E.Z. Orchards ‘Pomme’ Pommeau

Review of E.Z. Orchards’ Pommeau, ‘Pomme’, an apple dessert wine (cider fortified with apple brandy).  It is my first time trying this, but I have tried Pommeaux from 2 Towns, Etienne DupontFinnriver, Stem, Tieton, Traditions, and Wandering Aengus, and have tried E.Z. Orchards’ Semi DryRoman BeautyHawk HausPoire, and Williamette Valley 2011 Cidre.

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Cider:  Pomme
Cidery:  E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location:  Salem OR (but bottled in Rickreal OR)
ABV:  17.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles (with a re-usable plastic cap with attached cork)
Style:  American artisan Pommeau (cider from bittersweet cider apples, fortified with apple brandy), barrel aged for 2 years

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Availability:  Limited release, through Artisanal Imports, although in general EZ Orchards’ ciders are sold in CA, OR, and WA

Cider Description:  The body and texture of Pomme is of tree-ripened fruit and fresh baked apple, with a subtle toasted wood and winter fruit aroma. The prominent tannin structure of the fruit is defined but not overwhelming, contributing a lasting, elegant finish. The alcohol is softened by extended aging, showing warmth and livening the baked, tree-ripened apple nuance.

Here is a great article on this year’s ‘Pomme’ release, including quotes from the cidermaker, Kevin Zielinski.  Based on that info, I must have a bottle from a previous year (as this is a higher ABV), which doesn’t surprise me, as these sorts of high end releases often sell slowly.

Cidery Description:  E.Z. Orchards is a family-owned and operated farm, orchard and cidery located in Salem, Oregon. The Zielinski family has been cultivating the bounty of Willamette Valley since 1929, and began specifically growing cider apples in 2000, reshaping its entire operation around their production. Through traditional French cider-making methods, E.Z. Orchards crafts world-class, perfectly blended ciders from ground to glass. Learn more about the cidery at www.ezorchards.com.

Price:  $24
Where Bought:  Capitol Cider in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It was on their bottle list.  It had been on my radar as I had read about it online, where it is well reviewed.  They also offer bottle pours and flights of Pommeaux.

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First Impression:  Dark amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of boozy syrupy rich apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, brown sugar, leather, orange, coffee, vanilla, and oak.  Long warming finish.  High apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Rich and complex, whats not to like?  However, it was a bit less smooth and more harsh than some others I’ve had, possibly as it is a bit drier and higher ABV.  I think this is ideally drank when well-chilled, and I even dropped in one small ice cube (which I think is acceptable as it is more brandy than cider).

Most Similar to:  Stem Ciders Pommeau 2016 release and Traditions Pommeau 2013 release (Traditions was a 2 Towns brand which has since been absorbed)

Closing Notes:  2 Towns‘ Pommeau continues to be my favorite, although I have enjoyed every Pommeaux I’ve tried.  This E.Z. Orchards Pommeau was an especially good value as it is a 750ml bottle, but costs only a few dollars more than most 375ml bottles of Pommeau.  However, I would personally prefer paying less for a smaller bottle, as it is less of a commitment, and Pommeau isn’t something I’d drink in large quantities.  This bottle did well in the fridge for the few weeks it took me to drink it, and didn’t have any flavor changes.

Have you tried Pommeau?  What did you think?

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EZ Orchards Roman Beauty

Review of EZ Orchards’ Roman Beauty cider.  I tried this before (see here), but didn’t do a full review.  I’ve also tried their Semi DryHawk HausPoire, and Williamette Valley 2011 Cidre.

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Cider:  Roman Beauty
Cidery:  EZ Orchards Cidre
Cidery Location:  Rickreal Oregon
ABV:  4.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and draft)
Style:  American artisan cider, predominantly made from Roman Beauty heirloom apples

Availability:  Likely only in California, Oregon, and Washington

Cider Description:  Roman Beauty Cider is named for the heirloom apple that provides the predominant juice pressed for this blend.  We have been growing this apple variety at E.Z. Orchards since 1929.  Fermented cold and slow to retain a ripe apple aroma, Roman Beauty is a semi-dry cider with mild acidity.

Cidery Description:  We have been orchardists since the 1920s when we began to grow Roman Beauty apples on the farm. When we began specifically producing cidre apples in 2000, the entire orchard was transformed around that intent and slowly took shape. Surrounding the orchards, the larger farm produces a wide variety of fruits that diversify the land and aid in the pollination process, including peaches, pears, and hazelnuts.  Today, we grow a wide variety of heirloom cidre apples including French and English bittersweets, and American semi-sharps. In the Willamette Valley of Oregon where we farm, the ground is an ancient seabed full of rich and nutritious soil. With so much nutrition available to the trees, we have to suppress their vigor through pruning and selection to ensure that each apple receives the most intense nurturing for flavor and aromatics.  We grow our apples with specific cidre blends in mind. As you walk the grounds, it becomes clear that it’s organized around specific cultivation and harvesting techniques, enabling us to manage a precise maturation on the tree that we improve with every year’s lessons. 

Price:  $9.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this when some friends bought a bottle at the cider house and shared some with me.

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First Impression:  Light gold yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild and funky.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Moderate funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of partially baked apples, honey, lemon, and a hint of spice.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I really like this cider.  However, this batch was quite different than what I tried a couple years ago; that time it was completely clean, and this time it was significantly funky.  However, batch variability and funkiness are to be expected when using unpredictable spontaneous (wild yeast) fermentation.

Most Similar to:  It reminds me some of Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented (but Roman Beauty is more flavorful, sweeter, and easier to drink) and Eden Guineveres Pearls (but Roman Beauty is drier, less acidic, and less flavorful).

Closing Notes:  I hope to be able to try more ciders from EZ Orchards.  However, they seem to be getting more difficult to find in the Seattle area.

Have you tried cider from EZ Orchards?  What did you think?

E.Z. Orchards Williamette Valley Cidre 2011

Review of E.Z. Orchards’ Williamette Valley Cidre 2011.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I have previously sampled their Semi Dry, Roman Beauty, Hawk Haus, and Poire.

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Cider:  Williamette Valley Cidre 2011
Cidery:  E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location:  Rickreall OR
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American Artisan cider from French cider apple varieties, nothing else (no sulfites)

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Availability:  CA, OR, and WA, although this is a very old release

Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

They use traditional French cider making methods–pressing their apples in a rack and cloth press, fermenting with wild yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 4-6 months, and bottling before fermentation is complete to allow secondary fermentation to take place in the glass.  EZ Orchards has been growing apples since the 1920s.  They were one of the first in the U.S. to plant cider apple varieties, starting in 2000.

Price:  $17.99
Where Bought:  A natural grocery store in a small town in Northern California in December.  I haven’t seen this variety sold in the last couple years in the Seattle area.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I was super impressed with this store’s selection for now being in a major city or cider region.  I picked up a number of bottles from several cidermakers and packed them in my suitcase for the flight home to Seattle.

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First Impression:  Light pumpkin amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with significant foam.  Smells rich, apple-forward, and tannic.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a frothy texture.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Low bitterness.  Moderate funk.  Hints to low sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, yeast, orange, grapefruit, and lemon.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it but didn’t love it.  From the scent, I was hoping for more richness and tannins.  The citrus notes and sourness were a surprise.

Most Similar to:  A mix of a French and Spanish cider.  It had the apple and yeast forward flavor of a French cidre with the citrus, funk and sourness of a Spanish cider.  It was the later I didn’t like as much.

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying more E.Z. Orchards ciders.  So far my favorite is Roman Beauty.

Have you tried E.Z. Orchards Williamette Valley Cidre?  What did you think?

 

My Favorite Ciders of 2016

What an awesome year 2016 was in the cider world!  Cider Says has now been up for a year and a half.  Like other cider bloggers, I thought it would be fun to make a list of my favorite ciders of 2016.  See here for my list from 2015.  To make it a bit different and easier, I put them into categories instead of trying to do a top ten list or similar.

Note that I wouldn’t try to make a list of the best ciders, just those I enjoyed, as it would be an impossible task to try every cider out there and be impartial.  My only criteria for this list is that I drank the cider in 2016.

Multi pack:  Reverend Nat’s Revival – This one is complex for being made from dessert apples, with lots of unique flavor just from the yeast varieties used.  Celt – I always keep this easy drinking apple & yeast forward French cider in the house as its convenient & affordable.  Thatchers Green Goblin – For how commercial it is, I ended up really enjoying this sweeter simple English cider.

Canned:  One Tree Crisp Apple – I don’t usually go for plain flagship ciders, but this one had some nice unfiltered apple juice flavor without being over the top sweet.  Cidergeist Semi Dry – This reminded me of French cider; too bad it isn’t available locally.  Long Drop Vanilla Honey – Awesome honeycomb flavor.

French:  Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut – A $5 selection from Trader Joe’s which doesn’t disappoint and has some great apple forward sparkling goodness.  Christian Drouin Pays d’ Auge – I loved the bittersweet apple flavor, and that the funk remained mild.

English:  Aspall Imperial – Rich flavor, high ABV, and a low price tag.  Dunkertons Dry  (awesomely tannic) and Black Fox (nice fruity twist on an English cider), which I hope to find locally now that they are distributed in the U.S.

Italian:  Bertolinos – My first Italian cider, which I found to be simple but tasty, and budget friendly too.

Swiss:  Cidrerie du Vulcain Transparente – My first Swiss cider, which reminded me of French cider, in between the typical Brittany & Normandy styles.

Canadian:  Sea Cider Ruby Rose – This fruity high ABV cider is made with rhubarb and rose hips, making it a unique summer sipper.

Fruity:  Doc’s Draft Sour Cherry – A cherry cider is difficult to pull off without tasting medicinal, but the flavor is spot-on with this one.  Jester & Judge Pineapple Express – Although simple, this cider has some awesome pineapple flavor, a nice frothy texture, and a hint of lime.

Rosé:  Eden Imperial 11 Rosé – This drier cider with red currant is high ABV and amazingly fruity.  Alpenfire Glow – This sweeter cider is made from rare red fleshed apples and also amazingly fruity, with a high flavor intensity.

Limited Release:  Angry Orchard & Eden collaboration, Understood in Motion: 01 – This cider is only available at Angry Orchard’s Walden NY cider house, and was made from Vermont heirloom apples, barrel aged, and mixed with some ice cider; awesome!

Hopped:  2 Towns Hop & Stalk – I wouldn’t call myself a fan of either rhubarb or hops, but for whatever reason I really enjoyed this cider; the flavors really complimented each other and created a unique and surprisingly complex cider (I’m also a sucker for Imperial / high ABV ciders).

High ABV:  Alpenfire Smoke – This 16% ABV sipping cider has an amazing complexity, with rich oaky smokey flavor.  If I had to name just one favorite cider, this would probably be it, although its not an everyday sort of cider.  I hope it gets released again soon, as I’m down to only one bottle!

Oaked:  Sheppy’s Oak Matured – I love the strong oak flavor in this cider; as a bonus, it is budget friendly too.

Barrel Aged:  Reverend Nat’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant – This was my favorite cider from Cider Summit Seattle 2016, with awesome berry, oak, and whiskey flavor.

Sparkling:  AEppelTreow Appely Doux – This methode champenoise cider has a wonderful texture & flavor, and would be a great champagne alternative.

Perry:  EZ Orchards Poire – I’m not a huge Perry fan, but those I do like tend towards the French Poire style; this one has a creamy texture and complex fruitiness.

Pommeau:  Etienne Dupont Pommeau – This is their Cidre Bouche aged in Calvados barrels with Calvados added, and is flavorful, rich, and complex.  Wandering Aengus Pommeau – Milder in flavor than some other Pommeaus, but still rich and complex.

Ice Cider:  Eden Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged – I’ve enjoyed all of Eden’s ice ciders, but this is my favorite, as it had the added depth from barrel aging in addition to all the rich complexity of their typical ice cider.

Great Value:  Schilling King’s Shilling – I’ve picked up a 22oz bottle of this for as low as $4 (and as high as $7), which is a steal for a tasty barrel aged brandy infused cider.

Wine-like:  Honeywood Winery Hard Apple Cider – Quite different than I was expecting, but I liked it; this one reminded me of dessert wine with the white grape notes, higher ABV, and sweetness.

Draft-only:  Wandering Aengus Bittersweet – An amazingly rich and tannic cider made from bittersweet apple juice from Poverty Lane Orchards (Farnum Hill); wild fermented but it wasn’t funky.

Unexpected:   Gowans 1876 Heirloom – This cider almost seemed to good to be true, as it was so full flavored and apple forward.

Well, there you have it, a list of 32 of my favorite ciders from 2016.  They have a lot in common–most are rich and full-flavored.  Still, it seems like so many great ciders didn’t make the cut, which is unfortunate.

What are your favorite ciders?

EZ Orchards Poire

Review of EZ Orchards’ Poire, a French-style perry.  Note that perry (made only from pears) varies from pear cider (made from apples & pears).  I’ve tried a few varieties from them–Semi Dry, Roman Beauty, Hawk Haus.

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Cider:  Poire
Cidery:  EZ Orchards
Cidery Location:  Rickreall OR
ABV:  5.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  French-style perry made from heirloom & dessert pear varieties

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Availability:  As seasonally available / while supplies last, at least in OR, WA, IL, and NY.

Cider Description:  Poire is named from the French word for “pear”, and is completely appropriate, natural and perfect for this uniquely delicious drink. EZ Orchards Poire is made entirely from estate-grown Forelle, Comice and Bosc winter pears—no apples. The fruit is carefully cleaned, milled and pressed. No yeast is added to the juice and no sulfites are added. Naturally-occurring yeasts are allowed to ferment over months at low temperatures. Finally, when the sugars are depleted—or nearly so—Poire is bottled and allowed to mature and condition. Like all EZ Orchards cider and cidre, it is never released until it is ready.

Cidery Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

They use traditional French cider making methods–pressing their apples in a rack and cloth press, fermenting with wild yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 4-6 months, and bottling before fermentation is complete to allow secondary fermentation to take place in the glass.

Price:  ~$9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I remembered that although I haven’t had much luck with enjoying American perries, I have liked a couple French poires, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles.  Smells of juicy pear, mango, pineapple, lemon, mineral, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Frothy and creamy texture.   Moderate carbonation (more than visibly apparent).  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  A hint of tannins.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness.  No funk.  Notes of juicy pear, mango, pineapple, lemon, mineral, and vanilla.  Compared to the scent, the pear was less intense and the tropical & citrus were more intense.  Moderate length finish.  Mild pear intensity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Refreshing for summer, with subtle complexity, and wine-like qualities.  I liked it, as did my husband.  This is the first American perry I’ve truly enjoyed.  Oddly enough I tend more towards pear ciders, as they typically are more flavorful (although less complex), although neither perry or pear cider is a favorite of mine.

Most Similar to:  Nashi Orchards Chojuro Blend Asian Pear Perry (it was also complex, wine-like, and semi-dry, although it had some sourness & funk).  The style of Poire seemed in between that of the American and French perries I’ve tried…the American Snowdrift Perry for example had a low flavor intensity, less complexity, and some bitterness…the French perry Domaine Pacory Poire Domfront for example was sweeter, richer, and higher carbonation.  Although this perry remained fairly dry, it was complex.

Closing Notes:   This was enjoyable.  Roman Beauty (cider) remains my favorite from EZ Orchards though.  I look forward to trying more from them–I think the only variety I haven’t tried is their Dry.

Have you tried EZ Orchards Poire?  What did you think?

E.Z. Orchards Hawk Haus

Review of Hawk Haus from E.Z. Orchards in Salem Oregon.  I’ve previously tried their Roman Beauty and Semi-Dry ciders.

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Cider:  Hawk Haus
Cidery:  E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location:  Salem OR
ABV:  6.6%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  American French-Style wild fermented cider

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Availability:  At least OR, WA, IL, and NY.  Also sold at ShipCider.com.

Cider Description:  Hawk Haus is named after the kestrel nests found on the property and is a blend of Jonathan and Yarlington Mill apples. Pale, yellow-golden in color and lightly hazed with modest, tiny carbonation bubbles like the finest sparkling wines. The aroma is fresh cut apples and an earthy farmyard character. Very pleasant and grounded. Hawk Haus is big, soft and round on the palate with gentle acidity. Notes of cinnamon and brown sugar are reminiscent of apple turnover. The finish is just short of total dryness, with appealing fresh apple flavors from beginning to end.

Fermented at cold temperatures for 6 months using wild yeast.  Bottle conditioned (allowed to finish fermenting in the bottle, which provides natural carbonation).

Cidery Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

Price:  $8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been wanting to try more ciders from E.Z. Orchards as I enjoyed their Semi-Dry and especially their Roman Beauty.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles and foam upon pouring.  Smells deliciously rich, of sweet ripe apples, honey, floral, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Moderate acidity and tartness.  Hints of bitterness, funk, sourness, and tannins.  Notes of honey, citrus, green apple, and floral.  Light bodied.  Medium carbonation.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor in general.  Quick finish.  Low to moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  My nose was deceiving–I was expecting something richer and sweeter based on the scent.  Instead, this was a nice light fairly dry cider, almost champagne-like (although not as high carbonation).

Most Similar to:  Boonville Bite Hard, Eden Sparkling Dry, and Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut.

Closing Notes:   This was enjoyable, but I enjoyed Roman Beauty more, which seemed to have a richer and sweeter flavor.

Have you tried E.Z. Orchards Hawk Haus?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 9 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my ninth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts here.  I hadn’t thought I’d have time for another visit in December, but managed to fit it into my schedule.

I was there for a Finnriver Bingo event, although I didn’t have much interest in the actual game & prizes, just used it as an excuse to go.  The event was a packed house!  There were six Finnriver ciders on tap:  Habanero, Black Currant, Barrel in the Forest, Cranberry Rosehip, Fresh Hopped, and Pear (all of which I’ve had except Fresh Hopped).

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<tap list of 32 ciders>

I started with a flight of six ciders.

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<left to right: Blue Mountain Estate Winesap, Seattle Cider Oaked Maple, Finnriver Barrel in the Forest, Locust Pumpkin, E.Z. Orchards Semi-Dry, Grizzly Pomnivore>

Blue Mountain Estate Winesap, 6.75% ABV, Milton-Freewater OR:  This is a single varietal made with Winesap apples which Blue Mountain sells year round.  Nearly clear.  Tart, dry, and slightly funky smell.  Dry to semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild bitterness.  Very mild tannins.  Hint of funk.  Slight floral and oak notes.  Light bodied.  Moderate to long finish.  I thought this was a basic dry & tart cider, and pretty low on flavor.

Seattle Cider Oaked Maple, 6.9% ABV, Seattle WA:  This is one of Seattle Cider’s winter seasonals (they also did a Cranberry cider this year).  I couldn’t remember if I had tried this before, but I’m leaning towards yes.  Dark straw yellow hue.  Smells of sweet maple and oak.  Semi-dry.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  Light bodied.  Very light oak and light maple flavor.  Quick finish.  I thought this was pretty good, but I would have liked more flavor.

Finnriver Barrel in the Forest, 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA:  This is a limited release of a barrel aged version of Finnriver’s Forest Ginger cider (which I haven’t tried).  I usually don’t like ginger, but this sounded interesting.  Smells of sweet ginger.  Semi-sweet.  Light oak notes.  Very mild ginger notes, much less than most ginger ciders (which usually seem to hit me at the back of the throat and linger).  Low acidity, tartness, and bitterness.  Light bodied.  Moderate length finish.  The ginger flavor however increased as it warmed up.  This paired well with the Thai food I had for dinner.  Overall I didn’t mind this one, despite the ginger, but probably wouldn’t get it again.

Locust Ciderworks Pumpkin, 5.0% ABV, Woodinville WA:  This is a seasonal release from Locust, apparently draft-only.  Hazy pumpkin orange-yellow hue.  Smells of sweet pumpkin spice.  Very sweet.  Mild pumpkin and spice flavors, but overall very full flavored.  Low acidity and tartness.  Full bodied.  Moderate length finish.  I really liked this (even though I usually don’t go for pumpkin or spice), except it was too sweet for my liking, so not something I could have a pint of.

E.Z. Orchards Semi-Dry, 6.9% ABV, Salem OR:  This is a regular release cider from E.Z. Orchards which uses French bittersweet apples.  After ordering this I remembered I had tried it before, at Cider Summit Seattle 2015.  Light amber.  Smells slightly rich.  Semi-dry.  Herbal notes.  Very light boded.  Low tannins and tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Quick finish.  Overall mildly flavored.  It tasted a bit off, and I wondered if the tap line could have used more flushing.  I also liked it much better at Cider Summit.  Different batches can turn out much differently.

Grizzly Ciderworks Pomnivore on Nitro, 6.7% ABV, Woodinville WA:  This is a tap-only release from Grizzly.  Light ruby red.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Low acidity and tartness.  Moderately flavored.  Quick finish.  I liked the pomegranate flavor without too much tartness like many pomegranate ciders have.

I met Nathan from Cider Chronicles (we just happened to sit next to each other at the bar!), who was awesome enough to share bottle pours of a couple ciders with me.  He said Sea Cider Wassail, J.K.’s Scrumpy Winterruption, and Elemental Seasonal Spiced Apple were his three favorite seasonal ciders, although Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spiced may be replacing J.K.’s Scrumpy Winterruption in his cue.  I haven’t seen Rev Nat’s Winter Abbey, but picked up a bottle of Elemental Spiced, and tried the other two.

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Sea Cider Wassail, 14% ABV, Saanichton BC Canada:  This is Sea Cider’s winter seasonal.  Rich amber-orange hue.  Smells like orange and holiday spices.  Semi-dry.  Well-hidden ABV!  Low acidity, tartness, and bitterness.  The orange and spice notes continued into the flavor.  Rich and full-flavored.  Medium bodied.  Moderate length finish with lots of heat.  I liked this a bit more as it warmed up from fridge temperature.  Overall this was enjoyable, but I like their Prohibition best.

2015-12-21 18.57.39

J.K.’s Scrumpy Cuvee Winterruption, 6.9% ABV, Flushing MI:  This is J.K. Scrumpy’s winter seasonal.  Very sweet.  Honey, orange, and mild spice notes.  Mild acidity and tartness.  Moderate to full bodied.  Apparently this cider usually has much more spice.  It was very easy drinking, between the sweetness and low ABV.  Overall I found it ok.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?