Another trip to the Schilling Cider House! I always have a blast (especially now that Sarah from Cider Log works there), and its kinda on my way home, and pretty affordable for a cider flight, so I make time for it when I can.
I had barely sat down this time when Sarah asked my opinion on the sweetness level of Cockrell’s Valley Red (raspberry) they had just tapped (as they color code the tap list by sweetness level). My vote was semi-sweet. I actually tried that one at the Seattle Cider tasting room (The Woods) awhile back. Bright cherry-pink hue. Semi-sweet. Nicely balanced tart-sweet, The raspberry comes across with a nice bite, and is easily noticeable, but not overpowering.
Then, I ordered a flight. It actually wasn’t too difficult to find 6 I hadn’t tried before, as they have 32 cider taps.
Wandering Aengus Byrd, 8.5% ABV:
Made from Wickson Crabapples and Nehou English Bittersweets, wild fermented. Semi-dry to Dry. Orangeish hue. Lots of crabbapple flavor and heavy tannins. Richer but light bodied. Slight funk. Not too much bitterness. Nice tang. Quite tasty, my favorite Wandering Aengus so far by far (usually not a big fan of them or their subsidiary Anthem). Reminds me of English cider. Apparently the name was because a bird made a nest on top of the tank, so they decided to name whatever cider they made a variation on bird.
Jester & Judge Sharp Cherry, 5.8% ABV:
First time I’ve tried Jester & Judge, although I have a bottle of their cider in the fridge to try. They are a newish cidery out of Stevenson WA. Semi-dry. Orange/pink hue. Very very mild cherry. Some tartness. Overall kinda blah. I’d call it Hint of Cherry, not Sharp Cherry lol. I guess I’m just a fan of bolder flavor. By the way, my favorite cherry cider so far is made by Washington Gold, and has a lovely bold real tart cherry flavor.
Blue Mountain Semi-Sweet, 6.3% ABV:
Second time I’ve tried Blue Mountain (only tried their Peach before). Semi-dry. Floral scent. Kinda watered down tasting / mildly flavored. Some tartness and some bitterness. Very mild tannins. Floral and citrus notes. Easy drinking and I think this would be widely appealing. Overall kinda average.
Le Brun Organic Cidre, 4% ABV:
French cidre! Semi-sweet. Nice richer flavor with mild tannins. I pick up some apple skin type flavor with this one, and its a bit larger bodied than some other French ciders I’ve had. Overall quite good, but as far as French ciders go, I prefer Dan Armor, which I found to be more flavorful. They carry this in bottles at the Schilling Cider House by the way.
Waupoos Premium, 6.5% ABV:
I’ve heard of this cidery from Ontario Canada, but hadn’t had a chance to try their cider. On the sweeter side of semi-dry. Plain yeasty apple scent. Some tartness, bitterness, and acidity, but rather mild. A rather basic cider without much flavor, but I don’t really have any complaints about it either. Well-hidden ABV.
Doc’s Raspberry on Nitro, 5.5% ABV:
I’ve been wanting to try Doc’s. Sarah recommends their Sour Cherry, but I haven’t seen it yet. This one was weird…I picked up some saltiness. Maybe from the tap line? It also unfortunately didn’t take well to the Nitro (there wasn’t any noticeable Nitro influence; typically the ciders get really foamy & smooth). Semi-sweet. Nicely balanced tart-sweet raspberry. Smelled better than it tasted though. I’ll have to give them another try.
Overall: The only ciders I truly enjoyed from my flight were the Wandering Aengus (oddly enough) and Le Brun. I kinda wished I had got a flight of the ciders I knew I liked that they had on tap, but I’m a sucker for trying new things, especially ciders, and especially when I haven’t tried anything from that cidery.
While I was there they also put together a very unique Randall using Schilling Oak Aged cider, mushrooms, walnuts, and black olives! The olives cam through most in the scent. The taste was quite earthy with some funk, and a bit chunky honestly (I got the first pour I think). It wasn’t as bad as it sounds though, although a couple sips was plenty. Looks like Friday afternoons are their typical Randall time, as the same thing happened during my previous visit.
Sarah also shared some of a bottle of Aspall Dry with me! This was the very first Aspall variety I had (at the Seattle International Beerfest; see my post here), and is quite excellent. Its an awesomely crisp apple-forward semi-dry cider. I haven’t been disappointed by any Aspall variety yet, and am looking forward to trying the bottle of Imperial I have at home.
So, all in all, obviously I highly recommend the Schilling Cider House! By the way, the Schilling Cider House has a monthly potluck. The next one is on Thursday October 22 from 5-9pm, and being called Dude…Sweet, with a theme of sweeter ciders, and asking folks to bring in sweet treats to share. There will even be a new Schilling release!