Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ Spokane Scrumpy. I previously tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2017 (see here), but I hadn’t reviewed a bottle. It was made using community sourced apples and supports the Second Harvest food bank in Spokane Washington. Here is an article on its release. I’ve also tried Liberty’s Manchurian Crabapple SV, Crabenstein, English Style, Abbess, Stonewall, Gravenstein, Cellar Series #G15, New World Style, Cellar Series (# unknown), McIntosh, and Golden Russet SV.
>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Liberty Ciderworks. Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free. The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue. I love free stuff, especially cider! Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here? Contact me.<<
Cider: Spokane Scrumpy
Cidery: Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location: Spokane WA
Residual Sugar: 1.5%
How Supplied: 750ml corked & caged bottles
Style: American craft cider from community-harvested apples, wild yeast fermented
Availability: Special release. Their ciders are in general available in Washington and Oregon (see a list of locations here). They also have online sales through Vino Shipper (although at the time of review I didn’t see this one listed).
Cider Description: A hyper-local concoction of backyard, roadside and otherwise under-appreciated apples fermented wild for a light and refreshing, yet complex flavor profile. A partnership with Second Harvest food bank, a portion of proceeds goes toward helping feed people in need in our community. (WA sales only)
Cidery Description: Located in the largest apple-growing region on the continent, Liberty Ciderworks is all about the apple, showcasing the diversity and wonders of locally grown fruit. From well known apples like McIntosh and Jonathan to rare, cider-specific fruit like Kingston Black and Dabinett, Liberty ciders put apples in their proper place: Front and center. We started Liberty Ciderworks in 2013 with a simple, two-part mission: 1) Using apples from local farms and fields to create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Sharing them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest. Welcome to the cider revolution.
They have a tap room in Spokane WA, which also now has a bottle shop of selections from around the world
Price: n/a (probably ~ $15 like their other ciders)
Where Bought: n/a
Where Drank: home
How Found: one of the co-owners/cidermakers contacted me, Rick Hastings
First Impression: Hazy lemonade hue. Still (no carbonation). Smells very mild.
Tasting Notes: On the sweeter side of semi-dry. Light to medium bodied. Low tartness. Moderate acidity. Hints of bitterness, tannins, and funk. No sourness. Notes of lemongrass, green apple, honey, butter, straw, and mineral. Long finish with a slightly sour aftertaste. Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.
My Opinion: I liked it. The flavor was really interesting in a good way, but the aftertaste was a bit weird/different, although mild. Neither me or the two others I was tasting with could really describe it. I think it was likely a slight sourness that only showed up on the finish. Sourness wouldn’t surprise me, as this was a wild yeast fermented cider, which typically has significant sourness. The apple-forward flavor and the bit of residual sweetness may have just covered up the sourness until the finish.
Most Similar to: Nothing I can think of. The flavor profile was unique. This is a bit sweeter and less tart than most of Liberty’s lineup. I’d recommend this for folks who want a little something different.
Side Note: In the cider world, the term “scrumpy” has a range of definitions, but it currently seems most often used to describe a rustic Farmhouse-style cider made using traditional methods, often slightly cloudy (less filtered). They are most commonly found in England, but a number of U.S. cidermakers also use this term. Here is an article from CiderCraft pointing out five examples.
Closing Notes: Too bad they couldn’t repeat this recipe, as it was a mix of random apples (probably mostly dessert apples, with some heirloom and crab apples). Next up I have their English Style and Hewes Crab ciders.
Have you tried Liberty’s Spokane Scrumpy? What did you think?