I was there on a Thursday for a Portland Cider tap takeover / luau / potluck. I started with a flight.
<left to right: Alpenfire Glow, Sandford The General, Liberty Cellar Series, Bad Granny Green Apple, Portland Mojito, and Tieton Russian Red>
Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA) Glow (6.8% ABV): This is a drier version of their Glow (made from red fleshed apples) than is found in bottles (which I’ve reviewed here), apparently as it had to be significantly more filtered when kegged. Semi-dry, compared to the bottled version which is semi-sweet to sweet. Compared to the bottled version, its not nearly as flavorful (strawberry and watermelon notes) or complex, and is more tart and lighter bodied. Very nice, but I prefer the intensely flavorful and sweet bottled version (which I have a bottle of in the fridge that my husband got me for Valentine’s Day).
Sandford Orchards (Crediton UK) The General (8.4% ABV): This is the first time I’ve seen any cider from this English cidery. This variety is made from Devon cider apples, then spirit-aged and casked. Semi-dry. Light bodied. Moderate tartness, acidity, and bitterness. Low tannins. Apple-forward flavor with some sharpness. Moderate to long finish. Low to moderate complexity. Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, and flavor intensity. This tasted like a typical English cider, although more bitter and less complex than I prefer. Its good to see an international cider on tap, and made from cider apples too.
Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA) Cellar Series (8.0% ABV): This is an unknown variety of their Cellar Series (they are usually named with a letter and two numbers), draft only. Most of their cellar series ciders are wild yeast fermented and barrel aged. Orange amber hue. Dry. Light bodied. Moderate tartness. Moderate to high acidity. Hints of sourness and funk. Low bitterness. Sharp flavor with crabapple notes and hints of oak. Moderate to long finish length. Moderate apple flavor. Low to moderate sessionability. Low flavor intensity. Moderate complexity. I didn’t really like this one, as I found it a bit harsh.
Bad Granny (Lake Chelan WA) Green Apple (6.9% ABV): This cider is made from dessert apples and sold both in tallboy cans and on draft. Nearly clear hue. Semi-sweet. Medium bodied. Low tartness. Moderate acidity. No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins. Definite green apple flavor, plus some white grape. Moderate apple flavor. Low complexity. Moderate flavor intensity. High sessionability. I liked it.
Portland Cider (Portland OR) Mojito (6.7% ABV): This draft-only limited release cider had mint, lemon, and lime added. Semi-dry to semi-sweet. Medium bodied. Low tartness and acidity. Notes of mint, citrus, and a hint of soap? Low apple flavor. Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity. The flavor of this seemed weird, but maybe it is just me.
Tieton Ciderworks (Yakima WA) Russian Red (6.9% ABV): This draft-only special release cider is made from red fleshed apples (like Snowdrift Red and Alpenfire Glow). Bright red hue. Semi-sweet. Medium bodied. Low to moderate tartness and acidity. Notes of cranberry and cherry. Low apple flavor. Moderate to high flavor intensity and sessionability. Moderate complexity. I liked it.
Sarah also shared a new Snowdrift release with me:
Snowdrift Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Cidermakers Reserve (8.3% ABV): They have had this Méthode Champenoise cider listed on their website for awhile, but I haven’t ever seen it, so I think they took a few years off from production (or else it was very limited release). This batch is only available in bottles. Odd scent which none of us could accurately describe, but it didn’t transfer to the flavor. Semi-dry. High carbonation. Moderate tartness. High acidity. Hints of tannins and bitterness. Fruity, with notes of sharp pomegranate and some crabapple. I really liked the flavor and the bubbles, but the scent was bizarre.
My favorites were the Alpenfire Glow, Tieton Russian Red, and Snowdrift CIdermakers Reserve. The Bad Granny was good too, especially for its simplicity. I really wanted to like Sandford Orchards The General as I’m an English cider fan, but it was quite bitter.
Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says! Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?