Cider Summit Seattle 2018 Post 2/2 – Tasting Notes

This is post 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2018, with tasting notes on 21 ciders.  Post 1/2 covered the event.  Sorry some of these photos aren’t that great, but this isn’t a photography blog…

The Tasting Notes

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2 Towns (Corvallis OR) Pommeau – I’ve had their Pommeau (cider + apple brandy) a number of times (see my full review here), and have a bottle in my “cellar”, but its probably my favorite U.S.-made Pommeau.  Both me and my husband didn’t want to pass up a sample.  Semi-sweet, rich, easy to drink despite the high ABV, and awesome as always.

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Angry Orchard (Walden, NY) Dear Brittany – This is one of the small batch ciders made at their Innovation Cider House, a French-style keeved cider.  Semi-dry, tart, and funky, with a hint of sourness, although I picked up more heirloom than bittersweet apple flavor.  As expected for a keeved cider, it was very apple-forward and flavorful in general for not being very sweet.

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Blue Mountain (Milton-Freewater, OR) Pete Limely – Semi-dry to dry with notes of tart citrus (especially lemon-lime).  This was a bit too dry and mildly flavored for me, but I liked the overall flavor notes.

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Brownrigg (Seattle WA) Rum Barrel Aged – This is apparently not a new cidery (I read they started in 2014), but this is my first time seeing them, and my first time trying their cider.  Dry.  Very mild flavor, slightly tart, with a rum finish.  I think I would have liked this better if it was a bit sweeter.

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Chelan Craft Cider (Chelan WA) Cider with Lemon – This is a new cidery, and my first time trying their cider.  Semi-dry, with lots of tart refreshing lemon flavor.  I liked it.  I’m curious how they will do in the market though, as their bottles were listed for $23 / 750ml.  I couldn’t tell what type of apples they used – maybe dessert, maybe heirloom.  The price would be more in-line with heirloom, but still on the high end of what I see in stores.

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Cider Riot! (Portland OR) Everyday Passionfruit – Awesome tropical scent, on the drier side of semi-dry, but the passionfruit flavor was very mild and mostly on the finish, which was a bit of a let down.

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d’s Wicked (Kennewick WA) Tropical  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, tart, with notes of orange, pineapple, and passion fruit.  I liked how flavorful it was without being sweet.

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Herb’s Cider (Bellingham WA) Triplet Special Reserve French Oak Aged Semi-Dry – This is a new cidery, and my first time trying their cider.  Semi-dry to dry, thin bodied, super mild flavor intensity, with notes of heirloom apples and hints of oak.  This was a bit too mildly flavored for me.

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Hérout à Auvers (Normandy France) Pommeau de Normandie AOC – Imported by Beauchamp Imports (French Cider Inc.) – they have online sales too by the way.  This Pommeau is made from 3/4 apple cider and 1/4 Calvados (French apple brandy), then aged at least 14 months in oak barrels.  Semi-sweet, both rich/oaky/earthy and fruity (both my husband and I agreed on strawberry), clean (no funk or sourness), easy to drink for the higher ABV, and overall awesome.  I bought a bottle to take home, and think it was an awesome value at $40 / 750ml (as most local Pommeaux run $25 / 375ml).  Pommeau keeps very well by the way, and you can leave a bottle open for months and just have a bit at a time – I think this will be perfect at cellar temp in my cider fridge.  They also brought La Chouette Rosé, Kystin Opalyne, and Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut, which I’ve previously sampled.

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Idun Cider (Seattle WA) Heirloom Dry – This is a new cidery, and my first time trying their cider.  They currently only have this single flagship release.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, medium bodied, very apple forward, but overall mild in flavor.  I didn’t really taste the heirloom apples (this is listed as having Gravenstein, Winesap, and Newtown Pippin), but I kinda liked it.

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Manoir du Parc (Normandy France) Authentic Rosé – Made from red-fleshed apples and pears.  Semi-sweet, lovely fluffy natural carbonation, and notes of strawberry, watermelon, and pear.  Very reminiscent of La Choute Rosé.  Awesome!

Manoir du Parc (Normandy France) Authentic Cidre – I also re-tried their flagship cidre.  On the drier side of semi-dry, funky and tannic, apple and yeast forward, with a hint of sourness.  My husband surprisingly liked this (usually he dislikes funk, like I dislike sourness).  I think it was because the cidermaker? (or at least some very knowledgeable French dude) was telling us all about it during the tasting.  That sort of experience is what makes me love Cider Summit.

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Miloslawski (Poland) Perry – Imported by Browar Polska Imports.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry, with a very mild canned pear flavor.  I surprisingly liked it.  I was expecting it to be super sweet, but it was a perfect sweetness level for me.

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Ole Swede (Tonasket, WA) Bada Bing! Cider – 90% apple and 10% cherries, co-fermented.  Semi-dry, tart, with a mild real cherry flavor.  They also have a Cherry Perry, which I thought I had tried, but I can’t find anything that I wrote about it, so I guess not!

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One Tree (Spokane WA) Tropical – Semi-sweet, full bodied, juice-like, with a very very similar flavor to Schilling’s Imperial Passionfruit that I tried the night before (as it was made using the same puree from Oregon Fruit Products), but with a hint of pineapple (which One Tree added in addition to the puree and apple juice).  I really enjoyed it, and think it would have been awesome to use it in a cocktail with rum.

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Pear UP (Wenatchee WA) Barrel Hoppin Pear – A barrel aged version of their hopped perry (100% pears, no apple).  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Smooth, mild flavor, with hints of pear, hops, and oak.  I usually don’t go for the mild flavored ones, but that worked well for this one, as hops isn’t something you want to go too overboard with.

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Possmann (Germany) Pure Cider Rosé Black Currant – Imported by Browar Polska Imports.  Semi-sweet with a light fruity flavor, although I couldn’t specifically identify black currant.  I surprisingly liked this, despite the commercialness.

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Ruwet (Belgium) Cidre – Imported by Browar Polska Imports.  Semi-dry, mild overall flavor with apple & citrus.  It tasted a bit commercial to me though, and I would have liked more flavor intensity.  I think this is my first Belgium cider, very cool.

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Schilling (Auburn, WA) Red Wine Barrel Aged Pommeau (paired with chocolate) –  Semi-dry, smells of red wine barrel, but for me the flavor was mostly apple-flavored alcohol burn.  A bit too boozy for my liking.  My husband was a bigger fan.  They also have this on tap at Schilling Cider House right now.

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Seattle Cider (Seattle WA) Red Wine Barrel Berry – On the drier side of semi-dry,  super mild, with hints of berry, oak, and botanicals, and a red wine finish.  Characteristically Seattle Cider.  Surprisingly complex, but for some reason I didn’t really like it, although I couldn’t say why.

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Tieton Ciderworks (Yakima, WA) Oak Barrel Aged Cider Summit Collaboration – Semi-dry, higher carbonation, tart, super mild smooth citrus & oak flavor.

In Summary

It was impossible to taste all the ciders at the event (or even one from each producer), so I’d also like to share previous tasting notes and reviews of ciders from the other cideries I didn’t get to highlight:  Alter Ego, AnthemAvid (previously Atlas), Bad GrannyChatter CreekDouble MountainDragon’s HeadEaglemount, Eden, ElementalFinnriverHi-WheelInclineJester & JudgeJ. Seeds, LibertyLocust, Longdrop, Louis RaisonMaeloc, MontanaMoonlight MeaderyPortlandReverend Nat’sSamuel SmithsSea CiderSnowdriftSteelhead, SwiftWandering Aengus, Washington GoldWildCraft, and Worley’s

My favorites of the day were Herout Pommeau, 2 Towns Pommeau, One Tree Tropical, d’s Tropical, and Manoir du Parc Authentic Rosé.

This event is always the highlight of Washington Cider Week, and the biggest and best cider event of the year in the Seattle area!

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Ole Swede Blend of 9 Cider

Review of Ole Swede’s Blend of 9 Cider.  I’ve previously tried their Blueberry cider.

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Cider:  Blend of 9 Cider
Cidery:  Old Swede
Cidery Location:  Tonasket WA
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert & cider apple varieties, oak aged

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Availability:  Only in WA

Cider Description:  A unique blend of Kingston Black, Storks Red, Harry Masters Jersey, Dabinett, Rome Beauty, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady apples.  Lightly oaked.

Cidery Description:  Our ciders are hand crafted from farm to bottle.  Out family farm was homesteaded in 1899 as new territories were opened in the west, near Havillah, Washington.  Old Swede is born from our roots in North Central Washington’s Okanagan Highlands, a place of natural beauty perched above a valley known around the world for apple production.  We moved back to the family homestead in 2014 and began to take our cider into the world in 2015.

They don’t have a tasting room, but do offer mobile juicing and event catering.

Price:  $9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of oak and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey and citrus.  Moderate length finish with some warming.  Low apple flavor, oak influence, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really liked the flavor, but wanted more of it.  It tasted a bit watery.

Most Similar to:  Nashi Orchards Barrel Fermented Cider, Wandering Aengus Wanderlust, and Finnriver Oak and Apple.

Closing Notes:   This is the third cider from Ole Swede I’ve seen in the Seattle area (in addition to Blueberry and Cherry Perry).

Have you tried Ole Swede cider?  What did you think?

Ole Swede Blueberry Hard Cider

Review of Old Swede’s Blueberry Hard Cider.  They are a relatively new cidery from North Central middle of nowhere WA, and its the first time I’ve tried their cider.  Their second introductory release is a Sour Cherry Perry.

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Cider:  Blueberry Hard Cider
Cidery:  Old Swede
Cidery Location:  Tonasket WA
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert & crab apple varieties, with blueberries

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Availability:  Only in WA

Cider Description:  Our Cider is crafted from Jonathan, Jonagold, Gala, and Manchurian Crab apples handpicked near the Okanogan River on the Maldonado Family Orchard and Big Check Orchard near Loomis.  These apples were naturally fermented with blueberries from Hunter’s Moon Farm creating a delicious libation.  Nicely balanced, dry to medium dry cider with a hint of blueberries.  Bright, Balanced, Refreshing.

Cidery Description: Our ciders are hand crafted from farm to bottle.  Out family farm was homesteaded in 1899 as new territories were opened in the west, near Havillah, Washington.  Old Swede is born from our roots in North Central Washington’s Okanagan Highlands, a place of natural beauty perched above a valley known around the world for apple production.  We moved back to the family homestead in 2014 and began to take our cider into the world in 2015.

They don’t have a tasting room, but do offer mobile juicing and event catering.

Price:  $9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  A friend recommended this cider, and I hadn’t tried anything from them, so I thought I’d pick it up.

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First Impression:  Light red wine hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of red wine, grape, blueberries, and tannins.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Hints of sourness and funk.  Notes of red wine, tannic blueberry skin, cherry, pomegranate, and lemon.  Long finish with lingering tartness.  Moderate complexity.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I found this a bit too tart and in general wasn’t wowed by the flavor, but berry cider isn’t typically my favorite.  However, my husband (a red wine drinker) fell in love with this cider, and said its probably his favorite ever!  He kept stealing sips of it.

Most Similar to:  Red wine; I got a lot of grape notes from this, and the blueberry skins and crab apples added some significant tannins.  I’ve previously tried two blueberry ciders, WildCraft Cider Works Blue River Blueberry and Superstition Meadery Blueberry Spaceship Box.  This actually really reminds me of the Blueberry Spaceship Box, with the tartness and blueberry skin tannins.  Although the Blue River Blueberry also had the tartness and blueberry skin tannins, it was much drier and slightly sour.  It also reminds me of Finnriver’s Black Currant cider, which is also grape-like and tart.  I’m curious how different a blueberry cider would turn out if they used blueberry juice vs. throwing in crushed blueberries (which I assume is what they do as all 3 blueberry ciders had that tannic blueberry skin flavor, and would be much less expensive and much easier than adding blueberry juice).

Closing Notes:   This is a great selection in their cider lineup, and will likely be especially appealing to red wine drinkers.  I’m interested to see what else they will release.

Have you tried Ole Swede cider?  What did you think?