Schilling Cider House Visit 27 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 27th visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there on a Sunday afternoon, with my husband and a friend from out of town.  The good thing about having folks with me was I got to order more ciders!  I chose all the ciders for our group, which was fun.

<left to right:  Schilling Pippin, Locust Seckel Perry, Anthem Pear, Finnriver Dry Hopped, Cockrell Raspberry Habanero, and Schilling Afterglow>

Schilling (Auburn WA) Pippin (6.5% ABV):  This is a draft-only special release, a single varietal from Pippin apples I believe.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Mild to moderate bitterness.  Hints of sourness.  Lots of citrus!  I wasn’t really a fan with the sourness and acidity.

Locust (Woodinville WA) Seckel Perry (6.5% ABV):  I rounded out my flight with this, as I enjoyed it my last visit (see here).  However, this time I found it sour, and wasn’t a fan.  I’m curious if it was the same keg or not.

Anthem (Salem OR) Pear (6.5% ABV):  This is a pear-flavored cider, also available in bottles.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Very mildly flavored, apple and pear.  I found it plenty drinkable, but boring.

Finnriver (Port Townsend WA) Dry Hopped (6.9% ABV):  I’ve tried this previously, and mostly ordered it for my husband.  It is also available in bottles.  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  Citrus notes with hints of floral and hops.  Not bad.

Cockrell (Puyallup WA) Raspberry Habanero (7.8% ABV):  This is a popular cider of theirs, also available in bottles.  Semi-dry.  Moderate berry flavor.  Moderate to strong level of spiciness, especially on the finish.  I’m not a fan of spicy ciders, and mostly tried this out of curiosity.  This was the only one we didn’t finish.

Schilling (Auburn WA) Afterglow (5.1% ABV):  This is a special release, also available in bottles, made with cranberries, blood orange, and rose hips.  Semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Mild to moderate berry flavor with a hint of herbs.  I didn’t pick up any blood orange.  I enjoyed it.

We also ordered 2 more flights, with:
– Schilling Pineapple Passion (which I’ve reviewed here)
– Schilling Grumpy Bear Cold Brew Coffee (which I’ve reviewed here)
– Schilling Blackberry Pear (which I’ve reviewed here)
– One Tree Huckleberry (which I’ve reviewed here)
– Elemental Margarita (which I’ve reviewed here)
– Elemental Blood Orange (which I’ve reviewed here)
– Schilling King’s Schilling (which I’ve reviewed here)
– Jester & Judge Pineapple (which I’ve reviewed here , although this batch wasn’t so great, as it was less flavorful than usual)
 – Elemental Pom-Lavender (which I really enjoyed, semi-sweet and flavorful, fruity with a hint of lavender)
– Elemental Black Currant (which I thought was good, but I like Finnriver’s better, as the flavor is more intense – see here)

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We also ordered a bottle of Aspall Imperial (which I’ve reviewed here).  I love that all their bottles at the cider house are pre-chilled and there isn’t a markup for drinking them onsite.

My favorite was the Aspall.  After that, the Schilling Afterglow, Elemental Pom-Lavender, Schilling Pineapple Passion, and Schilling’s King Schilling.

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

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.


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!

Woodinville Cider Tasting at Locust & Elemental – Visit 3

I spent another afternoon in Woodinville Washington, cider tasting at the tap rooms for Locust and Elemental.  See my notes here from visit 1 and here from visit 2.

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<tap list at Locust Cider>

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<Locust Vanilla Bean & Smoked Blueberry>

At Locust I tried two bottle pours of ciders that are part of their new ‘Hootenanny’ series.

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Locust Vanilla Bean, 5.0% ABV:  Mild scent.  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness, funk, or bitterness.  The flavor was vanilla creamsicle–yum!  Hints of citrus and pineapple.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  I really liked the flavor of this one, but it was too sweet.

Locust Smoked Blueberry, unknown ABV:  This cider was made using smoked apples and blueberries.  Mild scent.  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and sourness.  No funk.  Notes of blueberry juice & skin and a hint of lemon.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  I didn’t find this overtly smoked, but I imagine it had some influence.

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<tap list at Elemental Cider>

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<Elemental Lemoncello & Mango>

Elemental ‘Lithium’ Lemoncello, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied with a fizzy mouthfeel.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Lots of lemon, slight creaminess, and hints of grapefruit.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

Elemental Mango, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of mango, citrus, and pineapple.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

My favorite at Locust was Vanilla Bean, although I wouldn’t be able to drink an entire pint of it or anything as it was quite sweet.  My favorite at Elemental was the Lemoncello, as it was more flavorful than the Mango.

Woodinville Cider Tasting 2 – Locust & Elemental

I spent another afternoon in Woodinville Washington, cider tasting at the tap rooms for Locust and Elemental.  See my notes here from my last visit.

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<tap list at Locust Cider>

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<left to right: Locust Mango, Elder & Oak, and Wabi Sabi>

Locust Mango, 6.0% ABV:  Yellow dark straw gold hue.  Mild fruity mango scent.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Real mango flavor with some tropical and honey notes.  Quick finish length.  Fairly simple, but I liked the moderately intense real mango flavor (although it was a sweet cider, it didn’t have a mango candy flavor).

Locust Elder & Oak, 7.0% ABV:  Deep berry hue.  Mild scent with hints of berry and oak.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Very textural with berry tannins.  Earthy and wine-like.  Moderate length finish.  Mild to moderate barrel influence.  Very low apple influence.  Although I’m a fan of barrel aged ciders, I wasn’t into this.  I think it was too tannic (although it tasted like that was only from the elderberries, not applies) oddly enough.

Locust Wabi Sabi, 6.9% ABV:  Yellow dark straw gold hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells mild, acidic, and of citrus.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Apple-forward and a bit juice-like.  Notes of fresh apple, honey, citrus (although less than the scent), and apple pomace.  Quick finish length.  I found this to be a very typical sweeter flagship cider.

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<tap list at Elemental Cider; sorry for the blur>

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<left to right: Blackberry Cobbler, Pom-Rose, Root Beer, and Carbon>

Elemental Blackberry Cobbler, 6.5% ABV:  Deep blackberry hue.  Sweet to very sweet.  The flavor is very blackberry, but I also picked up a carbohydrate component in the scent and texture (kinda like “cobbler”, although I was told the only other addition was pie spices, which I didn’t pick up).  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Mild acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Quick finish length.  I wasn’t really into this, but I imagine it will sell very well.  It was a one-off keg as they came into some blackberry concentrate (which I learned is about the most expensive flavor), but they plan to make some other blackberry ciders in the future.

Elemental Pomegranate-Rose, 6.5% ABV:  Light pink hue with some foam.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Mild acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Very mild and smooth with some mild fruitiness.  I tried this before too.  Its well balanced and refreshing.

Elemental NW Atomic Root Beer, 6.5% ABV:  This is a cider-based hard root beer (vs. making an alcoholic root beer with a malt base).  I’ve had this a few times before.  This time I really enjoyed it…I think its the best batch yet…I tasted more apple than previously, but apparently it was less.  The “root beer” is stronger in the scent than the flavor.  This doesn’t taste exactly like root beer, but it has a great flavor.  Oddly enough this is my favorite cider that Elemental makes.  Probably as it has a rich full flavor (I tend towards English & French ciders).

Elemental ‘Carbon’ Dry, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Apple-forward.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Citrus notes with some mineral.  A hint of tannins.  This tasted between that that of the first two times I tried it.  I liked the previous batch a bit more, as it was richer and less tart.  Elemental is unique in that they continue to tweak their ciders after release, so although it has the same name, it may be different.

Apple Outlaw Cider Tasting & More at Around The Table

I recently attended an Apple Outlaw cider tasting at Around the Table, a game pub in Lynnwood Washington, North of Seattle.  Its a unique game shop with tables to play at, snacks, and beer/cider/mead/soda/etc on tap.  They have quite a tap list, which usually includes a few ciders and a mead (which is more ciders than most places with even more taps have).  They’ve had a few other cider tastings prior to this, which include having a mini cider tap takeover and bringing in a cidery representative to pour them and chat.

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They had Apple Outlaw’s Ginger Bite, Original, and Tangerine Twist on tap.  The rep Meghan also opened a bottle of their Cranberry Jewel while I was there.  I met up with Nathan from The Cider Chronicles, who now also works part time for Elemental Hard Cider.  He brought a growler of their Pomegranate-Rose cider with him.  Around the Table also had Elemental’s NW Atomic Root Beer cider on tap (a cider-based hard root beer, which I reviewed here), and Moonlight Meadery’s Sumptuous Mango mead.

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<the full tap list that evening>

Apple Outlaw is an orchard-based cidery in Applegate Oregon, in the Applegate Valley in the Southern portion of the state.  They actually sold non-alcoholic cider (juice) for quite awhile before starting to sell hard cider, which they make from dessert apples.  Oddly enough they no longer sell their unfermented juice.  Although the place was rather busy, the cider tasting wasn’t, so Nathan and I got to chat with Meghan for awhile.  We learned that Apple Outlaw is still on the small side, and mainly family-run.  They don’t currently have a tasting room, but their bottled (and draft) ciders have been sold since 2013, and are available in Oregon and Washington.

Elemental Hard Cider Pomegranate-Rose, 6.5% ABV:  Light cherry pink hue.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Mild to moderate tartness.  I mostly tasted pomegranate, but it was smoother than typical, presumably from the infusion of rose petals (although I didn’t pick up any floral notes).  Elemental has infused rose petals with other ciders as well, such as Lavender-Rose (which I reviewed here).

Apple Outlaw Tangerine Twist, 5.5% ABV:  Cider with tangerines and hops.  It is their Spring/Summer seasonal. Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  The flavor started distinctly citrus and tart, and the finish was hopped (light bitterness and floral notes).

Apple Outlaw Original Hard Cider, 5.5% ABV:  This is their flagship cider.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Easy to drink and sessionable.  Very apple forward (back sweetened).

Apple Outlaw Ginger Bite, 5.5% ABV:  Made with Peruvian yellow ginger.  Moderate to strong ginger scent.  Semi-sweet.  I’m not a ginger fan, but this was definitely more approachable for me than most ginger ciders, as most of the ginger remained in the scent…I really didn’t pick up too much ginger flavor.  Most of all, it didn’t have any sinus burn.  I think the sweetness also helped its approachability.  This was described as being great for food pairings.

Apple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel, 5.5% ABV:  This was a bottle pour.  Made with cranberries, rose hips, and orange peel.  I didn’t pick up the rose hips or orange peel (which I only read about later).  It was definitely very cranberry (moderate to strong) and tasted juice-like to me.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness.  Medium bodied.

Moonlight Meadery Sumptuous Mango Mead, 13.6% ABV:  Nathan let me taste the glass he ordered.  Very fruity and alcohol-forward, but the mango flavor isn’t particularly strong.  Sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Full bodied.  This was the first beverage from Moonlight Meadery that I didn’t think was amazing…I think I much prefer their ciders, meads, and cysers which are more honey-forward, with richer brown sugar type notes (see my prior reviews here).  The fruitiness just didn’t seem to mesh with the whole 14% ABV mead vibe.  I think as a lower ABV cyser (apple + honey) it would have worked better.

Of the Apple Outlaw selections, I liked the Original best.  I’ve previously tried their Oaked Sweet Dark Cherry and Blackberry Bounty ciders on tap.  However, none of the Apple Outlaw ciders are really a style I enjoy (and I’m not really a fan of hops, ginger, or cranberry).  My favorite ciders are typically richer and/or made from cider apples.  Its always fun to try new ciders though!

Schilling Cider House Visit 13 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my thirteenth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.  I was there on a random Friday, as I was in the mood for some cider shopping and had some extra time as my hubby was out of town (I may have also gone to three other bottle shops that week…).

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I brought some dinner with me from the PCC down the street, and ordered a flight of six ciders–Elemental Margarita Randall, Schilling Vanilla Clove, Liberty Cellar Series #G15, AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, Portland Cider Crooked Cock Scrumpy, and Zeffer Crisp Apple (left to right in photo below).

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Elemental Margarita (Jalapeno Lime Cilantro) Randall with Strawberries, Mango, and Lime, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA:  Schilling took Elemental’s Margarita (Jalapeno Lime Cilantro) cider and put it through a Randall (flavor infuser) with fresh strawberries, mango, and lime.  The Cider House does a Randall most weekends.  I’ve had this cider before, and its nice and flavorful without a real discernible spiciness when drinking small quantities.  The additional lime and fruitiness was tasty, and would be awesome in summer.  The additional ingredients however took away the cilantro and jalapeno flavor notes of the base cider.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness from the added lime.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate to strong acidity.  This one really hit the spot as we’ve been having summer-like heat in Seattle.

Schilling Vanilla Clove, 6.3% ABV, Auburn WA:  I’ve had a lot of ciders from Schilling.  This appears to be a tap-only release (weird time of year for a spiced cider though?).  Smells rather strongly of vanilla with a hint of clove spice.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild acidity and tartness.  Very vanilla with hints of spice.  It tastes dessert-like without being overly sweet.  Moderate length finish.

Liberty Cellar Series #G15, 8.6% ABV, Spokane WA:  I’ve tried a number of their ciders.  This is a special tap-only release.  Its made from Golden Russet, Chisel Jersey, and Empire apples, wild-yeast fermented, then barrel-aged.  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Mild acidity, tartness, bitterness, and tannins.  A hint of sourness, but not as much as I’ve found with other wild yeast ciders.  Notes of oak, spice, honey, stone fruit, and hops?.  Moderate length finish.

AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, 5.8% ABV, Burlington WI:  I’ve had a few ciders from them.  This one is made from Red Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, and Greenings apples, with mace, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamon.  Its also available in bottles.  It smells of cinnamon.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  A hint of bitterness.  More cinnamon flavor than anything else, but the base cider had a bit of richness to it.  There were also notes of oak (although not barrel aged), vanilla, and other spices.  Moderate length finish.

Portland Cider Crooked Cock Scrumpy, 13.5% ABV, Portland OR:  Wow!  Quite boozy, without much else going for it.  I think with some sweetness or flavor (richness or tannins) this would have been better.  I wonder where the pinkish hue came from?  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Low acidity and tartness.  Moderate bitterness.  Long warming boozy finish.

Zeffer Crisp Apple, 5.0% ABV, Matakana New Zealand:  This is my first time trying anything from this brand.  I found it rather bland and apple juice-like.  Semi-dry.  Low tartness and acidity.  Light to medium bodied.  I didn’t really pick up any flavor notes besides apple juice, apple pomace, and yeast.  I’d guess this is made with dessert apples and back sweetened.  Quick finish.

My favorites of the evening were the Elemental Margarita Randall, plus Liberty #G15 and AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced.  I really didn’t like the Portland Scrumpy one though, and especially once it warmed up, didn’t feel like finishing it.

On my way out I picked up bottles of Aspall Imperial (blue instead of black label this time…I’m curious whether they are different) and E.Z. Orchards Poire (French-style perry).

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

Elemental Hard Cider NW Atomic Root Beer

Review of NW Atomic Root Beer from Elemental Hard Cider in Woodinville Washington.  It is a cider based hard root beer (cider with root beer spices).  I’ve tried this twice before on draft (different batches…Elemental is unique in that they continue to tweak recipes after releasing a cider), and I have tried a number of ciders from them (see here).

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Cider:  NW Atomic Root Beer
Cidery:  Elemental Hard Cider
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  22oz brown glass bottle
Style:  American craft alcopop, cider based hard root beer

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Availability:  Likely only in WA

Cider Description:  NW Atomic Root Beer starts with out crisp, clean and bright hard apple cider fermented bone dry to 6.5% ABV. We then infuse the base with an intense magical concoction of sassafras and liquorice. Subtle notes of vanilla, anise, fennel and plum are soft on the palette and round off the experience of our unique beverage.

Note that they use caramel color, but its certified non-GMO (apparently rare to find) and gluten free.  They are even working on getting an organic version of it.

Cidery Description:  Family owned and operated.  Brian and Christina Callahan launched Elemental Hard Cider to bring quality, affordable, and delicious hard cider to the world. We strive to bring fun and exciting flavors to the experienced cider enthusiast, as well as novice cider drinkers.

Hand-crafted micro ciders designed for taste, smoothness, and quality.  Each of our hand-crafted ciders are made from only the finest Northwest apples and cold-fermented to preserve the fruit. Our ciders are reminiscent of champagne, they are lightly filtered and mildly effervescent for clean taste. Experience our quality for yourself. Come in often to grab a glass. We are constantly trying out new flavors, so the line-up is always changing.

Price:  ~$8
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about this at Cider Summit Seattle last year but didn’t get around to trying it until I saw it at the Schilling Cider House on draft (notes here).  For awhile it was draft-only, no bottles.  Then, I tried it on draft again at Around the Table (notes here).  I remembered liking the previous version better (I heard that over time they retained less apple flavor), but wanted to give a bottle a try as it is so unique.  I thought that this bottle was closer to the first version I tried than to the second, as it retained more apple flavor, which I like.  Apparently most of their customers however seem to prefer less apple flavor than I do.

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First Impression:  Caramel brown root beer hue.  Low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells like root beer spices with a hint of baked apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low carbonation.  Low acidity and tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of root beer spices (milder than a typical root beer), rich baked apple, caramel, and honey.  The flavor starts as root beer and finishes with baked apple.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple influence.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty!  This is my idea of a sessionable cider…very easy to drink, but also very flavorful and unique.  The only thing I’d change would be slightly more carbonation.  Not as much as soda, but more than I detected would be nice.

Most Similar to:  This is quite different from other hard root beers such as Not Your Father’s as it has a cider (not malt beverage) base, so it doesn’t have the bitterness of that product (and is less sweet and less carbonated).  The only similar cider I know of is Sonoma Washboard, but that is sarsaparilla not root beer spices, and quite dry (I really disliked that one, but my husband was a huge fan).

Closing Notes:   I’m usually not a huge fan of flavored ciders, but I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this was because it is so far from traditional cider.  I hope I can purchase this version/recipe in the future, as I really liked it.

Have you tried NW Atomic Root Beer?  What did you think?

Woodinville Cider Tasting – Locust, Elemental, & Woodinville Ciderworks

Recently I spent a Saturday in Woodinville with my husband and a friend.  I planned to just go to Locust as I wanted to try their new Bourbon Barrel Aged cider, but ended up visiting all three cideries / tasting rooms in the area, which was nice.  Locust Cider, Elemental Hard Cider, and Woodinville Ciderworks are all within walking distance of each other, and each has both cidery and tasting room in the same location.  It was my first time visiting any of them, although I’m very familiar with their ciders and have met or communicated with the owners.  We started with lunch at Big Fish Grill, which was very tasty.  They even had local cider on tap (Schilling Mischief Maker Pom-Cran, which I reviewed here).

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Next we went to Locust Cider.  My husband and friend tried a couple ciders, then left me to finish up mine (and visit the other cideries) while they went wine tasting.

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<another couple ordered a pretty colorful large flight!>

I only tried two of Locust’s ciders, as I had tried all the others or wasn’t interested (and the first one was a large pour of a high ABV cider!).  They were offering Original Dry, Winesap, Dark Cherry, Chipotle, Thai Ginger, and Aged WA Dessert Apple on tap, and bottle pours of Bittersweet Reserve and Bourbon Barrel Aged.  See my tasting notes on Thai Ginger, Pumpkin, and Dark Cherry, and reviews of Aged WA Dessert Apple and Bittersweet Reserve (plus I’ve tried Original Dry and Green Tea Infused).

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Bourbon Barrel Aged (14% ABV) – This is their newest bottle release, originally only for their club members, but sales were opened up to the public as they had a bit extra (tap room only).  Aged 9 months in bourbon barrels.  Smells like bourbon with only a hint of apple and oak.  Golden orange amber hue.  On the sweeter side of Dry.  Still.  Served room temperature.  Light bodied.  Moderate acidity, mild tartness, mild bitterness, and mild tannins.  Moderate to full flavor profile.  I could definitely tell it was 14% ABV, and I think I would have liked to try it cold (or even, shudder, with an ice cube or two), as I think it would have smoothed out a bit.  As is, it was a bit much for me.  In addition to bourbon, notes of oak and vanilla, and a slight bit of maple and must.  Long warming boozy finish.  Moderate to high spirit influence.  Moderate barrel influence.  Very low sessionability.  Mild to moderate apple flavor.

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Winesap (6.0% ABV) – This is a new cider for them (tap only), a single varietal from Winesap apples.  They experimented with a Sidra-style fermentation, aiming to smooth out the tartness of the Winesap apples, and aged it a few months (I assume tank as Ryan didn’t specify barrel).  Smells mildly sour and of citrus.  Hazy light lemon straw yellow hue.  Semi-dry.  Only very mild sourness (and I’m admittedly sensitive), less so than in the scent.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Medium bodied.  Frothy mouthfeel but low carbonation.  Mildly flavored, with citrus, earthy, yeast, and mineral notes.  Quick finish.  High sessionability.  Mild to moderate apple flavor.  This was one of the most unique ciders I’ve ever tasted–very textural more than flavorful.  This would be a great refreshing summer cider.

They had a neat handout for tasting notes (reminiscent of this source):

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Next I walked down the street to Elemental Hard Cider.  I hadn’t realized they had so many taps (12, in comparison to 6 at Locust, although 1 was out).  The owners Brian and Christina Callahan were tending bar (I had met them previously at Around the Table in Lynnwood).  They were offering Dry (Carbon), Acai (Nitrogen), Ginger, Pomegranate-Rose, Margarita (Jalapeno Lime Cilantro), Apple Pie, Pomegranate (Oxygen), Blood Orange (Calcium), NW Atomic Root Beer, Lavender-Rose Petal, and Grapefruit (Hydrogen).

I’ve previously tried Cherry, Dry (version a & version b), NW Atomic Root Beer (version a & version b), Blood Orange, Seasonal Spiced Apple, Pom-Cherry, and Pomegranate.  They are unique in that they have made significant tweaks to their recipes after releasing them, and even bottling them in some cases, thus I have very different tasting notes on the same cider in two cases.  I learned they plan to release some ciders in six packs (previously they have only done 16.9 or 22 oz bottles).

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<Margarita, Lavender-Rose, and Grapefruit>

Margarita, Jalapeno Lime Cilantro (6.5% ABV) – Smells like lime with hints of cilantro and jalapeno.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Only very mild spiciness (although apparently it can sneak up if you drink a couple pints).  The flavor was also mostly lime, although surprisingly only mildly tart.  Moderate acidity.  A hint of bitterness.  Light bodied.  Moderate finish length.  This would pair really well with mexican food.

Lavender-Rose Petal (6.5% ABV) – Sweet.  Full bodied, almost syrupy.  Floral and herbal flavor, although I’m not sure I could have guessed it was infused with lavender and rose petals (apparently more rose than lavender with this batch).  Low acidity and tartness.  Too sweet for me (apparently this is their response to requests for sweeter ciders).

Grapefruit, Hydrogen (6.5% ABV) – Very mild grapefruit scent.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Mild refreshing grapefruit flavor.  Low tartness and acidity.  Medium bodied.  I’m usually not a huge grapefruit fan, but this was surprisingly nice.

Brian at Elemental had mentioned that Leroy at Woodinville Ciderworks was now pouring Asian Pear cider out of his Flying Dreams Winery tasting room (which specializes in Spanish red wines).  I was walking to try to meet up with my husband & friend and walked right by it, so I decided to drop in.  They only have one other cider, Tropical, which I tasted at Cider Summit Seattle last summer, but they haven’t bottled yet.

Asian Pear (6.5% ABV) – Semi-dry.  Mildly flavored with only a hint of pear (the apple also remains mild).  Low tartness and acidity.  Light bodied.  Citrus, pear, and mineral notes.  Moderate finish length.  I can see why this is popular, especially with fans of white wine, but its not really my thing, as I like a very flavorful cider.

While I was there I learned they will be bottling Tropical in about 6 weeks, and also a new cider, Pomegranate Dark Cherry, this summer.

I actually ended up back at Elemental to meet my husband and friend as they thought I was still there.  They tried a few ciders, and Ginger was their favorite of those.

Locust Bittersweet Reserve remains my favorite Woodinville cider so far.  I opened my bottle the night before this group of cidery visits–yum!

Have you been to any cidery tasting room lately?

Elemental Seasonal Spiced Apple

Review of Elemental Hard Cider’s Seasonal Spiced Apple cider, from Woodinville WA.  This is a seasonal release for them.

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Cider:  Seasonal Spiced Apple
Cidery:  Elemental Hard Cider
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  22oz bottle (also available on tap)
Style:  American spiced apple cider

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Availability:  During Winter in Western WA

Cider Description:  none given

Cidery Description:  Family owned and operated.  Brian and Christina Callahan launched Elemental Hard Cider to bring quality, affordable, and delicious hard cider to the world. We strive to bring fun and exciting flavors to the experienced cider enthusiast, as well as novice cider drinkers.  Hand-Crafted Micro ciders Designed For Taste, smoothness, and quality.  Each of our hand-crafted ciders are made from only the finest Northwest apples and cold-fermented to preserve the fruit. Our ciders are reminiscent of champagne, they are lightly filtered and mildly effervescent for clean taste. Experience our quality for yourself. Come in often to grab a glass. We are constantly trying out new flavors, so the line-up is always changing.

They have a tasting room in Woodinville WA open on Saturdays & Sundays.

Price:  ~$8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, upon recommendation from Nathan from The Cider Chronicles

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First Impression:  Light amber yellow-orange.  Mostly still.  Smells like sweet apples, cinnamon, and sugar.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry (so my nose deceived me into thinking it would be sweeter).  Moderate tartness.  Strong acidity.  No sourness or funk.  Mild bitterness.  Cinnamon-forward, with a touch of nutmeg and cloves, but overall the spice remains moderate.  Light bodied.  Long finish.

My Opinion:  Pretty good.  I liked that it wasn’t crazy sweet or heavily spiced.  I was surprised however with the level of tartness and acidity.

Most Similar to:  This reminds me a bit of 2 Towns Nice & Naughty, which I also found to be semi-dry and not too spiced, but was a significantly higher ABV.  I’ve found D’s Wicked Baked Apple and Carlton Cyderworks Sugar and Spice to both be semi-sweet.  I had always thought I didn’t like spiced ciders, but I’ve found that to be false.

Closing Notes:   This was a great cider to kick off my Christmas break with!

What is your favorite spiced hard cider?

Elemental Cider Tasting Notes

Around the Table, a game pub in Lynnwood WA, recently hosted an Elemental Hard Cider tasting.  Although I’m not really into the game portion of their shop, its a great place to pick up a growler of cider, as they usually have a few selections on tap (plus a mead), typically from local cideries.  Elemental Cider hails from Woodinville WA, also in the greater Seattle area.  Brian and Christina Callahan, founders of Elemental, were there pouring, and it wasn’t too busy so I got to talk with Brian about cider for awhile.  Elemental has a tasting room in Woodinville WA.  They started off making wine, founding Callahan Cellars, but have since transitioned to cider, closing Callahan Cellars.

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I’ve had a number of Elemental’s selections, including past versions of the Carbon and NW Atomic Rootbeer varieties they were sampling.  I was surprised how different the recipes were from what I had previously tried, but they said they have continued to tweak them after release, although the current versions should be the permanent ones.  Even without knowingly tweaking a recipe, a cider can change significantly batch to batch, year to year.

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<Blood Orange, Rootbeer, Pom-Cherry, & Carbon
samples in 32oz growlers, all 6.5% ABV>

Blood Orange is a newer variety for them and only available at their tap room, but Carbon and NW Atomic Rootbeer are available in bottles.  I think Pom-Cherry is also a newer tap room only variety, but they have a Pomegranate variety dubbed”Oxygen” available in bottles & kegs, and I’ve had a Cherry variety from them from a keg previously.

carbon dry pom cherry root beer.jpg blood orange
<tasting order: Carbon, Pom-Cherry, Rootbeer, & Blood Orange>

I started with Carbon, which they describe as a traditional dry hard cider.  The cidermaker Brian divulged that they have a special ingredient they use, a touch of lavender, for a little something special.  I couldn’t pick up that flavor, but this was rather unique for a basic cider.  I’d call it more semi-dry than dry.  Its fairly apple-forward, moderately full flavored, and slightly rich.  Moderate acidity, mild tartness, and a hint of tannins, with no detectable bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Medium bodied.

I learned that they use colder fermenation temperatures than some other cideries to retain more apple flavor in their ciders.  I really like when a cider is apple-forward without tasting juice-like (which often happens when they overly back-sweeten a cider with unfermented juice).

This version of Carbon was quite different than the version I tried a couple months ago (which was probably bottled many months before that), which was very pale in color, drier, less flavorful, and had more bitterness & tannins.  I enjoyed this new version much better.  I’d love if they would make it available in cans, as I’ve been searching for an affordable craft cider (which usually means a multi-pack) that I enjoy, and coming up empty as most are very mildly flavored.

Next was Cherry-Pom, which had a light cherry hue, and with which I picked up more cherry than pomegranate flavor (the Pom mostly presented as tartness), but it remained mild to moderately flavored.  It was semi-dry, with mild to moderate acidity.  I’m not really a big fan of fruity ciders, but I found no faults with it.

I then tried NW Atomic Rootbeer, which is their root beer made with a cider base (in contrast to a malt base like most hard root beers).  It smells almost exactly like the soda version of root beer (moreso than the previous version), but has a hint of apple on the finish (also moreso than the previous version).  However, in between, the root beer flavor seemed to be less than the previous version.  Brian said that they ferment the apple base dry, so it shouldn’t have much apple flavor remaining, so it may be been perceived on my part (or I had some previous cider remaining in my glass).  Overall it was enjoyable, but I remembered liking the previous version better, so I was a bit disappointed.

They’ve actually got some members of the cider community in uproar on this product, saying it isn’t craft cider.  Although this is “Alcopop”, I don’t see it as much different than fruit, hopped, or spiced cider…the main difference is that they use caramel coloring.  However, its cane sugar based, non-GMO, and the closest you can get to all natural (they are currently trying to go one step further and get the organic version of it).  I personally don’t have an issue with the product as they are upfront about what it is.

The final cider was Blood Orange.  This seems to be a new fad, as Ace recently released a “Space” blood orange cider (my tasting notes here), as well as some other cideries which don’t distribute in my area (2 Rivers, Bulmers, Country Cider Co, Common Cider Co, & FoxCraft.  Thankfully I liked Elemental’s version much better than Ace’s, as it tasted real instead of fake, although rather juice-like.  It was full-flavored, but the blood orange portion of the flavor remained mild instead of overpowering.  It had a hazy orange hue with a hint of pink.  Full bodied.  This is a pretty easily likable cider, and seemed to be a hit during the tasting.  I thought it was well-done, but its just not a flavor I enjoy.

My favorite of the four ciders was oddly enough the Carbon.  I unfortunately liked the previous version of NW Atomic Rootbeer better.  I decided to get a half growler of Carbon since I liked it, it was such a good price (about the same as a bottle of their cider which is half the size), and its no fun to leave a tasting empty handed.

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<prices for pints / half growlers for the four Elemental ciders they had on tap>

They were doing a raffle for giveaways (mostly Elemental Hard Cider & NW Atomic Rootbeer branded glass growlers) for folks who bought a pint of cider.  However, I didn’t have a reason to hang out after my cider tasting and a bit of Full Tilt ice cream, so I got a growler and headed home.  They were doing the same deal they did with the last cider tasting (Finnriver) where you got the growler glass for free (instead of $5) with a fill, so now I have two 32oz cider growlers.  I was able to drink the cider a few nights that week and it actually stayed perfectly fresh and lightly carbonated the whole time.

I look forward to the next cider tasting they have at Around the Table, and trying more ciders from Elemental.  They have been commercially producing cider for just over a year, and already have a maximum capacity of 30 barrels a week.

Schilling Cider House Visit 5 Tasting Notes

This time an event brought me to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA, a great excuse to drink cider on a weeknight if you ask me.  It was their monthly potluck, which this month had a “sweet” theme, for both cider and food.  There were still plenty of drier cider options on tap too (and with 32 tap selections and hundreds of bottles, there is something for everyone).  I even found out there is one hush-hush bottled beer selection at Schilling.

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I started with a flight of six.  However, I ended up staying there for over 4 hours, so it definitely wasn’t the only thing I drank!  I picked up a nice weird dinner at PCC of some coleslaw, cheese, and pretzel bread (which is one of my favorite things to have with cider, unsalted though).

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<left to right: Fox Tail Sweet Tooth, Carlton Black Currant Scrumpy, Cragie’s Ballyhook Flyer, Bull Run Strawberry Fields, Finnriver Pear, and Elemental Atomic Root Beer>

Fox Tail Sweet Tooth, 5.0% ABV:  This is the second cider I’ve had from this Hood River OR cidery (the first was Fuzzy Haven, tasting notes here).  This was an interesting selection as they called it sweet, but it was more semi-dry?  Probably more that it was sweet for their cidery.  Straw yellow hue, no haziness.  Rather plain and on the mild & boring side, but I don’t have any complaints.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Nicely balanced.

Carlton Black Currant Scrumpy, 4.4% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve had from this McMinnville OR cidery, although I have a bottle of their Slake at home to try.  Rich black currant scent and a lovely deep berry hue.  Semi-dry.  Sour!  Definitely wasn’t expecting that.  Unfortunately I’m not a fan of sour cider so I didn’t have more than a couple sips.

Cragie’s Ballyhook Flier, 5.8% ABV:  This is an Irish cider which I’ve seen in bottles and have wanted to try, so here was my chance.  Hazy yellow-orange hue.  Dry cider apple and yeast scent.  Dry.  Moderate bitterness.  Mild sourness, funkiness, tartness, and astringency.  Moderate tannins.  Complex and unique.  However, it was too bitter for my liking.  I think some additional sweetness to balance it would have been nice.  I’ve had some ciders made from higher tannin cider apples which weren’t bitter, but it appears to be difficult to pull off.

Bull Run Strawberry Fields, 6.5% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve had from this Forest Grove OR cidery, although I’ve been meaning to try their ciders for awhile (way too much good stuff available around here).  Light cherry color.  Lovely real sweet strawberry scent.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Moderate strawberry flavor.  I imagine it was difficult to develop this cider, to get a true strawberry flavor without seeming fake or being too sweet.  I have found very few fruity ciders that were full flavored without being very sweet or overpowering the apple (Snowdrift Red and Eaglemount Quince are two I love, but they are on the more spendy side).  I’m a fan!

Finnriver Pear, 6.5% ABV:  I’ve had a number of Finnriver selections, but hadn’t had this one before (Chimacum WA).  This is a cider (apple juice) with pear juice added (ie. its not perry, which are made only using pear juice).  Straw yellow, no haze.  Light clean pear scent.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Plain, but it had a nice real pear flavor.  Quite good, but not my favorite from them (I’d recommend Lavender Black Currant, Honey Meadow, and Fire Barrel).

Elemental Atomic Root Beer, 6.5% ABV:  I’ve tried a couple of their ciders, but I was curious about this new one (Woodinville WA).  Its a hard root beer, but in contrast to other products (such as Not Your Father’s Root Beer), it is cider instead of malt based!  Nice caramely root beer hue.  Smells of root beer with a hint of baked apple.  Tastes like a nice mild root beer with a hint of baked apple at the core.  Only semi-sweet, which I appreciated.  It could have used some additional carbonation, but I say that about most ciders.  Tasty!  I can see why this one has been a huge hit for them.

I then realized I had finished my first flight and the actual event hadn’t started yet, as I got there so early (due to my work schedule).  So, I ordered a half flight.  Without realizing it I got three berry ciders (they were about the only ones left on the board I hadn’t tried, besides ginger & hops & such that I don’t care for).

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<left to right: Atlas Pom-Cherry, Cider Riot Never Give An Inch Oregon Blackberry, and Elemental Oxygen (Pomegranate)>

Atlas Pom-Cherry, 5.8% ABV:  I’ve had the Apple and Blackberry selections (reviews here and here) from this Bend OR cidery.  I also have their Apricot variety at home to try.  Tart cherry scent.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Lots of pomegranate flavor.  Only mild tartness and the slightest hint of sour.  Thin bodied.  Bold flavored.  It was my favorite of these three, but I still think I like their plain apple best of the three varieties I’ve tried from them so far, and overall its not a favorite of mine or anything.

Cider Riot Never Give An Inch Oregon Blackberry, 6.9% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve had from this Portland OR cidery, although I have a bottle of their 1763 at home to try.  Dry.  Very tart.  Only mild berry flavor.  I found it kinda unremarkable, and my least favorite of these three.  It was too tart for my liking and I don’t think I finished it.  Tart fans who like berry ciders but find them all too sweet may want to give this one a try though.

Elemental Oxygen (Pomegranate), 6.5% ABV:  I’ve had a number of ciders from this Woodinville WA cidery.  Poured very foamy.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Tart.  Thin bodied.  Rather mild flavor, which appears typical for them.  Their Atomic Root Beer is definitely my favorite from them so far.

During this time the actual potluck started (5pm), and it got busy (for awhile I was the only customer!).  I got to see Mick from Click Distributing again, meet two guys from D’s Wicked Cider (Kennewick WA), meet Sarah’s mom, and see Merce from Cider Log again.  Plus I nimbled on some tasty treats.

I sampled D’s Wicked Baked Apple, their new 6.9% instead of 8.5% ABV variety.  Apparently most folks won’t be able to taste the difference.  One of the reasons they did this was because there is an apparent WA state rule against doing growler fills above 7% ABV.  This is the first cider I’ve tried from them.  I had avoided buying a bottle of this one as I assumed it would be too spiced for my liking (not a spiced cider fan, or any spices in general…not even pepper on food).  However, the cinnamon was quite mild (at least when the keg wasn’t fully cold yet), and it had more baked apple flavor.  Quite tasty actually.  They said the cinnamon showed up more when it was fully cold though.  Nice and frothy and on the unfiltered side.  Semi-sweet.  Medium to heavy bodied.  Its not something I’d buy, but I was pleasantly surprised, and definitely see why they are so popular.

Also, Sarah remembered about a bottle of Eric Bordelet Poire Authentique in the cool room (I think this was a sample or something, as its not one of the Bordelet varieties they carry).  It was definitely flat after being open about a week (apparently its typically quite sparkling), but we all found it tasty (there was enough for a couple sips each).  At only 3.5% ABV, this French perry is easy drinking at its finest.  I have only heard rave reviews about Bordelet and they’ve been on my want to try list.  Bold flavor, but clean, unlike some perries.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Rich flavor and very balanced.  I really enjoyed this one, but I’m not sure I could bring myself to pay $15-20 for a 750ml bottle of a sub 4% ABV cider.  This reminded me of the bottle pour of another Poire I had here, Domaine Pacory Poire Domfront (tasting notes here).

They also had a Randall going that night where they infused Schilling Gold cider with oranges, coconut, and Chai tea.  An interesting combination, as always!  It was pretty tasty, although I would have preferred no tea and lots more coconut.  The tea seemed to make the cider seem drier than I remembered Gold tasting (which is one of Schilling’s sweeter varieties, and their only plain cider I believe).  Sarah said this was her favorite Randall so far.

Mick also decided to pick up a bottle of Millstone Farmgate Dry and share it with us.  I had this one at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (tasting notes here), in an attempt to see if there was any variety from Millstone I’d enjoy (as I definitely didn’t like their Cobbler).  This variety is definitely sour & funky, but less harsh than Cobbler by a few times probably.  I’m always surprised to see Cobbler make cider lists without any notes of its sour flavor, but apparently a lot of folks like that sort of thing (like sour beer I guess).  Its a good thing they make so many ciders, so there is something for everyone.

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?

Elemental Carbon (Traditional Dry Cider)

Review of ‘Carbon’ from Elemental Hard Cider, their traditional dry cider.

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Cider:  Carbon (Traditional Dry)
Cidery:  Elemental Hard Cider (part of Callahan Cellars)
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml glass bottle

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Availability:  limited to Western WA at this time (see their website)

Cider Description:  Our Traditional Dry Hard Cider is a European inspired cider. The experience is crisp, clean and tart. This is the perfect cider to pair with any meal.

Cidery Description:  Each of our hand-crafted ciders are made from only the finest Northwest apples and cold-fermented to preserve the fruit. Our ciders are reminiscent of champagne, they are lightly filtered and mildly effervescent for clean taste. Experience our quality for yourself. Come in often to grab a glass. We are constantly trying out new flavors, so the line-up is always changing.  Brian and Christina Callahan launched Elemental Hard Cider to bring quality, affordable, and delicious hard cider to the world. We strive to bring fun and exciting flavors to the experienced cider enthusiast, as well as novice cider drinkers. 

Their current lineup includes Carbon (traditional dry), Helium (pear), Oxygen (pomegraniate), Nitrogen (acai), Hydrogen (grapefruit), CO (cherry), Pineapple, Spiced Apple, NW Atomic Root Beer, and Jalapeno Lime Cilantro, although some of those are seasonal and/or special releases.

Price:  ~$8
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  There has been a lot of talk on Facebook and such about this relatively new cidery (May 2014), so I’ve been wanting to give them a try.  I actually tried a taste of their Cherry on tap at the Schilling Cider House awhile back, but I didn’t count that so much.  Their other varieties I could find in bottles didn’t sound appealing (acai and pomegranate), so I decided to go for their flagship traditional dry cider.

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First Impression:  Very light color.  High carbonation with little bubbles.  Dry clean apple scent.

Opinion:  Dry.  Simple yet complex.  Refreshing and clean taste.  Moderate acidity, tartness, bitterness, and tannins.  Quick finish.  Slight earthiness.  Champagne-like mouthfeel.

Most Similar to:  Argus Fermentables Ciderkin.  Like very very similar oddly enough.

Closing Notes:   A solid cider, but not really a style I enjoy.  I think its a great sparkling wine alternative.  I’d be interested to try more of their ciders.  However, I go for more of a bold flavor, often barrel aged, and I don’t really see them heading in that direction.  I didn’t get a chance to try their NW Atomic Root Beer at Cider Summit, but that seems to be quite popular.

Have you tried Elemental Carbon?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House – Cider Tasting Notes

This is Part 2 of a trip report on the Schilling Cider House, covering the 18 ciders I tasted (of the 32 on tap).  Pretty impressive, right?  See Part 1 here, which covered the Cider House itself.  I tried to take a photo of each cider, but some of them didn’t turn out, so I’ve only included photos of some of the ciders with interesting hues.  Thankfully though, I took notes!  I had two flights of six ciders (3oz) each, and six tastes from our bartender.

Schilling’s Ciders

Chaider, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Sweet:
This is one of their most popular ciders, and is available bottled (22oz) in the winter.  It smelled of cinnamon and definitely had a Chai tea-like taste.  Definitely not my thing, but it was my husband’s favorite taste of the day.

Chaider (Nitro), 6.5% ABV, Semi-Sweet:
This is the same cider as above except on Nitro, which added some additional smoothness.  It was quite foamy from the tap from the nitrogenation, and needed a couple minutes to calm down.

Ginger, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Dry (noted Semi-Sweet):
I’m not a ginger fan, but this was handed to me, so I tried it!  It had a much milder initial ginger taste than smell, but had more of a ginger aftertaste.  I think Ginger fans would really like this one.  Its not too overwhelming with Ginger.

Hopped, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Dry:
Hopped ciders aren’t my thing, but my husband wanted this, and thought it was pretty decent.  I had one sip and it is definitely hoppy, but way less than Reverend Nat’s Envy / Hopland #5.  Otherwise I can’t really comment on it.

Sriracha Lime, 6.7% ABV, Semi-Dry (noted Dry):
This cider seemed intriguing, I like Sriracha & Lime, and there was some chatter online of folks liking it, so why not?  It definitely smelled of Sriracha & Lime, but all I picked up in the taste was the Sriracha (no Lime).  Definitely spicy!  I don’t think I like spicy ciders.  I can tolerate spicy food, but the spiciness seemed to overwhelm the cider here.  I think this would have been better to do with a sweet citrus/lime cider with only a hint of Sriracha.

(I’ve also previously tried Schilling Oak Aged, Gold, & Grapefruit)

Other Ciders

101 Ciderhouse Cactus Red, 6.5% ABV, Los Angeles CA, Dry:
I tried this on a whim as it sounded unique/odd.  I picked up a citrus scent and it had a lovely pink color, similar to grapefruit juice.  It was definitely dry, and very very tart!  I unfortunately couldn’t take more than two sips of this one.

Elemental Cherry, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA, Semi-Dry:
Pretty rosé color.  Smelled like cherries.  However, I barely picked up any cherry flavor when tasting it.  Folks who like drier ciders but want a fruity cider may like this, as many fruit infused ciders tend to be sweeter.

Finnriver Habenero, 6.9% ABV, Chimacum WA, Semi-Sweet:
Another cider handed to me from the bartender, who was trying it for the first time as they just tapped it.  It didn’t smell spicy, but it was!  The bite hit my sinuses about 10 seconds after drinking it.  Again, the spice was overwhelming.  I wasn’t a fan, but my husband didn’t mind it.

Finnriver Lavender Black Currant (Nitro), 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA, Sweet:
Very dark & vibrant hue.  Extra smooth taste (from the nitrogenation).  I’ve tried their Black Currant flavor, and I honestly couldn’t pick up the added Lavender in this one.  However, my husband did.  In addition to the black current, I picked up some cherry notes.  This was much better than the bottled Black Currant I had of their’s (which was also quite good).  I imagine tap + Nitro did it.  Excellent!

Finnriver Oak & Apple, 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA, Semi-Dry:
The bartender said this was very similar to Schilling’s Oak Aged (which was surprisingly absent from the tap list).  I’m a huge fan of barrel aged ciders, so I was anxious to try it.  This is a milder barrel aged cider, and quite tasty.  I think I give the slight edge to Schilling’s Oak Aged though.  And, overall, my favorite barrel aged ciders so far are Woodchuck Winter Chill (which also has some vanilla flavor) and Thistly Cross Whisky Cask (very smooth), both of which are significantly sweeter than Schilling’s & Finnriver’s oak aged selections, but I do enjoy Schilling Oak Aged.  Yum!

Locust Sweet & Dark Cherry, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA, Semi-Sweet:
For a cherry cider, I was expecting more flavor, but it was quite mild, and there was little cherry scent or flavor.  This has a sweeter start and more tart finish.  This was pretty similar to the Elemental Cherry (which also had a mild cherry flavor), except a bit sweeter.

Moonlight Meadery How do you Like them Little Apples?, 6.0% ABV, Londonderry NH, Sweet:
Hard cider blended with honey & brown sugar, fermented, then barrel aged (draft only release).  Honey smell (duh).  Quite sweet.  Very smooth.  Tastes like it would be a higher ABV than it is (but I wouldn’t call the taste boozy).  I wouldn’t have guessed it was barrel aged.  Awesome!

Portland Cider Passion Fruit, 6.5% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Sweet:
I was excited to try this one.  The passion fruit smell was amazing!  However, the passion fruit taste was quite mild, and it had a bit of a tart & bitter finish, which I wasn’t expecting.  It is however a refreshing and easy-drinking cider.

Portland Cider Pearfect Perry, 6.5% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Dry (noted Semi-Sweet):
This was a very mild Perry; I could barely pick up any pear flavor.  It was however pretty tasty and smooth.

Reverend Nat’s Newtown Pippin, 6.9% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Dry:
One of Rev Nat’s regular release ciders.  This was a mild & crisp cider which I found to have a fairly bitter finish.  Pretty boring for my tastes.

Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut, 6.5% ABV, Spain, Dry:
A refreshing & smooth Spanish cider.  I can’t really put the flavor into words, but it is one of those ciders which has a flavor profile which seems sweeter than it really is.  It was Schilling’s most expensive offering by the way, at $11/pint, but only $2 for a 3oz taste.  This makes me want to try more Spanish ciders!

Wandering Aengus Wanderlust, 6.5%, Salem OR, Dry (noted Semi-Dry):
Fairly plain, and I found it tart & bitter.  Taste profile was in-line with the two Wandering Aengus and two Anthem (also made by them) ciders I’ve tried.  Also fairly boring for my tastes.

Whitewood Summer Switchel, 4.6% ABV, Olympia WA, Semi-Sweet:
This is a mild & refreshing cider with a hint of ginger.  The bartender said he picks up almost a salty flavor, which after hearing that, I agreed somewhat.


101 Ciderhouse Cactus Red

elemental cherry
Elemental Cherry

Finnriver Lavendar Black Currant
Finnriver Lavender Black Currant

Locust cherry
Locust Cherry

Moonlight Meadery How do you like them Little Apples

Closing Notes

My favorites from this tasting were the Moonlight Meadery “How do you Like them Little Apples?”, Finnriver Oak & Apple, Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, and Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut.  Quite an interesting combination, right?

I also learned that in addition to hopped, ginger, and overly dry ciders, I definitely don’t like spicy ciders!

I look forward to returning to the Schilling Cider House to try more ciders, as their selections change all the time.  Stay tuned for reviews of the five ciders I picked up from their bottle shop (shown in Part 1).