Ace Guava

Review of Ace’s Guava cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their PineappleBlackjack 21, Pumpkin, Apple-Honey, Apple, Berry, Joker, and Space.

Cider:  Guava
Cidery:  Ace
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol CA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American large-craft cider from dessert apples, with Brazilian guava

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Availability:  wide release; check their cider finder

Cider Description:  Fresh Pink Guava juice blended with our semi-dry apple cider. Fruit forward with semi-dry undertones. Enjoy this taste of Brazil!

Cidery Description:  California Cider Company is the first family-owned cidery in the US. We have been making ACE Cider since 1993 in the beautiful Sebastopol area of Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco.

Price:  ~ $9.99 / six pack
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook

Photo May 29, 5 57 12 PM

First Impression:  Hazy orange with a hint of pink hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of tart tropical fruit, although not specifically guava.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of guava juice, tart green apple, and a hint of lemon.  Moderate length tart finish.  High sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, due to the great guava flavor, which is a favorite of mine.  However, I would have loved it, if only there was a touch more sweetness.  With 9g sugar per can and its tartness, this barely tasted semi-dry to me.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had four ciders with guava – Common Cider Pineapple Guava, One Tree Passionfruit Guava, Schilling Guava Mint, and Seattle Cider Strawberry Guava – but all had an additional flavor.  Ace Guava wasn’t similar to any of those, as the Common Cider and Seattle Cider selections were of a similar sweetness but mild in flavor and not guava-forward, while the One Tree and Schilling selections were much sweeter and super full-flavored.

Closing Notes:  This is a super sessionable summery cider, with the low ABV, lack of sweetness, and guava flavor profile.

Have you tried Ace Guava?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 6 Tasting Notes

Yes, I made yet another trip to the Schilling Cider House!  Check out my past posts here.  This time it was for a Sidra event, but that is one type of cider I’m just not into, so I sampled some non-Sidra selections from of the tap list (and some bottles).  The Cider Log crew was there, and brought an awesome spread of Spanish treats–thanks for sharing!

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I started with a flight of six, as usual.

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<from left to right: Tieton Cranberry, Doc’s Pumpkin, Rev Nat’s Ciderkin,
Liberty Gravenstein, Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip, & Apple Outlaw Blackberry>

Tieton Cider Works Cranberry, 6.9% ABV:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Very tart!  Lots of cranberry flavor.  More tart than the Finnriver cranberry cider I tried at the same time (see below).  A bit astringent.  I’m a bit over cranberry (I used to like it more), so I prefer most of Tieton’s other ciders to this one.  This is a new release for them, and its also available bottled.

Doc’s Draft Pumpkin, 5.0% ABV:  Sweet.  Lots of pumpkin pie spices with a bit of earthiness & pumpkin flavor.  Full bodied.  Unlike many pumpkin ciders & beers, this one uses actual pumpkin.  I’m not a pumpkin or spice fan, so needless to say I didn’t really enjoy this cider (I tried it more out of curiosity).  The folks who blind tasted it for this article were much bigger fans though, giving it the highest score of 23 pumpkin ciders & beers!  This is a yearly seasonal release for Doc’s, and also available bottled.  This was my second time trying Doc’s, but neither were flavors I’m a fan of…hopefully I get a chance to try something I have a better shot of actually enjoying soon (I’ve been eyeing their Sour Cherry, but alas it isn’t sold in the Seattle area, so I may need to make a trip down to Portland OR or order online).

Reverend Nat’s (and Cider Riot!) Ciderkin, 3.2% ABV:  Dry.  Ginger!  Moderate tartness, astringency, and acidity.  Slightly funky.  Ciderkin is a lower alcohol content cider traditionally made from the pommace (apple skin and pulp leftover after pressing apples into juice).  This one however is quite different than the version of ciderkin I had awhile back from Argus (tasting notes here).  The ginger (although admittedly mild) was overwhelming for my palate as I’m just not a fan of it.  My favorite cider from Rev Nat’s so far is their Revival.  They’ve released this Ciderkin cider a few times, but it doesn’t appear to be available bottled.

Liberty Ciderworks Gravenstein, 8.0% ABV:  Dry.  Moderate sourness, tartness, astringency, tannins, and acidity.  Almost no carbonation.  Very mild on the nose.  Although this was a Gravenstein single varietal, I picked up a lot of crabapple notes…it reminds me of their Crabenstein, which used Gravenstein and Crabapples, although not quite as harsh.  So far I prefer their Manchurian Crabapple, English Style, and Stonewall to this one.  This cider is also available bottled.

Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Lots of cranberry flavor.  I didn’t really pick up any herbal (rosehip) flavor, but I imagine it mellowed the cranberry a bit, especially drinking it side by side to the Tieton variety.  I liked this one better than the Tieton Cranberry, probably as it isn’t as tart.  However, my favorite “cranberry” cider so far is probably a tie for this and Schilling’s Mischief Maker (cranberry-pomegranate).  Cranberry Rosehip is part of Finnriver’s Elijah Swan Seasonal Botanical line, which is also available bottled, and includes some of my favorites such as Honey Meadow and Lavender Black Currant.

Apple Outlaw Blackberry Bounty, 5.5% ABV:  Semi-dry.  Very mild berry flavor.  Mild tartness.  This seems to be another one of the drier and milder flavored berry ciders coming out.  This one was pretty average in my book.  It is also available bottled.  This was my first time trying their regular line of ciders (although I tried their Oaked Sweet Dark Cherry at Cider Summit Seattle 2015, which appeared to be a special draft release).

I also had a sip of Whitewood Red Cap.  It was a bit weird…dry and almost Sidra-ish with some sourness and quite mild flavored.  They describe it as a Session cider, which usually indicates a low ABV and easy to drink cider, but its 6.2% ABV.  Also available bottled.  It reminded me some of their Summer Switchel, but without the salty & ginger notes.  Both are quite different from their Kingston Black Whiskey Barrel Aged cider, which is amazing!

I mostly wanted to sample what Schilling had on tap that I hadn’t tried, despite not being too excited about the varieties.  Therefore there were a few I didn’t really enjoy, so I ended up not finishing a lot of the flight.  Thankfully that freed up some ability to try more ciders!  Next up we sampled a couple bottles (which I don’t believe they sell at the Cider House).

Ace Space (blood orange) was another weird one.  Odd hazy orange hue.  Semi-dry.  The nose and some of the flavor was almost medicinal/artificial (like Tang or a Vitamin C supplement), but there is definitely some blood orange flavor too.  Mild tartness and sourness.  I wasn’t really a fan…not sure what they were thinking with this one?  This is Ace’s newest cider, a special release.  I kinda had the same opinion on their last special release, Blackjack 21, which tasted like Chardonnay to me (although admittedly it was aged in Chardonnay barrels, so maybe they were going for that).  Apparently I’m in the minority though as it sold well so they are releasing it again this year.

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Carlton Cyderworks Sugar and Spice.  Semi-sweet.  I was surprised I liked this, as I usually don’t tend towards spiced cider.  However, the spice was quite mild and balanced.  It also wasn’t overly sweet.  This is a seasonal bottled release for them, new for this year.

I also had a pint of Snowdrift Red–yum!  One of my favorites.  However, this batch seemed a bit more tart than previous, and with a bit less fruitiness.  There can definitely be variability from batch to batch in a craft product.  I like when cideries such as Snowdrift batch label their ciders, so you know whether what you buying may be slightly different.  Anthem is another example of a cidery which does this, but they actually go so far as to use different apple varieties in different batches of their flagship cider (and you can look up what was used by the batch number on the bottle).

Oddly enough the Carlton Sugar and Spice was the winner of the afternoon as far as a new cider I enjoyed the most!  I think it would taste really good warm (which is how I like mead, but I haven’t tried that for cider as I usually avoid spiced cider).

I definitely tried a lot of cider and had a blast, as always.  Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Ace Joker

Review of Joker from Ace (California Cider Company).  This is the driest variety from Ace, and probably one of the driest commercial ciders out there.  I’ve had a number of their other varieties from Ace such as Pumpkin, Pineapple, Blackjack 21, Apple-Honey, Apple, and Berry, which for the most part are tasty, but pretty juice-like and commercial tasting.  The Blackjack 21 was a special release of drier cider aged in Chardonnay barrels for their 21st anniversary.  It was honestly a bit disappointing as it was very wine-like, and pretty pricey at about $16.  However, it was popular, and they are planning to make it a yearly thing.

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Cider:  Joker
Cidery:  Ace (California Cider Company)
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles

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Availability:  Semi-wide release, year round

Cider Description:  Our Ace Joker is our driest cider yet and is made from 100% apple juice; it has champagne characteristics, a bit yeasty with a 6.9% ABV. It has won many awards and recently took the 2013 San Diego Cider and Beer Festival by storm! It even grabbed the Gold Ribbon for “Best Cider” in the competition. Ace Joker is popular with beer and wine drinkers and makes a great base for Mimosas, Snakebites, or Black Satins.  Ace Joker first made its appearance in 2008 and has rapidly become our second top selling cider. It is available in 6 packs, 22 ounce bottles and kegs. The Joker tastes great on its own, ice cold in a champagne flute, or with cheese and apple slices.

Cidery Description:  We have been making ACE ciders since 1993 in the beautiful Sebastopol area of Sonoma County in California; right along side some of the world’s most renowned wine makers.  Thanks to Ace Cider – America’s Best – the cider business in America is growing rapidly. There really is a refreshing alternative to beer and wine and it’s ACE!  Unfortunately, some ciders never see an apple and are poor representations of the category. They’ve really given hard cider a bad name. Many ciders are far too perfumy (almost Jolly Rancher-tasting) and are quite a put-off to those seeking a crisp alcoholic refreshment. Some ciders are very dry and barnyard tasting, especially some of the imports. We challenge you to take a taste test of your own if you don’t believe ACE ciders are truly America’s Best!  Our Award-Winning ACE Ciders are very pure, clean, and refreshing because we use ONLY the best eating apples for our juice and the best ingredients we can buy. There is a big difference between ACE Ciders and other brands on the market, we guarantee it!  We realize that the cider industry in the United States has been weakened in the past by some poor quality ciders on the market and some consumers have been turned off. Now is the time to try something new and exciting to drink! ACE Ciders are great refreshment, chilled on their own and elegant enough to bring to the dinner table, pour in your favorite glass and have with a variety of meals.

Price:  ~$2 for a single bottle (runs $10 a six pack in my area)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve had my eye on it for awhile, and now that I’m open to drier ciders, I decided to give it a try.

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First Impression:  Little carbonation but significant tiny bubbles.  Champagne hue.  Smells dry, slightly musty, with a hint of honey.

Opinion:  Definitely dry.  Moderate tartness, acidity, and astringency.  No bitterness or detectable tannins.  Slightly mouth-puckering.  Very clean, refreshing, and nice and light.  Citrus notes (but I didn’t pick up the honey I smelled).  Not very appley however.  A small amount of complexity.  Light bodied.  Nice alternative to champagne although it isn’t very carbonated.  Quick finish.

Most Similar to:  Argus Ciderkin and Elemental Carbon, but less carbonation.  I honestly think I liked this one better than those two, which is sad as its commercial cider and both of those are craft.

Closing Notes:   Not bad, especially for commercial cider.  My husband especially liked this cider.  Not sure that I believe the 3 carbs per 12 oz on the label, but its definitely dry.  I ended up picking up a six pack of this mostly for my husband (who can’t have a lot of sugar so usually doesn’t get more than a sip or two of my ciders).  I’d recommend this for anyone who wants a drier cider but has trouble finding craft cider in their area, as its pretty widely available.  Its my favorite Ace cider so far.  For awhile I was really into their Pineapple, but my tastes have moved away from it.

Have you tried Ace Joker?  What did you think?

Ace Pineapple

This is a tropical pineapple flavored cider.

Cider:  Pineapple
Cidery:  Ace
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol, CA
ABV:  5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Availability:  wide release, year round

Description on Bottle:  Another first for ACE, our ACE PINEAPPLE cider nobody has done one before.  We marry pineapple and apple juice to make a thirst quencher cider that’s deliciously refreshing anytime of the year!

Price:  $8.99 / six pack
Where Bought:  Whole Foods, Total Wine
How Found: Browsing
Where Drank:  home

Opinion:  If you like pineapple, this cider is for you!  Its the only pineapple cider I’ve seen.  It is quite sweet though, and tastes obviously back sweetened (juice added after fermentation).  It tastes a bit too much like juice to me, although many folks may like that.  I’m surprised how low calorie it is for how sweet it is (175, where most sweet ciders top 200).  Refreshing and simple.  I do love pineapple though.  Ace offers a number of other ciders, from their dry Joker to a similar cider to the Pineapple one, except Berry, to their 21st anniversary Chardonnay barrel aged Blackjack 21 cider, and even a Pumpkin variety.  Overall I don’t find their ciders too impressive though (this is my favorite by far).  If you like sweet ciders and pineapple, you may like this cider.

Have you tried Ace Pineapple?  What did you think?