Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s How Do You Like Them Little Apples, a whiskey barrel aged cider.  I have tried this cider a couple times previously on draft, but now it is available in cans.  I’ve also previously sampled their How Do You Like Them Apples, Boys N Berries, Last Apple, and Crimes of Passion.

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Cider:  How Do You Like Them Little Apples
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider, aged in whiskey barrels

Availability:  Semi wide release, in the U.S. in AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA, WA D.C., and WI, and Australia, China, and Japan.  They also have an online store.

Cider Description:  This hard cider is made from the finest New Hampshire apples that are available to us, usually a blend of Cortland, McIntosh, Gala, and Red Delicious varieties. We blend the fresh-pressed cider with just a touch of  honey and natural sugar before we let it ferment and age in newly emptied rye whiskey barrels.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good” ™.

They have been around since May 2010 and have a tasting room in Londonderry NH.

Price:  $3 / single can
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband bought it for me.

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First Impression:  Hazy medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells musty, of vinegar, honey, and whiskey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low sourness, funk, and bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of vinegar, honey, must, and lemon, plus hints of oak and whiskey.  Moderate length finish.  Very low barrel influence.  Low whiskey influence and apple flavor.  Moderate complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was very different than previous versions.  I didn’t really enjoy the odd vinegar flavor with sourness and funk.  Previously it was sweeter and richer, with more honey, oak, and whiskey.

Most Similar to:  Spanish Sidra

Closing Notes:  This was disappointing.  Previous versions (like this) were much more enjoyable.  Hopefully this was a one-time error or something, but it puts me off from wanting to buy it again and taking the chance it’ll happen again.  I have heard that can liners sometimes don’t stand up to acidic cider, so over time the cider can turn vinegary.  The second can was just as bad.

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery’s How Do You Like Them Little Apples?  What did you think?

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Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s How Do You Like Them Apples.  I had previously tried this on draft, but they recently began offering this (and the “Little Apples” version) in cans.  I’ve tried a number of beverages from Moonlight Meadery:  How Do You Like Them Little Apples, How Do You Like Them Apples, Boys N Berries, Last Apple, and Crimes of Passion

Cider:  How Do You Like Them Apples
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  13.5%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft honey apple wine (apple cider with honey and brown sugar), rye whiskey barrel barrel aged

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Availability:  Semi wide release, in the U.S. in AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA, WA D.C., and WI, and Australia, China, and Japan.  They also have an online store.

Cider Description:  A New England Hard Cider, made with the finest New Hampshire apples that were available to us, which we had fresh pressed into apple cider. This fresh cider was delivered the day it was pressed to our Meadery, where we blended it with just a touch of honey, and some brown sugar and let it ferment, then we let it age in freshly emptied Last Apple barrels, for a minimum of 6 months.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good”™.

They have been around since May 2010 and have a tasting room in Londonderry NH.

Price:  ~$6 / single can
Where Bought:   Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  my husband picked this up

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells rich, syrupy sweet, apple-forward, of honey, whiskey, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of concentrated apple, honey, orange, oak, whiskey, caramel, and brown sugar.  Moderate length finish, which is also the only time when the high ABV is noticeable.  Low oak/barrel influence.  Low to moderate whiskey influence.  High apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  High flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Amazing.  I really love the in-your-face rich complex flavor of this cider.  However, it is best suited as an after dinner sipper, splitting the can among at least 2 people.  By the end of the can I was a bit over it, as it was so sweet, even though I sipped on it throughout the evening.  This tasted good anywhere between ice cold and close to room temperature.

Most Similar to:  Ice cider and Moonlight Meadery Last Apple (although that one had more honey than apple flavor, in contrast to this one), which are both high ABV, have concentrated rich flavor notes, and are sweet

Side Note:  I like that they added a dry-sweet indicator on the can, but I think they were off on this one…it is way closer to the sweet end of the spectrum than the middle (although maybe it was an appropriate rating based on the beverages they make at Moonlight.

Closing Notes:  My husband also picked me up a couple cans of the “Little Apples” version of this cider, so stay tuned.

Update:  Like the canned How Do You Like Them Little Apples, the can of this I opened a month or two later was starting to turn vinegary.

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples?  What did you think?

Cider Summit Seattle 2016 Post 2/2 – Tasting Notes

This is post 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2016, covering tasting notes.  Post 1/2 (see here) covered the event.

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2 Towns (Corvallis Oregon) Hollow Jack (6.4% ABV) – This fall seasonal pumpkin cider was just released.  They added caramelized pumpkin, sweet potato, honey, and spices.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  Notes of pumpkin, squash, and cinnamon.  It was very lightly flavored, unlike many other pumpkin (and more frequently found, “pumpkin” spice ciders, which actually don’t have any pumpkin) which are overwhelming.

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Apple Outlaw (Applegate Oregon) Chocolate Raspberry (unknown ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry.  The chocolate was added by soaking cacao bean husks in the raspberry cider.  These husks would otherwise be discarded in the chocolate making process.  Smells delicious, purely chocolate and raspberry.  Semi-dry.  The flavor is almost all raspberry, but hints of dark chocolate shone through in the slightly bitter and tannic finish.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  This was a bit of a novelty, but nice.

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Aspall (Suffolk England) Perronelle’s Blush (4% ABV) – Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Light to medium bodied.  Lovely fruitiness with moderate blackberry flavor plus hints of cranberry and blueberry.  This is a nice sessionable summer sipper without forgoing flavor.  I’ve never been disappointed by Aspall.

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Boonville (Boonville CA) Bite Hard Semi-Sweet (6.9% ABV) – Their semi-sweet flagship cider is a follow up to their Dry Bite Hard variety.  I found it as advertised, semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Fruity, with notes of tropical fruit like pineapple, plus green apple (all from the apples).  I prefer this semi-sweet cider to their drier variety, which was more wine-like (which corresponds to their wine making background and methods).

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Bull Run (Forest Grove Oregon) Mango (unknown ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry.  This hazy cider looked like mango juice.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Very juice-like and moderate mango flavor intensity.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Simple but tasty.

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Carlton Cyderworks (McMinnville Oregon) Impearial Asian Pear Hard Cider (5.8% ABV) – This is a pear cider (apples + Asian pears + Hood River Oregon pears).  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Light sourness.  Mildly flavored with notes of pear, pineapple, lemon, green apple, and mineral.  I prefer more flavor, but this would pair well with food.

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Coquerel (Victot-Pontfol, Normandy, France) Calvodos Fine VSOP (40% ABV) – This was my first time trying straight Calvados, an aged apple brandy (I’ve only had it with cider, as Pommeau).  Semi-dry.  Definitely boozy, with a very long warming finish.  It surprisingly had only a mild apple flavor, although its possible my palate was a bit overwhelmed by the alcohol.  I’m not really into straight alcohol (especially when served room temperature).  I think I’ll stick to Pommeau.

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d’s Wicked (Kennewick WA) Cranny Granny (6.9% ABV) – This is a granny smith apple cider with cranberry juice.  Hazy pink hue.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Simple with only notes of moderately tart granny smith apples and cranberry.  If you like tartness and cranberry, you’ll like this cider.

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Dragon’s Head (Vashon WA) Columbia Crabapple Cider (6.7% ABV) – A single varietal cider made from Columbia crabapples.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity with hints of bitterness and tannins.  Sharp flavor with notes of mineral, green apple, honey, white blossom, and lemon.  Wine-like and nuanced with low flavor intensity.  This is the sweetest variety I’ve tried from them.  Their Kingston Black or Traditional is probably my favorite though.

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Double Mountain Brewery –  I’ll add a bit about them as they aren’t yet distributed in Washington, only Oregon.  They have brewed beer for 9 years, but just started making cider, and have one introductory variety.

Double Mountain (Hood River Oregon) Jumpin Jack Heirloom Cider (7.3% ABV) – Fully dry.  Mild sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild bitterness and tannins.  Notes of green apple and a hint of hops (not sure if they were added, or there might have been some tap line contamination).  I didn’t pick up the richness of any of the cider apple varieties they added, but there was definitely sharp heirloom apple flavor.  I thought it was ok.

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Finnriver (Chimanum WA) Apple Abbey (6.5% ABV) – A Belgian-inspired cider made from dessert apples.  Foamy and hazy.  Smells of sourness and citrus.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Yeast-forward.  Notes of citrus and green apple.  Hints of sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  I liked it.

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Finnriver (Chimanum WA) Pomona’s Nectar (6.5% ABV) – This is a new Crew Selection sour nectarine cider.  Smells like Spanish Sidra.  Semi dry.  Mild to moderate sourness.  Notes of lemon, yeast, and mineral (I didn’t pick up any stone fruit).  I’m still trying to acquire the taste for sour ciders, but I found this one pretty tolerable; its a bit more approachable than the average Sidra.

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Incline Cider (Auburn WA) Scout (6.5%) – A hopped marionberry cider.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Light marrionberry and moderate hops flavor.  I think I prefer their plain Explorer hopped cider variety.

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J. Seeds (Fairfield CA) Apple Cider Whiskey (35% ABV) – Whiskey made including apple cider.  Semi-sweet.  Apple forward and quite tasty, although I don’t have anything to compare it to as I’m not a whiskey drinker (I’ve previously found it too harsh).  However, I’m not into straight booze, so I think I’d prefer it watered down or mixed.  It looks to be available locally and is quite affordable.  I wouldn’t mind trying this again.  Being sweeter, it reminds me of what flavored sweetened vodka is to plain vodka.

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Maeloc Cider (Galithia Spain) Dry (4.8% ABV) – This is a commercial Spanish Sidra.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet (despite the “Dry” name).  Medium bodied.  Mild sourness and funk.  Notes of citrus and green apple.  It is a more approachable Sidra, a style I’m still learning to acquire a taste for.  I learned they use apples from within 50 miles of the cidery, grown in a damp climate similar to the PNW, and use wild yeast fermentation for all their ciders.  Overall it was ok.

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Montana CiderWorks (Darby MT) Spartan Dry-Style (5.5% ABV) – This is a small batch oak aged single varietal made with Montana-grown Spartan apples, in the style of Northern Italy’s Sauvignon Blanc.  Dry.  Light bodied.  Nuanced and wine-like, with high acidity, and sharp green apple, herbal, and baked apple notes.  It was nice, but I prefer their fuller flavored Darby Pub cider.  This is a wine-lovers cider.

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Moonlight Meadery (Londonderry NH) Crimes of Passion (4.1% ABV) – A black currant seasonal cider.  Semi-dry.  Light sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild to moderate black currant flavor intensity.  I enjoyed it, although without the sourness I would have enjoyed it more.  I was excited to learn they will soon be offering their How Do You Like Them Little Apples cider in cans (currently all their ciders are draft-only), starting in October/November, including in the Seattle area.

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Nectar Creek (Corvallis Oregon) Honeycone (6.9% ABV) – This is a hopped mead (no apples, just honey and water).  The smell is all hops, no honey.  Semi-dry.  Mild flavor intensity with more hops than honey.  I found this sessionable lightly carbonated mead to be lacking the full flavor I enjoy in the higher ABV sweeter meads.

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Number Six Cider (Seattle WA) Peach Fuzz (6.5% ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry, a spiced peach cider.  Semi-dry.  Very full bodied (chunky and smoothie-like).  Low peach flavor and moderate to high spice intensity.  It was a bit too strange for my liking as it was so full bodied, and overly spiced.

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NV Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Watermelon Raspberry (unknown ABV) – This perry (no apples) with watermelon and raspberry was their fruit cider challenge entry, and was served through a watermelon.  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderately flavorful, but with more raspberry than watermelon notes, and no pear.  I prefer their watermelon perry without the raspberry.  Both however are refreshing options.

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland Oregon) Sour Cherry (7.2% ABV) – This cider was made from granny smith apples, with pie cherry juice which was soured, pear juice, and “hint” of ghost chili peppers.  Semi-dry.  Moderate cherry flavor.  Low sourness.  Low to moderate heat/spiciness from the ghost chili peppers.  I liked the cherry portion of the cider, but spicy ciders aren’t my thing (and a bit of a palate killer too).  I’d love to see this without the spiciness (which I believe was new for this year).

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland Oregon) The Passion (6.9% ABV) – Cider with passion fruit juice, coconut, and vanilla.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild sourness.   Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Strong passion fruit flavor with hints of vanilla, pineapple, and coconut. I really enjoyed it.  I liked how fruity it was without being too sweet.  I had heard this was very sour so I hadn’t got around to trying it, but I wish I had sooner!  I wonder if they did away with the sour aspect this year, as I really didn’t pick up any.  I’ll have to try this again to see if my sour taste buds were busted when I tried it.

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland Oregon) Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant (9.5% ABV) – This is Wandering Aengus’ Golden Russet cider with black currant puree from Oregon Fruit Products, aged for 6 months in whiskey barrels.  It was made for the Portland and Seattle Cider Summits, but will be a Tent Show cider club release in October.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild tannins and bitterness.  Moderate barrel and spirit influence.  Awesome!  I really loved this cider.  I usually find berry ciders to be boring, but when barrel aged, they can be amazing.  This reminded me of Alpenfire Calypso and Apocalypso, except more boozy, and whiskey not rum barrel aged.  Too bad they weren’t selling bottles of this at the event, as I would have picked some up.

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Sea Cider (Saanichton, B.C., Canada) Ruby Rose (9.9% ABV) – This summer seasonal is made with rhubarb and rose hips.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Intensely fruity, with floral, rhubarb, strawberry, and watermelon notes.  I really liked it!  Oddly enough I didn’t find it too boozy, despite being 9.9% ABV.

Sea Cider (Saanichton, B.C., Canada) Witch’s Broom (9.9% ABV) – I got a taste from the first bottle poured in the U.S. of this fall seasonal.  It was described as a “bouquet of pumpkin patch spices”.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  It was moderately spiced with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and baked apple.  Mild tannins, bitterness, tartness, and acidity.  Cinnamon was the most present, both in the nose and the finish.  One of my favorite spiced ciders, but I’m not usually a huge fan of them.

Both of these ciders from Sea Cider are part of their Canadian Invasion Series, meant to draw attention to invasive species and their threat to farms and natural areas.

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Seattle Cider (Seattle Washington) City Fruit (6.3% ABV) – This is a special release cider only sold at Whole Foods, made using apples collected in the Seattle community by the non-profit City Fruit.  Dry to semi-dry.  Wine-like and acid forward.  Notes of red grape and mineral.  Overall very mild flavor intensity.  This is a wine-lovers cider, and would pair well with food.

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Steelhead Cider (Manson WA) Chimera Cherry Apple (5.5% ABV) – This is a newer cidery who just started distributing (at least kegs) in the Seattle area.  I previously tried their Peargatory.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to strong real cherry flavor.  It was sweeter than I prefer, but I liked the intense cherry flavor.

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Summit Cider – I’ll add a bit about them as they aren’t yet distributed in Western Washington (only Idaho and Eastern Washington).  This cidery was started in 2014, making them the first in Idaho, and the only in Coeur d’Alene.  Their bestseller is Apricot, although of late their Hibiscus cider has been popular with wine drinkers.  They have a tap room in Coeur d’Alene.  I met co-founder Davon Sjostrom, who has a background in Botany, which I imagine brings something new to cidermaking.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Apple (6.5% ABV) – Semi-dry.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Rather plain, but likeable.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Apricot (6.5% ABV) – Semi-dry.  Lots of (true) apricot flavor for the level of dryness (typically drier ciders have a less intense flavor than sweeter ciders).  I really enjoyed it.  Davon described testing out many varieties of apricots to find the one whose flavor came across best in cider.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Hibiscus (6.9% ABV) – Semi-dry with nuanced light floral and herbal notes.  I can see why this would be a wine-lovers cider.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Blackberry (unknown ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry.  I found it semi-dry and very mild in flavor.  I think with some barrel aging it would have been nice though.

In Summary

My Favorite Cider – Reverend Nat’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Black Currant

Other Favorite Ciders – Reverend Nat’s The Passion, Summer Cider Apricot, Sea Cider Ruby Rose, and Steelhead Cherry

Most Interesting Cider – One Tree’s PB&J cider, a raspberry cider with peanut butter whipped cream (I didn’t try it, but a photo is available here – more dessert than cider).

Other Interesting Ciders – Reverend Nat’s Sour Cherry, due to the use of ghost chili peppers.  Schilling’s Grumpy Bear, due to the use of coffee and a Nitro can (my tasting notes here).  Schilling’s Sour Raspberry Smoothie, due to its high viscosity (apparently for some of their ciders with high fruit content, they have a keg or two per batch which are smoothie-like).  Apple Outlaw’s Chocolate Raspberry, due to the use of chocolate in a cider (I’ve only heard of Woodchuck doing this previously).  1o1 Ciderhouse Black Dog, due to the use of activated charcoal (poured last year, with my tasting notes here).

Moonlight Meadery Last Apple Cyser

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s Last Apple, a cyser (made from apples and honey).  I tried this previously on tap (see here), and have also previously tried some ciders, meads, and cysers from Moonlight Meadery (see here).

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Cider:  Last Apple
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry New Hampshire
ABV:  16.0%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cyser (made from apple juice and honey), barrel aged

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Availability:  AL, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MD, ME, MI, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, and WA D.C. in the USA (see here), plus Australia, China, Japan, and through their online shop (shipped to 36/50 states)

Cider Description:  We took the very last New Hampshire apples that were available to us and had them fresh pressed into apple cider. We then blended it with True Source Honey and let it ferment and age in freshly emptied Jim Beam barrels for over 6 months.  The end result is nothing short of heavenly. It is unlike any of the other honey apple meads that we make, that’s why we felt it deserved its own unique label design.  Take your time with this precious liquid and allow its complexities to dance along your palate.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good”™.

Price:  $26.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I tried this previously at the Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA and remembered loving it, and didn’t even know bottles were available (I picked this up awhile back and haven’t seen it since), so I decided to jump on it, despite the high price tag.

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First Impression:  Light to medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells boozy, of honey and caramel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Full bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, sweet ripe apples, caramel, oak, and coffee.  Long warming finish.  Low apple influence.  Low barrel influence.  Moderate to high honey influence.  Very low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this, but I think the batch I tried awhile back which was kegged was far superior; it didn’t have the coffee notes, had more oak flavor, was sweeter & fuller bodied, and was more complex.  In this price range, I think I’d prefer an ice cider from Eden (see here).  This reinforces how much I like cider bars, especially for high end ciders, as a sample can be had for $2-$5, vs. spending a good deal on an entire bottle.

Most Similar to:  This is more mead than cider, both in flavor and its high ABV.  It has more honey notes and a higher ABV than most cysers, such as the ones I’ve tried from Finnriver (Cyser Cider),  Eaglemount (Cyser), and Sea Cider (Birds and the Bees).  Its even higher ABV than the meads I’ve tried, such as Skyriver Solas (see here) and Superstition Honey Highway (see here), yet is smooth and easy to drink.

Closing Notes:   I look forward to continuing to try more ciders, meads, and cysers from Moonlight Meadery; they offer quite a large selection.

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery Last Apple?  What did you think?

Apple Outlaw Cider Tasting & More at Around The Table

I recently attended an Apple Outlaw cider tasting at Around the Table, a game pub in Lynnwood Washington, North of Seattle.  Its a unique game shop with tables to play at, snacks, and beer/cider/mead/soda/etc on tap.  They have quite a tap list, which usually includes a few ciders and a mead (which is more ciders than most places with even more taps have).  They’ve had a few other cider tastings prior to this, which include having a mini cider tap takeover and bringing in a cidery representative to pour them and chat.

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They had Apple Outlaw’s Ginger Bite, Original, and Tangerine Twist on tap.  The rep Meghan also opened a bottle of their Cranberry Jewel while I was there.  I met up with Nathan from The Cider Chronicles, who now also works part time for Elemental Hard Cider.  He brought a growler of their Pomegranate-Rose cider with him.  Around the Table also had Elemental’s NW Atomic Root Beer cider on tap (a cider-based hard root beer, which I reviewed here), and Moonlight Meadery’s Sumptuous Mango mead.

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<the full tap list that evening>

Apple Outlaw is an orchard-based cidery in Applegate Oregon, in the Applegate Valley in the Southern portion of the state.  They actually sold non-alcoholic cider (juice) for quite awhile before starting to sell hard cider, which they make from dessert apples.  Oddly enough they no longer sell their unfermented juice.  Although the place was rather busy, the cider tasting wasn’t, so Nathan and I got to chat with Meghan for awhile.  We learned that Apple Outlaw is still on the small side, and mainly family-run.  They don’t currently have a tasting room, but their bottled (and draft) ciders have been sold since 2013, and are available in Oregon and Washington.

Elemental Hard Cider Pomegranate-Rose, 6.5% ABV:  Light cherry pink hue.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Mild to moderate tartness.  I mostly tasted pomegranate, but it was smoother than typical, presumably from the infusion of rose petals (although I didn’t pick up any floral notes).  Elemental has infused rose petals with other ciders as well, such as Lavender-Rose (which I reviewed here).

Apple Outlaw Tangerine Twist, 5.5% ABV:  Cider with tangerines and hops.  It is their Spring/Summer seasonal. Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  The flavor started distinctly citrus and tart, and the finish was hopped (light bitterness and floral notes).

Apple Outlaw Original Hard Cider, 5.5% ABV:  This is their flagship cider.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Easy to drink and sessionable.  Very apple forward (back sweetened).

Apple Outlaw Ginger Bite, 5.5% ABV:  Made with Peruvian yellow ginger.  Moderate to strong ginger scent.  Semi-sweet.  I’m not a ginger fan, but this was definitely more approachable for me than most ginger ciders, as most of the ginger remained in the scent…I really didn’t pick up too much ginger flavor.  Most of all, it didn’t have any sinus burn.  I think the sweetness also helped its approachability.  This was described as being great for food pairings.

Apple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel, 5.5% ABV:  This was a bottle pour.  Made with cranberries, rose hips, and orange peel.  I didn’t pick up the rose hips or orange peel (which I only read about later).  It was definitely very cranberry (moderate to strong) and tasted juice-like to me.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness.  Medium bodied.

Moonlight Meadery Sumptuous Mango Mead, 13.6% ABV:  Nathan let me taste the glass he ordered.  Very fruity and alcohol-forward, but the mango flavor isn’t particularly strong.  Sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Full bodied.  This was the first beverage from Moonlight Meadery that I didn’t think was amazing…I think I much prefer their ciders, meads, and cysers which are more honey-forward, with richer brown sugar type notes (see my prior reviews here).  The fruitiness just didn’t seem to mesh with the whole 14% ABV mead vibe.  I think as a lower ABV cyser (apple + honey) it would have worked better.

Of the Apple Outlaw selections, I liked the Original best.  I’ve previously tried their Oaked Sweet Dark Cherry and Blackberry Bounty ciders on tap.  However, none of the Apple Outlaw ciders are really a style I enjoy (and I’m not really a fan of hops, ginger, or cranberry).  My favorite ciders are typically richer and/or made from cider apples.  Its always fun to try new ciders though!

Schilling Cider House Visit 12 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my twelfth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts here.  I was there on St. Patrick’s Day, and they were having a potluck.  I also met David from Cider Expert (apparently I’m a superuser there and he wanted my feedback) and we had a spirited cider discussion for almost a couple hours.  Cider Expert is a cider rating & review website currently in Beta testing.  I think once it goes live it will be great, as the other beverage review websites like Untappd and RateBeer don’t really work well for cider (plus this one has ratings for taste properties specific to cider, and algorithms to actually suggest ciders).

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I got there after work, around 4pm, and had a flight of 6 ciders.  I was there for a few hours so I was expecting to order something else too, but they were large pours and one was high ABV, so that was it for me.  I had thought that 5/6 were new for me, but after I ordered I realized I had 2 of them before, so only 4/6 were new for me.  There were a couple other ciders on the tap list I hadn’t tried, but weren’t of interest.  I brought in some Thai food takeout; I guess I must be picky as I’m 0/3 as far as liking the local Thai food options in Fremont.  The PCC (natural grocery store with a large ready-made food section) remains my favorite takeout option nearby.

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<left to right: Carlton Cyderworks First Fruits, Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples, Red Tank Yukon Cornelius, Grizzly Ciderworks Woodlander Wit, Anthem Rose Pinot, and Cider Riot! Burn Cider>

Carlton Cyderworks First Fruits, 6.5% ABV, McMinnville OR:  Described as an apple cider fermented with plums and mulberry juice, aged in wine barrels for 5 months, which appears to be tap only.  Light pink grapefruit hue.  Semi-dry.  Moderate acidity and mild tartness.  Light bodied.  I really liked the texture most of all with this cider; kinda frothy (note the foam in the photo). I didn’t recognize it as being barrel aged though (only read that later). It was lightly fruity and really refreshing.

Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples (cider), 13.5% ABV, Londonderry NH:  I’ve absolutely loved everything I’ve tried from Moonlight Meadery.  I had tried this one before, and knew I wanted to include it in my flight as its a rare, and like all their ciders, tap-only.  Them Apples is described as being aged with brown sugar for 6+ months in barrels from their Last Apple cyser (which were barrels from Jim Beam whiskey).  Note that they also have a “How Do You Like Them Little Apples”, which is similar, but only 6.5% ABV (see my review here).  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Low acidity, low tartness, a hint of bitterness, and a hint of sourness.  Very smooth, with a well hidden ABV.  Medium bodied.  Notes of baked apple, whiskey, oak, citrus, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla.  This was different than I remembered previously…much less sweet, and with hints of bitterness and sourness.  It was very good, but I think I prefer the Little Apples version (or at least the batch of this one I tried previously).  On a side note as this was aged in Last Apple barrels, I also love that one, and have a bottle at home.

Red Tank Cider Yukon Cornelius, 6.0% ABV, Bend OR:  Described as including vanilla, cranberry, and cinnamon.  Schilling actually called it Vanilla-Cran-Cinnamon, probably as the keg was labeled that way, but with some research it looks like Yukon Cornelius is the actual name.  Light punk hue.  Strong cinnamon scent.  Semi-dry.  Mild vanilla, moderate cinnamon spice, and a hint of fruitiness but mostly tartness from the cranberry scent.  Light bodied.  Interesting combination, but it worked.

Grizzly Ciderworks Woodlander Wit, 6.9% ABV, Milton-Freewater OR:  This is the one I thought I hadn’t tried before, but I had (see here).  They modeled this cider after Belgian wit-style beer (they used that variety of beer yeast), and added orange peel and coriander.  Semi-dry.  Moderate acidity, low tartness, and low bitterness.  Medium bodied.  Mildly flavored, with notes of oak, spice, herbs, and citrus (I didn’t specifically identify orange or coriander).  I like The Ridge from them better, which has more woody earthiness without the herbal & citrus flavors of this one, although is even drier.

Anthem Rose Pinot, 6.5% ABV, Salem OR:  Described as being aged with pinot noir grapes (its unclear whether in a barrel or tank).  Bright red hue.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and mild acidity.  Light bodied.  Very mild flavor which to me had a lot of cranberry notes.  I didn’t really like the flavor of this one.  I imagine wine lovers would enjoy it.

Cider Riot! Burn Cider, 6.8% ABV, Portland OR:  Described as being made with Oregon-grown English cider apples, tart wild apples, and dessert apples, and being inspired by English West Country pub draught ciders.  Dry.  Moderate bitterness, moderate acidity, low tannins, and low tartness.  Light bodied.  Hints of bittersweet cider apples, but overall it was on the mild end of the flavor spectrum, and kinda watered down tasting.  Notes of vanilla and spice as well.  I think if it had been more flavorful, slightly less bitter, and slightly more sweet, this would have been nice.

My favorite of the evening was the Moonlight Meadery cider, which I also loved the last time I had it (see my Cider Summit Seattle 2015 tasting notes here).  I also enjoyed First Fruits, even though I usually don’t go for fruity ciders.  Lately I’ve realized I enjoy ciders that best I can explain are very “textural” (Locust Winesap was another example; see my tasting notes here).  Overall though I was a bit underwhelmed by my flight, but many I tried mostly just to try them.  I wish Schilling would offer more unflavored ciders (not fruity, hopped, spiced, etc), English & French imports, etc, on tap, but I imagine the flavored stuff sells well.

On my way out I picked up another bottle of 2 Towns Pommeau, as its that awesome (see my review here), a great value, and the bottle says it ages well (up to 20 years?).  I also bought a cider I hadn’t seen in this area before from ÆppelTreow, Kinglet Bitter, which sounds like something I’ll like (made from bittersweet apples); I’ve enjoyed a couple other ciders from them (Appely Doux and Barn Swallow).

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

Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples Cider

Review of “How Do You Like Them Little Apples”, a cider from Moonlight Meadery.  Note that they also offer “How Do You Like Them Apples” (without “Little”), which is quite a different cider, mostly as it has a significantly higher ABV, 13.5% instead of 6.9%.  I’ve also tried that one (at Cider Summit Seattle 2015; tasting notes here).

Cider:  How Do You Like Them Little Apples
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  draft-only (I got a half growler, 32 oz)

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Side Note:  This is the first time I’ve got a growler fill of cider!  I’ve always decided against it as 64 oz of cider is way too much for just me to drink in a short period of time, but my husband came home with a half growler of beer recently.  These half growlers (and even quarter growlers, only 16 oz) seem to be a newer thing.  Two pints of cider is more easily doable.  The place where I got it filled (see below) actually only sells half growlers, although I’m sure if you brought in a full size one they would fill it for double the cost.  Also, check out my new cider glass!

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I’ve been wanting to buy some real cider glasses for awhile, and picked up three (see above, with one of my usual cider glasses on the right for reference) at World Market, each between $2 and $4.  They are officially a goblet, brandy snifter (pictured with cider above), and sangria glass (curved).  I think the brandy one is my favorite as it isn’t as large/tall as the other two, although similar to wine glasses, none of these would be filled up all the way.

Availability:  Regional.  See the list on Moonlight Meadery’s website.

Cider Description:  A hard cider, made with the finest New Hampshire apples that were available to us, which we had fresh pressed into apple cider. This fresh cider was delivered the day it was pressed to our Meadery, where we blended it with just a touch of honey, and some brown sugar and let it ferment, then we let it age in freshly emptied rye whiskey barrels, for a minimum of 3 months.  This is a DRAFT only release.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class, cidery and meadery from Londonderry New Hampshire, specializing in meads: wines made from honey, and ciders. The diversity of the offerings often leaves people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it at their local stores. Stop by to find out why “History never tasted so good”™. Try the oldest fermented beverage, “Romance By the Glass”®. Distributed nationwide both here in the United States, and Australia.  It all started back in 1995, when Michael, our founder and head mead maker, tried a cyser (apple and honey mead) for the first time.

Since that first sip Michael has developed a passion, and a masterful skill at making international award winning meads. Michael Fairbrother has started Moonlight Meadery®, with a mission to bring ultra premium meads to the market place.  It is more than a product and it is more than a process, it’s our obsession.  Our meads will be unique, and unlike anything you have ever tried, you will find it incredible!   We are going to embrace the unique nature of natural honey as minimally processed as possible.  Since starting production in May of 2010, we have grown beyond our wildest dreams. We hope you will stop by to hear our story and try our meads, and tell your friends.

Moonlight has a tasting room in Londonderry NH, and an online store selling their products which ships to 20 states (WA not included unfortunately).  We get a few of their bottled meads in the Seattle area, but nowhere near the full lineup.

Price:  $10 / 32 ounce half growler
Where Bought:  Around the Table Game Pub in Lynnwood WA.  This is a great option for draft craft cider in the greater Seattle area by the way, as they typically have 3 ciders and 1 mead on tap (and 8 beers, a coffee, and a soda).  Although its not really my type of atmosphere (gamer types), the cider selection is pretty awesome.  Special Brews up the street has more taps but less cider on tap (although they have a bottle shop).
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried this for the first time at the Schilling Cider House (see my post here).  Schilling Cider House has Moonlight Meadery’s ciders & cysers on tap pretty often.  When I saw this cider was on tap at Around the Table, I went out of my way to get a half growler of it!  Very reasonably priced too.  I’m doing a full review of it now vs. my previous one which was only a quick writeup.  I typically only do tasting notes when sampling ciders away from home as its tough to get a full picture of a cider when doing a quick tasting, and especially when trying it with other ciders.

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First Impression:  Shiney straw yellow champagne-like hue.  Large bubbles.  Complex rich sweet apple scent with a hint of oak wood.

Opinion:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Rich ripe apple, honey, oak, brown sugar, and floral notes.  The slightest hint of whiskey from the barrel in addition to the oak flavor from the barrel itself (which is on the mild side).  Complex flavor, but low acidity, tannins, tartness, astringency, bitterness, etc.  No funk (clean).  Very low carbonation.  Medium to full bodied.  Longer finish, which is where some mild tarrtness and bitterness presents.  Very smooth.  I’d guess it was a higher ABV (maybe due to how full bodied it is), but its not really booze-forward.

Most Similar to:  Not too much.  Most barrel aged ciders don’t also have other flavors (honey & brown sugar in this case), and there aren’t too many barrel aged ciders that are this sweet (although Thistly Cross Whisky Cask comes to mind).

Closing Notes:   Awesome!  One of my favorite ciders.  Even my friend who is very new to hard cider and whose tastes haven’t extended beyond very plain sweet juice-like commercial ciders enjoyed it (I thought she might be put off by the barrel notes).  So, I can recommend this as a good introduction to barrel aged ciders (vs. some others that are very dry, strong barrel influence, lots of spirit notes, etc).  I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve tried from Moonlight Meadery so far (a few ciders, a cyser, and a mead)!

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples?  What did you think?