limited release Estate Cider sounds awesome (barrel aged for 18 months, available in late June at select locations).

Have you tried McMenamins Edgefield Hard Cider?  What did you think?

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