Cidery: Tilted Shed
Cidery Location: Sebastopol CA
How Supplied: 750ml bottles
Style: American artisan cider from heirloom & cider apple varieties, some of which were smoked
Availability: Released March 2015. Tilted Shed ciders are sold primarily in California, but also in New York, New Jersey, and Portland Oregon (see here).
Cider Description: An unorthodox cider blend that marries the natural complements of apples and wood smoking. Blend of six varieties of fresh-pressed Sonoma County organic heirloom and tannic cider apples from the 2014 harvest. Fermented to dryness in small batches, then blended with a batch of cider infused with wood-smoked apples. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, minimal sulfites. Straw gold, dry, aromatic, tannic, tart, and bright, with a light effervescence and mellow smoky finish. Like drinking a brut champagne near a bonfire. Pair with aged and funky washed-rind cheeses, pork, charcuterie, grilled meats, and seafood. Use care in serving with any smoked foods, as that can diminsh the smokiness of the cider. Serve in a white wine glass at 55°F to heighten the aromatics.
Cidery Description: We started Tilted Shed Ciderworks in 2011 out of an obsessive love for apples and cider. All of our apples are organically grown within 35 miles of our cidery, primarily in west Sonoma County. At our Sebastopol farm, we have planted 100 varieties of traditional cider apples and perry pears—a pomological research station on the edge of the Pacific. As cider evangelists, we are devoted to making ciders of individuality, integrity, artistry, and elegance. It’s thrilling to explore our unique terroir and the transformative powers of fermentation, and experience how our ciders shapeshift over time. We hope you’ll find our ciders to be a beautiful revelation of what the apple can do.
Where Bought: ordered online
Where Drank: home
How Found: I had read great things about their ciders and wanted to try them, but they aren’t available locally yet.
First Impression: Low carbonation. Dark straw yellow hue. Smells acidic & tannic, with hints of smoke & oak.
Tasting Notes: Dry. Light to medium bodied. Low to moderate tartness. High acidity. Low bitterness. Low tannins. No sourness or funk. Notes of smoke, oak, honey, lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and green apple.. Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity. Low sessionability. Low smoke. Moderate oak.
My Opinion: I liked this, although I had been expecting something more in your face (like Alpenfire’s Smoke, which drinks more like a port than a cider with its 16% ABV and intense flavor). I think I would have enjoyed it even more if it had more tannins & less acidity (such as using more cider than heirloom varieties), and even more smoke & oak. Oddly enough I perceived more oak than smoke. This is a well made and balanced cider, but more nuanced than I prefer. I agree to drink this one above fridge temperature, as the flavors become more intense.
Most Similar to: Many dry barrel aged ciders. I found it very similar to Tilted Shed’s Barred Rock, although with smoke instead of whiskey notes with the oak.
Closing Notes: This concludes the reviews of the three bottles I ordered from Tilted Shed (I also tried Lost Orchard and Barred Rock). I think I liked their Lost Orchard best of the three (which is odd as I’m a bigger fan of barrel aged oaky & smokey ciders than funky ciders, although they are growing on me). However, honestly I don’t think Tilted Shed’s cider style matches my taste preferences…they are more wine like and high acid. They are however selling some awesome ciders at awesome prices, and I’m more than willing to try the rest of their lineup.
Have you tried Tilted Shed Smoked? What did you think?