Grizzly Ciderworks The Bruin Dark & Dry Hopped

Review of Grizzly Ciderworks’ The Bruin, Dark & Dry Hopped.  It is my first time trying this one, but I have had Grizzly’s The RidgeWoodlander Wit, and Pomnivore.

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Cider:  The Bruin, Dark & Dry Hopped
Cidery:  Grizzly Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  WA and/or OR (it isn’t specific)
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with Molasses & Willamette hops

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Availability:  year round in Washington, Idaho, and Montana

Cider Description:  THE BRUIN is crafted with a dry apple base, blended with dark sugars and steeped with light touch of Willamette hops.  The nose has a nice earthiness with a palate of ripe apple, rich sugars and earthy spice.  Excellent with pork, steak and other meat dishes or hearty flavors.

Cidery Description:  Over three years in the making, Grizzly Ciderworks is pleased to release our entire line of products to the public.  We’ve test-marketed over a dozen ciders  in kegs and bottles, with varying labels and names, produced in multiple facilities in two states, and worked with a vast network of local vendor partners for each and every ingredient to make our product.  From labels to fruit, caps to hops, cases to spices, everything piece of a Grizzly Cider bottle comes from within 150 miles of our cidery.  These ingredients are ALL-NATURAL and the ciders are all GLUTEN-FREE.

They started in Woodinville WA in 2013 but moved to the Walla Walla Valley of SE Washington / NE Oregon in 2015.  Many of their ciders are beer-inspired (their bottle even said their ciders are brewed?!).

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been more into hopped ciders lately, plus I’m a fan of Mollasses in cider, so this sounded good.

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First Impression:  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Moderate orange amber hue.  Smells of bitter hops and sweet caramel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of orange, hops, molasses, caramel, and wood.  Moderate to long hopped finish.  Low hops intensity.  Moderate flavor intensity, apple flavor, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  It was surprisingly complex, and had a nice mix of earthy & sweet notes without being overly sweet.  It was missing the typical citrus/herbal/floral type flavor notes, likely due to the molasses being more dominant than the hops.

Most Similar to:  Spire Dark & Dry and Woodchuck 802 (except less sweet and with hops), and Grizzly’s The Ridge & Woodlander Wit.

Closing Notes:  Grizzly makes some solid ciders, but so far this is my favorite.  Its a nice price point too.  I could see this selling well in a multi pack (and for a beer-inspired mid-priced cider, I’m surprised they haven’t gone that route yet…maybe as a canning line costs much more than a bottling line to set up).

Have you tried Grizzly Ciderworks The Bruin?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 9 Tasting Notes

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

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

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<tap list of 32 ciders>

I started with a flight of six ciders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington Cider Week Kickoff at Seattle Cider

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

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!  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.

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<view of their outside seating area from inside>

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<malt sack light fixtures>

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<game area>

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<game area and view into barrel storage>

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<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>

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<manager at the Woods (left) and Ron from (right) in their storage area>
<yes, those are 2/4 palates I saw of cans of their Dry and Semi-Sweet>

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<taps, bar area, and fridges of canned/bottled beer/cider for purchase>

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<half of their taps>

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<Seattle Cider’s Harvest series:  Perry, Washington Heirloom, and Gravenstein Rose>

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<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>

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<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.

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<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.

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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!

Grizzly Ciderworks The Ridge

Review of The Ridge from Grizzly Ciderworks, their flagship cider.  Grizzly Ciderworks is interesting in that their ciders are very beer-inspired, and many have hops.  The Ridge however does not include hops.

grizzly bottle

Cider:  The Ridge
Cidery:  Grizzly Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Seattle WA
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles and kegs

Availability:  at least WA, OR, & ID

Cider Description:  The Ridge is Grizzly’s flagship.  Crafted with a special blend of Northwest apples and dry fermented to perfection, The Ridge is rewardlingly tasty.  Simple and refreshing, The Ridge is a cider standard for any occasion.

Cidery Description:  Grizzly Ciderworks was started by Corey Haugen and Andy Petek (in 2013). With backgrounds in marketing, sales, and beverage distribution, these friends created a great fusion of passion and innovation. What started as a hobby in an apartment quickly grew to a garage, then a small warehouse…and then a big warehouse. The rest is history.  After a year of test market draft-only sales in the Puget Sound, Grizzly is now launching retail packages and broadening distribution throughout the Northwest. With a Founder’s Series of four ciders and a rotating Seasonal Series, Grizzly will be available in 22 oz bottles, 1/6 barrel and 1/2 barrel kegs.  In addition to Corey and Andy, the Grizzly family is made up of enthusiastic team members who love everything cider. The company is dedicated to fostering a fun and collaborative atmosphere everywhere from the cidery to your local store or restaurant.

Price:  $5.79 / pint on tap
(retails $7 or $8 / 22oz bottle)

Where Drank:  Diamond Knot Brewpub in Mountlake Terrace WA

How Found:  I called Diamond Knot Brewpub ahead of time to ask their cider selection, as I could only figure out online that they had one tap designated for cider, and didn’t want to be disappointed as I’m a bit picky about my cider!  They only said “Grizzly Cider”, but Untappd was able to tell me it was The Ridge (someone had checked in the night before).  Even the tap list and menu at Diamond Knot Brewpub only said Grizzly Ciderworks, not the variety.  However, I am definite it was The Ridge from the description and its lack of hops or other flavors.

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Light carbonation with a light foam ring.  Dry woody apple scent.

Opinion:  Dry to semi dry.  Clean, crisp, and refreshing.  I love the woody earthiness, which is unique for a plain flagship cider.  Moderate bitterness, moderate acidity, and mild tartness.  I was surprised how much I liked this cider considering the dryness and moderate bitterness, which usually put me off a cider, but I think the oaky aspects helped balance that.  This cider tastes barrel aged to me, but it isn’t.  It paired well with my fish & chips (actually tater tots…my favorite aspect of my meal at the Diamond Knot Brewpub).

Most Similar to:  The Ridge has some similar characteristics to Schilling Oak Aged, although The Ridge is more dry, more bitter, and less oaky.  I like the two ciders pretty equivalently.

Closing Notes:   Very solid cider.  I’d try other ciders from Grizzly Ciderworks, but most of their varieties don’t really appeal to me…hopped, ginger, spiced, orange peel & coriander, etc.  I’ll keep an eye on them though!  Currently Grizzly Ciderworks offers four “Founder’s Series” and two “Seasonal Series” ciders.  Here is a great article about their entry into the Seattle cider market in 2013.

Have you tried anything from Grizzly Ciderworks?  What did you think?