Tasting notes from my ninth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA. Check out my past posts here. I hadn’t thought I’d have time for another visit in December, but managed to fit it into my schedule.
I was there for a Finnriver Bingo event, although I didn’t have much interest in the actual game & prizes, just used it as an excuse to go. The event was a packed house! There were six Finnriver ciders on tap: Habanero, Black Currant, Barrel in the Forest, Cranberry Rosehip, Fresh Hopped, and Pear (all of which I’ve had except Fresh Hopped).
<tap list of 32 ciders>
I started with a flight of six ciders.
<left to right: Blue Mountain Estate Winesap, Seattle Cider Oaked Maple, Finnriver Barrel in the Forest, Locust Pumpkin, E.Z. Orchards Semi-Dry, Grizzly Pomnivore>
Blue Mountain Estate Winesap, 6.75% ABV, Milton-Freewater OR: This is a single varietal made with Winesap apples which Blue Mountain sells year round. Nearly clear. Tart, dry, and slightly funky smell. Dry to semi-dry. Moderate tartness and acidity. Mild bitterness. Very mild tannins. Hint of funk. Slight floral and oak notes. Light bodied. Moderate to long finish. I thought this was a basic dry & tart cider, and pretty low on flavor.
Seattle Cider Oaked Maple, 6.9% ABV, Seattle WA: This is one of Seattle Cider’s winter seasonals (they also did a Cranberry cider this year). I couldn’t remember if I had tried this before, but I’m leaning towards yes. Dark straw yellow hue. Smells of sweet maple and oak. Semi-dry. Moderate acidity. Mild tartness. Light bodied. Very light oak and light maple flavor. Quick finish. I thought this was pretty good, but I would have liked more flavor.
Finnriver Barrel in the Forest, 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA: This is a limited release of a barrel aged version of Finnriver’s Forest Ginger cider (which I haven’t tried). I usually don’t like ginger, but this sounded interesting. Smells of sweet ginger. Semi-sweet. Light oak notes. Very mild ginger notes, much less than most ginger ciders (which usually seem to hit me at the back of the throat and linger). Low acidity, tartness, and bitterness. Light bodied. Moderate length finish. The ginger flavor however increased as it warmed up. This paired well with the Thai food I had for dinner. Overall I didn’t mind this one, despite the ginger, but probably wouldn’t get it again.
Locust Ciderworks Pumpkin, 5.0% ABV, Woodinville WA: This is a seasonal release from Locust, apparently draft-only. Hazy pumpkin orange-yellow hue. Smells of sweet pumpkin spice. Very sweet. Mild pumpkin and spice flavors, but overall very full flavored. Low acidity and tartness. Full bodied. Moderate length finish. I really liked this (even though I usually don’t go for pumpkin or spice), except it was too sweet for my liking, so not something I could have a pint of.
E.Z. Orchards Semi-Dry, 6.9% ABV, Salem OR: This is a regular release cider from E.Z. Orchards which uses French bittersweet apples. After ordering this I remembered I had tried it before, at Cider Summit Seattle 2015. Light amber. Smells slightly rich. Semi-dry. Herbal notes. Very light boded. Low tannins and tartness. Low to moderate acidity. Quick finish. Overall mildly flavored. It tasted a bit off, and I wondered if the tap line could have used more flushing. I also liked it much better at Cider Summit. Different batches can turn out much differently.
Grizzly Ciderworks Pomnivore on Nitro, 6.7% ABV, Woodinville WA: This is a tap-only release from Grizzly. Light ruby red. On the drier side of semi-sweet. Low acidity and tartness. Moderately flavored. Quick finish. I liked the pomegranate flavor without too much tartness like many pomegranate ciders have.
I met Nathan from Cider Chronicles (we just happened to sit next to each other at the bar!), who was awesome enough to share bottle pours of a couple ciders with me. He said Sea Cider Wassail, J.K.’s Scrumpy Winterruption, and Elemental Seasonal Spiced Apple were his three favorite seasonal ciders, although Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spiced may be replacing J.K.’s Scrumpy Winterruption in his cue. I haven’t seen Rev Nat’s Winter Abbey, but picked up a bottle of Elemental Spiced, and tried the other two.
Sea Cider Wassail, 14% ABV, Saanichton BC Canada: This is Sea Cider’s winter seasonal. Rich amber-orange hue. Smells like orange and holiday spices. Semi-dry. Well-hidden ABV! Low acidity, tartness, and bitterness. The orange and spice notes continued into the flavor. Rich and full-flavored. Medium bodied. Moderate length finish with lots of heat. I liked this a bit more as it warmed up from fridge temperature. Overall this was enjoyable, but I like their Prohibition best.
J.K.’s Scrumpy Cuvee Winterruption, 6.9% ABV, Flushing MI: This is J.K. Scrumpy’s winter seasonal. Very sweet. Honey, orange, and mild spice notes. Mild acidity and tartness. Moderate to full bodied. Apparently this cider usually has much more spice. It was very easy drinking, between the sweetness and low ABV. Overall I found it ok.
Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says! Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?