I was there on a random Tuesday. I started with a flight. This was one of the only times I’ve visited the cider house and not had a full flight of ciders to try which were new to me, but there were still 32 choices. Sometimes its good to not have much new to try, as I can focus on ciders I know I liked previously.
<left to right: Wandering Aengus Bittersweet, Schilling Barrel #2, Wandering Aengus Cellar Door, One Tree Raspberry, Reverend Nat’s The Passion>
Wandering Aengus (Salem OR) Bittersweet (5.2% ABV): I recently tried this draft-only wild fermented cider from bittersweet apples from the Poverty Lane (Farnum Hill) orchard in New Hampshire, but wanted to give it another try as I was considering picking up a growler of it. Although still very tasty, I didn’t find this taste as impressive…it seemed milder in flavor, and less tannic.
Schilling (Auburn WA) Barrel #2 (21% ABV): This is the last keg of their 2nd series of barrel aged distilled cider, which I tried previously. Its more apple brandy than cider, very alcohol-forward. I didn’t really enjoy it as much this time around…it seemed all alcohol and less flavor (my notes from last time mentioned honey and floral notes).
Wandering Aengus (Salem OR) Cellar Door (8.5% ABV): This is a draft-only version of their Bloom cider which is fermented drier. Semi-dry. Sharp. Light to medium bodied. Moderate tartness and high acidity. Low to moderate bitterness. More astringent than tannic (low to moderate). Mild flavor notes of floral, herbal, honey, and citrus. Low apple flavor. Moderate sessionability. Low flavor intensity. Moderate complexity. I think I like the regular version of Bloom better, as it was more flavorful.
One Tree (Spokane WA) Raspberry (6.0% ABV): This is a draft-only raspberry cider. My sample was from the end of the keg, so it poured very smoothie-like. Semi-sweet to sweet, but it tasted like it was meant to be that sweet, not overdone. Full bodied. Very strong raspberry flavor. No apple/cider flavor. Low to moderate tartness and acidity. Simple but tasty, similar to Schilling’s Raspberry Smoothie, although One Tree’s is higher ABV.
Reverend Nat’s (Portland OR) The Passion (6.9% ABV): I tried this recently, but was curious whether my taste buds we off at Cider Summit, as it is described online as very sour, but I only found it mildly sour. However, Sarah at the Cider House confirmed that this year’s batch wasn’t nearly as sour as last year’s. I enjoyed it, but at Cider Summit I found it had more passionfruit flavor and even less sourness, which I preferred.
I also had a couple bottle pours shared with me.
Wandering Aengus (Salem OR) Pommeau Apple Dessert Wine (14.0% ABV): Pommeau is apple brandy with cider. Semi-sweet to sweet. Still. Full bodied. Mild in flavor for a Pommeau, not as booze-forward as you’d expect for the ABV, but still very apple-forward. Mild tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins. Notes of cider apples, oak, leather, and orange. Amazing!
Worley’s (Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK) Premium Vintage 2013 (6.4% ABV): This is another one I’ve tried previously. Semi-dry to semi-sweet. Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins. Low to moderate carbonation. Medium bodied. Its an English cider, but I found it quite similar to French cider, as it is rich, apple-forward, carbonated (although less so than when I previously tried it), and yeast-forward, but not overly tannic. Awesome.
This was an awesome tasting. The Wandering Aengus Cellar Door was the only cider I wasn’t too big a fan of. The Pommeau was probably my favorite though.
Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says! Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?