2 Towns Afton Field

Review of 2 Towns Afton Field, part of their Traditions line.  I previously at least tried this on tap (see here), plus I’ve had most of their cider lineup (see here).

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<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Afton Field, 2017
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft heritage farmhouse-style dry cider, barrel aged 1 year, bottle conditioned (soured) with Brettanomyces yeast

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Availability:  limited release, yearly in April [in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana (see their cider finder)]

Cider Description:  Inspired by farmhouse ciders of the pioneer West, Afton Field is a testament to the tenacity of these settlers and their enduring orchards. Fresh-pressed, hand-picked Wickson crab, Newtown Pippin and other pioneer apple varieties are fermented, aged in oak barrels, and bottle conditioned with wild Brettanomyces yeast. Bone dry, unfiltered and uncompromising, this farmhouse cider is wild at heart and at home on the rustic table.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy light straw yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells of musty sharp apple.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Moderate funk.  Low sourness and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of sharp crab apple, lemon, must, straw, mineral, and a hint of herbs.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  This isn’t a style that personally appeals to me.  I’d recommend this for fans of bone dry farmhouse-style (sour, rustic) ciders and/or beers.

Most Similar to:  other bone dry farmhouse-style ciders, such as Alpenfire Pirate’s Plank, Gitche Gumee Ciderworks EntropyNumber 12 Sparkling DryRuncible Cider Light of the MoonAngry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Sietsema Traditional Dry

Closing Notes:  I think moving their ‘Traditions’ line from a separate brand of large ~$20 bottles to smaller ~$10 bottles under the 2 Towns brand (but differentiated by bottle type/size and label format) a couple years ago was a very smart move, as they are an easier sell.

Have you tried 2 Towns Afton Field?  What did you think?

2 Towns Camp Clementine

Review of 2 Towns Camp Clementine.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had most of their line-up (see here).

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<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Camp Clementine
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with clementines and passionfruit

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Availability:  seasonal (released April 2019), in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Chicago Illinois, and parts of Minnesota & Montana – see their cider finder

Cider Description:  Juicy & Bright, Camp Clementine is an easy drinking summer cider packed with California clementines and yellow Maracuyá passion fruit. Sit back, relax and uncap some fond camp memories, or better yet, get out there and make some new ones!

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99 / bottle)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  No carbonation.  Light yellow hue.  Smells of citrus and passionfruit.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of passionfruit, citrus, and green apple.  Long tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it, but would have preferred a bit less tartness.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Passion Statement, plus citrus

Closing Notes:  I actually noticed more passionfruit than clementine flavor, despite the cider’s name.

Have you tried 2 Towns Camp Clementine?  What did you think?

Incline White Peach

Review of Incline Cider’s White Peach cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their The Explorer Hopped CiderLemongrass LureThe Scout Hopped Marionberry, and Compass Rosé.

Cider:  White Peach
Cidery:  Incline Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  19,2oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with white peaches

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Availability:  mostly Washington & Oregon, plus Nevada, Idaho, Utah, & Alaska (see here)

Cider Description:  Our white peach cider is juicy, bright, crisp and refreshing because we use fresh peach juice and organic white peach extract. We hope you enjoy!

Cidery Description:  Utilizing only 100% fresh pressed apples as the base for ciders that stand in a category of their own. 

Price:  $4.49 / 1 can
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of sweet peach.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of peach, green apple, lemon, and apricot.  Quick finish.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, I would have liked a touch more sweetness and flavor, which probably would cut the tartness & acidity too.  It smelled more of peach than it tasted oddly enough.  Same with the level of sweetness (smelled sweeter than it tasted).

Most Similar to:  Blackfin Peach (however, my favorite peach cider remains Lonetree Apple Peach, which of course isn’t available locally)

Closing Notes:  Offering these larger cans only sold individually is a new idea.  I liked it, as I like to try new ciders, but not commit to them, so I’ll go to places like Total Wine which sell singles of multipacks.  This one doesn’t appear to be sold in a multipack even in other stores.  Due to this, the price ends up being a bit higher per ounce than most local craft canned multipack ciders.

Have you tried Incline Peach?  What did you think?

Avid Watermelon Rhubarb

Review of Avid (previously Atlas) Cider’s Watermelon Rhubarb.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Hard Apple CiderHard Blackberry CiderPom-CherryHard Apricot CiderCinnamon PearSession CiderDragonfruit, and Pineapple Mango.

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Cider:  Watermelon Rhubarb
Cidery:  Avid Cider
Cidery Location:  Bend, Oregon
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with watermelon & rhubarb, and beet juice for color

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Availability:  seasonal, special release, probably only in the Northwest

Cider Description:  The simple and natural flavors of fresh pressed watermelon and the fleshy stalks of Michigan grown Rhubarb complement each other in this clean, crisp and refreshing cider.

Cidery Description:  Inspired by the landscape, culture, and the abundance of fruit in the North West, AVID Cider Company, a family run business, is dedicated to creating hard cider using sustainably sourced and local ingredients. AVID Cider Co. was founded as a result of the dissatisfaction with the lack of variety and excessively dry or cloyingly sweet ciders available in the market place in 2013. We saw the opportunity to create hard cider that better balances the elements of a flavor profile, and satiates our thirst for a cider that is “just right.” 

They have a cider house in Portland Oregon.

Price:  $7.49
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – I’m a fan of watermelon (although admittedly not of rhubarb), so I wanted to give it a try

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First Impression:  Medium red hue.  No carbonation.  General fruity scent.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of watermelon, strawberry, and rhubarb.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Fruity, but not too tart or sweet.

Most Similar to:  Fresh Cut Watermelon or Locust Watermelon, but with rhubarb added

Closing Notes:  I would have been a bigger fan of this without the bitterness of the rhubarb.

Have you tried Avid Watermelon Rhubarb?  What did you think?

Whiskey Barrel Cider Co. Triple Play

Review of Whiskey Barrel Cider Company’s Triple Play.  It is my first time trying this, but I previously had their Dam Fine Cider.

Cider:  Triple Play
Cidery:  Whiskey Barrel Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Pullman WA
ABV:  5.1%
How Supplied:  16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  likely only in Washington

Cider Description:  Triple Play began as our summer seasonal but quickly became so popular that we decided to keep it around all year long. Made from Gala, Red and Golden Delicious apples, Triple Play is our sweetest cider. Enjoy it as you remember the long hot days of summer!

Cidery Description:  Former engineer Trent Maier developed the recipe for Whiskey Barrel Cider and approached his friend and fellow engineer, Brian Augdahl, about the idea of building a space to create the recipe using local, Washington grown apples. The operation began with one delicious cider and has since developed into the creation of several signature ciders with the taste of Washington apples in every sip.

Price:  probably $2-4 / 1 can
Where Bought:  I think either Total Wine in Northgate, or The Cave in Kirkland
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Very low carbonation.  A bit of foam.  Smells simply of sweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of just apple juice, although less sweet / a bit watered down.  Quick finish.  High sessionability and apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Very low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Super easy to drink and all around likable, although fairly simple.  It tastes what I imagine folks who have not tried cider would expect all ciders to taste like, of alcoholic apple juice, although this is less sweet than straight apple juice.  From the color and flavor, I’m guessing they made a high ABV dry cider, then back-sweetened with a fair bit of apple juice.

Most Similar to:  A less sweet and higher quality version of some popular commercial ciders, like Angry Orchard Crisp Apple and Woodchuck Amber.

Side Note:  After first trying their cider, I learned that their name came about as their first cider was whiskey barrel aged, but they have since scaled up production, and last I heard, none of their current cider line-up is whiskey barrel aged.

Closing Notes:  Hopefully I find more ciders from them soon.  I can see why this would be popular, as it is super apple forward and on the sweeter end, but less sweet (and higher quality and more local) than most commercial options.

Have you tried Whiskey Barrel Cider Co. Triple Play?  What did you think?

Sky River Cherry Vanilla Honey Wine (Mead)

Today I don’t have a cider to review, but a mead, Sky River’s Cherry Vanilla Honey Wine.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their lineup (see my trip report here from when I visited their meadery tasting room).

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Mead:  Cherry Vanilla Honey Wine
Meadery:  Sky River
Location:  Redmond WA
ABV:  12%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft mead (honey wine), with cherries and vanilla

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Availability:  U.S. (Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana, & Pennsylvania), Japan, and Sweden, plus online sales

Mead Description:  The downy snow of blossom laden cherry trees.  The harbinger of spring.  Awakening the honey bees, and bringing the promise of new life.  With the blossoms come the tantalizing dreams of the promised lush cherries to come, and sumptuous days of sunshine.  Sky River Cherry Vanilla Mead reunites the honey and cherries.  Warm Honey and rich, dark Cherry, wedded with lush Vanilla bean  Enjoy with freshly grilled steaks, salmon, or even with your favorite custard.

Meadery Description:  From ancient cultures on distant shores, shrouded in mist, Sky River brings the age-old art of making mead into the twenty-first century to create a new tradition. 

Price:  $21
Where Bought:  a tasting event
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a tasting event

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First Impression:  Dark cherry hue.  Still.  Smells of sweet cherry wine.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of cherry with hints of honey & floral, then a moderate length vanilla finish.  Low honey flavor.  Moderate cherry flavor, sessionability, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Nice flavor, of real cherry.  I would have liked a bit more vanilla.  Definitely not honey-forward though.

Most Similar to:  A more real-tasting, more complex, and drier version of Eaglemount Cherry Mead.  I’ve also had d’s cherry vanilla cider, with awesome flavor, similarly not apple-forward, but it is quite sweet.

Closing Notes:  Mead is a nice complimentary option to cider.

Have you tried mead?  What did you think?

2 Towns Two Thorns

Review of 2 Towns Two Thorns.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

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<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Two Thorns
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and cans and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with raspberries and rose petals

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Availability:  Spring seasonal, possibly in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana (see their cider finder)

Cider Description:  Tart and floral, Two Thorns unites fresh-pressed Northwest apples, raspberries and rose petals. The result is a uniquely fragrant cider with a vibrant red hue.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider. 

Price:  n/a (probably ~ $5.99 / 500ml bottle or ~ $11.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Moderate red hue.  Still.  Smells of tart raspberry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to strong tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No sourness, funk, bitterness, or tannins.  Notes of raspberry with hints of green apple, floral, and lemon.  Moderate tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complex.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Nice tart raspberry flavor, and super fruity for how dry it is (only 6g of sugar / 12oz).

Most Similar to:  Most raspberry ciders I’ve had were much more sweet.  However, this is most similar to a lower ABV version of Blue Moon Winery Apple Raspberry, which was also tart and dry.

Closing Notes:  They had a previous cider with this same flavor and name which was only available in downtown Portland Oregon, a collaboration with the Portland Thorns women’s soccer team.

Have you tried 2 Towns Two Thorns?  What did you think?