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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Tieton Bourbon Peach

Review of Tieton Bourbon Peach.  I tried this on draft 2 years ago (see here), and heard last year that it came out in bottles but never saw it.  Now that I found it this year, I wanted to do a full review.  I’ve also had their Cidermaker’s Reserve, Apricot, Smoked Pumpkin, Wind (Pommeau), Wild Washington, Cherry, Blossom Nectar, Sparkling PerryCranberryFrost (ice cider), Spice RouteRussian Red, and Lavender Honey.

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Cider:  Bourbon Peach
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with peach, bourbon barrel aged

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Availability:  summer seasonal, since 2016, sold in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada

Cider Description:  Juice from hand-picked Washington State peaches is married with the richness of Kentucky bourbon barrels. This creates the perfect balance of sweet, ripe peaches and tartness of green apples. The charred oak of bourbon barrels gives this cider a deep vanilla and plum character. A touch of oak tannin finishes this cider off perfectly. Our love of what Northwest farmers have to offer has led us to create this “Limited Release” program. Featuring the bounty of our local agriculture, Tieton Cider Works’ Limited Releases will focus on some of the very best products the Northwest has to offer. Bourbon Peach is the perfect summertime libation with a refreshing blend of juicy peaches with and aged bourbon barrel flavors.

Cidery Description:  From branch to bottle, Tieton Cider Works controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. Tieton Cider Works boasts the largest orchard of cider varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our gnarly, inedible cider fruit with our organically grown dessert fruit. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  $7.99
Where Bought:  a weird bottle shop / bar inside a mini mart in Lynnwood WA called Stogies N Hops (we won’t be going back as it stank horribly of cigarette/cigar smoke and had a weird vibe)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it on draft 2 years ago

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of peach.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of peach with some other fruit (pineapple, mango, pear) and oak.  Moderate length finish with mild bourbon.  Moderate sessionability.  Low apple flavor, barrel influence, and bourbon influence.  Moderate complexity and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I love the flavor profile, and it has a nice complexity for being made from dessert apples.  This is exactly the type of cider that I go for when drinking non-cider-apple ciders – full flavored and semi-sweet to semi-dry.  If anything though I would have liked more bourbon.  I’m really glad they went a bit sweeter on this, as I think many barrel aged ciders often go too dry, which combined with the barrel & spirit influence can come across as harsh.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a number of peach ciders, such as Black Fin Pacific Peach, Red Branch Peach, Schilling Road Trip (Peach Citra), Sancho Libre Peach Sangria, Fox Tail Fuzzy Haven, and Mission Trail Peach Coast (100% peach, so fruit wine not cider).  This reminds me most of the Schilling Road Trip, except it has bourbon instead of hops.  Most of the others were drier and more tart.

Closing Notes:  The price point on this is great too, for what you are getting (I checked Total Wine’s website and found out they just got it in stock, and sell it $1 cheaper, for $6.99).  I think this would do well in cans, but I think Tieton only does that for their ‘Rambling Route’ line (which I’m not a huge fan of, although its plenty drinkable).

Have you tried Tieton Bourbon Peach?  What did you think?

Tieton Lavender Honey

Review of Tieton’s Lavender Honey.  It is my first time trying it, but I’ve had most of their ciders – Cidermaker’s ReserveSparkling PerryCranberryBourbon PeachFrost (ice cider),  Spice Route, Russian Red, Apricot, Smoked Pumpkin, Wind (Pommeau), Wild Washington, Cherry, and Blossom Nectar.

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Cider:  Lavender Honey
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with lavender & honey

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Availability:  Spring seasonal, since June 2017, in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada

Cider Description:  none given

Cidery Description:  From branch to bottle, Tieton Cider Works controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. Tieton Cider Works boasts the largest orchard of cider varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our gnarly, inedible cider fruit with our organically grown dessert fruit. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had heard it was available on draft but hadn’t had the chance to try it.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of honey with a hint of herbs.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of light tart apple and lavender which quickly dissipate, then the fuller bodied sweet honey with a hint of pear.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  There were two distinct stages of this cider when tasting, which was pretty unique, but they also seemed to compete a bit with each other.

Most Similar to:  I’ve actually had 5 ciders with lavender (Elemental Pom-LavenderElemental Lavender Rose Petal, Greenwood Lavender Blackberry, Seattle Cider Lavender Lemon, and Finnriver Lavender Black Currant), but none also had honey, which is fairly commonly added to cider (it even has a name when they are co-fermented, cyser).  My favorite cider with lavender is Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, especially when on Nitro tap.  Some of my favorite ciders with honey are Finnriver Honey Meadow, Long Drop Vanilla Honey, and Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Apples.

Closing Notes:  This was released last year too, but somehow I missed it (probably as I think it was draft-only last year).  My favorite Tieton cider remains Bourbon Peach, which I’ve only seen on draft, as their summer seasonal, but hopefully they do bottles this summer.

Have you tried Tieton Lavender Honey?  What did you think?

Tasting Notes from NW Cider’s Preview of WA Cider Week 2017

I was recently invited to a Washington Cider Week preview for media and buyers.  The 7th annual Washington Cider Week is September 7th-17th 2017, and will include numerous cider events, with Cider Summit Seattle being a main highlight.  This preview event was hosted by the NW Cider Association, and held midday on a Tuesday at Capitol Cider in Seattle.

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It was a pretty sweet invite-only event, and I enjoyed the excuse to take a half day off work!  My husband even joined me; it was nice to have a driver, as there were eleven PNW cidery representatives pouring samples.  Even though there weren’t many new-to-me ciders, it was a great opportunity to get some face time with the pourers, which often isn’t possible at the larger events.

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<view of part of Capitol Cider’s basement event space>

Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA):  I’ve tried most of their lineup, which includes many favorites, but my husband requested a sample of Glow.  It is one of their sweeter options, made from rare red-fleshed apples.  It was a good choice as they rarely pour it at events.  Awesome as always, semi-sweet, and crazy fruity flavorful without any additives.

Bad Granny (Chelan WA):  This was my first time seeing them at an event (the cidery is less than a year old).  I learned that they are associated with Karma Vineyards, one of the few producers of Methode Champenoise wine in the state.  The cidery is a combination of their MC wine experience and their apple orchard family roots.  I had tried their flagship Green Apple cider on draft previously (it is also sold in cans), which is a great simple semi-sweet cider option.  They also brought their currently draft-only black currant cider, which I found to have only a very mild flavor, but overall was easy to drink, semi-dry to semi-sweet, with a fuller body than expected.  I learned of their plans to release some specialty ciders in large format bottles, such as one from red-fleshed apples and one from Dabinett traditional cider apples.

Dragon’s Head (Vashon Island WA):  They just released this year’s vintage of Kingston Black single varietal cider (which I tried last year).  However, I decided to go for the Traditional cider, which is my favorite from them – a semi-dry cider with complex rich bittersweet cider apple flavor.  I also sampled the Perry, as I wanted to compare it to the Methode Champenoise version I tried recently; I enjoyed this regular version better as it was sweeter (almost semi-sweet), and more flavorful / fruitier.  Sometimes I find that a very high carbonation can impede a cider tasting for me as it makes a cider seem every drier and more acidic than it really is.

Finnriver (Chimacum WA):  I tried their newish Cider Summit collaboration cider (poured at all four Cider Summit events in 2017 – Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and next, Seattle), called “Summit Saison”.  It is made with organic apples, Saison yeast, dried fruit such as apricots, and spices (which oddly enough included peppercorns).  I found it hazy, semi-dry to semi-sweet, with citrus & stone fruit notes with a hint of peppercorn on the finish.  I’m not a fan of pepper, even in food, so I wasn’t really sure what to make of it.  My husband however was a fan.

Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA):  This was a great opportunity to have a side-by-side tasting of their English-Style and Stonewall (barrel aged) ciders, which I’ve previously found very similar but hadn’t tried together.  I preferred the Stonewall, as it was a bit smoother, with less acidic bite, and the added whiskey & oak notes.  I also tried Turncoat, their hopped cider, which had nice herbal flavor without bitterness, which was my husband’s favorite.

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA):  At this stop, as I said I had tried all of the regular line up (which was being poured from their new cans), I was treated to a sample of their limited release Bourbon Barrel Aged cider.  It was semi-dry, and very mild at first (especially for 14% ABV), then all of a sudden Bam!, an intense bourbon finish.  I thought I hadn’t tried it previously, but I actually had, over a year ago at their tap room (good thing for my Cider List!).  I liked it better this time because it was served cold, but despite enjoying the flavor, its not something I would drink too often.

Pear UP  – formerly Neigel Vintners / NV Cider (East Wenatchee WA):  I had a chance to have a longish chat with the always energetic co-founder Kevin.  He shared about the recent NW Cider trip where 10 PNW cidermakers traveled to France & England to learn about keeving (see this article).  I also learned about the cidery’s packaging changes, such as new 12oz instead of 16.9oz green Aluminum bottles (with a digital wrap instead of labels), and four packs of 12oz clear glass bottles (which enables that SKU to be at a lower price point).  I also learned about some new products they have released, including an interesting new partnership with a distillery, a brewery, and a label artist, resulting in Centre Ring, with an initial release of a cider and a perry, at a nice price point of $11.99 / 750ml bottle.  Interestingly enough, Centre Ring doesn’t only focus on cider/perry, but craft beverages and food in general.

I started with the new Centre Ring Reserve Pear, which reminded me of a slightly drier and slightly more complex version of their flagship Pear Essentials, as it was semi-dry, medium bodied, and pear-forward with some citrus notes.  Next I tried another new-to-me release (draft and bottles), Pearjito Colada; I didn’t pick up any mint, but the coconut was a fun bold flavor in the tasty semi-sweet perry.  Lastly, my husband wanted to try the Pearfect Pie, which I had never tried either; it was a bit odd to drink in summer, but is a semi-sweet perry with a hint of pie spice.

Schilling Cider (Auburn WA):  I tried the Grapefruit & Chill, which I learned was a different recipe than a grapefruit cider I had previously tried which was flavored with SodaJerk grapefruit soda syrup and I wasn’t a fan of; this time it was a surprisingly pleasant citrus-forward and higher carbonation semi-dry cider.  I also re-tried the Pineapple Passion, which is one of my favorite Schilling varieties, with some strong tropical flavor, but it is definitely on the sweeter end (semi-sweet to sweet).  My favorite from them is the King’s Schilling.

Seattle Cider (Seattle WA):  I tried two new draft-only releases.  First – Lavender Lemon, a semi-dry cider with the as-advertised flavor notes.  Second – Cucumber Hibiscus, which was semi-dry to dry, and started with cucumber on the nose, primarily hibiscus (fruity/floral) in the flavor, and a cucumber finish.  They were both more flavorful than most of the ciders I’ve previously had from them.  I found both pretty average – plenty drinkable, but not something I would seek out.

Snowdrift Cider (East Wenatchee WA):  No new ciders to try, but I tried the cider I had tried the least of and is the most rare – the Cidermaker’s Reserve.  I learned it was made under Methode Champenoise with apples from their 2014 harvest, including bittersweet varieties, and aged 3! years.  It is a highly carbonated cider with an awesome texture, on the sweeter side of semi-dry, with a very unique flavor profile – fruity with pomegranate notes, and almost grape champagne-like.  I was surprised to hear it had bittersweet cider apples, as it definitely didn’t have the typical profile I’d expect.  A fun and unique cider and an excellent value too, at $19 / 750ml (this was my husband’s favorite cider of the event, and he insisted we pick some up afterwards).

Tieton Cider Works (Yakima WA):  No new to me ciders here either, so I re-tried the Sparkling Perry.  I re-learned that this is made by keeving and is wild yeast fermented (neither of which I would have guessed nor remembered from my taste nearly two years ago).  I’d describe it as a semi-sweet to semi-dry pear-forward perry with fruity citrus notes.

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They had some nice swag too – tote bags, brochures, postcards, and stickers.

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I did some serious cider shopping that day, about 12 bottles between Capitol Cider, the Schilling Cider House, and QFC.  My coolest finds were at Capitol Cider, as I don’t get there often:  EZ Orchards “Pomme” (Pommeau, a mix of apple brandy & cider), last year’s release of Finnriver Fire Barrel (which I liked better than this year’s batch), and two different single varietals from Liberty (that I only thought were available in their tasting room and online).  The Schilling Cider House also had a couple new to me releases, a peach wine from Mission Trail and Gasping Goose from Newton’s Court in England.  I also picked up a re-supply of Dunkertons Black Fox, my current go-to English cider, and a couple others favorites from Aspall and EZ Orchards.

Stay tuned for more posts on Washington Cider Week 2017, especially Cider Summit Seattle.

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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.

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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?

Tieton Spice Route

Review of Tieton’s Spice Route.  It is my first time trying it, but I’ve had most of their ciders:  Cidermaker’s Reserve, Sparkling Perry, Cranberry, Bourbon Peach, Frost (ice cider), Apricot, Smoked Pumpkin, Wind (Pommeau), Wild Washington, Cherry, and Blossom Nectar.

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Cider:  Spice Route
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft spiced cider

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Availability:  Year round, since July 2015.  Tieton ciders are available in WA, OR, AK, HI, B.C., ID, CA, NV, MT, WY, UT, CO, AZ, NM, TX, FL, MI, IL, and OH (per their website).  They also take orders by phone to be shipped in WA (info here) and have a tasting room (info here).

Cider Description:  An exotic and fresh cider. Expect a medium straw with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, clove and allspice. Reminiscent of a fresh baked apple pie.

Cidery Description:  From branch to bottle, Tieton Cider Works controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. Tieton Cider Works boasts the largest orchard of cider varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our gnarly, inedible cider fruit with our organically grown dessert fruit. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  $8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  Its one of the few ciders from them I hadn’t tried.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of hints of spices and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of cinnamon, allspice, clove, vanilla, oak, grapefruit, and honey.  Moderate to long spiced finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate to high sessionability.

My Opinion:  I’m usually not a fan of spiced cider, but I really enjoyed this one.  It wasn’t overly spiced or sweet.  The complexity (especially the vanilla and oak notes) was nice too.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Nice & Naughty Imperial Spiced Cider, Elemental Seasonal Spiced AppleAEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, Sea Cider Witch’s Broom, and Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice, Schilling Vanilla Clove

Closing Notes:   This is one of my favorites from Tieton.  My absolute favorite was Bourbon Peach, which was a tap-only special release.

Have you tried Tieton Spice Route?  What did you think?

Tieton Cider Works Frost Ice Cider

Review of Frost ice cider from Tieton Cider Works.  I’ve tried several ice ciders before (see here), and have tried most of Tieton’s lineup (see here).

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Cider:  Frost (ice cider)
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  11%
How Supplied:  375ml tall clear glass bottles, corked
Style:  American craft ice cider made from dessert apples (see here for a description of the ice cider process)

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Availability: AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, ID, IL, MI, MT, NM, NJ, OH, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY, and B.C. Canada.  Also, online sales to OR and WA.

Cider Description:  Our autumn harvest blend of Jonagold, Pinova and Winter Banana apples produces a pale straw cider that is expressive and floral with a pleasing sweetness.

Enjoy this cider at room temperature as an aperitif, as a cocktail base or the perfect finish to any meal.  Our friends at Simple and Crisp asked Sharon to come up with a recipe for their product. Apple Crisps from Simple and Crisp topped with Tieton Farm & Creamery Bianca cheese and drizzled with honey. This recipe works as an appetizer or a dessert, which is why we love it.

Cidery Description:  We are continually asked: how did you get into the cider business?  The answer is easy: we were in the apple growing business. Period. If we had not been a farming family, cider would not have held an interest.

The fruit that is used in Tieton Cider Works cider comes from Craig and Sharon Campbell’s Harmony Orchards. This land has been in our family since the 1920’s when our grandfather planted his first trees in Tieton, Washington. We take our stewardship of the land seriously and have been farming organically for the last 25 years…

A love of land, food and drink has inspired us to make cider with the fruit we are growing at our ranch, Harmony Orchards.  We know the ciders we make are an expression of the harvest and reflective of the fruit and the place that it is grown.  We are thrilled to be involved in re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  $25
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I love ice cider, and hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow / light amber hue.  Completely still (no carbonation).  Smells rather mild for ice cider, of sweet apple juice, honey, and apricots.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, apricot, mango, and caramelized sugar.  Moderate length boozy finish.  High apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  (Note that against the bottle’s advice, I drank it cold, as that is what I prefer.)

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this, but I like Eden’s ice ciders much better, with their greater complexity (especially their barrel aged Northern Spy).  For $5 extra per bottle I think its worth it.

Most Similar to:  This is quite different from the other ice ciders I’ve tried, as it isn’t as full bodied, sweet, or complex.  Also, it was more fruity than rich (most other ice ciders I’ve tried had notes of caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla).  Its probably closest to Pomme De Coeur ice cider.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got a chance to try this.  I think it is a nice summery ice cider, as it wasn’t as rich or complex, and was lighter bodied and fruity.

Have you tried Tieton Frost?  What did you think?