Locust New England Amber

Review of Locust’s New England Amber.  It is my first time trying this, but I previously tried their Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark Cherry, Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricot 1Sweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel PerryHibiscusHoney Pear (drier)Apricot 2WatermelonPineapple, and Honey Pear (sweeter).

Cider:  New England Amber
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  7.1%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft New England style cider from dessert apples, with brown sugar and dates

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Availability:  seasonal (winter), with semi wide distribution in the U.S.

Cider Description:  Inspired by New England style ciders, Washington apples are blended with brown sugar and dates for a complex but smooth and balanced flavor.

Cidery Description:  Family owned and operated out of Woodinville, WA since 2015, we believe in making real cider accessible for real people.  We specialize in modern ciders made with all locally sourced Pacific Northwest ingredients, adding an innovative spin on classic cidermaking methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple.

They have a cidery & taproom in Woodinville WA, taprooms in Seattle and Tacoma WA, and a cidery & taproom in Ft Worth TX.

Price:  ~$3 / single can (runs $8.99 / four pack of cans)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – Total Wine is awesome as you can get a single can/bottle from most any multipack

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First Impression:  Moderate pumpkin amber hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells sweet and rich.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich apple, caramelized sugar, molasses, honey, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Nice flavor and even some complexity, but not too sweet.  Dates were substituted for raisins here, which would be more traditional, but I think it was a nice choice.  I didn’t specifically pick up date flavor, but I imagine it added to the overall profile.  The ABV was lower than is typical for the style.

Most Similar to:  Cockrell Colonial Winter

Closing Notes:  This is a great selection at an awesome price.

Have you tried Locust New England Amber?  What did you think?

Locust Watermelon

Review of Locust’s Watermelon cider.  I previously tried this on draft (see here), but this time I am doing a full review of a can.  I’ve also previously tried Locust’s Sweet Dark Cherry, Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricot 1Sweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel PerryHibiscusHoney Pear (drier)Apricot 2PineappleHoney Pear (sweeter)

Cider:  Watermelon
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with watermelon juice

Photo Jun 02, 8 33 22 PM Photo Jun 02, 8 33 35 PM

Availability:  likely at least in Washington, Oregon, Chicago, Florida, California, and Texas

Cider Description:  Washington apples, watermelon juice, & that’s all

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple.  Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores- diverting them from destruction because their juice is still great. Our unique process then transforms the apples into great cider through methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.

They have tap rooms in Woodinville WA, Seattle WA (Ballard), Tacoma WA, and Ft. Worth TX.

Price:  $9.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  PCC in Fremont Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, after visiting the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Hazy light pink-orange hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mildly of watermelon.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of watermelon and a hint of white grape.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I like it, especially as I’m a huge watermelon fan.  Its a nice light option for spring & summer, less sweet, but still fairly flavorful, although fairly simple.

Most Similar to:  The only other watermelon beverages I’ve tried are a watermelon perry (from pears) from NV Cider and a watermelon session mead (from honey) from Bee Haven.

Closing Notes:  Locust has a great lineup of flavorful ciders, from dry to sweet, although my favorites from them are on the sweeter end (this one, Bittersweet Reserve, Sweet Aged Apple, and Vanilla Bean + Smoked Blueberry)

Have you tried Locust Watermelon?  What did you think?

Woodinville Cider Tasting 4 at Locust Cider

I spent some time in Woodinville Washington recently, including cider tasting at the Locust Cider tap room (and lunch at one of my favorite spots, a burger place called Tipsy Cow).  See my notes from visit 1, visit 2, and visit 3.  My husband and a friend joined me, and we shared a flight of five ciders.

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<left to right: Hibiscus Wine, Dark Cherry, Aged Apple, Pineapple, and Honey Pear, all 5-6% ABV>

Hibiscus Wine:  This was labeled as being a guest tap with a wine which finished like a cider.  That was a bit confusing though as it was still labeled as 6% (which would be very low for a grape wine) and it didn’t say from where it was from.  Semi-dry with floral and berry notes and a hint of oak.  I couldn’t really tell if it was from grapes or apples, as it was very mild.

Dark Cherry:  My husband’s favorite.  Semi-dry with real cherry flavor but a bitter aftertaste.  Also sold in cans.

Aged Apple:  My favorite (see my full review here), but I wish it was drier.  Sweet to semi-sweet.  Very apple forward with hints of oak.  Also sold in cans.

Pineapple:  My friend’s favorite.  This may have been a one-off / tasting room only release, as it wasn’t their Chili Pineapple.  Semi-sweet.  Not as intense of a pineapple flavor as I expected, and it also had some citrus notes.

Honey Pear:  This one was very different than when I tried it before (see here), as this time it was on the sweeter side of semi-sweet instead of on the drier side of semi-dry.  Way more honey and pear flavor due to the increase in sweetness.  Also sold in cans.

They also had Original Dry, Cilantro Jalapeno, and Spiced Pumpkin.  I was surprised with how sweet all the options were.  The driest were their Original Dry and the Dark Cherry.  Its ironic as Locust started out only making dry ciders (the Dark Cherry used to be their sweetest).  I imagine the market wants sweeter ciders though.  Sweeter ciders tend to be more flavorful than drier ciders when using dessert apples.

Tasting Notes from NW Cider’s Preview of WA Cider Week 2017

I was recently invited to a Washington Cider Week preview for media and buyers.  The 7th annual Washington Cider Week is September 7th-17th 2017, and will include numerous cider events, with Cider Summit Seattle being a main highlight.  This preview event was hosted by the NW Cider Association, and held midday on a Tuesday at Capitol Cider in Seattle.

WACW-2017-Logo

It was a pretty sweet invite-only event, and I enjoyed the excuse to take a half day off work!  My husband even joined me; it was nice to have a driver, as there were eleven PNW cidery representatives pouring samples.  Even though there weren’t many new-to-me ciders, it was a great opportunity to get some face time with the pourers, which often isn’t possible at the larger events.

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<view of part of Capitol Cider’s basement event space>

Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA):  I’ve tried most of their lineup, which includes many favorites, but my husband requested a sample of Glow.  It is one of their sweeter options, made from rare red-fleshed apples.  It was a good choice as they rarely pour it at events.  Awesome as always, semi-sweet, and crazy fruity flavorful without any additives.

Bad Granny (Chelan WA):  This was my first time seeing them at an event (the cidery is less than a year old).  I learned that they are associated with Karma Vineyards, one of the few producers of Methode Champenoise wine in the state.  The cidery is a combination of their MC wine experience and their apple orchard family roots.  I had tried their flagship Green Apple cider on draft previously (it is also sold in cans), which is a great simple semi-sweet cider option.  They also brought their currently draft-only black currant cider, which I found to have only a very mild flavor, but overall was easy to drink, semi-dry to semi-sweet, with a fuller body than expected.  I learned of their plans to release some specialty ciders in large format bottles, such as one from red-fleshed apples and one from Dabinett traditional cider apples.

Dragon’s Head (Vashon Island WA):  They just released this year’s vintage of Kingston Black single varietal cider (which I tried last year).  However, I decided to go for the Traditional cider, which is my favorite from them – a semi-dry cider with complex rich bittersweet cider apple flavor.  I also sampled the Perry, as I wanted to compare it to the Methode Champenoise version I tried recently; I enjoyed this regular version better as it was sweeter (almost semi-sweet), and more flavorful / fruitier.  Sometimes I find that a very high carbonation can impede a cider tasting for me as it makes a cider seem every drier and more acidic than it really is.

Finnriver (Chimacum WA):  I tried their newish Cider Summit collaboration cider (poured at all four Cider Summit events in 2017 – Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and next, Seattle), called “Summit Saison”.  It is made with organic apples, Saison yeast, dried fruit such as apricots, and spices (which oddly enough included peppercorns).  I found it hazy, semi-dry to semi-sweet, with citrus & stone fruit notes with a hint of peppercorn on the finish.  I’m not a fan of pepper, even in food, so I wasn’t really sure what to make of it.  My husband however was a fan.

Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA):  This was a great opportunity to have a side-by-side tasting of their English-Style and Stonewall (barrel aged) ciders, which I’ve previously found very similar but hadn’t tried together.  I preferred the Stonewall, as it was a bit smoother, with less acidic bite, and the added whiskey & oak notes.  I also tried Turncoat, their hopped cider, which had nice herbal flavor without bitterness, which was my husband’s favorite.

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA):  At this stop, as I said I had tried all of the regular line up (which was being poured from their new cans), I was treated to a sample of their limited release Bourbon Barrel Aged cider.  It was semi-dry, and very mild at first (especially for 14% ABV), then all of a sudden Bam!, an intense bourbon finish.  I thought I hadn’t tried it previously, but I actually had, over a year ago at their tap room (good thing for my Cider List!).  I liked it better this time because it was served cold, but despite enjoying the flavor, its not something I would drink too often.

Pear UP  – formerly Neigel Vintners / NV Cider (East Wenatchee WA):  I had a chance to have a longish chat with the always energetic co-founder Kevin.  He shared about the recent NW Cider trip where 10 PNW cidermakers traveled to France & England to learn about keeving (see this article).  I also learned about the cidery’s packaging changes, such as new 12oz instead of 16.9oz green Aluminum bottles (with a digital wrap instead of labels), and four packs of 12oz clear glass bottles (which enables that SKU to be at a lower price point).  I also learned about some new products they have released, including an interesting new partnership with a distillery, a brewery, and a label artist, resulting in Centre Ring, with an initial release of a cider and a perry, at a nice price point of $11.99 / 750ml bottle.  Interestingly enough, Centre Ring doesn’t only focus on cider/perry, but craft beverages and food in general.

I started with the new Centre Ring Reserve Pear, which reminded me of a slightly drier and slightly more complex version of their flagship Pear Essentials, as it was semi-dry, medium bodied, and pear-forward with some citrus notes.  Next I tried another new-to-me release (draft and bottles), Pearjito Colada; I didn’t pick up any mint, but the coconut was a fun bold flavor in the tasty semi-sweet perry.  Lastly, my husband wanted to try the Pearfect Pie, which I had never tried either; it was a bit odd to drink in summer, but is a semi-sweet perry with a hint of pie spice.

Schilling Cider (Auburn WA):  I tried the Grapefruit & Chill, which I learned was a different recipe than a grapefruit cider I had previously tried which was flavored with SodaJerk grapefruit soda syrup and I wasn’t a fan of; this time it was a surprisingly pleasant citrus-forward and higher carbonation semi-dry cider.  I also re-tried the Pineapple Passion, which is one of my favorite Schilling varieties, with some strong tropical flavor, but it is definitely on the sweeter end (semi-sweet to sweet).  My favorite from them is the King’s Schilling.

Seattle Cider (Seattle WA):  I tried two new draft-only releases.  First – Lavender Lemon, a semi-dry cider with the as-advertised flavor notes.  Second – Cucumber Hibiscus, which was semi-dry to dry, and started with cucumber on the nose, primarily hibiscus (fruity/floral) in the flavor, and a cucumber finish.  They were both more flavorful than most of the ciders I’ve previously had from them.  I found both pretty average – plenty drinkable, but not something I would seek out.

Snowdrift Cider (East Wenatchee WA):  No new ciders to try, but I tried the cider I had tried the least of and is the most rare – the Cidermaker’s Reserve.  I learned it was made under Methode Champenoise with apples from their 2014 harvest, including bittersweet varieties, and aged 3! years.  It is a highly carbonated cider with an awesome texture, on the sweeter side of semi-dry, with a very unique flavor profile – fruity with pomegranate notes, and almost grape champagne-like.  I was surprised to hear it had bittersweet cider apples, as it definitely didn’t have the typical profile I’d expect.  A fun and unique cider and an excellent value too, at $19 / 750ml (this was my husband’s favorite cider of the event, and he insisted we pick some up afterwards).

Tieton Cider Works (Yakima WA):  No new to me ciders here either, so I re-tried the Sparkling Perry.  I re-learned that this is made by keeving and is wild yeast fermented (neither of which I would have guessed nor remembered from my taste nearly two years ago).  I’d describe it as a semi-sweet to semi-dry pear-forward perry with fruity citrus notes.

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They had some nice swag too – tote bags, brochures, postcards, and stickers.

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I did some serious cider shopping that day, about 12 bottles between Capitol Cider, the Schilling Cider House, and QFC.  My coolest finds were at Capitol Cider, as I don’t get there often:  EZ Orchards “Pomme” (Pommeau, a mix of apple brandy & cider), last year’s release of Finnriver Fire Barrel (which I liked better than this year’s batch), and two different single varietals from Liberty (that I only thought were available in their tasting room and online).  The Schilling Cider House also had a couple new to me releases, a peach wine from Mission Trail and Gasping Goose from Newton’s Court in England.  I also picked up a re-supply of Dunkertons Black Fox, my current go-to English cider, and a couple others favorites from Aspall and EZ Orchards.

Stay tuned for more posts on Washington Cider Week 2017, especially Cider Summit Seattle.

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Locust Cider Tasting Notes #4

After lunch at Tipsy Cow in Woodinville WA, my husband and I stopped by Locust Cider.  See my notes here from visit 1, here from visit 2, and here from visit 3.

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<Cherry, Apricot, and Watermelon ciders>

Sweet Dark Cherry:  I’ve tried this previously (see here), and it is also available in cans.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Light simple cherry flavor.  Quick finish.  My husband really liked it, but for me its pretty average.

Apricot:  This is a draft-only release.  I tried an apricot cider from them awhile back (see here), but it was quite different.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Syrupy tropical and apricot flavor.  Quick finish.  This was too sweet for both of us, but had a nice flavor.  I prefer the apricot ciders from Atlas and Summit.

Watermelon:  This is a new draft-only release.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Hazy hue.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate watermelon juice flavor.  Quick finish.  I really enjoyed it (I’m a huge watermelon fan), but my husband didn’t like it for whatever reason.  It reminded me of NV Cider Watermelon Perry.

Summary:  My favorite was the Watermelon, and my husband’s favorite was the Cherry.  Overall, my favorite Locust ciders are the Bittersweet Reserve (one-time special release?), Aged Apple, and a 50-50 mix of Smoked Blueberry & Vanilla Bean, as they are all super flavorful, but also rather sweet (not something I’d drink often).

Locust is a nice place to hang out and drink cider (they even have an outdoor patio and some games), and they often have varieties which don’t even leave their tasting room.  However, I noticed the small pours are expensive, at $3 / 3oz, so a flight of five (close to a pint) is $15 + tax.  Of course its much cheaper to get a pint ($6-7?), but the vast majority of folks opt for the variety of a flight.  Also, they only have 9 taps of their own ciders.

Locust is more convenient for me to get to, so I visit semi regularly.  However, I much prefer the Schilling Cider House, as they have cheaper flights ($2 / 3oz), more variety with 32 taps (often a few are the more artisanal varieties made from cider apples vs. the more commonly found flavored ciders from dessert apples), and hundreds of bottles too.

Locust Honey Pear

Review of Locust’s Honey Pear cider.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I’ve previously had their Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark Cherry,  Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricotSweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel Perry, and Hibiscus.

Cider:  Honey Pear
Cidery:  Locust Cider
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  draft only
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with honey and pear juice

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Availability:  Likely only in bars & restaurants in the Seattle area (including Locust’s tap room), although in general their ciders are sold in CA, ID, OR, TX, and WA.

Cider Description:  none given

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple. 

Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores, diverting these from destruction because their juice is still great! Our unique process then transforms them into great cider- methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.

We are now made up a great small team: Chelsea, head cidermaker, Ryan, cellar manager, Shenna, tap room manager, Spring, events manager, and Chris, sales manager. We are a “family” passionate about cider, and we thank you for visiting our tasting room, and being part of our family!  -Jason Spears, founder of locust cider

Their Woodinville cidery has a tap room.

Price:  $6.50 / pint
Where Bought & Drank:  Tipsy Cow in Woodinville WA (an awesome burger restaurant)
How Found:  This was one of two ciders on draft at the restaurant (they also had D’s Baked Apple).

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells very mild, slightly of tart apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of green apple, pear, honey, and citrus.  Quick finish.  Low complexity.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was very average.  I liked that it wasn’t very sweet (which most of Locust’s recent releases have been, and is common with draft cider at restaurants & bars in my area as it sells well).  However, I actually think the dryness was too much for this cider, as it was very tart and not very flavorful.  Also, both pear and honey ciders are typically sweeter, so that would be expected.

Most Similar to:  Longdrop Tanager Pear Cider

Closing Notes:  I always like finding local cider on tap to go with a nice meal, even if the offering isn’t a favorite of mine.

Have you tried Locust Honey Pear?  What did you think?

Locust Sweet Aged Apple

Review of Locust’s Sweet Aged Apple cider.  I thought this was my first time trying it, but turns out I tried it here, although I haven’t done a full review.  I’ve also sampled their Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark CherryWashington Dessert Apple, Bittersweet Reserve, Pumpkin, Thai Ginger, Bourbon Barrel Aged, Winesap, Alder Smoked Apple, Mango, Elder & Oak, Wabi Sabi, Apricot, Berry Session, Smoked Blueberry, Vanilla Bean, Winter Banana, Chili Pineapple, Seckel Perry, and Hibiscus.

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Cider:  Sweet Aged Apple
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  multi packs of 12oz cans, and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, aged for 6 months

Availability:  Year round in CA, ID, OR, TX, and WA

Cider Description:  We leave a blend of pressed washington dessert apples on their own and let the wild yeasts do their work. then we age it for 6 months. the result is a semi-sweet, full bodied, deep, very appley, smooth and round cider. there is beauty in imperfection. great with meat and cheese, stands up!

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple. 

Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores, diverting these from destruction because their juice is still great! Our unique process then transforms them into great cider- methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.   -Jason Spears, founder of locust cider

Their Woodinville cidery has a tap room.

Price:  $6.50 / pint draft
Where Bought & Drank:  Tipsy Cow Burger Bar in Woodinville WA
How Found:  This was one of two draft cider options (the other was D’s Wicked Baked Apple)

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Smells like apple juice.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of apple juice, honey, brown sugar, and maybe a hint of oak?  Quick finish.  High apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked this.  However, it was a bit sweet for a full pint.  The flavor is really nice though.  Definitely a simple cider, but tasty.  Perfect for a canned multipack.

Most Similar to:  Locust Aged Washington Dessert Apple

Closing Notes:  Tipsy Cow is one of our favorite local restaurants, and it is awesome they have cider (and 2 local craft ciders at that).  However, I wish they had a drier option, as both are sweet.  Oddly enough I actually liked when they offered Spire Dark & Dry, as although not dry, it is drier than this, and it goes really well with greasy food.

Have you tried Locust Sweet Aged Apple?  What did you think?

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?

Locust Cider Vanilla Bean & Smoked Blueberry

Review of Locust Cider’s Hootenanny series Vanilla Bean and Smoked Blueberry ciders.  This is a two for one review as I enjoy these ciders mixed together.  Its not my first time trying these, but I hadn’t yet bought bottles / done a full review.  I’ve also tried a lot of other ciders from Locust:  Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark CherryWashington Dessert Apple, Bittersweet Reserve, Pumpkin, Thai Ginger, Bourbon Barrel Aged, Winesap, Alder Smoked Apple, Mango, Elder & Oak, Wabi Sabi, Apricot, Sweet Aged Apple, Berry Session, Winter Banana, Chili Pineapple, Seckel Perry, and Hibiscus.

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Cider:  Vanilla Bean & Smoked Blueberry
Cidery:  Locust Cider
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  5.0% & 5.0%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider infused with Madagascar vanilla (Vanilla Bean) or alder smoked apples and blueberries (Smoked Blueberry)

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Availability:  Year round in CA, ID, OR, TX, and WA

Vanilla Bean Description:  Washington apples meet real Madagascar vanilla, creating what is best described as an adult’s all natural cream soda. you don’t like sweet ciders??? Ok sure, try this.

Smoked Blueberry Description:  Some people do not like smoked foods and drinks. Ok fine, stop reading. for those who do, this is comfort in a drink, blending apples, smoked over alder wood, with real blueberries, this is unexpected but amazing.

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple. 

Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores, diverting these from destruction because their juice is still great! Our unique process then transforms them into great cider- methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.

We are now made up a great small team: Chelsea, head cidermaker, Ryan, cellar manager, Shenna, tap room manager, Spring, events manager, and Chris, sales manager. We are a “family” passionate about cider, and we thank you for visiting our tasting room, and being part of our family!  -Jason Spears, founder of locust cider

Their Woodinville cidery has a tap room.

Price:  $7 each
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried these individually at Locust’s tap room awhile back, then at a tasting event I decided to try them mixed.

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First Impression:  Both nearly still (very low carbonation).  The Vanilla Bean is a light straw yellow hue and the Smoked Blueberry is a bright purple-blue hue.  The Vanilla Bean smells rather mild, just slightly sweet and of vanilla.  The Smoked Blueberry is a bit more fragrant, smelling of blueberry with a hint of smoke.

Vanilla Bean Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of vanilla, cream, and hints of citrus (reminiscent of cream soda).  Quick to moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

Smoked Blueberry Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of blueberry and grape with hints of smoke and alder wood.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

Mixed Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Both fruity and creamy.

My Opinion:  On their own, although plenty good, I don’t find either of these too remarkable.  The Vanilla Bean has a great flavor, but I find it a bit sweet to drink much of (although this batch is slightly less sweet than I’ve had before, but also slightly less flavorful).  The Smoked Blueberry is nice, but pretty typical.  However, mixed together, the result is a uniquely tasty.

Most Similar to:  Not much else.  I’ve had other smoked ciders, but they weren’t fruit-infused.  For example, Locust Alder Smoked Apple, and the more intense Tilted Shed Smoked and Alpenfire Smoke.  The closest I’ve had to the Vanilla Bean is probably Long Drop Vanilla Honey (but that has more honey than vanilla, with some awesome honeycomb notes).

Closing Notes:  Combining ciders is a fun way to mix things up.  I haven’t really got into cider cocktails, as to me, mixing cider with other beverages is something I would think of doing if I don’t like a cider (and have done actually).

Have you tried Locust Cider?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 26 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 26th 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 Thursday night when they had Schilling Cider’s 4th anniversary party.  I started with half a flight, waiting for them to put more on tap once the event started.

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Snowdrift (Wenatchee WA) Orchard Select (7.3% ABV):  The scent has hints of funk.  Fully dry.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate bitterness, especially on the finish.  Low funk.  Hints of sourness.  Low to moderate tannins.  Sharp flavor with citrus, herbal, and possibly crab apple notes.  I found this a bit harsh for my liking between the dryness, sharpness, and acidity.  I think their Cliffbreaks Blend is more likable, although that is significantly sweeter.  Fans of dry cider from cider apples will likely really enjoy it; I think it reminds me of a lot of ciders I’ve had from the Northeast.

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA) Hibiscus (5.0% ABV):  This appears to be a draft-only special release.  Pink hue.  Smells floral and fruity.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  More fruity than floral, with notes of rhubarb, strawberry, and watermelon.  I really enjoyed it.  I’m curious what they added to this.

Eric Bordelet (Normandy France) Nouvelle Vague Sidre (5.0% ABV):  This is the first time I’ve seen this variety in the U.S. (although we get a handful of their ciders in bottles).  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low carbonation.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Low bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Simple but tasty flavor profile, apple and yeast forward.  This reminded me a bit of English cider in addition to French cider, with a higher level of tannins, clean flavor (no funk), and lower carbonation (although likely to it being on draft vs. bottled).  I enjoyed it, especially as it warmed up.

Next Sarah shared some of a Hogan’s 3 liter bag-in-box variety (retails for $33, which works out to $8.25 / 750ml).

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Hogan’s Cider (Alcester United Kingdom) Hazy Daisy (3.9% ABV):  I’ve only seen this in the 3L bag-in-box in the U.S.  Semi-dry.  Still.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  Hints of bitterness, funk, and sourness.  The flavor is very mild, apple and citrus forward.  This would be a perfect summer session cider, and possibly my favorite from Hogan’s so far oddly enough (I’ve also tried Medium Cider and Picker’s Passion), as it had a bit less sourness (especially compared to the Medium).  I enjoyed it.

The full event lineup was finally on tap a bit after the event started at 6pm.  It ended up being a lot of the usual suspects, sours, and high ABV barrel aged spirit-style ciders.  I ended up only ordering one more thing, as it was getting late for me and very very busy.

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Schilling Cider (Auburn WA) French Bittersweet (unknown ABV):  A draft-only special release from French bittersweet apple juice.  Very dark hazy brown hue, like unfiltered non-alcoholic cider.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Moderate tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  The flavor was very cider apple juice forward–it really didn’t taste alcoholic.  I think this may have been the same cider I tried at Cider Rite of Spring which tasted just like juice to me (maybe it was there?).

My favorites were the Locust, Eric Bordelet, and Hogan’s.

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 25 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 25th 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 Tuesday when they were having a 2 Towns event (they had Return of the Mac, Made Marion, Cherried Away, Flight of the Kiwi, and Sun’s Out Saison on tap).  I started with a flight.

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<left to right:  Finnriver Fire Barrel, 2 Towns Sun’s Out Saison, Locust Seckel Perry, Sea Cider Wolf in the Woods, Cockrell Dusty, and Alpenfire Heirloom Dry>

Finnriver (Chimacum WA) Fire Barrel (9.0% ABV):  This year’s Fire Barrel was just released (I’ve tried it previously; see here).  It is made from cider apples (this year they are all Organic and all from Finnriver’s own orchard), then Whiskey barrel aged for 5 months (previously it was aged in charred Bourbon barrels).  They have a detailed fact sheet on this and all their other ciders now too.  This time around it is a higher ABV, and is being released in a 750ml corked bottle (part of their Orchard Series) for $23, instead of a 500ml bottle for $11.  I prefer smaller bottles for lower prices.  I think it was underpriced before (I recognize these barrel aged ciders from real cider apples cost significantly more to produce), but $23 is a bit steep.
Darker hue.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, tannins, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, caramel, and molasses.  Long warming finish. Oddly enough I liked this better as it warmed up, as it seemed to have more depth (often for a higher ABV cider, they become harsh as they warm). Moderate flavor intensity, apple flavor, sessionability, and complexity.  Low to moderate oak and spirit flavor.  I really enjoyed it, but the previous version was better, as it seemed more complex (I didn’t pick up the vanilla this time) and had more oak & spirit flavor, likely as it was a bit sweeter.

2 Towns (Corvallis OR) Peach Saison / Sun’s Out Saison (5.8% ABV):  I thought this was something I hadn’t tried, as it was labeled Peach Saison (they write whatever the keg label says on the tap list board, so sometimes it varies from the official name), but it turns out it is Sun’s Out Saison, back for its 2nd seasonal release (also available in bottles); I’ve tried it previously (see here).  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Notes of peach, pear, citrus, and green apple.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.  I really enjoyed it.  This year’s release seemed slightly sweeter and more flavorful.

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA) Seckel Perry (6.0% ABV):  This draft-only perry is made from Seckel pears.  Smells slightly of vinegar, sourness, funk, and citrus.  Hazy hue.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied, with a nice texture.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Mouth-puckering without being overly tart or acidic.  Hints of sourness, funk, bitterness, and tannins.  Pear-forward with some citrus, even lime.  I enjoyed it.  Snowdrift also makes a nice Seckel Perry (see here).

Sea Cider (Saanichton B.C.) Wolf in the Woods (9.9% ABV):  This is a special release cider, part of their Canadian Invasion Series, with hops and pine tips, also available in bottles (for more info see here).  Dry to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate bitterness.  Low tannins.  Flavor notes were on the earthy and botanical side, with hops, wood, and citrus.  Long warming finish, but that was the first time the ABV showed up.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability.  I enjoyed it.

Cockrell Cider (Puyallup WA) Call Me Dusty / Dusty Dry (6.8% ABV):  This is their flagship dry cider, also available in bottles.  Dry to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Rather apple-forward and flavorful for a drier cider.  Hints of peach, pineapple, and lemon.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability, complexity, and apple flavor.  I enjoyed it.

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Traditional Heirloom Dry (8.0% ABV):  This is a draft-only new cider release from heirloom apples.  Dry to semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Apple-forward flavor with some citrus and floral notes.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability.  I enjoyed it.  Even Alpenfire’s simpler ciders are exceptional (like their Simple Cider).

Sarah also shared a few sample ciders with me.

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Carlton Cyderworks (McMinnville OR) Sidra Natural (6.9% ABV):  This is a special release Spanish Sidra-style cider (first available November 2016), made from bittersweet & bittersharp PNW apples.  Semi-dry to dry.  Low to moderate tartness, acidity, and sourness.  Low funk.  Notes of citrus but not much else.  Low flavor intensity and complexity.  I found this rather uninspiring, plus I’m not really a fan of Sidra / sour ciders.  However, this would be a good introductory Sidra for someone as it isn’t overly harsh.  Interestingly, imported real Spanish Sidra can be bought around here for significantly less than local Sidra-style cider, so I’m curious how these cider styles will sell.  Rustic and farmhouse-style ciders seem to be gaining in popularity in the PNW (or at least, in production).

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Aval (Bretagne France) Cidre Artisinal (6.0% ABV):  This is a semi widely available French cider from the Brittany region, known for sweeter and higher carbonated apple-forward ciders, typically without the sourness & funk which is common is ciders from the Normandy region.  Darker hue.  Smells sweet, of caramel.  Unknown carbonation level (this had gone flat, but I’m guessing it was higher to start with).  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and bitterness.  Notes of apple pomace and caramel.  Quick finish.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  I enjoyed this; it is a very easy-drinking French cider, similar to Celt, which is a staple cider in my house and a steal at $7.99 for four 11.2oz bottles.

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North Idaho Cider (Hayden ID) Logger (6.9% ABV):  This cidery’s ciders are new to the Seattle area (see this article), and this one retails for ~ $7.99 / 22oz.  Logger is a dry cider aged on oak and pine.  Dry.  Low sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of oak/wood, earth, and citrus.  Mild flavor intensity and apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability and complexity.  I thought this was nice, and reminded me of Grizzly Ciderworks The Ridge.

For probably the first time, I actually enjoyed every cider in my flight.  However, my favorites were the Finnriver Fire Barrel and 2 Towns Sun’s Out Saison.  Of the bottle pours, I enjoyed the Aval best.  It was awesome to have several true artisan cider selections on tap (those made from cider apples by cideries with their own orchards), as most of the draft selections tend towards ciders made from dessert apples with added flavors (fruit, hops, etc).

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.

xn0nw

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!

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 on 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?

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.

Schilling Cider House Visit 19 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 19th 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 a Monday for 2 Towns’ re-release of Made Marion (this time in cans) and the re-release of their Cot in the Act cider (this time as a Fruit Seasonal).

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I enjoyed a flight of four ciders, then samples of Cot in the Act and Made Marion.

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<left to right: Incline Lemongrass & Hops, Locust Berry Session, Dragon/s Head Columbia Crab, and Etienne  Dupont Apéritif>

Incline (Auburn WA) Lemongrass Lure (6.5% ABV): This is a draft-only limited release cider with Citra hops and lemongrass.  Smells of lemongrass, citrus, and herbs.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied with a nice frothy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, herbs, and only a hint of hops.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  I enjoyed it; I think it had just the right amount of hops–not overpowering (the flavor was primarily lemongrass).

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA) Berry Session (4.0% ABV): This is a draft-only sessionable berry cider.  Smells of blackberries and strawberries.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  The flavor is just berry, mostly blackberry with some strawberry.  High sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  I’m usually not a huge fan of berry ciders as I find them overly simple, but I thought it was pretty good.

Dragon’s Head (Vashon WA) Columbia Crab (6.0% ABV): This is a new draft & bottled cider made from crabapples.  Smells of sharp crabapples, honey, and lemon.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Light flavor, not as sharp as most crabapple ciders.  notes of crabapples, honey, lemon, and white blossoms.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  This is much sweeter than the other ciders I’ve tried from them, which was surprising, but I’m guessing it may have been perceived.  I enjoyed it.

Etienne Dupont (Pays d’Auge France) Aperitif / Pomme / Pommeau (17% ABV): This is a special release of Pommeau (cider mixed with apple brandy).  It is Cidre Bouche from bittersweet apples, aged in a Calvados barrel, with 1998 reserve Calvados mixed back in.  Smells boozy, like Pommeau, rich, and of caramel.  Semi-sweet to sweet (although apparently it is very low residual sugar so it may just perceive sweeter).  Still.  Medium to full bodied.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk (which was surprising considering the base Cidre Bouche definitely had that going on).  Notes of rich bittersweet apples, caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla.  No sessionability.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate complexity.  High flavor intensity.  Amazing!

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<2 Towns Cot in the Act>

2 Towns (Corvallis OR) Cot in the Act (6.0% ABV): Although this unfiltered apricot cider has been out for a few years, it is being newly released as a Fruit Seasonal, in both bottles and kegs.  Smells mild and fruity.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hint of bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of apricot and peach.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Low complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

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<2 Towns Made Marion>

2 Towns (Corvallis OR) Made Marion (6.0% ABV): Smells strongly of blackberries.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor is primarily blackberry, with hints of blueberry.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

The Etienne Dupont Pommeau was my favorite; I wish bottles were available of it locally.  I thought it was worth the $5 for 2oz!  Its probably my favorite Pommeau so far, although I also enjoy the 2 Towns and Finnriver 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 18 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my eighteenth 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 last Thursday, for the One Tree Crisp Apple cider release party, and enjoyed a flight of four ciders, plus One Tree’s new cider.

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<left to right: Portland Pineapple, Wandering Aengus Barrel Aged Wickson, Tieton Bourbon Peach, & Locust Sweet Aged Apple>

Portland Cider Company (Portland OR) Pineapple (5.7% ABV): This draft-only pineapple cider poured foamy but settled down after awhile.  This may be their “Maui Cruiser” variety, which also has coconut blossom nectar, as I couldn’t find any evidence that they have a strictly Pineapple cider.  Smells of fresh pineapples.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  The flavor is purely pineapple, with low flavor intensity.  I felt this cider smelled much better than it tasted…it left me wanting more flavor.  The pineapple aroma was so strong (especially in comparison to the cider’s flavor) that it makes me curious if it was added.

Wandering Aengus (Salem OR) Barrel Aged Wickson (8.0% ABV): This is a barrel aged draft-only version of their single varietal Wickson crab apple cider, which is available in bottles (which I tried previously and found overly harsh).  Smells mild, with hints of crab apples and oak.  Dry.  Low flavor intensity.  The barrel aging seemed to mellow the cider’s intensity compared to the original version.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Alcohol-forward with crab apple sharpness, oak, and honey notes.  This is best drank cold as it becomes more harsh as it warms up.  I found this more drinkable than the original version, but I still didn’t care for it.

Tieton (Yakima WA) Bourbon Peach (6.5% ABV): A draft-only bourbon barrel aged peach cider.  Hazy lemonade hue.  Smells of bourbon, peaches, and pineapple.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Hints of boozy bourbon (but not overpowering) and peach & pineapple notes.  Yum!  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.  Medium to high sessionability.  I’m a fan of bourbon barrel aged ciders, but often they tend towards being overly boozy, harsh, dry, etc…this one was tasty and easy to drink.

Locust (Woodinville WA) Sweet Aged Apple (6.9% ABV): This is a barrel aged cider made from dessert apple varieties which is available on draft and in bottles.  I’ve tried this previously (when it was called Aged Washington Dessert Apple; see here), but had heard they significantly changed the recipe, so I wanted to give it another try.  Last time it was quite hazy and unfiltered looking, but this time there was no haziness.  Smells mild and apple-forward.  Semi-sweet (less sweet than the previous recipe).  Less flavorful than the previous recipe, but much more sessionable.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Caramel, vanilla, and honey notes.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  I’m not sure which recipe I preferred, as there are pros & cons of each, but I enjoyed both versions.

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<One Tree Crisp Apple>

One Tree Hard Cider (Spokane WA) Crisp Apple (6.8% ABV): This is their new flagship cider, sold in four packs of 16oz cans and on draft.  Hazy.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Unfiltered baked apple flavor with honey notes.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  High sessionability.  Strong apple flavor.  I enjoyed this.  I found it very similar to 2 Towns Out Cider, but slightly sweeter and slightly more flavorful.  Much less sweet than any of the other ciders I’ve tried from them.

The Tieton Bourbon Peach cider was my favorite, and my favorite cider from Tieton so far.

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 16 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my sixteenth 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 Alpenfire Cider (from Port Townsend WA).  Its pretty rare they do events, besides some pricey (but awesome sounding) dinners with cider pairings.

Philippe (Nancy & Bear’s son) was there from Alpenfire.  The Cider House was featuring a flight of six ciders from Alpenfire (five of which were bottle pours, which was a first for the Cider House, and Apocalypso on draft, which is a rarity for Alpenfire) plus a Shrub cider cocktail.

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I arrived early so I tried a few ciders before the event.  I had been there just a week earlier, but quite a few of the taps turned over (although there weren’t too many I hadn’t tried).

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<left to right: Eaglemount Perry, Locust Apricot, and Carlton Bourbon Peachy Keen>

Eaglemount (Port Townsend WA) Perry (8.0% ABV): Smells of pear and citrus, slightly sour.  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild bitterness.  Hints of sourness, funk, and tannins.  Notes of pear, citrus, spice, and vanilla.  Alcohol-forward and sharp.  Moderate length finish.

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA) Apricot (6.0% ABV): Smells sweet, of apricot and peach.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Medium flavor intensity with simple but real tasting apricot flavor.  Quick finish.

Carlton Cider (McMinnville OR) Bourbon Peachy Keen (6.5% ABV): Foamy.  Smells of bourbon and fruitiness (peach and apricot). Semi-dry to dry.  Very light bodied with a frothy mouthfeel.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Low barrel influence.  Moderate spirit influence.  Medium to long length finish.  They also make a non barrel aged version of this cider.

alpenfire
<Alpenfire cider tasting>

The Alpenfire ciders were ready as it got closer to 6pm.  I’ve previously tried all the ciders they were offering in the flight, so I decided to just order a pint of Apocalypso (a draft-only version of their Calypso blackberry rum barrel aged cider with double the blackberries and barrel aged 4 instead of 2 months).

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Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Apocalypso (6.5% ABV): Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness.  Mild acidity.  Mild tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Mild rum influence.  Moderate barrel (oak) influence.  Moderate blackberry flavor.  Moderate length finish.

I also tried a couple sips of the Shrub cocktail, made with Alpenfire bittersweet cider, Alpenfire apple cider vinegar, blackberry puree, and sparkling water.

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Shrub: Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Vinegar more in the scent than flavor.  There is tartness and a hint of vinegar flavor, but not any sourness like I was expecting.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Moderate blackberry flavor.  Moderate length finish.  Unique, but not my thing.

My favorite of the night was the Alpenfire Apocalypso cider.  I liked this batch even better than the last one I tried for WA cider week 2015 at the Burgundian Bar (see here), as it was slightly sweeter, more fruity, and more oaky.

They even got in some bottles of Alpenfire Cinders (the Méthode Champenoise version of Glow, their rosé cider made with red-fleshed apples).  Its a rare find outside of the Alpenfire tap room (which I visited in February; see here).  I actually prefer Glow though, as its sweeter and more flavorful.

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

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.

Locust Cider Alder Smoked Apple

This will be a short post, as I only tasted one new-to-me cider during my latest visit to Locust Cider in Woodinville WA.  Check out my prior tasting notes and reviews of Locust ciders here.  It was an impromptu visit.  My husband and I met two friends for lunch at the Tipsy Cow in Redmond (which is an amazing burger place, and I don’t even like hamburgers…I get a veggie burger), and we decided to go to a few tasting rooms in Woodinville before heading home.  The boys had some wine at a couple of the winery tasting rooms in the same stripmall as the Locust Cider tasting room, and us girls tried some cider.

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Their tap list hadn’t changed much from my visit a few weeks ago…they swapped Chipotle for the Alder Smoked Apple.  That worked great for me though, as it was the only one on the menu I hadn’t tried!  Their “up next” list also looks really interesting, especially the red wine barrel aged and prickly pear ciders.

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Alder Smoked Apple:  6.0% ABV.  They get the smoke flavor from alder smoked apple rings added during fermentation, showed in this photo from their Instagram.  This is a tap-only release, but has made it to a few other locations in the Seattle area.

Semi-sweet to sweet.  Mild acidity.  Mild tartness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Full bodied.  Notes of maple, honey, and hints of citrus and alder.  I only picked up mild smoke flavor in the moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.

They said this was less smokey than previous batches.  I enjoyed it, but I think with more smoke and less sweetness, it would have been awesome.

I also tried their Winesap cider again.  I liked it better last time; this time it was missing that frothy texture I enjoyed, and was a bit more sour.

I also spotted their new bottle design.  They are going from 750ml to 500ml bottles on their special release ciders, which I think is a good move.  500ml is my favorite bottle size.

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I look forward to trying more from Locust Cider.

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).

2016-02-27 14.26.02
<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?