Review of Finnriver’s Farmstead Cider Traditional Semi-Sweet, from Chimacum Washington (in the Port Townsend / Olympic Peninsula area). I’ve tried many ciders from their lineup (see my reviews here).
Cider: Farmstead Cider Traditional Semi-Sweet
Cidery Location: Chimacum WA
How Supplied: 500ml bottle (I just love this style bottle by the way!)
Style: farmstead-style craft cider made from Washington-grown homestead, cider, and dessert apple varieties
Availability: In general, Finnriver ciders are sold 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.). However, this cider might have slightly less availability than some of their more common ones.
Cider Description: Each Autumn, on World Apple Day, Finnriver invites friends and neighbors from across the North Olympic Peninsula to bring over their buckets, bins, and boxes of backyard apples. These apples, often wild and antique varieties, are full of tannins that bring out complex and bittersweet flavors. We ferment this blend of homestead harvested fruit to create an earthy taste of frontier cider tradition. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this cider will benefit local Food Banks. Enjoy with hearty food and a sense of adventure.
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.
Where Bought: Finnriver tasting room
Where Drank: home
How Found: I had heard of this one before but hadn’t got around to trying it. When I saw it at their tasting room and was picking up some other bottles and merchandise, I thought I might as well since I was there.
First Impression: Medium honey straw yellow (the photo turned out a bit dark). Very low carbonation upon pouring. Smells of bittersweet apples with some tannins, yeast, honey, and citrus.
Tasting Notes: Semi-dry to semi-sweet. Nearly still (very low carbonation). Low to moderate tannins. Moderate acidity. Low tartness. A hint of bitterness. No sourness or funk. Medium bodied. The flavor starts with acidity and finishes with tannins. Notes of oak, honey, yeast, citrus, spice, and vanilla. Moderate length finish. Moderate apple influence. Low to moderate sessionability. Moderate to full flavor intensity.
My Opinion: Tasty! I liked how flavorful it was without resorting to any additions to the cider (fruit, hops, spice, etc). It has some tannins but remains quite approachable, especially as it has some residual sweetness.
Most Similar to: Eaglemount Homestead Semi-Sweet (see my tasting notes here). Both are farmstead/homestead-style ciders on the sweeter side with significant tannins and honey & yeast notes. Oddly enough I’m drinking the Eaglemount cider as I’m writing this review!
Closing Notes: I enjoyed this cider, but their Fire Barrel remains my favorite (see my review here). Fire Barrel tastes similar to Farmstead, but has a bolder flavor and the added complexity of barrel aging. Plus, Fire Barrel only costs a couple dollars more if I remember correctly, so that seems like a good value. Finnriver makes many cider varieties and they are easy to find in my area, so I’ll continue to try whatever they make.
Have you tried Finnriver Farmstead? What did you think?