Schilling Cider House Visit 28 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 28th 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 Friday afternoon.  There were only 2 ciders on the board out of 32 that I hadn’t tried, so that meant I got to order some of my favorites.

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<left to right:  Incline Rosé, Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, Portland Sangria, NV Cider Watermelon Pear, Aspall Dry, and Snowdrift Cornice>

Incline (Auburn WA) Compass Rosé (6.5% ABV):  This was the only new-to-me cider in my flight.  It appears to be a year round release, and is also available in cans.  Like all their ciders, it is hopped, plus hibiscus, elderflower, ginger, and rose petals were added (no grape, which is typical for a rosé).  Pale pink hue.  Very mild fruity scent.  Notes of grape, watermelon, and strawberry to start.  As it warmed up, I got a hint of hops and some floral & herbal flavor.  I didn’t pick up any ginger (which is good, as I don’t like it).  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied. Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Mild flavor intensity.  Interesting that I found it more fruity than floral, but maybe I was tasting what I expected (I only found out later what was added).  I enjoyed it.

Finnriver (Chimacum WA) Lavender Black Currant (6.9% ABV):  This is a special release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here), similar to their regular Black Currant (see here).  This batch seemed a bit less sweet, with more lavender.  Too bad it wasn’t on one of their 2 Nitro taps, as that is a special treat.  I enjoyed it.

Portland Cider (Portland OR) Sangria (5.5% ABV):  This is a relatively new year round release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here).  This batch was a bit less flavorful and a bit fuller bodied, but still plenty fruity.  I enjoyed it.

Pear Up / NV Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Watermelon Pear (5.3% ABV):  This is a year round release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here).  This batch had much more pear than watermelon flavor, and had a hint of vinegar flavor & sourness.  I didn’t really care for it this time around with the slightly off flavor.  Their raspberry perry is my favorite so far (see here).

Aspall (Suffolk England) Dry (6.8% ABV):  This is an English import, available year round, also in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here).  Their Dry is actually my least favorite of their line-up, but still plenty good.  Their Imperial is my favorite so far (see here); too bad they stopped selling the black label version of it though, as that was a truly amazing cider.

Snowdrift (Wenatchee WA) Cornice (7.5% ABV):  This is a year round release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously see here).  This batch of this barrel agsed cider was a bit more fruity / less rich.  I enjoyed it.

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

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Schilling Cider House Visit 23 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 23rd visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

taplist

I was there on a Thursday for a Portland Cider tap takeover / luau / potluck.  I started with a flight.

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<left to right:  Alpenfire Glow, Sandford The General, Liberty Cellar Series, Bad Granny Green Apple, Portland Mojito, and Tieton Russian Red>

Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA) Glow (6.8% ABV):  This is a drier version of their Glow (made from red fleshed apples) than is found in bottles (which I’ve reviewed here), apparently as it had to be significantly more filtered when kegged.  Semi-dry, compared to the bottled version which is semi-sweet to sweet.  Compared to the bottled version, its not nearly as flavorful (strawberry and watermelon notes) or complex, and is more tart and lighter bodied.  Very nice, but I prefer the intensely flavorful and sweet bottled version (which I have a bottle of in the fridge that my husband got me for Valentine’s Day).

Sandford Orchards (Crediton UK) The General (8.4% ABV):  This is the first time I’ve seen any cider from this English cidery.  This variety is made from Devon cider apples, then spirit-aged and casked.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  Low tannins.  Apple-forward flavor with some sharpness.  Moderate to long finish.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, and flavor intensity.  This tasted like a typical English cider, although more bitter and less complex than I prefer.  Its good to see an international cider on tap, and made from cider apples too.

Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA) Cellar Series (8.0% ABV):  This is an unknown variety of their Cellar Series (they are usually named with a letter and two numbers), draft only.  Most of their cellar series ciders are wild yeast fermented and barrel aged.  Orange amber hue.  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Hints of sourness and funk.  Low bitterness.  Sharp flavor with crabapple notes and hints of oak.  Moderate to long finish length.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low to moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  I didn’t really like this one, as I found it a bit harsh.

Bad Granny (Lake Chelan WA) Green Apple (6.9% ABV):  This cider is made from dessert apples and sold both in tallboy cans and on draft.  Nearly clear hue.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Definite green apple flavor, plus some white grape.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  I liked it.

Portland Cider (Portland OR) Mojito (6.7% ABV):  This draft-only limited release cider had mint, lemon, and lime added.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Notes of mint, citrus, and a hint of soap?  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.  The flavor of this seemed weird, but maybe it is just me.

Tieton Ciderworks (Yakima WA) Russian Red (6.9% ABV):  This draft-only special release cider is made from red fleshed apples (like Snowdrift Red and Alpenfire Glow).  Bright red hue.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Notes of cranberry and cherry.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity and sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  I liked it.

They also had Portland’s Sangria and Pineapple ciders on tap.  The Sangria is especially awesome by the way.

Sarah also shared a new Snowdrift release with me:

Snowdrift Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Cidermakers Reserve (8.3% ABV):  They have had this Méthode Champenoise cider listed on their website for awhile, but I haven’t ever seen it, so I think they took a few years off from production (or else it was very limited release).  This batch is only available in bottles.  Odd scent which none of us could accurately describe, but it didn’t transfer to the flavor.  Semi-dry.  High carbonation.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  Fruity, with notes of sharp pomegranate and some crabapple.  I really liked the flavor and the bubbles, but the scent was bizarre.

My favorites were the Alpenfire Glow, Tieton Russian Red, and Snowdrift CIdermakers Reserve.  The Bad Granny was good too, especially for its simplicity.  I really wanted to like Sandford Orchards The General as I’m an English cider fan, but it was quite bitter.

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

Portland Cider Sangria

Review of Portland Cider’s Sangria, released last month.  It is my first time trying it, although I have tried their Passion Fruit, Pearfect Perry, Kinda Dry, Hop’Rageous, London Dry Gin, Apple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, and Pineapple ciders.

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

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Cider:  Sangria
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with 7 fruit juices

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Availability:  year round, in California (Los Angeles), Colorado, Oregon, and Washington

Cider Description:  Blend our delicious cider with the juices of orange, strawberry, pear, passionfruit, elderberry, and lime, to get our Sangria cider. It’s your new favorite fruit punch, for grown-ups!

Cidery Description:  Authentically crafted Cider with quality Northwest ingredients.  Our business is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail.  Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from 100% Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it, using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are ciders that are high quality – easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  That’s why we say, Drink it, it’s Good!

They were founded in 2012 and have tap rooms in Hawthorne and Clackamas in Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~$6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  contacted by the cidery

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First Impression:  Pink hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells deliciously fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, white grape, lime, and passion fruit.  Moderate length fruity acidic finish.  Low apple flavor.  High flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed it.  This would be especially great in summer.  The notes of kiwi were interesting considering they didn’t add kiwi juice, but I imagine it was the combination of juices.  I liked the higher carbonation level.  The acidity helped balance the sweetness.

Most Similar to:  Bull Run Strawberry Fields cider also had some great strawberry notes, but didn’t have any other fruits.  Portland Cider Strawperry had some similar strawberry notes, but wasn’t nearly as flavorful as their Sangria.  Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry also had strawberry, but Portland Cider’s Sangria had a more real flavor.  As for strawberry (and watermelon) flavor without any strawberries added, Alpenfire Glow is an amazingly complex cider made from red-fleshed apples.

Closing Notes:  This is my favorite cider so far from Portland Cider.

Have you tried Portland Cider Sangria?  What did you think?

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?

Portland Cider Company Strawperry

Review of Portland Cider Company’s Strawperry, a perry (made from 100% pears, no apples) with strawberries.  This is a summer seasonal for them (2nd year).  I’ve previously tried a number of their ciders; see here.

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

Cider:  Strawperry
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  draft only
Style:  American craft perry (made from 100% pears) with fresh strawberries

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Availability:  Summer seasonal, limited release, draft only.  In general, their ciders are available in Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado (see here), but this draft-only cider likely has less availability then their bottled varieties.

I have been able to determine it is currently on tap at least at the following places:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA, Portland Cider House (Hawthorne Portland OR), Portland Cider Company Taproom (Clackamas Portland OR),  Liberty Tapworks (Dalles OR), Oly Taproom (Olympia WA), and The Growlerie (Beaverton OR).

Cider Description:  With a base of our award-winning 100% pear juice Perry, we have blended NW strawberries to create a delicate, delightful cider for the summer.

Cidery Description:  Drink it, it’s good!  Portland Cider Company was started in the fall of 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing handcrafted cider in the English tradition to the northwest. We don’t use concentrates, flavorings, colorings, or anything you wouldn’t want in your cider.  We just use the finest Northwest grown fruit. Always gluten free.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light pink-orange hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, fruity and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, and honey.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This is a great summer cider…fruity and sessionable (low ABV and easy to drink).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had two strawberry ciders, from Bull Run (Strawberry Fields) and Cider Brothers (William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry).  I find this similar to the Bull Run Strawberry Fields, except Strawberry Fields had a more intense flavor, and Strawperry is more complex.  I also find Strawperry similar to Atlas Dragonfruit, which also had strawberry & kiwi notes (but also a weird bitterness).

Random Side Note:  This cider holds the record as my most unique sample so far…I received it in a recycled swing-top bottle (its draft only so they didn’t have a typical capped & labeled bottle) and picked it up locally.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try Strawperry–its a unique summer sipper.  I think this is one of my favorite Portland Cider Company ciders so far, along with their London Dry Gin.

Have you tried Portland Cider Strawperry?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 13 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my thirteenth 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 random Friday, as I was in the mood for some cider shopping and had some extra time as my hubby was out of town (I may have also gone to three other bottle shops that week…).

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I brought some dinner with me from the PCC down the street, and ordered a flight of six ciders–Elemental Margarita Randall, Schilling Vanilla Clove, Liberty Cellar Series #G15, AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, Portland Cider Crooked Cock Scrumpy, and Zeffer Crisp Apple (left to right in photo below).

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Elemental Margarita (Jalapeno Lime Cilantro) Randall with Strawberries, Mango, and Lime, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA:  Schilling took Elemental’s Margarita (Jalapeno Lime Cilantro) cider and put it through a Randall (flavor infuser) with fresh strawberries, mango, and lime.  The Cider House does a Randall most weekends.  I’ve had this cider before, and its nice and flavorful without a real discernible spiciness when drinking small quantities.  The additional lime and fruitiness was tasty, and would be awesome in summer.  The additional ingredients however took away the cilantro and jalapeno flavor notes of the base cider.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness from the added lime.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate to strong acidity.  This one really hit the spot as we’ve been having summer-like heat in Seattle.

Schilling Vanilla Clove, 6.3% ABV, Auburn WA:  I’ve had a lot of ciders from Schilling.  This appears to be a tap-only release (weird time of year for a spiced cider though?).  Smells rather strongly of vanilla with a hint of clove spice.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild acidity and tartness.  Very vanilla with hints of spice.  It tastes dessert-like without being overly sweet.  Moderate length finish.

Liberty Cellar Series #G15, 8.6% ABV, Spokane WA:  I’ve tried a number of their ciders.  This is a special tap-only release.  Its made from Golden Russet, Chisel Jersey, and Empire apples, wild-yeast fermented, then barrel-aged.  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Mild acidity, tartness, bitterness, and tannins.  A hint of sourness, but not as much as I’ve found with other wild yeast ciders.  Notes of oak, spice, honey, stone fruit, and hops?.  Moderate length finish.

AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, 5.8% ABV, Burlington WI:  I’ve had a few ciders from them.  This one is made from Red Delicious, Cortland, McIntosh, and Greenings apples, with mace, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamon.  Its also available in bottles.  It smells of cinnamon.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  A hint of bitterness.  More cinnamon flavor than anything else, but the base cider had a bit of richness to it.  There were also notes of oak (although not barrel aged), vanilla, and other spices.  Moderate length finish.

Portland Cider Crooked Cock Scrumpy, 13.5% ABV, Portland OR:  Wow!  Quite boozy, without much else going for it.  I think with some sweetness or flavor (richness or tannins) this would have been better.  I wonder where the pinkish hue came from?  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Low acidity and tartness.  Moderate bitterness.  Long warming boozy finish.

Zeffer Crisp Apple, 5.0% ABV, Matakana New Zealand:  This is my first time trying anything from this brand.  I found it rather bland and apple juice-like.  Semi-dry.  Low tartness and acidity.  Light to medium bodied.  I didn’t really pick up any flavor notes besides apple juice, apple pomace, and yeast.  I’d guess this is made with dessert apples and back sweetened.  Quick finish.

My favorites of the evening were the Elemental Margarita Randall, plus Liberty #G15 and AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced.  I really didn’t like the Portland Scrumpy one though, and especially once it warmed up, didn’t feel like finishing it.

On my way out I picked up bottles of Aspall Imperial (blue instead of black label this time…I’m curious whether they are different) and E.Z. Orchards Poire (French-style perry).

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

Portland Cider Company “Apple”

Review of Portland Cider Company’s canned cider dubbed “Apple”.

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Cider:  Apple
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Oregon City, Oregon (near Portland)
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned cider made from dessert apples

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Availability:  OR & WA

Cider Description:  Medium-dry classic bursting with juicy crisp apple taste and a tart finish.

This cider was released in late 2015 for the first time, and I couldn’t find much information or a detailed description.

Cidery Description:  What do you do when you’re frustrated by the quality of the commercial cider available?  You start making your own!  What do you do when friends and family keep telling you it’s the best cider they’ve ever had?  You start a business!  That is the essence of how the Portland Cider Company got its start.  Founded by Jeff Parrish, an Oregon native, and his wife Lynda, an ex-patriot from the Somerset region of England (the Mecca of cider), the Portland Cider Company is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail. Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are cider blends that are easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  Drink it, it’s good!

Portland Cider was started in 2012, and they have a taproom in the Portland area (with their ciders and some others).  They have four ciders available in 22oz bottles (Kinda Dry, Sorta Sweet, Hop’Rageous, and Pearfect Perry), plus Apple and Hop’Rageous in four packs of 12oz cans, and other ciders that are tap only.

Price:  ~$2.50 for a single can (runs around $8 for a four pack of 12oz cans)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I had seen a release announcement on Facebook from them.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Light carbonation upon pouring with large bubbles.  Smells of tart apples with a hint of honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Low acidity and tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  I didn’t really pick up any other flavor notes besides apple, which was on the strong side.  No carbonation in the mouthfeel despite the visible bubbles.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.  Mildly flavored.  Highly sessionable.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed how much apple flavor this had without the apple juice type flavor that is common with sweeter commercial ciders which backsweeten.  I also liked that although it was light bodied and mildly flavored, it didn’t have a watered down tasting flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other semi-dry apple-forward flagship craft ciders, such as Jester & Judge American Apple.  However, although they are quite similar, I enjoyed this cider more.

Closing Notes:   This is a great basic cider option for folks who want a canned craft cider, but I prefer more flavor and complexity.

Have you tried Portland Cider Company ciders?  What did you think?