Spire Mountain Red Apple

Review of Spire Mountain’s Red Apple variety.  I’ve had this one a couple times before, same with their Sparkling Pear, but this is the first time since starting Cider Says.  My favorite cider from Spire Mountain is their Dark & Dry (which isn’t dry, but is a nice rich semi-sweet cider), which I reviewed here, one of my first reviews.

Cider:  Red Apple
Cidery:  Spire Mountain (Fish Brewing Company)
Cidery Location:  Olympia WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles, kegs
Style:  American (New World) modern apple cider

Spire Red Apple
<cider reviewing on vacation means less photos; sorry!>

Availability:  AL, AK, CA, FL, HI, ID, IL, MI, MN, MT, ND, OR, PA, RI, SD, WA, Canada (Alberta & British Columbia), and online through BeerShip.com.  Red Apple, Sparkling Pear, and Dark & Dry are available year-round in six packs & kegs, Spiced Cider is available Nov-Jan in limited markets in 22oz bottles, and they have a new variety I haven’t even seen yet, Habanero Apple, which is also available Nov-Jan (I also assume in limited markets) in 22oz bottles.

Cider Description:  From the natural sweetness of famed Washington apples comes this delightful hard cider. Pleasant, light and with a snap of champagne effervescence, each glass is like a bite of crisp liquid apple. Perfectly balanced with just the right tartness, this is one of life’s natural pleasures.

Cidery Description:  Deep in the very heart of the Cascade Mountain Range, legend has it that there is a hidden mountain with an enchanted orchard, where the climate is ideal for growing the world’s finest apples and pears. For centuries, the inhabitants of this magical place known as Spire Mountain, have spent their days doing nothing but nurturing the fruit on the trees, and making the best cider on earth. Is it any wonder that Spire Mountain Cider is the oldest premium cider brand in America? The next time you order a cider, ask for the one made in the enchanted orchard on Spire Mountain!

Spire Mountain was founded in 1985 (yes that is correct, before even Woodchuck) and have a tap room (under Fish Brewing) in Woodinville WA and a Brew Pub (under Fish Brewing) in Olympia WA.

Price:  $6.50! / 12oz bottle (it runs around $8-$11 a six pack in stores)
Where Drank:  J.J. Hills in Leavenworth WA, which we visited to satisfy my husband’s prime rib desires.  Leavenworth is a quaint Bavarian-themed mountain town a couple hours East of Seattle WA, which we were visiting for one of their famous Christmas Lighting Festival weekends (it literally requires a reservation a year in advance to stay the weekend).
Their Cider Selection:  J.J. Hills offered Spire Mountain’s Red Apple and Sparkling Pear varieties in bottles.  The Spire rep must have hit up Leavenworth, as a couple years ago when we last visited, almost no cider was to be found, and now every place had an offering or two, mostly Spire (where in Seattle I rarely find it in a restaurant or bar).

I was able to order the following ciders during our weekend in Leavenworth:
– Spire Mountain Dark & Dry on draft at Bavarian Lodge (our hotel, which is awesome, and the only place we’ll stay in Leavenworth)
– Spire Mountain Dark & Dry on draft at Bavarian Bistro & Bar
Seattle Cider Semi-Sweet on draft at Cured
– Spire Mountain Red Apple in a bottle at J.J. Hills
– Woodchuck Amber in a bottle at Icicle Brewery
– this one doesn’t really count, but I brought a can of Downeast Cranberry Blend with us to enjoy in the room, and it tasted nice and festive

First Impression:  Light amber.  Low carbonation.  Smells like apple juice with a touch of acidity and tartness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Very apple-forward with crisp flavrs, but I also detected some mild tropical notes.  Juice-like, but not syrupy.  Highly sessionable and a well-hidden ABV.  Light to medium bodied.  Quick finish length.

My Opinion:  Above average.  Its a pretty standard tasting cider and doesn’t have any significant complexity.  However, its tasty, easy to drink, apple forward, and on the sweeter side but not crazy sweet or syrupy like some other easily available ciders are (such as Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Strongbow Gold Apple, and Smith & Forge).  Still, its on the commercial side, and they even add sugar after fermentation (listed on the ingredient list).

Most Similar to:  Semi-sweet apple-forward commercial and craft-commercial ciders.

Closing Notes:   Dark & Dry is definitely my favorite Spire Mountain cider, especially on draft, but Red Apple definitely hit the spot, and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it if it was available, although its not something I’d buy to keep in the house.

Have you tried Spire Mountain ciders?  What did you think?

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