Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple

Review of Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple.  I first tried this cider awhile when I visited their tap room (see here), during my Portland cider trip, which also included Cider Rite of Spring (see my event review and my cider tasting notes).

I have also tried Rev Nat’s Revival¡Tepache!Hopland #5 / EnvyNewtown PippinCiderkinWinter Abbey SpiceHallelujah HopricotDeliverance Gin & TonicRevival DrySacrilege Sour CherryThe PassionWhiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black CurrantNew Moon MandarinRevelation Belle de BoskoopWooden Hellfire, and Tassjara Peach Book.

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Cider:  Viva La Pineapple
Cidery:  Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  craft cider from dessert apples with pineapple juice and a touch of spices

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Availability:  Summer seasonal.  Rev Nat’s ciders are in general sold in AK, CA, HI, ID, MT, NY, OR, and WA, as well as Alberta & B.C. Canada, and Japan.  They have a cider finder and also have online sales for Tent Show ciders.

Cider Description:  This cider is a blend of fermented fresh apple juice (sourced, like all the apples I use, from Oregon and Washington, but mostly Eastern Washington in the case of this cider), and unfermented fresh pineapple juice. A touch of spice is added (cinnamon and cloves and allspice) and it is not to be consumed by those allergic to pineapples.

Cidery Description:  Reverend Nat is a single-minded cider evangelist who searches the world for superior ingredients to handcraft the most unusual ciders that no one else will make.

Price:  ~$7.99
Where Bought:  Whole Foods in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this at the cidery’s Portland tap room

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First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Dark straw yellow hue.  Smells of pineapple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple juice and lime.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I didn’t pick up any of the spices mentioned in the description, which was just fine with me.  Definitely on the easy drinking side.  It would be perfect on a hot summer day.  I recommend lightly shaking the bottle before pouring as otherwise it will be a bit chunky at the end.

Most Similar to:  Jester & Judge Pineapple Express (although I’ve also previously tried pineapple ciders from Ace, Atlas, Locust, Pear Up, Portland Cider, Schilling, Swift, and Wyder’s)

Closing Notes:  My favorite ciders from Reverend Nat’s have been the most mainstream ones, like this one, Revival, and The Passion, plus Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant.

Have you tried Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple?  What did you think?

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Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series #2 The Falstaff

Review of Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series #2, The Falstaff, a seven-year barrel-aged ice cider!  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, and Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden.  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:  Cellar Series #2, The Falstaff
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport Vermont
ABV:  10%
Residual Sugar: 15%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American artisan ice cider from Vermont apples, aged for 7 years in a single oak barrel

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Availability:  Now sold out.  This was an early batch of their ice cider, aged in a single oak barrel from 2008-2015, put into 600 bottles, and sold to their cider club members in 2015 & 2016.

However, in general, their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Rare single-barrel ice cider aged for 7 years in used French oak. It is elegantly oxidized and sweet, like a rich oloroso without fortification. Dark and warm, it still has beautiful acidity, along with notes of golden raisin, caramelized sugar, apricot and fig.

won Chairman’s Award / Best Wood-Aged Cider: Dan Berger Cider Competition 2016

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (retails for $50)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this online, but it was cider club only, then sold out.  I got lucky and a rep from Eden saw it on my Wish List and contacted me.

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First Impression:  Deep caramel amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells amazing and enticing – very rich, sweet, and boozy, of concentrated apple juice, molasses, and so much more.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Full bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of molasses, caramel, raisin, ripe baked apple, tart raw green apple, lemon, brown sugar, caramelized sugar, pie spices, and even more!  Long finish length.  High apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Very high complexity.  Very low sessionability.  More aged than oaky.

My Opinion:  Amazing!!  Probably tied with Alpenfire Smoke for most complex cider I’ve ever drank.  The tartness and acidity was higher than their other ice ciders, but that helped balance the sweetness, and added to the flavor complexity.  It was a unique mix of rich, sweet, tart, savory, and more.  I recommend serving this an ounce or two at a time, very cold, and to slowly savor in tiny sips.

Most Similar to:  This is a more complex, tart & acidic, and aged version of their other ice ciders, probably closest to Eden’s Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom ice cider (which was my favorite ice cider until I tried this one).

Closing Notes:  I’m so lucky to have been able to try this!  I look forward to enjoying the rest of this bottle over the next couple weeks, including on Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I won’t have to share it with anyone.

Have you tried any ice cider from Eden?  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.

Apple Outlaw Thompson Creek Creekside Cider

Review of Thompson Creek’s Creekside Cider.  Thompson Creek is an offshoot of Apple Outlaw for their higher end ciders, made from heirloom and/or cider apples instead of dessert apples, since 2016.  It is my first time trying anything from Thompson Creek, although I have had several of Apple Outlaw’s ciders (Oaked Sweet Dark CherryBlackberry BountyOriginalTangerine TwistGinger BiteCranberry Jewel, and Chocolate Raspberry)

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Cider:  Creekside
Cidery:  Thompson Creek (by Apple Outlaw)
Cidery Location:  Applegate Oregon
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom apples, bottled 2016

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Availability:  year round, likely only in Oregon and Washington

Cider Description:  Arkansas Black, Blenheim Red, Macintosh and Rome Beauty all lend their unique complexities to this beautifully dry cider. Hints of apricot, honeydew, tropical fruit, and ripe pear complement its crisp acidity.

Cidery Description:  Thompson Creek ciders are made from and inspired by the heirloom and cider apple varieties of apples we grow on our Applegate orchard.  The cider makers of Apple Outlaw use various methods of maturation, aging, and blending to showcase the unique and exquisite qualities these apples have to offer.  These ciders should be pondered with reflection, cellared neck up and are best served at 50-55 degrees.

Price:  $14.50
Where Bought:  Bushwhacker Cider in Portland Oregon, in Spring 2017
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  At that time I hadn’t seen any of Apple Outlaw’s Thompson Creek ciders, but I have since (including in the Seattle area).

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First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Dark straw yellow hue.  Smells very mild, of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, herbs, and mineral, plus a buttery type of flavor and mouthfeel which is difficult to describe.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  On this cider, my opinion was rather indifferent, but that was primarily as I prefer slightly sweeter ciders with more flavor.  I’d be interested in tasting a cider from them which was semi-dry cider and made from cider apples.  Creekside became more flavorful and less sharp as it warmed up; therefore, same as recommended by the cidery, I’d suggest to drink it in between fridge and room temperature.  Very food friendly.

Most Similar to:  Wandering Aengus Cellar Door, 2 Towns Traditions Riverwood, and Boonville Bite Hard

Closing Notes:  If you are a fan of truly dry cider from heirloom apples (ie. with some acidity and a touch of tannins), then I would recommend this one for you.

Have you tried any of Apple Outlaw’s Thompson Creek line of ciders?  What did you think?

E.Z. Orchards ‘Pomme’ Pommeau

Review of E.Z. Orchards’ Pommeau, ‘Pomme’, an apple dessert wine (cider fortified with apple brandy).  It is my first time trying this, but I have tried Pommeaux from 2 Towns, Etienne DupontFinnriver, Stem, Tieton, Traditions, and Wandering Aengus, and have tried E.Z. Orchards’ Semi DryRoman BeautyHawk HausPoire, and Williamette Valley 2011 Cidre.

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Cider:  Pomme
Cidery:  E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location:  Salem OR (but bottled in Rickreal OR)
ABV:  17.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles (with a re-usable plastic cap with attached cork)
Style:  American artisan Pommeau (cider from bittersweet cider apples, fortified with apple brandy), barrel aged for 2 years

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Availability:  Limited release, through Artisanal Imports, although in general EZ Orchards’ ciders are sold in CA, OR, and WA

Cider Description:  The body and texture of Pomme is of tree-ripened fruit and fresh baked apple, with a subtle toasted wood and winter fruit aroma. The prominent tannin structure of the fruit is defined but not overwhelming, contributing a lasting, elegant finish. The alcohol is softened by extended aging, showing warmth and livening the baked, tree-ripened apple nuance.

Here is a great article on this year’s ‘Pomme’ release, including quotes from the cidermaker, Kevin Zielinski.  Based on that info, I must have a bottle from a previous year (as this is a higher ABV), which doesn’t surprise me, as these sorts of high end releases often sell slowly.

Cidery Description:  E.Z. Orchards is a family-owned and operated farm, orchard and cidery located in Salem, Oregon. The Zielinski family has been cultivating the bounty of Willamette Valley since 1929, and began specifically growing cider apples in 2000, reshaping its entire operation around their production. Through traditional French cider-making methods, E.Z. Orchards crafts world-class, perfectly blended ciders from ground to glass. Learn more about the cidery at www.ezorchards.com.

Price:  $24
Where Bought:  Capitol Cider in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It was on their bottle list.  It had been on my radar as I had read about it online, where it is well reviewed.  They also offer bottle pours and flights of Pommeaux.

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First Impression:  Dark amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of boozy syrupy rich apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, brown sugar, leather, orange, coffee, vanilla, and oak.  Long warming finish.  High apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Rich and complex, whats not to like?  However, it was a bit less smooth and more harsh than some others I’ve had, possibly as it is a bit drier and higher ABV.  I think this is ideally drank when well-chilled, and I even dropped in one small ice cube (which I think is acceptable as it is more brandy than cider).

Most Similar to:  Stem Ciders Pommeau 2016 release and Traditions Pommeau 2013 release (Traditions was a 2 Towns brand which has since been absorbed)

Closing Notes:  2 Towns‘ Pommeau continues to be my favorite, although I have enjoyed every Pommeaux I’ve tried.  This E.Z. Orchards Pommeau was an especially good value as it is a 750ml bottle, but costs only a few dollars more than most 375ml bottles of Pommeau.  However, I would personally prefer paying less for a smaller bottle, as it is less of a commitment, and Pommeau isn’t something I’d drink in large quantities.  This bottle did well in the fridge for the few weeks it took me to drink it, and didn’t have any flavor changes.

Have you tried Pommeau?  What did you think?

Sidra Asturiana Mayador Sparkling Natural Cider

Review of Sidra Asturiana Mayador’s limited release sparkling natural cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve tried a few other Spanish sidras (including the still version of this cider).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Winesellers, Ltd.  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:  Sparkling Natural Cider, limited release
Cidery:  Sidra Asturiana Mayador
Cidery Location:  Asturia Spain
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Spanish Sidra, natural, sparkling

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Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Le Brun, Domaine de la Minotiere, Manoir de Grandouet, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, and Dunkertons from England.

Description:  Manuel Busto Amandi founded the bodega in 1939 for the production of natural cider.  Subsequently, the Mayador range of ciders was developed and includes this limited release sparkling cider.  It is produced from our traditional Sidra Natural fermented in chestnut barrels, creating a fresh, medium-dry style and light effervescence.

Price:  n/a (retails for $8)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Moderate straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation (less than expected).  Smells of sourness and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied with a fluffy texture.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low sourness.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No funk.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and a hint of vinegar.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of sour ciders such as Spanish Sidra.  However, I was pretty ambivalent on this one; I liked it more than I expected to.  I shared it with some cider friends who are fans of Sidra, and they enjoyed it.

Most Similar to:  Spanish Sidras which are a bit sweeter and less sour, such as Bereziartua Sidra Natural and Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut.

Side Note:  It is much more common to find still (vs. sparkling) Sidra.  It is usually “thrown” (poured) from a height to naturally aerate it.  Here is a great guide on Spanish Sidra.

Closing Notes:  I would recommend Sidra Asturiana Mayador’s sparkling limited release natural cider especially to folks not familiar with Spanish Sidra, as it has qualities which makes it easier for a beginner to enjoy (higher sweetness and less sourness).  Or, for an even more beginner friendly Sidra (although this one is made using pears), Viuda de Angelon Sidra de Pera.

Have you tried Spanish Sidra?  What did you think?

Sidra Asturiana Mayador Still Natural Cider

Review of Sidra Asturiana Mayador’s Still Natural Cider.  It is my first time trying this one, although I’ve had a few Spanish sidras.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Winesellers, Ltd.  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:  Still Natural Cider
Cidery:  Sidra Asturiana Mayador
Cidery Location:  Asturia Spain
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  700ml corked bottles
Style:  Spanish Sidra, natural, still

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Availability:  Semi wide release in the U.S. through Winesellers, Ltd.  Their cider portfolio also includes Le Brun, Domaine de la Minotiere, Manoir de Grandouet, & Cidrerie Daufresne from France, and Dunkertons from England.

Description:  Manuel Busto Amandi founded the bodega in 1939 for the production of natural cider.  Subsequently, the Mayador range of ciders was developed and includes this Sidra Natural produced from Asturian apples in the traditional “en rama” style which is fermented in chestnut barrels and unfiltered, resulting as a still cider with harmonious dry and sour flavors.

Price:  n/a (retails for $8)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer contacted me

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First Impression:  Moderate straw yellow hue with lots of yeast floaters (lees).  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sourness and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry (fully).  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low to moderate sourness.  Low bitterness and funk.  A hint of tannins.  Sharp notes of lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and vinegar.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t personally a fan.  However, I haven’t really enjoyed any Spanish Sidras, as their sourness just doesn’t agree with my palette.  I preferred Sidra Asturiana Mayador’s limited release sparkling version of this cider (which was sweeter and less sour), and so did my cider friends who I tasted both sidras with.  A “Spanish pour” (from a height, to aerate the cider) likely would have helped a bit, but that isn’t too practical.

Most Similar to:  Traditional dry, sour, and still Spanish Sidras

Closing Notes:  I’d recommend this to folks who truly enjoy dry and sour ciders, and/or those who are looking to try a very traditional Sidra.

Have you tried Spanish Sidra?  What did you think?