Gumption Cider Co. Citrus Freak

Review of Citrus Freak from Gumption Cider Co. (part of Vermont Cider Co., which also includes Woodchuck).  This is the second year-round offering from the series, along with the original Gumption (which I reviewed here).  Gumption started in 2015 under the Woodchuck brand, but it branched out as its own brand in 2016.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by the Vermont Cider Co.  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:  Citrus Freak
Cidery:  Gumption Cider Co. (part of the Vermont Cider Co.)
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with citrus and Cascade hops

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Availability:  Year-round, wide release

Cider Description:  Part prankster, part gangster, Gumption’s right-hand man is the Citrus Freak.  A perfect pairing of eating apples, grapefruit, and Cascade hops, this semi-dry cider delivers an all-day enjoyable citrus experience.

Gumption Description:  The Circus of Ciders.  Originally launched under the Woodchuck brand in 2015, Gumption® is a bold and audacious brand which has been wildly successful with consumers. In December 2016, Gumption spun off from Woodchuck® as its own brand with line extensions including the rotational Late Show series and Citrus Freak.

Vermont Cider Co. Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of their namesake brand, the original American hard cider, Woodchuck, the northeast premium hard cider brand, Vermont Cider Co., the circus of ciders, Gumption, the west coast native, Wyder’s Cider, and importers of Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award-winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $8.99-$10.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Very pale straw yellow.  Nearly still.  Smells mildly of sweet citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of grapefruit, lemon, orange, and a hint of citrus-forward hops.  Moderate length finish.  High sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the start of this cider, but after a few sips the citrus got a bit fake, almost air freshener ish, more of grapefruit extract than grapefruit juice.  I was surprised the hops were almost imperceptible, but I imagine some folks will like that.  I liked that they went drier on this one too.

Most Similar to:  Schilling Grapefruit & Chill and Somersby Citrus Fruit (or for a more real-tasting grapefruit cider, Elemental Hydrogen)

Closing Notes:  I’d love to see this go more natural tasting, then I’d be a fan, as I like the idea of it.

Have you tried Gumption Citrus Freak?  What did you think?

Vermont Cider Company Cerise

Review of Vermont Cider Company’s Cerise, a cherry barrel aged cider, the second of their series of seasonal barrel aged ciders.  I’ve previously tried their Addison and Wassail.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Vermont 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.<<

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Cider:  Cerise
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped)
Style:  commercial cider from dessert apples (Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall VT), with Michigan Montgomery cherry juice, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon barrel aged

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Availability:  seasonal release, only available in the Northeastern U.S., first available in March

Ingredients: hard cider, cherry juice, sulfites

Cider Description:  It’s a limited-time offering that will delight the senses. “Cerise is built from our barrel-aged, 100% local and fresh pressed cider with the juice of tart Michigan Montmorency cherries,” said Ben E. Calvi, Director of Cider Making. “Aging cider in Napa Valley barrels infuses notes of Cabernet wine, vanilla and oak with fresh apple and a tart cherry fruits.”

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about it online and requested a sample

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First Impression:  Bright cherry hue.  Nearly still / very low carbonation.  Smells very mild, with a hint of cherry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of cherry juice, red wine, cherry skin, and oak.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate to high sessionability.  No apple flavor.  Low oak influence.  Low red wine influence.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed this, as did my husband (he kept stealing some).  Perfect levels of sweetness, tartness, and flavor.  The barrel aging was definitely noticeable, but not overpowering.  It was surprisingly flavorful compared to the mild scent.  All in all this actually tastes like what I except from a craft cider.  Nice price point too.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Private Reserve Barrel Aged Cherry, which was also a cherry cider aged in red wine barrels (except that was more commercial tasting / less refined), Virtue Cider Cherry Mitten (except that had added complexity from the apple & yeast varieties, and was Bourbon not wine barrel aged), and Apple Outlaw Oaked Sweet Dark Cherry (except that was less flavorful, and aged in new oak not wine barrels).

Closing Notes:  Too bad this isn’t available locally, as I would definitely purchase some.  I think its my favorite cider of the entire Vermont Cider Co. lineup.

Random Note:  My cider list has 27 cherry ciders listed that I’ve tried!

Have you tried Vermont Cider Company’s Cerise?  What did you think?

Vermont Cider Company Addison

Review of Vermont Cider Company’s Addison.  This and Wassail are their first two releases, described as “ultra-premium”.  Vermont Cider Company is part of Vermont Hard Cider (along with Woodchuck, Magner’s, Wyder’s, Hornsby’s, and Blackthorn).

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Vermont 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.<<

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Cider:  Addison
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped) or four pack of 16oz cans
Style:  commercial cider from American dessert apples

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Availability:  Year round, only available in the Northeastern U.S., released December 2016 in bottles, and March 2017 in cans

Cider Description:  Named for Addison County, where it is produced, Addison is crafted from 100 percent fresh pressed juice sourced only from Vermont and Northeastern orchards.  “Addison is a semi-dry cider, but it is so much more,” said Bridget Blacklock, Vermont Cider Co. Director of Marketing. “It’s where we are from. Addison is Vermont. It’s where we craft what we believe is the finest cider in the world.”  “For this flagship cider, we used premium yeasts and longer, cooler fermentations to capture and promote the delicate fresh apple flavors, with no added sugar,” said Ben E. Calvi, Director of Cider Making. “Addison is the ideal cider for consumers seeking drier options with strong, authentic roots.”

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99 / six pack of bottles or four pack of cans)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about it online and requested samples.

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First Impression:  Still.  Medium straw yellow hue.  Smells syrupy, of apple, fruity, and a hint of vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, slightly candied / syruppy.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of green apple, pineapple, white grape, and honey.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  It is a seriously solid flagship cider selection.  Definitely more on the commercial end, but Addison is also at the same price point as their more commercial Woodchuck ciders.  I enjoyed the body and flavor of this, without too much acidity or sweetness.  More often I’ve seen flavor notes like these in a drier and more acidic cider.  It definitely has a flavor I have come to associate with Woodchuck cider though, more than the Wassail.

Most Similar to:  Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider, which had a similar level of sweetness, body / syrupiness, and flavor notes.

Closing Notes:  For the same price, I’d definitely drink this over many of the Woodchuck ciders.  Its tasty and easy to drink.

Have you tried Vermont Cider Company’s Addison?  What did you think?

Vermont Cider Company Wassail

Review of Vermont Cider Company’s Wassail.  This and Addison are their first two releases, described as “ultra-premium”.  Vermont Cider Company is part of Vermont Hard Cider (along with Woodchuck, Magner’s, Wyder’s, Hornsby’s, and Blackthorn).

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Vermont 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.<<

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Cider:  Wassail
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped)
Style:  commercial cider from American dessert apples with mulling spices, rum barrel aged (note that I personally classify this as commercial not craft as it is made by a large company, the first ingredient is “hard cider” not apple juice, and they added apple extract for color)

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Availability:  This is a limited edition cider, only available in the Northeastern U.S., released December 2016

Cider Description:  Wassail is inspired by the age-old tradition of celebrating with the orchards to ensure a good crop. Wassail begins with small batch hard cider infused with traditional mulling spices, including vanilla bean, ginger and cinnamon. The cider is then aged in rum barrels to produce a unique, rich cider that is ideal for the holidays. Like Addison, Wassail is made only from 100 percent fresh pressed Vermont and Northeastern apples.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about it online and requested samples.

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<No, this color isn’t only from the barrel aging – they added “apple extract” for coloring.>

First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Caramel amber hue.  Smells of sugar, spices, rum, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of brown sugar, burnt caramel, cinnamon, allspice, clove, ginger, and vanilla.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate spice.  Moderate rum flavor.  Low oak flavor.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability.  Mild complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  My favorite component was the rum flavor.  I’m usually not too into spiced ciders, but I don’t dislike them.  I could have done without the ginger here (I really dislike the stuff, although here it was very very mild) and had the mulling spices toned down a bit (although I wouldn’t say it was overpowering).  One of the spice additions was Cardamon, but I picked it up as allspice and cloves, which are more recognizable.  Overall it still tasted a bit commercial though, more like something Crispin would make as a special release, but its a good value for the price point (ie. I wasn’t expecting a cider on par one to I would pay $20 / 750ml for).  I think the mulling spices and rum barrel aging paired well together.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a number of spiced ciders (such as Sea Cider Wassail, 2 Towns Nice & Naughty, Elemental Seasonal Spiced AppleTieton Spice Route, Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice, AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, and Carlton Cyderworks Sugar & Spice) and some rum barrel aged ciders (Crispin 15 Men, Sea Cider Prohibition, and Alpenfire Calypso), but not combined.

Closing Notes:  Next up, a review of Vermont Cider Company’s Addison.

Have you tried Vermont Cider Company’s Wassail?  What did you think?