Review of NW Atomic Root Beer from Elemental Hard Cider in Woodinville Washington. It is a cider based hard root beer (cider with root beer spices). I’ve tried this twice before on draft (different batches…Elemental is unique in that they continue to tweak recipes after releasing a cider), and I have tried a number of ciders from them (see here).
Cider: NW Atomic Root Beer
Cidery: Elemental Hard Cider
Cidery Location: Woodinville WA
How Supplied: 22oz brown glass bottle
Style: American craft alcopop, cider based hard root beer
Availability: Likely only in WA
Cider Description: NW Atomic Root Beer starts with out crisp, clean and bright hard apple cider fermented bone dry to 6.5% ABV. We then infuse the base with an intense magical concoction of sassafras and liquorice. Subtle notes of vanilla, anise, fennel and plum are soft on the palette and round off the experience of our unique beverage.
Note that they use caramel color, but its certified non-GMO (apparently rare to find) and gluten free. They are even working on getting an organic version of it.
Cidery Description: Family owned and operated. Brian and Christina Callahan launched Elemental Hard Cider to bring quality, affordable, and delicious hard cider to the world. We strive to bring fun and exciting flavors to the experienced cider enthusiast, as well as novice cider drinkers.
Hand-crafted micro ciders designed for taste, smoothness, and quality. Each of our hand-crafted ciders are made from only the finest Northwest apples and cold-fermented to preserve the fruit. Our ciders are reminiscent of champagne, they are lightly filtered and mildly effervescent for clean taste. Experience our quality for yourself. Come in often to grab a glass. We are constantly trying out new flavors, so the line-up is always changing.
Where Bought: The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: I heard about this at Cider Summit Seattle last year but didn’t get around to trying it until I saw it at the Schilling Cider House on draft (notes here). For awhile it was draft-only, no bottles. Then, I tried it on draft again at Around the Table (notes here). I remembered liking the previous version better (I heard that over time they retained less apple flavor), but wanted to give a bottle a try as it is so unique. I thought that this bottle was closer to the first version I tried than to the second, as it retained more apple flavor, which I like. Apparently most of their customers however seem to prefer less apple flavor than I do.
First Impression: Caramel brown root beer hue. Low carbonation upon pouring. Smells like root beer spices with a hint of baked apple.
Tasting Notes: Semi-sweet to semi-dry. Medium bodied. Low carbonation. Low acidity and tartness. No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins. Notes of root beer spices (milder than a typical root beer), rich baked apple, caramel, and honey. The flavor starts as root beer and finishes with baked apple. Quick finish. Moderate apple influence. High sessionability.
My Opinion: Tasty! This is my idea of a sessionable cider…very easy to drink, but also very flavorful and unique. The only thing I’d change would be slightly more carbonation. Not as much as soda, but more than I detected would be nice.
Most Similar to: This is quite different from other hard root beers such as Not Your Father’s as it has a cider (not malt beverage) base, so it doesn’t have the bitterness of that product (and is less sweet and less carbonated). The only similar cider I know of is Sonoma Washboard, but that is sarsaparilla not root beer spices, and quite dry (I really disliked that one, but my husband was a huge fan).
Closing Notes: I’m usually not a huge fan of flavored ciders, but I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this was because it is so far from traditional cider. I hope I can purchase this version/recipe in the future, as I really liked it.
Have you tried NW Atomic Root Beer? What did you think?