Thursday night was a great kickoff to Washington Cider Week! I started the evening at Seattle Cider (opening ceremonies, although I left before that), then moved on to the Burgundian Bar (East Meets West, An Evening with Eden and Alpenfire Ciders). This post will cover Seattle Cider and another will cover the Burgundian (plus many posts to come on Cider Summit and other Washington Cider Week events!). I mostly chose to stop by Seattle Cider as it was a Washington Cider Week event to fill the time between when I got off work and the event at the Burgundian started at 5pm, as the events were located between work and home. Plus I hadn’t ever been to their tasting room, The Woods (which they share with their sister brewery, 2 Beers Brewing Company).
Seattle Cider ended up a bit disappointing of a stop as they only opened at 3pm, and nothing was actually going on for the Washington Cider Week kickoff yet. There were plenty of folks there though, lots of growler fills, etc. They were only setting up while I was there, but they did however have 16 ciders on tap (6 of their own and 10 from 10 other cideries), some free cider swag, and a hot dog cart. Also, I got to meet fellow cider blogger Ron from DrinkingCider.com! He had reached out that he would be in town for Cider Summit, and I let him know my schedule. We ended up meeting up at Seattle Cider, the Burgundian, and Cider Summit, which was pretty awesome. He even brought me some cider from Tod Creek in Victoria BC which I look forward to trying; very cool. Too bad he couldn’t take cider back to CT.
We even got a mini tour from their tasting room manager. They were in production so we couldn’t walk through the cidermaking area (although they have an opening you can look through to see it), but we got to see a few areas. I learned that Seattle Cider currently only uses apples from Washington (all dessert varieties except their Harvest series). It was also interesting to hear about and see their current construction project, a kitchen! Probably a very welcome addition…more tasting room need to offer food, even if its only chips, crackers, pretzels, whatever.
<view of their outside seating area from inside>
<malt sack light fixtures>
<game area and view into barrel storage>
<view of cidery tanks from the cutout inside the tasting room>
<their current largest is 280 gallons, but they plan to literally raise the roof to fit larger ones>
<manager at the Woods (left) and Ron from DrinkingCider.com (right) in their storage area>
<yes, those are 2/4 palates I saw of cans of their Dry and Semi-Sweet>
<taps, bar area, and fridges of canned/bottled beer/cider for purchase>
<half of their taps>
<Seattle Cider’s Harvest series: Perry, Washington Heirloom, and Gravenstein Rose>
<cider tap list part 1; I don’t care for Ginger and previously had the Green Tea,
but I tried the Valley Red and Woodlander Wit; see below>
<cider tap list part 2, where 13-18 are from Seattle Cider>
<I’ve had their Semi-Sweet and tried the Olympic Honey & Plum Gose; see below>
<I don’t care for hopped & green apple, previously had the Grapefruit & Black Currant,
and tried the Crabenstein; see below>
I ended up sampling five ciders at The Woods / Seattle Cider. Unfortunately they didn’t have a sampler, but would pour tastes. I really think a sampler is the best way to go anywhere which has multiple cider choices on tap. So, I had a couple tastes, got a glass of one, then had a few more tastes.
Seattle Cider Olympic Honey. This cider is a special release (August 2015) Seattle Cider did with the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, and only available at Seattle Cider and the restaurant/bar at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. This used honey from the rooftop apiary at the hotel. I had really wanted to try this after seeing a segment they did on King 5 local news on Facebook, so I was pleased they still had some. Retail is $9 for a 22oz bottle, but I had a 13oz tap pour for $6. 6.9% ABV. Semi dry. I picked up only hints of honey, but it was refreshing, and probably my favorite Seattle Cider variety so far (I’m not a huge fan of their ciders, although they have a large local following). Moderate acidity and and mild tartness.
<Seattle Cider Olympic Honey>
Seattle Cider Plum Gose. This is Seattle Cider’s twist on gose (a unique style of German beer which includes coriander and salt). It includes Jacobsen sea salt (from Portland OR), coriander, and plums, and was made using Chardonnay yeast and added malic acid. 6.9% ABV. Semi-dry. Very unique but mild flavor from the ingredient additions. Lovely light berry hue from the plums, but my taster was too small to get a clear photo of the cider’s color. Higher carbonation. A touch of saltiness. Apparently they previously had a full Gose cider, and would often get requests to mix it with their PNW Berry, so they decided to make something similar with plums.
Liberty Ciderworks Crabenstein. Made using Dolgo crabapples and Gravenstein apples with wild yeast fermentation. 7.3% ABV. Dry. Tart and mouth-puckering with a touch of funk, but the flavor profile is pretty mild. I like Liberty’s Manchurian Crabapple single varietal better as it is bolder, but they are completely different styles of cider (for example, the Manchurian is 12.5% ABV).
Cockrell Valley Red. Cider with Puyallip WA raspberries. This is the first time I’ve tried a cider from Cockrell. 6.2% ABV. Semi-dry. Lovely fruity nose and red hue (again, no photo; sorry), acidic, and tart. I didn’t pick up raspberries (nor did I know that was the fruit they used until I researched this cider), but for me it was more of a general tart berry than a specific flavor. It reminded me some of Snowdrift Red (which I prefer).
Grizzly Ciderworks Woodlander Wit-Style. They modeled this cider after Belgian wit-style beer (they used that variety of beer yeast). I’ve previously tried their Ridge. 6.7% ABV. Semi-dry. Smells slightly woody. I didn’t pick up any of the orange peel or coriander they included in this cider, but again, it was a pretty small taste. I found it very similar to their Ridge, but slightly more sweet, tart, and complex, and slightly less flavorful. I prefer the Ridge, which I found to have more of the woody & earthy notes I enjoy.
This is just the start of my Washington Cider Week posts, so stay tuned for posts on Thursday night part 2 (Burgundian with Eden & Alpenfire ciders), Cider Summit, and events I’ll be attending next week at Capitol Cider and the Schilling Cider House! Subscribe to Cider Says using the sidebar (on the right or at the bottom of the page on mobile devices) and like us on Facebook to ensure you don’t miss out!