Schilling Cider House Visit 7 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 monthly potluck, with a “Thanksgiving Recipe Trial Run” theme.  I actually opted out of the potluck as I’m not a big Thanksgiving type food fan (and it ended up having a low turnout anyways), but there were plenty of folks at the cider house.

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I started with a flight of six ciders.

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<from left to right: 2 Towns Nice & Naughty, Atlas Cinnamon Pear, Portland London Dry Gin, Julian Apple Pie, Attila Rapture, Schilling Grumpy Bear>

2 Towns Ciderhouse Nice & Naughty, 10.5% ABV:  I started off not really liking this one much at all, but it became one of my favorites of the night once it warmed up to closer to room temperature.  This one had less spice scent than the other two spiced ciders I had in this flight.  Semi-dry.  The spice hit more at the back of the palate, and wasn’t so much cinnamon as it was clove and nutmeg.  I bet this would be amazing served warm.  The alcohol remained pretty well-hidden, and it reminded me of Imperial-style cider.

Atlas Hard Cider Company Cinnamon Pear, 8.5% ABV:  Very mild cinnamon scent, and I don’t detect any pear scent.  This one is an apple-based cider with some pear juice (not perry).  Semi-sweet.  A bit boozy (alcohol-forward).  Only a hint of pear flavor.  The cinnamon came across more in the finish.  This one remained rather mild flavored.

Portland Cider Company London Dry Gin, 6.8% ABV:  Dry.  Smells like tannins, spice, herb, and dry cider.  Quick finish.  Acidic with some bitterness.  Higher tannins but light bodied, which is an interesting and rare combination.  Quite herbal.  This one grew on me a bit and I ended up liking it.  It reminds me of Liberty Ciderworks Abbess, which used gin botanicals.

Julian Hard Cider Apple Pie, 6.9% ABV:  Very strong cinnamon scent, but less so in the flavor.  Semi-sweet.  I was surprised with the moderate tartness.  I’m not a huge spiced cider fan to begin with, but this was my least favorite of the three spiced ciders I tried in this flight.  Its fairly popular though.

Attila Hard Apple Cider Rapture (Concord Grape), 6.5% ABV:  Deep berry color with foam from the Nitro process.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  I pick up grape, with hints of pomegranate, cranberry, and huckleberry.   Juice-like and the apple is well-hidden, but it was tasty and full flavored.

Schilling Cider Company Grumpy Bear Cold Brew Coffee Nitro, 5.0% ABV:  Another very unique cider.  Deep hazy amber with froth from the Nitro process.  Semi-sweet.  Smells mildly of coffee grounds, and I don’t pick up any apple.  Moderate to full bodied.  Some spice and herbal qualities.  The coffee comes across more in the scent than the flavor, but still, the apple remains hidden.  Its a bit like an iced coffee drink with some alcohol.  This one became a bit more bitter as it warmed up.  Its not really my thing, but not as bad as I was expecting.

I got handed a sample of Greenwood Sweet Orange Cinnamon.  This batch ended up having the carbonation really mellow out the flavor (per the cidermaker), so it mostly had a hint of spice in the scent and that was it.  They put together a Randall while I was there to add additional orange and cinnamon flavor, using ingredients from the cidery.

Next I got tastes from some sample bottles.

I had a few sips of Locust Washington Dessert Apple Aged Hard Cider.  I had this one a few months ago (review here), but this batch definitely was a bit wonky, as it continued to aggressively bottle condition.  Like my bottle, it was very fizzy, even after being open for awhile.  However, the additional time in the bottle had made it significantly drier than mine.

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William’s Excalibur:  This one tastes like a typical sweet commercial cider (and has an ingredient list to confirm this).  It had the slightest bittersweet flavor, but was otherwise quite disappointing.  I can’t believe they import this type of cider!

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William’s Sir Perry:  A bit more drinkable than Excalibur, but its still a sweet commercial cider.  I don’t pick up much pear flavor at all.  Slightly less sweet than Excalibur.

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Locust Bittersweet Reserve:  This is a special release cider for them which benefits Hydrocephalus (which the owner’s daughter and 1/1,000 babies has).  Only 1,000 bottles and some kegs were released Nov/20/2015.  Made from French and English bittersweet apple varieties.  Bittersweet apple scent with hints of orange and spice.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Rich, smooth, and luscious!  Caramel notes, full flavored, and medium bodied.  Lovely mild to moderate tannins.  This reminds me of English-style cider, but its a bit more approachable than some, and the hints of orange and spice are nice (even though I usually don’t like those sorts of flavors).  No bitterness, which can be difficult to pull off.  This was definitely my favorite cider of the evening!  I’m happy I was able to pick up a bottle (so look for a future full review of it here).  $18 for 750ml, likely only found in the Seattle WA area.  Oddly enough I was told it must stay refrigerated (although it didn’t say that on the bottle)?

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?

Attila Scourge of God

Review of “Scourge of God” by Attila Hard Cider.  I honestly bought this just because the name was funny.  I haven’t tried any Attila ciders, but they also offer at least one other cider (Rapture, with Concord grape juice in addition to Granny Smith apple juice), and have been around since 2013.

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Cider:  Scourge of God
Cidery:  Attila Hard Cider (for Elevage Wine Company in Ellensburg WA)
Cidery Location:  Milton-Freewater OR
ABV:  5.9%
How Supplied:  22oz glass bottle

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Availability:  WA only, in bottles & kegs.  Distributed through King Beverage (Budweiser house) in Eastern Washington and American Northwest in Western Washington.

Cider Description:  Attila’s flagship lightly carbonated, slightly tart, perfectly blended cider with a clean, crisp finish. In the finest tradition of American Craft cider we only source the highest quality apples from Washington State . Drink what the Founding Mothers and Fathers used to enjoy after a hard day’s work. Made from only fresh-pressed apples with no juice concentrates or added sugars, make Attila, “The Scourge of God” the most refreshing cider on the market today, and at 6.99% Alc, you can bring this cider to any revolution!

Cidery Description:  In 2011, we noticed an influx of people asking for draft cider at our wine bar in Ellensburg. Knowing very little about cider we tried them all, yet after our year long research, we only found two that we liked—both from Oregon. The winemaker in me thought, it can’t be that hard. Finally, after a long trial and error process, three years and several thousand of dollars of cider given away to friends (aka “guinea pigs”) Attila “Scourge of God” was born.   Why Attila? Glad you asked. Attila was a true-life badass; a simple man with leadership abilities that would rival any modern day leader. Down-to-earth Attila that lead by example and enjoyed a good drink. Dubbed the “Scourge the God” by Pope Leo, Attila was feared by everyone and found joy intimidating the Romans; a businessman, he demanded up to 2000 kilograms of gold a year in lieu of being pillaged by Attila’s misfits.  For us, we were not looking to conquer the cider business, but to grow Attila’s army into a band of local misfits who enjoy drinking a damn good cider. Our secret, using only locally-sourced apples, which are always fresh pressed creating a high quality craft cider for the masses.  We look forward to seeing you at our wine bar Brix in Ellensburg or our tasting room in Leavenworth or better yet your favorite watering hole soon as we continue to grow and thrive here.

Price:  ~$8?  It was awhile ago…
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Crisp acidic dry slightly musty scent.  Pale straw yellow.  Very light carbonation which quickly cleared.

Opinion:  Semi-dry.  Simple, crisp, and refreshing.  High acidity, which I really liked.  Very apple-forward, which I also liked.  Lots of granny smith apple flavor (made from golden delicious, gala, and granny smith apples), but the tartness remained mild.  No significant bitterness or astringency.  Some citrus notes.  I didn’t pick up any funk (it remained clean), which I had expected a bit from the scent.  This was definitely made from dessert apples (ie. low complexity), but it was well-balanced and not very sweet at all, which is nice.  Quick finish.  My only suggestion for this one is that more carbonation would be a good addition, but I say that about most ciders.

Most Similar to:  Other drier flagship ciders, except this one was higher acidity.

Closing Notes:   Pretty good.  I’d rate this as above average, especially for a flagship cider, which I typically don’t care for (as I like bolder flavors).  Its great they are doing so many good things, such as using fresh juice from WA apples, no additives, etc.  I’ve been wanting to try their Rapture cider, which sounds interesting, but appears to be sweeter than this one.

Have you tried Attila Scourge of God?  What did you think?