Schilling Cider House Visit 30 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 30th 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 Monday during Washington Cider Week.  They had a Finnriver event with cider trivia that evening, but I left before it got underway.  I got a flight, as usual.  Four were new to me, and the two Alpenfire ciders were repeats that I’m always happy to retry.

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<left to right:  Greenwood Wild Blush, Hi Five Hop Hearder, Greenwood Peach, Schilling Boysenberry Pommeau, Alpenfire Apocalypso, and Alpenfire Glow>

Greenwood (Seattle WA) Blush (7.3% ABV):  Hazy orange hue.  This is also newly available in bottles (as well as their Dry, Hopped, and Huckleberry ciders).  Smells of citrus, specifically, tangerine.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Low sourness, tartness, and acidity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  The flavor was odd for me, sour tangerine with a hint of berry, but my palate doesn’t like sour / it tends to overwhelm the other flavors for me.

^ Five (Portland OR) Hop Hearder (6.5% ABV):  Hi Five is newly distributed to the Seattle area, and this cider is also available in cans (including at the Schilling Cider House).  Dry.  Moderate to strong hops flavor, plus citrus.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate bitterness.  Moderate flavor intensity.  I’ve been getting more into hopped ciders, but I think this was a bit much for me, between it being fully dry and quite hoppy.

Greenwood (Seattle WA) Peach (7.8% ABV):  Another likely tap only release, left over from the Greenwood tap night.  Semi-dry.  Low tartness, acidity, and sourness.  More citrus and general stone fruit than specific peach flavor.  Low flavor intensity.  It was a popular option for folks who like sour ciders, but I don’t.

Schilling (Auburn WA) Boysenberry Pommeau (21.5% ABV):  This is a tap-only special release, probably from the Schilling Cider House’s 3rd birthday party the previous week.  Pommeau is a mix of apple brandy (distilled) and apple cider (either fermented or non-fermented).  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  Intense berry and rich red wine flavor (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was apple brandy + apple juice + boysenberry juice, then red wine barrel aged).  Long warming finish.  High flavor intensity.  This was really unique and tasty, and the first flavored Pommeau I can remember trying or even hearing about.

I’ve had the two Alpenfire ciders a number of times, but I always order their ciders if I see them on draft, as they don’t do many kegs (mostly Apocalypso and their Traditional Heirloom Cider series, plus some Glow every so often).

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Apocalypso (6.9% ABV):   This is a tap-only version of their Calypso rum barrel aged blackberry cider which has extra blackberries.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  Compared to other batches I’ve tried (like this one), it seems like it had less rum & oak influence, but more berry flavor.  I liked it, but I wish it had been the other way around.

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Glow (6.8% ABV):  This cider is made from red-fleshed Hidden Rose apples.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Less flavorful than I remember, likely as this batch is drier than I remember as well.  Small cideries often have some variation in their ciders batch to batch.  However, it still had the characteristic strawberry and watermelon notes from the special apples, and maybe even a hint of kiwi type flavor and extra tartness this time around.  See my previous review here.

My favorites were the Pommeau and the two Alpenfire ciders.  I didn’t really care for the other three, as two were sour and the other was a bit too hoppy.

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

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Schilling Cider House Visit 24 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 24th 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 random Thursday.  I started with a flight.

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<left to right:  Locust Winter Banana, Liberty McIntosh, Pilton English Keeved, Golden State Dry, Christian Drouin Poire, and Greenwood Red River Wolf Crab>

Locust (Woodinville WA) Winter Banana (6.0% ABV):  No, this isn’t a banana cider…it is a single varietal made from the Winter Banana apple.  Draft-only.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Apple-forward flavor with honey and citrus.  Nice flavor.

Liberty (Spokane WA) McIntosh (8.1% ABV):  Another single varietal, this time of a more common apple, the McIntosh (which is actually the spelling for the apple pronounced MAK-in-tosh).  Also available in bottles.  Dry to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Higher carbonation.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  For its dryness, it remained rather apple-forward, with some honey and citrus notes too.  I think this is one of their better dry acidic ciders.  I liked this, especially at first when it was cold (it got a bit harsh when it warmed up with the higher ABV).

Pilton (Somerset England) English Keeved (5.0% ABV):  This is my first time trying any cider from Pilton, as well as my first time trying an English cider which is made using the keeving process, which is much more common for French cider.  Keeving starves the cider of nutrients so it creates a naturally sweet apple-forward cider.  Hazy hue.  Dry to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low sourness.  Low tannins.  Moderate funk.  Notes of apple pomace, yeast, and citrus.  This is rather dry for a keeved cider, which usually average semi-sweet.  I wasn’t a fan of this due to the sourness; it reminded me more of a Normandy France style cider (due to the sourness & funk) than an English cider (which often have higher tannins & bitterness).

Golden State (Sebastopol CA) Mighty Dry (6.9% ABV):  It is my first time trying their cider, which is newish to the Seattle area.  Also available in cans.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied, and a bit syrupy, which is interesting for the level of dryness.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Apple-forward with some pineapple and green apple notes.  This is a nice flagship cider.

Christian Drouin (Normandy France) Poire (4.0% ABV):  This is a French perry.  Its nice to see these types of high end ciders of draft, as the bottles are expensive.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate to full bodied.  Higher level of carbonation.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  More pear fruit than pear juice forward, with notes of pineapple and mango as well.  I loved this.

Greenwood (Seattle WA) Red River Wolf Crab (7.4% ABV):  The interesting title for this draft-only cider refers to the use of red-fleshed crab apples as well as forraged apples from the Wolf River region.  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of sourness & funk.  Apple-forward, with notes of sharp crabapples and citrus.  Of a sad note, I was told they lost their lease, so they are no longer operating from Greenwood, but Lake City (both in Seattle); I imagine they will keep the name though.  I thought this was pretty average.

Sarah also shared another cider with me:

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Spiced Tonic Shrub (6.0% ABV):  This interesting draft-only concoction is made using cider, vinegar, and spices.  “Shrub” typically refers to a vinegared cocktail.  This one definitely wasn’t to my liking, between the vinegar, saltiness, and pepper.  Apparently it is selling really well though.

My favorite was the Christian Drouin Poire; it reminded me of selections from Eric Bordelet and Domaine Pacory.

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

Cherry Cider Tasting

There was recently a cherry cider tasting at my house (thanks Sarah, Merce, Kevin, and Si from Cider Log for sharing all the ciders!).  I took a few tasting notes.

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<Woodchuck Sour Cherry, Anthem Cherry, Julian Cherry Bomb, Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry, Finnriver Chimacum Kriek, Griffin Cider Works Strong Woman, Doc’s Draft Sour Cherry, and Greenwood Cherry>

With all of these I didn’t pick up any flavor besides cherry, and maybe a bit of green apple or citrus.  The apple flavor was also none to mild.

Woodchuck (Middlebury VT) Sour Cherry (6.9% ABV):  This was part of their Cellar Series (since discontinued) and hasn’t been sold since July 2014, but this bottle held up better flavor-wise than the bottle I had that I opened a year ago (review here).  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Mild to moderate slightly cherry flavor.  Still.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Not bad.

Anthem (Salem OR) Cherry (6.2% ABV):  This is sold year round and now also available in cans.  Semi-dry.  Mild cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Mild apple flavor.  I didn’t find it flavorful enough.

Julian (Julian CA) Cherry Bomb (6.99% ABV):  This is sold year round.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Moderate real cherry flavor. Low carbonation. Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I liked it.

Reverend Nat’s (Portland OR) Sacrilege Sour Cherry (6.5% ABV):  This is a seasonal release.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate cherry flavor, slightly sour.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I thought it was pretty average; I’d prefer no sourness.

Finnriver (Chimacum WA) Chimacum Kriek (6.0% ABV):  This sour cherry cider is part of their Crew Selection series, a limited release in May 2016.  Semi-dry.  Mild to moderate cherry flavor, moderately sour.  Still.  Medium to full bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I didn’t care for this at all, due to the sourness.

Griffin Cider Works (Westlake OH) Strong Woman (6.5% ABV):  This is an English-style cider finished with cherry, sold March thru October, whose proceeds go towards fighting breast cancer.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tannins.  I thought it was pretty average.  There was an additional flavor in this that none of us could identify.  The tannins were unique.

Doc’s Draft (Warwick NY) Sour Cherry (6.0% ABV):  This is sold year round.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate to strong real cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I really liked it.

Greenwood Cider (Seattle WA) Cherry (unknown ABV):  This appears to be draft only.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Mild weird cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I thought this one was a bit strange, but ok.

Between the six of us at the tasting, the clear winner of the evening was from Doc’s.  Unfortunately this variety isn’t sold in Washington in bottles, but can be found in Oregon, or sometimes on draft here.  My second favorite was from Julian.  What both of these had in common was they were a bit sweeter, more intense cherry flavor, and more “real” flavor (not medicinal).  The least favorites were the Anthem, Greenwood, and Griffin varieties.

Schilling Cider House Visit 20 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 20th 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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<can’t beat 32 cider taps!>

I was there on Labor Day for a random visit, since I had the day off work.  I started with a flight.

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<left to right: Steelhead Peargatory (Vanilla Pear), Greenwood Lavender Blackberry, Red Tank Tropical, Red Tank Pear Bear, Seattle Cider Gin Botanical, and Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge>

Steelhead (Manson WA) Peargatory (Vanilla Pear), 5.5%:  This is from a brand new cidery, and available in bottles as well.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Pear-forward, with green apple, pineapple, and mineral notes.  I didn’t notice the vanilla, but I didn’t know about it until I looked it up later either.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  High sessionability.  High pear flavor.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Pretty good (I definitely preferred it over Red Tank’s as it was more flavorful).

Greenwood (Seattle WA) Lavender Blackberry, 7.4%:  This is a draft-only release.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of lavender, blackberry, and a weird herbalness.  Low flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Moderate sessionability.  No apple flavor.  I didn’t care for this one.

Red Tank (Bend OR) Tropical, 5.8%:  This appears to be a draft-only release.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of pineapple and green apple.  Low flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  I thought this was ok, but needed more flavor.

Red Tank (Bend OR) Pear Bear, 5.8%:  This appears to be a draft-only release.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Pear and pineapple notes.  Long boozy finish.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate pear flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  The flavor was a bit weird on this one.

Seattle Cider (Seattle WA) Gin Botanical, 6.5%:  This seasonal release is also available in bottles.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Light herbal flavor from the gin botanicals.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Not bad; I can see why its popular.

Christian Drouin (Rouen Normandy France) Pays d’Auge, 4.5%:  This is also available in bottles, made from cider apples, and wild yeast fermented.  Smells rich and a bit funky.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied, frothy and foamy.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low sourness, funk, tannins, and bitterness.  Notes of bittersweet apples, brown sugar, and orange.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Great!  I was expecting more sourness and funk, but it was quite tolerable.

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Reverend Nat’s Revival Dry:  Although this shares the name with their popular sweeter Revival variety, its quite different…2/3 English & French bittersweet and 1/3 American heirloom varieties, partial wild fermentation, multiple yeast strains, and no piloncillo.  Only in 750ml bottles.  A friend shared some with me.  Smells fruity.  Dry.  Light bodied.  Mild sharp tropical flavor.  Mild sourness, tannins, and funk.  Moderate tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  Low apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  I prefer the regular version.  This would probably appeal well to wine lovers.

The Christian Drouin Pays d’Auge was my favorite, which isn’t a surprise as it is the only one made from cider apple varieties.

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

Schilling Cider House Visit 17 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my seventeenth 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 random Tuesday afternoon and enjoyed a flight of six ciders.  Even though I had just been there the week before, a good portion of the taps had turned over and there were plenty of ciders to choose from which were new to me.

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<left to right: Schilling Rhubarb Pear, Finnriver Pear Wood, Greenwood Cedar, AEppelTreow Blackbird Berry, Cider Head Bourbon Barrel, and Cockrell Pub Cider>

Schilling (Auburn WA) Rhubarb Pear (6.0% ABV): I thought I hadn’t tried this one, but I actually had (its an apple cider with rhubarb & pear, also called Lumberjack and available in cans); see here.  I’ve tried many of their ciders previously (see here).  Pale peach hue.  Smells sweet, fruity, and mild.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mildly flavored–rhubarb, strawberry, pear, and peach.  Easy to drink.  I think I liked it better canned, as it was higher carbonation and more tart.

Finnriver (Port Townsend WA) Pear Wood (6.9% ABV): This is a Crew Selection keg-only release, a rendition of their Pear cider (which I reviewed here).  Its made from bittersweet apples with Malo-Lactic Fermentation and aged with oak staves, mixed with barrel aged cider, then backsweetened with pear juice.  I’ve tried many of their ciders previously (see here).  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of bittersweet apple, pear, and oak.  Fairly simple.

Greenwood (Seattle WA) Cedar Cider (6.5% ABV): This is a keg-only release.  I’ve tried a couple of their ciders previously (see here).  Mild scent.  Dry.  Light bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  Earthy wood flavor with some bite that reminds me of crabapples.  A hint of vinegar.  Citrus and vanilla.  Unique.

AEppelTreow (Burlington WI) Blackbird Berry-Apple (5.5% ABV): This cider is available in kegs and bottles, and is apple cider with black currant and elderberries.  I’ve tried a few of their ciders previously (see here).  Deep berry hue.  Smells of raspberries and blackberries.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate berry flavor, more raspberry than anything else.  I didn’t really detect black currant or elderberries.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  Not overly juice-like which I notice often happens with sweeter berry ciders.  I found it to be very well-balanced and its one of my favorite berry ciders.

Honey Moon (Bellingham WA) CiderHead Bourbon Barrel (5.5% ABV): This is a keg-only release.  I’ve tried a couple of their ciders previously (see here).  Smells sour.  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Mild sourness and bitterness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Vinegar and citrus notes.  Mild barrel and bourbon influence.

Cockrell (Puyallup WA) Pub Cider (6.2% ABV): This is a keg-only release.  I’ve tried a couple of their ciders previously (see here).  Smells sweet and rich.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Frothy.  Very mildly flavored and it kinda tasted watered down, although it was medium bodied.  Apple-forward.

The AEppelTreow Blackbird Berry-Apple was oddly enough my favorite, probably as it was the most flavorful.  I would have guessed that I’d prefer the Bourbon Barrel or Pub Cider based on my typical preferences, but I didn’t really like either (especially the Bourbon Barrel, as I don’t like sour ciders).

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

Schilling Cider House Visit 7 Tasting Notes

Yes, I made yet another trip to the Schilling Cider House!  Check out my past posts here.  This time it was for a monthly potluck, with a “Thanksgiving Recipe Trial Run” theme.  I actually opted out of the potluck as I’m not a big Thanksgiving type food fan (and it ended up having a low turnout anyways), but there were plenty of folks at the cider house.

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I started with a flight of six ciders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next I got tastes from some sample bottles.

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

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

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

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

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

Schilling Cider House Visit 3 and Portland Cider Tasting at Total Wine

I enjoyed my last visits (one and two) to the Schilling Cider House so much that I was looking for another opportunity to visit.  I got my chance the following week when my husband had Friday night plans that didn’t interest me, so I went my own way.  I arrived at the Schilling Cider House around 3:30pm, and it was already pretty busy.

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I had tried a number of their tap selections (especially since I was there only the week before), but found six of interest that I hadn’t tried yet.

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<left to right: Schilling Mischief Maker, Schilling Barrel #1, Moonlight Boys ‘nd Berries,
Rootwood Lot 17, Greenwood Huckleberry, and One Tree Huckleberry>

Schilling Mischief Maker Cran-Pom, 5.8% ABV:  This is a newish cranberry-pomegranate cider by Schilling (available in bottles too).  A bit foamy of a pour.  On the drier side of sweet.  Nice balanced sweet & tart.  However, it was a bit too heavy on the cranberry for my liking, and quite juice-like.

Schilling Barrel #1, 21% ABV:  This is similar to their Barrel #2 I had the previous week, some sort of spirit (not sure if it was distilled or fortified with brandy).  I was able to find out that this one is whiskey barrel aged  However, this was much drier than Barrel #2, on the sweeter side of dry.  It was very very boozy in comparison to Barrel #2.  I really didn’t like it much at all.  It didn’t have nearly as much flavor as Barrel #2.

Moonlight Meadery Boys ‘nd Berries, 6%:  Cherry color.  Boysenberry scent.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Kinda boring, but it is one of the better berry ciders I’ve had.  I’ve found I’m just not a fan of berry ciders, as they are often really juice-like.  This cider oddly enough though came across as a bit boozy, tasting higher than 6% ABV, which is unusual for a berry cider.

Rootwood Cider Company Lot 17, 7.2% or 7.5% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve tried from Rootwood, which hails from the Lake Chelan WA area.  They are newish to cider (launched about a month ago and had a launch party at the Schilling Cider House during Washington Cider Week), but have been growing apples for over 100 years.  They have their own tasting room in Manson WA, which offers growler fills.  They are working on getting their ciders bottled and out to stores, but for now, can be found on tap in the greater Seattle area (such as the Schilling Cider House and 192 Brewing Company in Kenmore).  “Lot 17” refers to the name of one of the family’s original orchard plots in the hills outside of Manson, and it is primarily made using Fuji apples (but also includes Jonagold, Elstar, Foxwelp, Browns, and Kingston Black).  Semi-dry. Fairly simple.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity & bitterness.  Light bodied.  It had hints of a rich flavor, and some mild fruity notes, but left me wanting more.  Overall I found this rather boring.

Greenwood Cider Company Huckleberry Wedding Cider, 6.5% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve tried from Greenwood, which hails from the Seattle WA area.  I hadn’t even heard of them, despite them being local and my interest in cider.  I really couldn’t find any info on them online oddly enough, just a Facebook page, so I e-mailed them.  They are about a year old and currently only sell kegs of their small batch ciders.  In the Seattle area, their customers include Capitol Cider, the Schilling Cider House, and Chuck’s Hop Shop.  I found out this cider was primarily huckleberry, but also included blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (the “wedding” part), and made from piñata, golden delicious, fuji, braeburn, granny smith, and golden russet apples.  It had an orange-pink hue, which was interesting for what I thought was only a huckleberry cider, especially compared to the very dark colored One Tree Huckleberry cider.  I picked up much more citrus (grapefruit?) than berry in it.  Ryan from Greenwood thought I may have been picking up some of the tartness of the raspberries or acidity of the heirloom golden russet apples in detecting citrus notes.  Still, this one was a bit too unique for me, and my least favorite of the seven ciders I ended up trying.  I’m definitely game to try other ciders from them though!

One Tree Hard Cider Huckleberry on Nitro, 6.8% ABV:  Deep deep berry hue.  Excessive foam from the Nitro process and the scent I have come to associate with it.  Very sweet.  I found this to be just your standard juice-like berry cider.  Medium bodied.  There actually wasn’t any perceivable tartness, which was surprising, and would have been welcomed.

All in all I wasn’t impressed with any of my selections.  The Moonlight Meadery Boys ‘nd Berries was probably my “favorite” of the six (actually seven; see below).  They had ciders I really liked still on tap though, such as Moonlight Meadery Last Apple, Schilling Barrel #2, NV Cider Pear Essentials, and 2 Towns Bad Apple & Prickle Me Pink…I just wanted to get ciders I hadn’t tried before.

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They also ended up putting a Randall together while I was there, which was a cool process to watch.  Apparently they often will do this on the weekend.  It doesn’t appear they charge any extra for a Randalled cider either.  The process appeared to be a seat of the pants sort of thing, with ingredients they picked up from the PCC grocery store down the street.  I had a front & center view of it all too!  They started with Rootwood Lot 17, then added corn, cilantro, and hot peppers to the infuser chamber.

I got a sample of the resulting cider, and it was pretty good!  It mostly had cilantro flavor, with a hint of heat (the peppers were placed at the top of the chamber so the cider didn’t get much of their influence).  I really love Cilantro, so it was nice.  This would have paired very well with Mexican food, which few ciders do (my choice would be Wyder’s Reposado Pear).  I didn’t really pick up the corn in the flavor, but I think it added a bit of color & texture.  You can really see a difference in hue between the pre-Randall Lot 17 (fourth cider from left in flight photo above) vs. the post-Randall Lot 17.

I didn’t have a good view of the cutting board of ingredients, but here is a photo from their Twitter feed:

randall

After going to the Schilling Cider House, on my way home, I stopped at the Northgate Total Wine, where they were having a Portland Cider Company cider tasting (4-7pm).  I had spotted it on Total Wine’s event calendar and taken note.  I met their rep Ingrid (whose business card says “cider maven” lol) and tried three of their ciders.  They were pouring Kinda Dry, Pearfect, and Hop’Rageous.  I had tried a bottle of Kinda Dry (review here) and had Pearfect Perry on tap awhile back at my first visit to the Schilling Cider House (tasting notes here), but gave them another go.

Even though I don’t like hops, I thought I might as well try a sip of the Hop’Rageous.  It was surprisingly good!  There was very very little hop flavor, more of an aftertaste.  Apparently they use Citra hops, which are mild, and apparently they didn’t use a huge amount of them.  They also incorporated some orange peel.  Most hopped ciders go quite overboard on the amount of hops.  It had a lovely aroma & flavor of both floral (probably from the hops) and citrus (probably from the orange peel).  I found it dry to semi-dry.  Nice and refreshing, and very light in flavor overall.  I’d actually consider getting a bottle of it, although I imagine I might not like the hops aftertaste when drinking a larger amount.  This is a great example of a well-done hopped cider that even someone who doesn’t like hops/beer can probably enjoy!

As a side note, I’m quite proud of myself for not buying any bottles of cider at the Schilling Cider House or Total Wine, which is unheard of for me.  I have so much cider at home that I can’t justify buying anything but a special release / rare find.