Jester & Judge Nowhere Special

Review of Jester & Judge’s Nowhere special cider, a special release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Sharp Cherry, American Apple, Columbia Belle, and Pineapple Express ciders.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Jester & Judge.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Nowhere Special
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  9.8%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider, triple fermented, rye & whiskey barrel aged

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Availability:  Likely only in Washington & Oregon (such as the Schilling Cider House in Seattle and Bushwhacker in Portland)

Cider Description:  As the fall begins to consume the gorge, the environment turns milder.  The colors of fall, strong and vibrant, inspired this dramatic barrel aged small batch release.  Nowhere Special is a blend of three different fermentations, wild, ale, and champagne.  Aged in Rye and Irish whiskey barrels, six months in the making.  We put out efforts out for consideration.  You be the judge.

Cidery Description:  We’ll bring the Jester and you be the Judge.  At Jester & Judge we believe that balance is important in life and in cider.  It’s the foundation of our seriously whimsical attitude.  Serious about the quality of the ciders we make.  No concentrates, sorbates, artificial flavorings, colorings, or other shortcuts.  Whimsical because we have fun making the best ciders we can featuring local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, which sometimes means snubbing our nose a little at traditional cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for $8)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this online and contacted the cidery.

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First Impression:  Rich orange amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly rich, tannic, and of whiskey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  Hints of funk.  No sourness.  Notes of caramel, orange, leather, molasses, oak, and whiskey.  Long finish, warming and whiskey prominent.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  Low sessionability.  Moderate to high spirit influence.  Low perceived barrel influence.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this.  However, it was a tad on the harsh side, and I don’t think this will be a widely appealing cider, with the high ABV and strong whiskey flavor.  I like this style of cider though.

Most Similar to:  A high ABV but low tannin English cider which is whiskey barrel aged.  Nothing like I’ve tried before.  The more whiskey prominent ciders I’ve had are Liberty Stonewall, Finnriver Fire Barrel, and Tilted Shed Barred Rock.

Closing Notes:  This cider was a great first specialty release, and an excellent value.  I look forward to seeing what special releases they put out next.  My favorite of their regular line ciders is the Pineapple Express.

Have you tried Jester & Judge Nowhere Special?  What did you think?

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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.

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<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?

Jester & Judge Pineapple Express

Review of Jester & Judge’s Pineapple Express cider.  I previously tried it on tap at the Schilling Cider House (see here).  I’ve also previously tried their Sharp Cherry, American Apple, and Columbia Belle.

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Cider:  Pineapple Express
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.2%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with pineapple juice concentrate

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Availability:  Likely only Oregon and Washington

Cider Description:  The spirit of the Gorge is independent and fun-loving.  This cider embraces our spirit and our love of little latitudes.  Pineapple Express takes us where the sun is always out, the rain is always warm, and the mood is always festive.  Handmade with all natural ingredients and an endless supply of Irie!

Cidery Description:  We’ll bring the Jester and you be the Judge.  At Jester & Judge we believe that balance is important in life and in cider.  It’s the foundation of our seriously whimsical attitude.  Serious about the quality of the ciders we make.  No concentrates, sorbates, artificial flavorings, colorings, or other shortcuts.  Whimsical because we have fun making the best ciders we can featuring local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, which sometimes means snubbing our nose a little at traditional cider.

Price:  ~$2.50 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it on tap at the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Hazy pineapple juice hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells strongly of fresh pineapple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple juice, pineapple, and a hint of lime.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  High flavor intensity.  Very high sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really like this one.  It tastes like alcoholic pineapple juice with a hint of fizz.  It is definitely on the juice-like and simple side though.

Most Similar to:  Ace PineappleSchilling Pineapple Passion, and Wyder’s Prickly Pineapple.  I’ve also had Portland Cider Co. Pineapple, but that one didn’t have nearly as much flavor as the others.

Closing Notes:  I’m a big fan of this easy to drink flavorful cider.

Have you tried Jester & Judge Pineapple Express?  What did you think?

My Favorite Ciders of 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your favorite ciders?

Schilling Cider House Visit 15 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my fifteenth 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 Tuesday evening for a tasting event with Longdrop Cider (from the Boise Idaho area).

I started with a flight before the event, then sampled four Longdrop ciders (2 on tap, 1 bottled, and 1 canned) and a bit of a Canadian ice cider which Sarah opened.  There were supposed to be 4 kegs from Longdrop, but 2 didn’t make it in time.  I hadn’t previously tried any of their ciders.  Longdrop is relatively new to Washington (their ciders are sold throughout Idaho and in Seattle WA and Portland OR).  I got to meet their “head apple wrangler” (Chris Blanchard) and they had some giveaways (I got a sweet t-shirt).

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<left to right: Schilling Peach Grapefruit Habanero, Red Tank Roughneck, Whitewood Winesap, Farnum Hill Dooryard, Jester & Judge Pineapple, and Snowdrift Semi-Dry>

Schilling Peach Grapefruit Habanero, 5.0% ABV, Auburn WA:  This is a one-off keg of their Grapefruit cider infused with peach and habanero.  I’ve tried many of their ciders.  Very hazy.  Smells like grapefruit with some definite spiciness.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Mild acidity.  I didn’t really taste any peach, only grapefruit, and the spiciness was overwhelming for me.  Long spicy finish.  I learned that the Cider House will maintain one “spicy” tap line, and this currently replaces their Sriracha Lime.  I couldn’t do more than two tiny sips of this one; my favorites from them remain King’s Shilling and Pineapple Paradise.

Red Tank Roughneck, 6.5% ABV, Bend OR:  This is one of their flagship ciders.  I’ve tried a few of their ciders.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  A hint of bitterness and sourness.  Kinda bland / low flavor intensity, but it had a bit of unfiltered apple juice flavor, yeast, and earthiness.  For unfiltered ciders, I prefer 2 Towns OutCider.

Whitewood Winesap, 6.8% ABV, Olympia WA:  A special release tap-only cider.  I’ve tried a few of their ciders.  Semi-dry. Moderate tartness and acidity.  A hint of tannins.  Slightly sharp, apple-forward, and citrus-forward.  It mellowed out a bit as it warmed up.  Medium bodied.  I found this similar to the other single varietal winesap apple ciders I’ve tried from Blue Mountain and Locust, and slightly wine-like.  My favorite from them is the Whiskey Barrel Aged Kingston Black, which is one of my all time favorite ciders (and I was only able to sample a bit twice; hopefully it is released in bottles sometime).

Farnum Hill Dooryard, 7.5% ABV, Lebanon NH:  This is one of their best selling / flagship ciders; Farnum Hill typically labels the different batches of this cider with a code, and you can look up what is in them online (they vary apple varieties and such quite a bit under the same Dooryard label), but I don’t know what batch this was.  Also available in bottles, and sold from their Poverty Lane Orchard in growlers.  I’ve previously only tried their Extra Dry cider.  Dry.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Mild to moderate bitterness.  Mild funk.  A hint of sourness as it warmed up.  Mild tannins.  Citrus, vanilla, mineral, and clove notes.  Wine-like and nuanced.  This isn’t really my cup of tea.

Jester & Judge Pineapple Express, 5.5% ABV, Stevenson WA:  This is a new tap-only release.  I’ve tried a few of their ciders.  Hazy.  Semi-sweet.  Strong fresh pineapple flavor!  Nice fizziness/frothiness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.  I really enjoyed this one, despite its simplicity.  I found it similar to Schilling’s Pineapple Passion / Trouble in Paradise, but with slight lime instead of slight passion fruit notes.

Snowdrift Semi-Dry, 7.1% ABV, Wenatchee WA:  This is one of their flagship ciders, and although I’ve tried most of them, I had only seen their Dry variety previously.  Available in bottles and kegs.  Dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild bitterness.  Mild tannins.  Medium bodied.  Sharp flavor with some crabapple, apple pomace, and brown sugar notes, and slight richness.  Moderate length finish.  My favorites from them remain Red, Cornice, and Cliffbreaks Blend.

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Longdrop Tanager Pear Cider, 6.0% ABV, Eagle ID:  This is their spring seasonal release, a pear cider (apple + pear, not perry), available in 22oz bottles.  Smells like juicy pear.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Light bodied, with a fizzy/frothy mouthfeel.  Quick finish.  Simple apple & pear flavor, but it was nice & light and easy to drink.

Longdrop Vanilla Honey, 6.0% ABV, Eagle ID:  This is one of their two most commonly found ciders.  Available in 12oz cans and draft.  Made from Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith apples, with Madagascar Vanilla beans and Idaho honey.  Smells strongly of honey.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Honeycomb flavor with a hint of vanilla.  Quick finish.  I really loved the honeycomb flavor; you can tell it was high quality honey.

Longdrop Derby Canyon, 6.9%, Eagle ID:  This is a special release for the 2016 Apple Blossom Festival, named after a landmark in Washington nearby where the apples for this cider are from.  This cider was made with 100% Wenatchee Valley apples…”it’s got a big apple taste with some complexity – probably because it’s got one of every kind of apple out there in it”.  Available in 220z bottles and kegs.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Apple-forward with some unfiltered apple juice flavor.

Longdrop Semi-Sweet, 5.5% ABV, Eagle ID:  This is one of their two most commonly found ciders.  Available in 12oz cans and draft.  Made from Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith apples.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Apple-forward with some vanilla notes and a hint of vinegar/salt?

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Pomme De Coeur ice cider, 6.9% ABV, Rougemont Canada:  This is the first Canadian ice cider I’ve tried, and the lowest ABV I’ve seen.  Its pretty widely available in boxed tall 375ml bottles.  Ice cider originated in Quebec, and is made with either apples or apple juice which has been exposed to cold cycles, which concentrates the sugar (and thus flavor), and produces a higher ABV beverage as well.  Smells like caramelized sugar.  Sweet but not as sweet as other ice ciders such as from Eden.  Medium bodied.  Very juice-like, with less complexity than other ice ciders.  It also doesn’t have the body and higher ABV of most ice ciders.  I liked the first couple sips, but after that its inferior quality was apparent.  I like the super concentrated intense flavor of other ice ciders; Eden Northern Spy (barrel aged) is my favorite so far.  Although its about $15 (vs. $30+) for 375ml, I’d rather get the good stuff.  I imagine there are much better Canadian ice ciders available than this (often the more commercial beverages are the ones which have the means to export their products), so I hope to try another in the future.

My favorite Longdrop cider was the Vanilla Honey, and my favorite cider from my flight was Jester & Judge’s Pineapple cider.

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

Jester & Judge Columbia Belle

Review of Jester & Judge’s Columbia Belle, a peach & mint infused cider from Stevenson Washington.  I’ve also had their American Apple and Sharp Cherry varieties.

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Cider:  American Apple
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles and 22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples, infused with peach & mint

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Availability:  likely only WA & OR

Cider Description:  We wanted to bring a soft southern hospitality to Pacific Northwest fruit.  Columbia Belle is a refined peach and mint infused cider, soft, luscious and fruit forward.  Equally at home, at the beach or at the bistro.  100% natural, 100% Pacific Northwest and chock full of good manners.

Cidery Description:  We’ll bring the Jester and you be the Judge.  At Jester & Judge we believe that balance is important in life and in cider.  It’s the foundation of our seriously whimsical attitude.  Serious about the quality of the ciders we make.  No concentrates, sorbates, artificial flavorings, colorings, or other shortcuts.  Whimsical because we have fun making the best ciders we can featuring local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, which sometimes means snubbing our nose a little at traditional cider.

Price:  ~$2.50 for a single bottle (runs $8-9 for a four pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I had heard about this variety online

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First Impression:  The first half of the bottle poured a hazy orange-pink straw yellow (pictured above).  The second half of the bottle had a crazy amount of sediment and poured a murky brown hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells like peach, citrus, tropical fruit, mint, and a hint of apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  The flavor starts with a refreshing & fruity peach with hints of citrus, followed up by a cooling mint finish (the mint was less pronounced when there was more sediment).  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Medium bodied.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple influence.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this better than their American Apple and Sharp Cherry (it was more flavorful), but overall the flavor combination with the mint wasn’t really to my liking (plus generally I don’t go for fruity ciders).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a few peach ciders, such as from Blue Mountain, Finnriver, and Black Fin.  I’ve also had a few herb-infused ciders, such as Finnriver’s Lavender Black Currant, Honey Meadow, Cranberry Rosehip, & Solstice Saffron, One Tree Lemon Basil, and J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Summer.  I’ve even had Woodchuck’s Mint cider.  However, I haven’t seen this combination before.

Closing Notes:   Columbia Belle was very refreshing and would be nice on a summer afternoon.

Have you tried Jester & Judge Columbia Belle?  What did you think?

Jester & Judge American Apple

Review of Jester & Judge’s American Apple.  They just launched in September, and also offer Sharp Cherry and Columbia Belle (peach) varieties.  Here is an article on their launch and here is an article about their founder (who recently sold the Fox Barrel and Crispin cider companies to MillerCoors).  I tried their Sharp Cherry awhile back (tasting notes here).

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Cider:  American Apple
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles

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<The front logo is pretty cool looking, but the white font on the back is nearly impossible to read>

Availability:  likely only WA & OR

Cider Description:  We embrace the challenge of making an apple cider that is both sessionable and subtly complex.  Our American Apple cider is strong, clean, and sublimely balanced. Equally at home, at the beach, or at the bistro.  100% Natural, 100% Pacific Northwest.

Cidery Description:  We’ll bring the Jester and you be the Judge.  At Jester & Judge we believe that balance is important in life and in cider.  It’s the foundation of our seriously whimsical attitude.  Serious about the quality of the ciders we make.  No concentrates, sorbates, artificial flavorings, colorings, or other shortcuts.  Whimsical because we have fun making the best ciders we can featuring local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, which sometimes means snubbing our nose a little at traditional cider.

Price:  ~$2.50 for a single bottle (runs $8-9 for a four pack)
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light amber with a touch of orange.  No carbonation or foam upon pouring.  Smells like apple juice.

Opinion:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Tastes like apple juice which has been slightly watered down with a touch of honey.  The alcohol is well-hidden.  No noticeable carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Low acidity.  Only the very slightest tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Quick finish.  This is a very simple and apple-forward cider, definitely sessionable (easy to drink multiple bottles in a sitting).  I was surprised this was 5.8% ABV, as I would have guessed much lower.  I suspect they fermented this cider dry to quite a high ABV and significantly back-sweetened it with juice (plus honey).

Most Similar to:  Many plain flagship ciders which are on the milder and drier side.  Ace Apple comes to mind.

Closing Notes:   I found this cider rather average and on the boring side.  I think some carbonation would have gone a long way. It is rare to find a cider like this which doesn’t use sorbates, which can be difficult for cideries to pull off, so for some folks who aim to avoid them, this cider may specifically interest them.  I like that this cider is so low in calories (135 in 12oz).  So far, from trying their American Apple and Sharp Cherry varieties, Jester & Judge appears to make rather mildly flavored ciders, which likely appeals to session drinkers.  Personally, I crave flavor and richness from a cider more than sessionability.  However, there is a reason they make so many ciders…something for everyone.

Have you tried Jester & Judge ciders?  What did you think?