Cider Summit Seattle 2019 Post 2/2 – Tasting Notes

This is post 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2019, with tasting notes on 21 ciders.  Post 1/2 covered the event.

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The Tasting Notes

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2 Towns Ciderhouse (Corvallis OR) Kingston Black – A draft-only special release.  Semi-dry, tannic, lower acid, with a woody earthy flavor.

Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA) Kingston Black – A small batch bottled release.  Semi-dry, with a lighter flavor than expected for a KB single varietal, with notes of citrus and wood, and mild tannins.

Archibald James (Leavenworth WA) Smash Apple – Their sweeter (1.5% residual sugar) flagship canned/bottled offering.  Semi-dry and very apple forward.  High level of flavor for the lower sweetness.

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Bauman’s Cider (Gervais OR) Kir Royale – A black currant and cherry barrel aged cider.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry, with bold cherry and oak flavor.

Bembel with Care (Germany) Apfelwein Pure – A flagship canned release.  Dry to semi-dry.  Yeast-forward, and reminiscent of beer.

Chatter Creek Cider (Woodinville WA) Kingston Black – A special bottled released.  Dry and acidic, with citrus and wood notes, but less complexity.

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Cider Riot (Porland OR) Kingston Black – A special bottled release.  On the sweeter side of dry.  Rich bitter tannic flavor with caramel, leather, and orange.

Herb’s Cider (Bellingham WA) Forte – A keeved golden russet single varietal (which is unique as typically only French bittersweet apple juice is keeved), Cognac barrel aged.  Semi-dry but tastes even sweeter, smooth, and apple-forward with hints of tropical fruit.

Herb’s Cider (Bellingham WA) Fruit Challenge – A one-off Foeder aged bittersweet plum jerkum.  Dry but fruity, more berry than plum (but I’ve never been able to pick out plum flavor in a cider).

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Manchester Road Cider (Chelan WA) Apple Sox Red – A flagship bottled offering with beets added for color.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Apple forward and non-specifically fruity.

Newtopia Cyder (San Diego CA) Passionate Mishap – A draft-only cider with passionfruit.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet, with notes of tart passionfruit and some citrus.

One Tree Cider (Spokane WA) Passionfruit Guava – A one-off fruit cider challenge entry.  Semi-sweet to sweet, and full flavored, with more passionfruit than guava.

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Pear UP (East Wenatchee WA) Peargria II – Take two on a one-off margarita-inspired perry (from 100% pears, no apples) for the fruit cider challenge.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet, with notes of lime, pear, and other fruit.

Pierre Huet (France) Calvados This apple brandy is aged 5-10 years, and imported by French Cider Inc.  I’m not big on spirits, especially served neat, so I’ll defer to my husband, who loved it.  I can however say it was smooth for the high ABV.  However, I think I’ll stick to cider and Pommeau.

Portland Cider (Portland OR) Peach Berry – A new canned release.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  More generally fruity than specific peach & berry, reminiscent of their Sangria, but slightly drier and less complex.  Speaking of their Sangria, I heard it will be going to draft-only for awhile due to lower sales, which is sad as its my favorite from them.

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland OR) Saint Citron – A new canned release.  Semi-dry and citrus-forward, primarily grapefruit, with a hint of ginger.

Seattle Cider Company (Seattle WA) Strawberry Guava – A limited release with strawberries and guava.  Dry, with mild fruitiness, but low flavor intensity.

Soundbite Cider (Everett WA) Two Plums Up – A limited release with plums.  Semi-dry and fruity, more strawberry-rhubarb than plum I thought.

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Union Hill Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Pinkheart – A blend with Red Fleshed, Cripps Pink, and Dabinett apples.  Semi-dry, with subtle fruity citrus flavor.

Union Hill Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Hard Harvest – A blend with Cripps Pink, Dabinett, Porters Perfection, Kingston Black, and Snowdrift Crab apples.  Dry to semi-dry, with subtle earthy citrus flavor.

Wildcraft Cider Works (Eugene OR) Rome Beauty – A single varietal of Rome Beauty apples.  Measurably dry but it tastes sweeter, apple-forward (cooked) and non-specifically fruity, and completely clean.  I liked the level of flavor (high) vs. sweetness (low).

I also had some 2 Towns Pommeau and Eden Heirloom Blend Ice Cider, because we still had tickets left, and they are awesome.

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 EgoAnthemAvid (previously Atlas)Bad Granny, Brownrigg, Browar Polska Imports (PossmannRuwet), Capitol Cider, Caple Road, d’s WickedDouble MountainDragon’s HeadEaglemountEdenFinnriver, Greenwood, Idun, Independent CiderInclineJester & Judge, J. Seeds, Liberty, Locust, Longdrop, MiloslawskiSamuel Smiths, Schilling, Sea Cider, Snowdrift, Swift, Tieton, Ulee’s, Virtue, Wandering Aengus, and Washington Gold.

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My favorites were Schilling Guava Mint (which I actually tried the night before but I’ll count as it was made for this event), Herb’s Forte, 2 Towns Kingston Black, and Alpenfire Kingston Black.  Two of those were draft only, but I picked up bottles of the other two.  Speaking of Kingston Black, single varietals from KB were popular, with at least 5 cideries offering them.

This event is always the highlight of Washington Cider Week, and the biggest and best cider event of the year in Western Washington.

Schilling Cider House Visit 34 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 34th visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Its actually been a few times more than that as sometimes I just pop in to buy bottles.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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<tap list>

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<“firkin” options from Wildcraft Ciderworks – my husband tried both and liked them, but I don’t do 20% ABV at room temperature>

I was there on a Friday afternoon with my husband and two out of town friends, after taking the day off and visiting Pike Place market.  I got another awesome poke (sushi) bowl from Just Poke a few doors down to share with my husband.  I ordered a couple flights for our friends and a few tasters for me, getting about half of the 32 ciders on tap (basically everything but the driest and sweetest ones).

Its awesome even with how many ciders I’ve tried, they always have at least a few new to me selections.  And they always have some really interesting stuff too, like Earl Grey tea infused, rhubarb-hops, and grapefruit gin, plus occasionally some imported selections (this time they had Louis Raison – see my previous tasting notes here).  I only have tasting notes on the few I ordered just for myself though.

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<left to right:  Moonlight Meadery Last Apple, Cider Riot La Luna, Liberty Kingston Black>

Moonlight Meadery (Londonderry NH) Last Apple (16% ABV):  A barrel aged cyser (cider from apples + mead from honey).  Also available in bottles, such as on their website, $27-28 / 375ml.  See my previous full review here.  Sweet.  Full bodied.  Full flavored sweet rich apple and honey notes with a quick finish.  I didn’t detect any barrel influence this time, but I’m guessing it smoothed out the flavor and contributed to the well-hidden ABV.  I may have drank it a bit too cold – warmed may have maximized its complexity.

Cider Riot! (Portland OR) La Luna (7.0% ABV):  Made from bittersweet cider apples with some dessert apples, then oak barrel aged.  Also available in bottles, but probably only in their taproom.  Completely dry.  Predominately oaky (more so than most barrel aged ciders I’ve had) with a hint of rich bittersweet cider apple flavor.  Low tartness and tannins.  I think I would have liked this more with some sweetness, as it had a low flavor intensity, especially in comparison to the next selection – the oak was my favorite part.

Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA) Kingston Black (8.0% ABV):  A single varietal from Kingston Black cider apples.  Previously available in bottles for ~ $15, although they don’t have any current availability on their website, and I haven’t seen it locally, so this specific batch may be draft-only.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Lovely bold bittersweet cider apple flavor with hints of honey and oak.  High tartness and moderate tannins.  I liked that they went a tad sweeter with this, as often they seem to go full dry, which can make a cider seem a bit harsh, especially if it is tart.

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Both me and my husband loved the Liberty Kingston Black – its probably my favorite Kingston Black single varietal to date (including from Farnum Hill, Eve’s, Whitewood, and Dragon’s Head).  So, we split a pint.

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I picked up some awesome bottles to take home, and even an Eric Bordelet (French cidre) 5L mini keg!  A bit spendy, but a rare opportunity.  Unfortunately it is getting more difficult to get English ciders, like Newton’s Court Gasping Goose and Dunkertons Black Fox, due to distributors going out of business or dropping cideries, but at least I was able to pick up some Worley’s Mendip Hills, my favorite of their four varieties available in the U.S.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says.  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

WildCraft Flagship Dry Hard Cider

Review of WildCraft Cider Works’ flagship dry Hard Cider.  WildCraft opened in Eugene Oregon in November 2014.  They were nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by WildCraft Cider Works.  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:  Hard Cider
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  Our flagship Dry Cider, made entirely from Oregon apples is locally sourced and pressed. This is a classic dry session cider with enough complexity to enjoy year round, all the time. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.

Made from Honeycrisp, Gala, Granny Smith, Pippen, Winesap, and/or Empire apples.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $5.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy straw yellow with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, and tart apple scent.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate sourness, tartness, astringency, and funk.  High acidity.  No bitterness.  Light bodied.  Moderate carbonation.  Relative quick finish, and fairly sessionable.  I detected some mild citrus and honey notes.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I have tried.  This flagship cider is definitely unique, having some of those Sidra-like notes but still having a lot of characteristic flavor of what I have come to think of as American flagship cider.  However, WildCraft uses a couple heirloom apple varieties in addition to common eating / dessert apples, which give it a touch of tannins, astringency, and depth.  This is more approachable than some ciders of a similar style (Millstone comes to mind), but may still be a big step for someone used to approachable sweet commercial cider.

Closing Notes:   This was quite an interesting cider, but it wasn’t really to my liking.  Without the sourness and with a bit more residual sugar, I think I would have found it more enjoyable.  I think they are doing some great things at WildCraft though, and are very reasonably priced.  I think folks looking for a unique cider on the dry end of the spectrum which aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft ciders?  What did you think?

WildCraft Cider Works Pioneer Perry

Review of WildCraft Cider Works’ Pioneer Perry.  Perries are made entirely using pears.  In contrast, pear ciders are often an apple base with pear juice added, and cider is of course entirely made from apples.  WildCraft opened in Eugene Oregon in November 2014.  They were nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by WildCraft Cider Works.  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:  Pioneer Perry
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  Our 2014 Pioneer Perry is layered with the complex flavors of hazelnut, fresh shortbread & orange blossom honey. The exquisite qualities of pre-prohibition planted American Pear varietals were allowed to reach their fullest potential. Harvested and handpicked from the founding farmlands of Lane County, this is an experience that provides unprecedented, homegrown quality. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.

Made from Red Bartlet pears.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $16.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, tart, yeasty, vanilla apple scent.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate to high acidity.  Mild to moderate sourness.  Mild bitterness, funk, astringency, and tartness.  Light bodied.  Still (no carbonation).  Moderate length finish.  I picked up mild pear, citrus, vanilla, oak, and honey notes.  This was a nice light perry which would be great during summer.  It was my favorite of the six WildCraft selections I’ve had, likely as it was a bit less sour & funky.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I have tried.  Although I’ve drank a number of perries, none was this dry and complex.  This is more approachable than some ciders of a similar style (Millstone comes to mind), but may still be a big step for someone used to approachable sweet commercial cider.

Closing Notes:   This was quite an interesting perry and more likeable than the others I tried, but it wasn’t really to my taste.  Without the sourness & funk and with a bit more residual sugar, I think I would have found it more enjoyable.  I also tend to like more of a full-flavored beverage.  I think they are doing some great things at WildCraft though, and are very reasonably priced.  I think folks looking for a unique perry on the dry end of the spectrum which aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft ciders?  What did you think?

WildCraft Cider Works Elderberry Perry

Review of WildCraft Cider Works’ Elderberry Perry.  Perries are made entirely using pears.  In contrast, pear ciders are often an apple base with pear juice added, and cider is of course entirely made from apples.  WildCraft opened in Eugene Oregon in November 2014.  They were nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.

wildcraft elderberry perry
(I somehow forgot to take a full photo of this lovely
wax-topped bottle, so a stock photo will have to do)

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

2015-11-19 17.02.08

Cider:  Elderberry Perry
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  These elderberries were wildcrafted in the mountains of Cottage Grove, hand destemmed and fermented whole in a red Bartlett perry. Floral, vinous, fruit-forward berries hail from the rugged Oregon wilderness into a rich & full bodied pear complexity. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.

Made from Red Bartlet and Comice pears.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $16.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

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First Impression:  Light elderberry-grape type hue with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, and tart apple-berry scent.  This one had the most funky scent of the six I’ve tried from WildCraft.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate acidity, sourness, tartness, astringency, and funk.  No bitterness.  Light bodied.  Moderate carbonation.  Relative quick finish.  The elderberry influence remained quite mild, but added a nice fruitiness and a bit of tannins.  This was a crowd favorite at my cider tasting, but my least favorite, as it was a bit more funky than the others.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I have tried.  Although I’ve had a number of berry ciders and a handful of perries, none was this dry, and I haven’t had a berry perry.  This is more approachable than some ciders of a similar style (Millstone comes to mind), but may still be a big step for someone used to approachable sweet commercial cider.

Closing Notes:   This was quite an interesting perry, but it wasn’t really to my liking.  Without the sourness & funk and with a bit more residual sugar, I think I would have found it more enjoyable.  I also tend to like more of a full-flavored beverage.  I think they are doing some great things at WildCraft though, and are very reasonably priced.  I think folks looking for a unique perry on the dry end of the spectrum which aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft ciders?  What did you think?

WildCraft Cider Works Blue River Blueberry

Review of WildCraft Cider Works’ blueberry cider.  WildCraft opened in Eugene Oregon in November 2014.  They were nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.

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

2015-11-19 17.02.08

Cider:  Blue River Blueberry
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  6.3%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  Bright whole blueberries from Organic Redneck Farm in Leaburg are fermented on skin, in a blend of Willamette Valley apples & wild yeast strains. Grown by our community, for our community. All Oregon grown, all the time.

Made from Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $7.25)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

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First Impression:  Light blueberry-grape type hue with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, and tart apple-blueberry scent.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate acidity, sourness, tartness, astringency, and funk.  No bitterness.  Light bodied.  Moderate carbonation.  Relative quick finish, and fairly sessionable.  The blueberry influence remained quite mild, but added a nice fruitiness and a bit of tannins (blueberry skin type flavor).  You can definitely tell they add real blueberries, not just blueberry juice (or worse, flavoring).

Most Similar to:  Nothing I have tried.  Although I’ve had a number of berry ciders, none was this dry.  This is more approachable than some ciders of a similar style (Millstone comes to mind), but may still be a big step for someone used to approachable sweet commercial cider.

Closing Notes:   This was quite an interesting cider, but it wasn’t really to my liking.  Without the sourness and with a bit more residual sugar, I think I would have found it more enjoyable.  I also tend to like more of a full-flavored cider.  I think they are doing some great things at WildCraft though, and are very reasonably priced.  I think folks looking for a unique cider on the dry end of the spectrum which aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft ciders?  What did you think?

WildCraft Snake River Rye Barrel Aged Hard Cider

Review of Snake River Rye, a barrel aged cider from WildCraft Cider Works.  WildCraft opened in Eugene Oregon in November 2014.  They were nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.  Barrel aged is my favorite cider variety, so I figured it was a good place to start.  Aren’t their labels beautiful?  I especially like the uneven edges.

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

2015-11-19 17.02.08

Cider:  Snake River Rye
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  Dry settler style Cider aged 3 months in American Oak Stein Rye Whiskey barrels from eastern Oregon. Deep whiskey notes and a full oak finish compliment smooth vanilla flavor & apple aromatics. Unpasteurized & bottle conditioned.

Made from Jonagold  apples.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

2015-11-20 18.56.59

First Impression:  Slightly hazy straw yellow with a few large bubbles at the edge of the glass.  Slightly funky, dry, sour, tart, oaky apple scent.  Surprisingly I didn’t pick up much barrel or spirit influence in the scent.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  Moderate sourness, tartness, acidity, astringency, funk, spirit (whiskey), and barrel influence.  No to low bitterness.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate carbonation.  Relative quick finish with the flavor of the cider, but there is lingering warmth and sourness.  I found citrus, herbal, oak, and smoke notes with this unique alcohol-forward cider.

Most Similar to:  A barrel aged Spanish Sidra?  I found some of the aspects I’ve come to associate with Sidra and Sidra-like rustic ciders, such as sourness, astringency, dryness, and citrus notes.  Yet it had definite barrel and spirit influence.  It is more approachable than some ciders of a similar style (Millstone comes to mind), but may be a big leap for someone used to approachable sweet commercial cider.

Closing Notes:   Snake River Rye was quite an interesting cider, but it wasn’t really to my liking.  Without the sourness and with a bit more residual sugar, I think I would have found it more enjoyable…the aspects I enjoyed reminded me of a barrel aged Imperial-style cider (typically characterized by a high ABV).  I think folks looking for a unique cider on the dry end of the spectrum which aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft ciders?  What did you think?