Montana Ciderworks Darby Pub Cider

Review of Montana Ciderworks’ Darby Pub Cider.  I previously tried this at Cider Summit (see here), and have also had their North Fork TraditionalSpartan Dry-Style, and Small Batch Dolgo.

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Cider:  Darby Pub Cider
Cidery:  Montana CiderWorks
Cidery Location:  Darby MT
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Montana-grown cider, heirloom, & crab apple varieties, back sweetened with juice & fructose

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Availability:  Year round in CO, MT, and WA (see here)

Cider Description:  Semi-Dry New World Style Cider.  An approachable, effervescent cider made for sharing with friends. By coaxing subtle flavors from a blend of Bitterroot Valley apples through a gentle fermentation process, then adding back a bit of sweet juice, we created a fruit-forward experience perfect for drinking anytime. Appley with wood, spice & Mac notes; a medium semi-dry cider….Darby Pub Cider was awarded a Gold medal at the 2018 Great Lakes International Cider Competition, a Gold medal at the 2017 Royal Bath & West Show (United Kingdom), Best of Show at the 2016 Portland International Cider Cup, and a Silver medal at the 2015 GLINTCAP. SIP Northwest magazine awarded it Best Traditional Apple Cider in 2016.  The crisp clean flavor of Darby Pub Cider is a prefect complement to light fare, and a wonderful après de lawn mowing refreshment.

Cidery Description:  Montana CiderWorks is a bonded winery located in Darby, Montana.  We offer exceptional English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley apples and other local fruits.  We support sustainable agriculture and the preservation of open spaces in our beautiful valley. We increase the value and usefulness of Montana’s orchards so that they may support and delight future generations.

Here is a nice article from CiderCraft on Montana Ciderworks.  The owner and cidermaker is Lee McAlpine, who I’ve met at Cider Summit Seattle.

Price:  $9.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – I realized I’ve had tastes of this, but never reviewed a bottle

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First Impression:  Dark straw to light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart heirloom apples.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp tart heirloom & crab apples, butterscotch, wood, earth, and lemon.  Long tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I seemed to remember liking it more previously.  It seemed a bit more tart and dry this time.  That might have been my fault though, as I drank it at cellar temperature, like I do for most ciders of this style (vs. flavored ciders from dessert apples), but maybe this would be better at fridge temperature.

Most Similar to:  Finnegan Cider Semi-Dry and Grizzly Ciderworks The Ridge

Closing Notes:  This is a great selection at a nice price point.  I like that they use local cider-specific apples yet make ciders which are approachable.  I think my current favorite is North Fork Traditional (also available at Total Wine in my area).  As much as I like to support local bottle shops, Total Wine is very convenient, as they have a semi real time online inventory and keep their stock of cider pretty steady (vs. some of the smaller shops which may get some cooler smaller batch ciders, but also tend to have some items out of stock at times).  So, I go to both.

Have you tried Montana Ciderworks cider?  What did you think?

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