Review of Reverend Nat’s ¡Tepache!. Note this technically isn’t even cider, as it is only made using pineapple juice, no apples. I tried this awhile back, and I’ve sampled a number of ciders from Reverend Nat’s (see here).
Cidery: Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location: Portland OR
How Supplied: 22oz brown bottles
Style: American craft fermented pineapple juice with spices
Availability: Summer Seasonal sold in Oregon, Washington, Southern California, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, British Columbia Canada, Japan, and Singapore
Cider Description: During a holiday in Veracruz I had a chance meeting with a peddler hawking Traditional Tepache out of a push-cart. A few pesos poorer and I was on Cloud Nine. ‘I unquestionably must have that recipe!’ I shouted. My Spanish is dreadful and his English was no better but over a few minutes of pictographic correspondence, I felt sanguine in my capacity to recreate that sumptuous drink upon my return to Portland.
Composed exclusively of pineapples sourced from my second cousin’s plantation in Costa Rica, piloncillo from the Mexican state of Michoacan and a furtive selection of spices, this lightly alcoholic elixir is sure to please your palate.
Much like American Apple Pie, there is no recipe for Tepache. It is a traditional Mexican drink, frequently consumed out of a plastic baggie with a straw, sold by street vendors in Jalisco and made at home. It’s not a cider – NO APPLES! The fermentation happens on the scales and rind of the pineapples, imparting a deep and unique flavor. This beverage is low-alcohol and sweet like a Summer Shandy or Radler due to a partial fermentation of the pineapples. Available starting Cinco de Mayo.
Cidery Description: Reverend Nat is a single-minded cider evangelist who searches the world for superior ingredients to handcraft the most unusual ciders that no one else will make.
Where Bought: Total Wine
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing. It sounded good, and I wanted to try mixing it with cider this time versus drinking it straight, so it ended up being an impulse try.
First Impression: Hazy yellow/brown hue (I recommend to lightly shake before pouring to distribute the sediment). Still. Smells strongly of pineapple and moderately of spices.
Tasting Notes: Semi-sweet to semi-dry. Medium bodied. Low tartness and acidity. No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk. Notes of juicy pineapple, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Moderate length finish. Moderate pineapple flavor and moderate amount of spice. Low complexity. Moderate flavor intensity. High sessionability.
My Opinion: Yum! Great by itself or mixed with cider. I tried it with Number Six Dry 99 (although that didn’t help boost the 3.2% ABV much as its only 4.2% ABV). I agree with the suggestion to use more Tepache than cider (or 50-50). I don’t like beer so I can’t comment on that mixture, although it appears plenty popular.
Most Similar to: Nothing really. You can’t really compare it to pineapple cider as it doesn’t use apples. However, like a number of other beverages, I thought the pineapple came across more in the scent than the flavor. I only know of one other cidery doing Tepache, Argus Cidery in Texas, although I haven’t tried it as I heard its sour and thats not my thing.
Closing Notes: If you are looking to try something unique and like pineapple and spices, Tepache may be to your liking. This definitely isn’t an everyday drinker (like his Revival, which remains my favorite from Rev Nat’s), but its unique.
Have you tried Tepache? What did you think?