Stem Cider Pommeau

Review of Stem Cider’s Pommeau.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve also had their Le Chene, Malice, Blood Orange Cyser, Remedy, Branch and Bramble, and Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot, and also tried Pommeau from 2 Towns, Etienne Dupont, Finnriver, Tieton, Traditions, and Wandering Aengus.

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Cider:  Pommeau
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml corked bottles
Style:  American craft Pommeau (apple brandy + apple cider), oak aged

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Availability:  Only at their tap room, released December 2015

Cider Description:  Apple dessert wine aged in oak for 8 months.  Full of cherry and fruit skin notes, with distinctive oakiness perfect for sipping slowly.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  Stem’s tap room
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband picked this up for me when travelling.  He made a special trip to the Stem tasting room just to buy me cider.  I’m spoiled!

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<cider tasting event glasses like this one from Cider Rite of Spring make perfect vessels for Pommeau, ice cider, and the like!>

First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells sweet, rich, and of caramel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, brown sugar, leather, and orange.  Long finish.  High apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  No overt oak influence.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it didn’t seem to have quite the amount of complexity of some others I’ve tried (possibly as it wasn’t quite as sweet as some).  However, it is more budget friendly than many other options.  This year’s Stem Pommeau release was aged 20 months, so I’m curious if that gave it more complexity than this batch.

Most Similar to:  The Traditions Pommeau, as it had a similar level of sweetness and complexity.

Closing Notes:   My favorites remain the 2 Towns, Etienne Dupont, and Wandering Aengus Pommeaux (the plural of Pommeau…very cool).  However, I wouldn’t say I’ve disliked any Pommeau I’ve tried.

Have you ever tried Pommeau?  What did you think?

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Stem Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot Cider

Review of Stem Ciders’ Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot Cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene, Malice, Blood Orange Cyser, Remedy, and Branch and Bramble.  My husband brought 4 ciders, a cyser, and a Pommeau back from Stem Ciders in Colorado for me.

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Cider:  Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot Cider
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  special release American craft cider with dried apricots, whiskey barrel aged

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Availability:  Their ciders are available only in Colorado, at these retailers, but this is a special release which may only be found at the cidery.

Cider Description:  Fresh pressed apple juice barrel aged for 8 months.  Dried apricot dipped in smokey butterscotch oak.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $16
Where Bought:  Stem’s tasting room.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  Low carbonation.  Smells of dried apricot and apricot pit, honey, and hints of oak & whiskey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of apricot pit, dried apricot, peach, honey, and lemon.  Moderate length finish with some whiskey flavor, moderate warming, and hints of smoke.  Moderate sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low barrel and spirit influence.  I finished the bottle the following day and the flavor seemed more sharp.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, the flavor intensity was lower than I was expecting and I prefer.  This cider would pair well with food and is a bit wine-like.

Most Similar to:  I’ve previously had Apricot ciders from Tieton, Locust (Apricot), Anthem (Ap-Bee-Cot), Atlas (Apricot), Summit (Apricot), and Carlton (AHH!!! Apricot Honey Habanero).

Closing Notes:   I have one last selection left, Stem’s Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Ciders?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Branch and Bramble

Review of Branch and Bramble from Stem Ciders, their dry raspberry cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le CheneMalice, Remedy, and Blood Orange Cyser.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Branch and Bramble
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft dry cider made from dessert apples, with raspberries

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Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Intense raspberry aromas and ruby hues.  Tartness from the raspberries and apples meld in this dry, refreshing cider.  A light tannin structure from the raspberries lingers on the palate.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Light pink/red hue.  Low carbonation with foam.  Smells of sweet tart raspberries.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  The flavor is almost purely sharp raspberry, with hints of green apple and lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Tasty and refreshing, with a surprising amount of flavor for how dry it is.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a number of raspberry ciders, from Wyder’s, Woodchuck, Doc’sSchilling, One Tree, Raven’s Moon, and Eaglemount, but they were all sweeter.  Raven’s Moon was the driest, a semi-dry, but was much higher in ABV, and the most tart cider I’ve ever had.

Closing Notes:   I think this was my favorite of their three canned ciders.  Next up I have their Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Branch and Bramble?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Remedy Dry Hopped Apple Cider

Review of Remedy from Stem Ciders, their dry hopped cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene, Blood Orange Cyser, and Malice.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Remedy
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans, and kegs
Style:  American craft dry cider made from dessert apples, with Cascade & Citra hops

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Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Dry hopped with Cascade & Citra hops.  Floral and citrus fruit intermingle with apple on the nose giving way to a tart apple zing without any bitterness.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of hops and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate bitterness.  Low astringency.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of hops, citrus, floral, herbal, honey, mineral, and green apple.  Long bitter finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, although it was a bit more bitter than I prefer.  It has a light wine-like flavor which would pair well with food.

Most Similar to:  Incline Explorer, Portland Cider Hop’Rageous, and Tod Creek Mala-Hop

Closing Notes:   This is a nice hopped cider option for folks who like dry ciders and want something available in a multipack.  Next up I have their Branch & Bramble (raspberry) cider, then special releases Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Remedy?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Blood Orange Cyser

Review of Stem Ciders’ Blood Orange Cyser (a cross between cider and mead, made from both apples and honey).  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene and Malice.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

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Cider:  Blood Orange Cyser
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  10%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft apple-honey wine with blood orange

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Availability:  Their ciders are available only in Colorado, at these retailers, but this is a special release which may only be found at the cidery.

Cider Description:  Apple-honey wine with blood orange.  Rosy in hue with light notes of honey and citrus zest on the nose.  Acidity from the blood orange plays off the sweetness of the honey, allowing an off-dry yet refreshing beverage.  Light apple tannins fill out the finish.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Light orange-pink hue.  Very low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells mild, of honey and tart blood orange.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Moderate carbonation.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of blood orange, honey, honeycomb, grapefruit, lemon, mineral, and green apple.  Quick to moderate length finish, with less warming than expected for 10% ABV.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate honey and blood orange flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Unique citrus champagne-like flavor.  I imagine if I actually liked blood orange I would have loved it.  I’m a fan of high ABV cider, citrus notes in cider, and cyser & mead though, which is why I wanted to try it.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had various cysers (such as Finnriver Cyser CiderEaglemount Cyser, Moonlight Meadery Last Apple, and Sea Cider Birds and the Bees), as well as two blood orange ciders (Elemental Calcium and Ace Space), and this is a bit of a cross between the two, and much drier than any of those.  It also reminds me a bit of a mimosa, with the citrus, higher ABV, and higher carbonation.

Closing Notes:   This cyser is a great value, between it being small batch, blood orange & honey being expensive, and its high ABV.  I look forward to trying my other selections from Stem Ciders.

Have you tried anything from Stem Ciders?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Malice

Review of Malice from Stem Ciders, a flagship dry tank-aged cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene (see here).  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Malice
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans, and kegs (previously sold in 750ml bottles)
Style:  American craft flagship dry cider made from dessert apples, tank-aged

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<isn’t the can design cool?  its actually a clear wrap-around sticker, not etched>

Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Tart, dry, and clean, allowing the apples to speak for themselves.  Alluringly clean and unassuming, this crisp and fruit-forward cider is crafted from Pacific Northwest apples, fermented dry, and aged in stainless steel.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, and of citrus with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  Fully dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acid.  Low to moderate astringency.  Low bitterness.  Hints of funk and sourness.  Notes of lemon, green apple, mineral, and white grape.  Moderate length slightly astringent and tart finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Nice.  Wine-like.  Its a bit on the boring side for my tastes (I prefer very flavorful ciders), but its well-crafted and I really don’t have any complaints.

Most Similar to:  Original Sin Extra Dry, which is also a fully dry sessionable acid and cirtrus-forward canned cider from dessert apples

Closing Notes:   If you live in Colorado, enjoy a fully dry cider, and want something sessionable and/or available in a multipack, Stem Malice is a great option.  Next up I have their canned Remedy (hopped) and Branch & Bramble (raspberry) ciders, then special releases Blood Orange Cyser, Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot, and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Malice?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Le Chene

Review of Stem Ciders’ Le Chene, a red zinfandel barrel aged cider from Denver Colorado.  This is the first cider I’ve tried from them.  They aren’t available in Washington (or anywhere outside of Colorado), but my husband brought me back a bottle.  Unfortunately I still haven’t got to try their widely-reviewed “Banjo” bourbon barrel aged cider (I had two people look, but I think its out of season).

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Cider:  Le Chene
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.4%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider made from traditional cider apples, red zinfandel barrel aged

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Availability:  Denver metro area, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  While it prides itself on being well-rounded, classy and complex, Le Chene is a cider that knows how to have a good time. A blend of fun-loving traditional cider apples are combined, fermented dry and then aged to perfection in oak wine barrels. The end result is a mature cider that puts just the right amount of Civilized into your Debauchery.

Red Zinfandel barrel aged. Smoke, caramel and vanilla on the nose, smooth, velvet mouth feel and slight oak tannin astringency on the finish. (Pronunciation: luh shen)

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Stem Ciders has a tasting room in Denver.

Price:  $10.99
Where Bought:  Daveco Liquors in Thornton CO
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Stem Ciders’ website.  I made my husband a list of ciders I’d be interested in him bringing home from Colorado. 🙂

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow with the slightest pink tint which actually showed more in the photo than in real life.  Low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells mild, of citrus, oak, green apple, and floral.

Tasting Notes:  Dry with hints of residual sugar.  Low carbonation.  Light to medium bodied.  Mild bitterness.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to strong acidity.  Hints of tannins, sourness, and funk.  Notes of citrus, oak, green apple, floral, mineral, stone fruit, baked apple, and vanilla.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate oak barrel influence.  I enjoyed this much more when it breathed and warmed up a bit from fridge temperature…it seemed to smooth it out a bit, and led to some hints of red zinfandel.

My Opinion:  This is a probably a wine-lovers cider, which I’m admittedly not.  I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I truly appreciated its subtle complexity.  I think I would have liked to have picked up the smoke and caramel notes mentioned in the description.  Also of note is that this cider was a great value–significantly less than comparable ciders in Washington would cost ($10.99 vs. $15-20).

Most Similar to:  Sonoma Cider’s Dry Zider, which is also aged in red zinfandel barrels, dry, and wine-like.  I prefer Le Chene, which I found to have more oak flavor (but less red zinfandel flavor) and more complexity.

Closing Notes:   This is a really unique cider that I’m glad I got to try.  I look forward to finding their Banjo cider someday, which seems to make every list of best barrel aged ciders.

Have you tried Stem Ciders?  What did you think?