Chatter Creek Barrel Roll

Review of Chatter Creek’s Barrel Roll, a bourbon barrel aged cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Pilot Project Batch ‘1’ Golden Cider and Chaider Clipper.

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Cider:  Barrel Roll
Cidery:  Chatter Creek
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  9.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle, crown cap, attached flip top
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, bourbon barrel aged

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Availability:  Seattle WA area, plus online sales (to AK, AZ, CA, DC, HI, IL, MN, MO, OR, and WA)

Cider Description:  This cider was aged for 4 months in American oak barrels that had been used to age JP Trodden Bourbon Whiskey. It is bone dry and displays the balance of oak and apple aromas. About a third of the apples used in the blend are Granny Smith, which provide the nice snap in the finish. Only 4 barrels of this were produced and it is only available through the winery tasting room or a few select taps around town. 

Cidery Description:  Gordon Rawson has been making grape wine since the 80s, and started Chatter Creek in 1996.  Cider is a more recent venture however.  All the cider names and labels are aviation-themed.  They have a tasting room in Woodinville WA, Northeast of Seattle.

Price:  $9.99
Where Bought:  Brigid’s Bottleshop in Edmonds WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  This was my first time visiting this bottle shop.  They had a great bottle selection, but had higher prices than anywhere else I’d seen.  They also had 1 rotating cider on tap I think.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of alcohol (bourbon).

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and lemon.  Long boozy finish.  Low flavor intensity, apple flavor, barrel influence, and sessionability.  Moderate bourbon influence.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the bourbon flavor.  However, overall the cider was a bit harsh for my tastes, between the dryness and high ABV, and I prefer a higher flavor intensity.  I think backsweetening with honey would have been great (to end up with a flavor profile like Big B’s Grizzly Brand or 2 Towns The Bad Apple).  I’d recommend this for folks who enjoy bourbon / spirits.

Most Similar to:  Locust Bourbon Barrel Aged (although that was higher ABV) and Carlton Cyderworks Slake (although that was semi-dry)

Closing Notes:  Of the three ciders I’ve tried from Chatter Creek so far, my favorite was Pilot Project Batch ‘1’ Golden Cider.

Have you tried barrel aged cider?  What did you think?

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Notes on Cider at Debuts and Discoveries 2017

On March 18th, I attended a ‘Debuts and Discoveries’ tasting event in Seattle put on by the University Sunrise Rotary Club, to benefit Teen Feed.  It featured about 7 cideries, 7 breweries, 12 wineries, and 11 distilleries.  It was very cool to see an event with such a mix of beverage selections, as I’m only into cider and my husband is into everything else.  I took the night off from blogging, so unfortunately I don’t have any photos or tasting notes.  However, I thought I might as well do a quick writeup.

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The Ciders:

  • Chatter Creek (Woodinville WA) brought their ‘Pilot Project’ Golden Cider, ‘Chaider Clipper’ Chai Tea, and ‘Luya’ Ginger-Honey.
  • Elemental (Woodinville WA) brought their ‘Carbon’ Semi-Dry, ‘Calcium’ Blood Orange, and ‘Oxygen’ Pomegranate.
  • Locust (Woodinville WA) brought their Chili Pineapple, Smoked Blueberry, Thai Ginger, and Vanilla Bean.
  • Pear UP (formerly Neigel Vintners) brought a number of perries, including Ginger Pear, Hoppin’ Pear, Pear Essentials, Pearfect Pie, and Watermelon.
  • Schilling (Auburn WA) brought their ‘Reboot’ Blood Orange, Blueberry Cobbler, and London Dry.
  • Steelhead (Lake Chelan WA) brought their ‘Chimera’ Cherry, ‘Furious George’ Ginger, and ‘Peargatory’ Vanilla Pear.
  • Woodinville Ciderworks (Woodinville WA) brought their Asian Pear and something else.

What I Tried:

  • Chatter Creek’s Chaider Clipper was tasty, semi-dry, with a smooth moderate spiciness from the Chai.  I previously reviewed their Pilot Project.
  • Elemental’s Carbon and Blood Orange.  I preferred previous versions of Carbon that were more rich than citrusy, and less tart (see here).  My husband was crazy about the Blood Orange; the flavor was nice and mild.  Both had higher levels of carbonation, which is great too.  I previously sampled their Pomegranate.
  • Locust’s Blueberry + Vanilla and Chili Pineapple.  I had tried both the Blueberry and Vanilla before (see here), finding the Blueberry rather average and the Vanilla to have an amazing creamy vanilla flavor but too sweet.  However, mixed, they were an awesome semi-sweet concoction, and my favorite of the evening.  The Chili Pineapple surprisingly didn’t have any noticeable spiciness (I’ve had a number of spicy ciders which were crazy spicy), just a nice pineapple flavor.
  • Pear UP’s Watermelon, which remains my favorite from them (see here).  The pear and watermelon notes remain mild, but I’m a huge watermelon fan.
  • (I previously tried Schilling’s Blueberry Cobbler and London Dry)
  • Steelhead’s Cherry, which I previously tried (see here).  Nice cherry flavor, but rather tart.  I also previously tried their Peargatory.
  • (I previously tried Woodinville Ciderworks’ Asian Pear and Tropical)

The Event:

It was an indoor event (in an old hangar in Magnison Park – very cool), from 5-9pm on a Saturday.  The $40 entry fee included 15! drink tickets and a $5 food voucher.  They also provided free bottled water and snacks (like chips and trail mix), which I have never seen before and was much appreciated.  The event was to focus on new craft beverage businesses, and their published cutoff was four years, but I know some of the companies were more than four years old (like Woodinville Whiskey, which started in 2010).  There were four main food truck options (also indoors).

They had tables and chairs, but they could have used more (and unfortunately some folks would put their stuff down to “save” their spot, then leave).  Bottle sales were available from most makers, and it was tax-free as it was a charity event (a HUGE savings for hard alcohol…my husband picked up four bottles which were about $35 instead of $55).  The main negative for me was the live music…any live music indoors tends to be overly loud, making it was very difficult to hold a conversation, and giving me a headache.  I felt bad for the booths right next to the band.

All in all it was a fun time and I look forward to attending again next year!

Chatter Creek Cider Pilot Project Batch “1” Golden Cider

Review of Chatter Creek Cider’s Pilot Project Batch “1” Golden Cider.  This is the first time I’ve tried (or even seen) anything from this cidery.  It appears to be from a winery which is new to making cider; I couldn’t find any information online except an under construction website, but was able to get in touch with Gordy Rawson at Chatter Creek.  It appears the winery is in Woodinville WA but this cider was made in Seattle WA, the original location.

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Cider:  Pilot Project Batch “1” Golden Cider
Cidery:  Chatter Creek Cider
Cidery Location:  Seattle WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml flip top bottle
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples

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Availability:  self distributed in Seattle WA

Description: This Cider is a winemakers take on how to balance a beverage. Good apple flavor. The acid and sweetness are in balance to present a natural flavor, Some light tannin, medium carbonation.

Ingredients: Just apples, sulfites, and sweetened with concentrate

Apple Varieties: Red and Golden delicious, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Granny, and Pinata

Price:  $8.75
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow.  Nearly still.  Smells mild, of acidity and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of honey, stone fruit, and pineapple.  Moderate apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

My Opinion:   I found this to be a typical apple-forward sessionable cider.  I think it would be better suited in a multipack of bottles or cans, instead of a $9 pint.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns OutCider (although not unfiltered), Apple Outlaw Original (although less apple-forward), and Atlas Session Cider (although not as fruity)

Closing Notes:   I’m interested to find more information about this cidery and cider, and I’m curious if they will release more ciders.

Have you tried Chatter Creek Pilot Project Golden Cider?  What did you think?