Angioletti Secco

Review of Angioletti’s Secco cider, from Italy.  It is my first time trying this cider.

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Cider:  Secco sparkling Italian craft cider
Cidery:  Angioletti Vero Sidro Italiano
Cidery Location:  Italy
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  Italian craft cider

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description:  Made from 100% Italian apple juice (no concentrate).  5% vol.  Style: ‘Secco’ / Medium-dry.  Tasting note: Fine bubbles; aromas of fresh apple and white blossom are followed by intense, fresh flavours of orchard fruits, and a satisfying, clean, crisp aftertaste.  Serving suggestion: Serve chilled in a large flute glass as an apéritif or alongside antipasti.  Cider-maker: Matteo Corazzolla.  Closure: Mushroom cork.  Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  Gluten Free.

Cidery Description:  Angioletti craft Italian ciders are made from selected apples exclusively grown in the Italian dolomites.  Our ciders are made from 100% juice and contain no artificial flavourings or colourings.  Based in the UK (the world’s largest cider market), we are the sales office for family-run craft Italian cider and beer ‘Sidro Birrificio’ Lucia Maria Melchiori, where all our craft ciders and beers are made.  As well as Angioletti craft Italian ciders, we supply the Birra Val Di Non range of unfiltered Italian craft beers, named after the picturesque valley in which our ‘Sidro Birrificio’ is situated.

Price:  $5.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine in Southern CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a work trip

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, slightly sweet and acidic, and somehow reminiscent of sparkling wine.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of green apple, lemon, mineral, and floral.  Quick finish, with the flavor and bubbles going flat..  Low apple flavor and overall flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was pretty average.  $5.99 is quite a low price though, so maybe my expectations were too high.

Most Similar to:  Scandinavian Green Apple Craft Cider, although Angioletti Secco had much lower carbonation (Maybe it was an old bottle though?  I’m guessing imports don’t move as quickly as local favorites.)

Closing Notes:  I prefer the only other Italian cider I’ve tried, Bertolinos.

Have you tried Angioletti Secco?  What did you think?

Marquis de Saint-Loup Cidre de Normandie Brut

Review of Marquis de Saint-Loup’s Cidre de Normandie Brut.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Cidre de Normandie Brut
Cidery:  Marquis de Saint-Loup
Cidery Location:  France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  in Western Washington, plus online sales (to AK, CA, DC, ID, ND, NH, NM, NV, OR, and WA), both through  Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.

Cider Description:  This is an approachable brut cidre—all natural, fermented, pure apple juice, lightly sparkling and not too sweet. A go-to cidre for nearly any occasion, it is equally well-suited for a meal of shareable small plates or for grander special occasions. Delicious served by the glass at the bar, in an ice bucket tableside, or to guests at a rehearsal dinner. This cidre has an effervescence that lasts.

Cidery Description:  see here

Price:  ~ $11.99
Where Bought:  Central Market, North of Seattle
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Notes of apple juice & pomace with hints of orange.  Quick finish.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it was less complex than many of the other French ciders I’ve had.

Most Similar to:  Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  French cider is one of my favorites.

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Common Cider Pineapple Guava

Review of Common Cider’s Pineapple Guava.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Hibiscus Saison.

Cider:  Pineapple Guava
Cidery:  Common Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Drytown CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  6 pack of 12oz slim cans (or 22oz bottles)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with pineapple and guava

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Availability:  probably only in California (see their locator)

Cider Description:  An artfully effervescent hard apple cider heightened with tropical pineapple and guava to celebrate the warmth of social festivity.  Our Hawaii-inspired pineapple guava hard cider actually started out as a seasonal in 2017 but response was so strong that we have made it one of our year round products. It’s bright, fruity and off-dry; perfect with light food dishes or just by itself, with a few friends of course.

This gem also took home the Silver medal at the 2018 New York International Beer Competition, and at the 2018 World Cider Competition.  Fun Fact: When you see a pineapple you think Hawaii but they actually originated in South America and are believed to have made their way to Hawaii via the Spanish in the 16th century.

Cidery Description:  To open a Common Cider is to open your heart to the world.  To invite conversation, to entertain new ideas, to celebrate what we all have in common.  While the rest of the brewing world is busily promoting hard cider, we’re engaged with in the art of crafting human cider.  Cider as a solvent for cynicism.  Cider as symbol of balance and sanity.  Cider as a delivery system for joy.

Price:  ~ $3 / single can (runs ~ $13.99 / 6 pack, or $8.99 / 22oz bottle)
Where Bought:  Total Wine in southern CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a business trip, where I had extra suitcase space on the way back after dropping off work stuff so I picked up quite a few ciders

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First Impression:  Low carbonation.  Light straw yellow hue.  Smells mild, tart and tropical.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or bitterness.  Notes of green apple, pineapple, and a bit of something else, which tasted more like strawberry than guava to me.  Moderate length finish.  Low flavor intensity, complexity, and apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was ok, not really to my personal preferences, as it was so mild in flavor.

Most Similar to:  Apple Outlaw Pineapple Getaway and Seattle Cider Pineapple Agave

Closing Notes:  My favorite pineapple cider (of ~ 18 I’ve tried) is probably 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple, as it has tons of flavor without much sweetness, which is a rare combination.

Have you tried Common Cider Pineapple Guava?  What did you think?

2 Towns Hollow Jack’d

Review of 2 Towns’ Hollow Jack’d, a seasonal imperial-style pumpkin and spice cider.  I sampled a non-imperial (lower ABV) version of this previously (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  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:  Hollow Jack’d
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles, kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with caramelized heirloom pumpkin, sweet potato, honey, and spices

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Availability:  October 2019, in Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana.  See their Cider Finder.

Cider Description:  Extra mischievous, Hollow Jack’D takes our fall classic of fresh-pressed apples, caramelized pumpkins and sweet potatoes that are finished with local honey and spices to a whole new level.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99 / 500ml
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it at Cider Summit Seattle 2016, but this time it just showed up

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First Impression:  Hazy straw yellow hue.  Nearly still (low carbonation).  Smells of caramelized apple and spice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple and spices, with hints of pumpkin, sweet potato, and caramel.  Moderate length boozy finish.  Low to moderate sessionability and apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low to moderate pumpkin & sweet potato flavor and spice.

My Opinion:  Although I’m not a huge pumpkin / spiced cider fan, I liked this one.

Most Similar to:  Doc’s Draft Pumpkin cider (although that was a full sweet) and Tieton’s Smoked Pumpkin cider (although that was quite intensely flavored compared to this).  I’ve also tried pumpkin ciders from Ace and Woodchuck.

Closing Notes:  Unlike many pumpkin ciders (and beers), this one is actually made with pumpkin.  Many just add the pie spices but still call it a pumpkin cider (or beer).  Also, it is well balanced, with both the pumpkin and spices remaining light.

Have you tried 2 Towns Hollow Jack’d?  What did you think?

Dragon’s Head Heritage Rosé

Review of Dragon’s Head Heritage Rosé cider, made from red-fleshed apples.  This differs from a modern rosé cider which would add non-apple juice, hibiscus, etc, to get the red hue.  I tried this at a WA Cider Week preview event at Dragon Head’s own orchard (see here), plus I’ve had their Traditional CiderWild FermentedKingston BlackColumbia Crab, Methode Champenoise Perry, Perry, ManchurianSummer Cider, and Heritage.

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Cider:  Heritage Rosé
Cidery:  Dragon’s Head Cider
Cidery Location:  Vashon Island WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples

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Availability:  probably only in Washington and Oregon (see a list of retailers here), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Our Heritage Rosé Cider gets its lively pink color entirely from the Redfield and Mountain Rose apples we use to make it. Unlike typical apple varieties, in the Spring the blossoms on these trees are pink, the leaves are even a reddish bronze, and amazingly the flesh of these unique apples is red in color. When the apples are pressed the juice is a crimson color that lightens and clears into the beautiful rosé that you see in the bottle.

Cidery Description:  From apple to bottle, all right here on our farm.  At Dragon’s Head Cider, we take a traditional approach to cider making. Our focus is on the apple varieties that we use and the quality of the fruit. We love the story that apples alone can tell through cider, altering the flavor by changing the blend of apple varieties that we carefully select. The process is simple and the ingredients list is short. Perhaps we’re a little old fashioned.

Price:  ~ $19
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a tasting event (see here),

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First Impression:  Medium pink hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of complex heirloom & tart green apple with hints of lemon, berry, rhubarb, and watermelon.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I personally prefer ciders which are a bit sweeter and fuller flavored.  I’d recommend this for folks who like a fruity cider but without the sweetness that most have.  I’m always amazed by how many different flavors can occur just from apples, like the fruitiness from red-fleshed apples.

Most Similar to:  Other heritage rosé ciders made from 100% red-fleshed apples, such as Snowdrift Red (a tad sweeter and more tart), Tieton Russian Red (sweeter), Alpenfire Glow (much sweeter and very full-flavored), and Alpenfire Cinders (drier and super bubbly since its methode champenoise).

Closing Notes:  I’m often torn between heritage and modern ciders, as they both have so much to offer, but thankfully I don’t have to choose between them.

Have you tried heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples?  What did you think?

Herb’s Cider Forte Golden Russet Keeved

Review of Forte from Herb’s Cider, a keeved cider from golden russet apples.  Keeving is a French cidermaking process which leaves the apple pulp and skin with the juice to start fermenting, creating a pectin gel layer which traps nitrogen, which in combination with low temperatures starves the juice of nutrients to completely ferment to dry, slowly creating a naturally sweet cider (see here for more info).  I tried this at Cider Summit a couple weeks ago (see here), plus I’ve had their Triplet Special ReserveBlue Note Heirloom Blueberry7/4 Traditional BittersharpCrescendo Cox Orange Pippin SV, and Cider Summit Fruit Challenge Plum Jerkum.

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Cider:  Forte
Cidery:  Herb’s Cider
Cidery Location:  Bellingham WA
ABV:  6.3%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American organic craft keeved cider from Golden Russet heirloom apples

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Availability:  limited release, and probably only in Washington

Cider Description:  A single varietal cider made from organic Golden Russet apples.  Keeved using traditional methods to result in a naturally sweet cider and wild fermented at very low temperatures for several months.  Aged in French oak puncheons.

Cidery Description:  Herb’s Cider is a craft cider produced by world renowned drummer, Tim “Herb” Alexander and award-winning Cider Maker, Chris Weir. Herb’s is located in the heart of Bellingham, Washington. We use only 100% ORGANIC Pacific Northwest fruit for our sophisticated, bright, effervescent and flavorful ciders. We are dedicated to the craft of fine cider making and use only traditional methods. We do not add sugars (back-sweeten) or anything to flavor our end products. Tim and his wife, Shama, fermented their first batch of cider in their garage in the fall of 2016. It was a blend of Ambrosia / Gravenstein apples and Japanese Pears, leftover from their garden after a bumper crop. They couldn’t give enough apples away and didn’t want the apples to rot. Instead, Tim went out and rented an apple press. The rest is history….

Price:  ~ $20
Where Bought:  Cider Summit Seattle 2019
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  tasting

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells sweet, of pineapple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied, with a fluffy texture.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of tart green & rich heirloom apple and tropical fruit, with a creamy mouthfeel.  Moderate length finish, flavor intensity, complexity, sessionability, and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Super unique, and the sweetest of all their offerings I’ve tried so far.  I had no idea you could keeve non-bittersweet apples, so that’s pretty cool.

Most Similar to:  This is sweeter than three Golden Russet single varietals I’ve tried, from Finnriver, Liberty, and Wandering Aengus, and was more tropical fruity than earthy/buttery/starchy.

Closing Notes:  My husband smartly recommended I pick up 2 bottles, because whenever I buy 1 bottle of something I really liked at an event, I don’t want to open it, because then it’ll be gone.  So, the good news is I still have another bottle left!

Have you tried keeved cider?  What did you think?

Portland Cider Peach Berry

Review of Portland Cider’s Peach Berry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda DryHop’RageousLondon Dry GinApple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, Pineapple, Sangria, MojitoCranberryConcord GrapePerfect 10Pumpkin Spice, and Pineapple Rosé.

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  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:  Peach Berry
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.2%
How Supplied:  19.2oz single cans, 6 pack of 12oz cans, and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with berries and peaches

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Availability:  seasonal (fall), in Oregon (including their 1 taprooms) and Washington, plus limited draft availability in Northern CA bay area

Cider Description:  Bold, juicy Oregon peaches play with a blend of tart Northwest grown berries for a cider full of sunshine to drink on those grey Portland days. Lively raspberries, blackberries & blueberries burst onto your tongue, just like plucking the fruit from your own backyard. This balanced cider, with a bold peach flavor and slight tartness, pairs well with classics like fish tacos, spicy sausages and corn on the cob.

Cidery Description:  Portland Cider Company was started in October 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing cider, handcrafted in the English tradition, to the Northwest. It has two taproom locations: Portland Cider House at 3638 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214; and Taproom & Cidery at 8925 SE Jannsen Rd, Bldg. F, Clackamas, OR 97015.  Visit www.PortlandCider.com and follow @PortlandCider on social media.

Price:  ~$4 / 19.2oz can, or ~$12 / 6 pack of 12oz cans
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Deep purple-red hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, tart and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of berry, stone fruit, and green apple.  Moderate length finish.  Low complexity and apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Super fruity and flavorful, without too much sweetness.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Sangria (except more rich berry than light tropical fruit) and Bauman’s Peach Raspberry (except more berry than peach)

Closing Notes:  I received both a 19.2oz can and a 12oz can, and oddly enough the batch in the smaller can was a bit drier and more tart than this 19.2oz can that I reviewed was.  A great example of craft cider – there will always be some variability batch-to-batch.

Have you tried Portland Cider Peach Berry?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 35 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 35th visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  However, 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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I was a bit distracted and totally forgot pictures this time, but I thought I might as well share tasting notes.  I was there on a Thursday afternoon, the day before Cider Summit Seattle 2019, for the cider house’s 5th birthday.  I ordered a flight, as always.  Its awesome even with how many ciders I’ve tried, they always have at least a few new to me selections.

Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) Golden Fox (6.9% ABV):  This is their 17th draft-only Traditional Heirloom Cider release, this time from Golden Russet, Golden, and Foxwhelp apples.  Dry, with notes of heirloom apple and lemon, with hints of bitterness & tannins.

Brownrigg (Seattle WA) Rum Barrel (7.5% ABV): I had forgotten I actually tried this 1 year ago.  Their rum barrel aged cider, which like all their ciders appears to be draft-only, and super limited release.  Dry and tart, with oak, citrus, and herbal flavor, and low sourness (back of the palate).

Longdrop (Boise ID) Strawberry Vanilla (5.5% ABV):  This appears to be a draft-only release.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet, with mild berry flavor, and vanilla on the nose and finish.

Reverend Nat’s (Portland OR) Watermelon (4.5% ABV):  This is seasonal, and also available in bottles, as Holy Water(melon), and advertised to also have ginger and lime in addition to the walermelon.  Semi-dry, with a mild watermelon flavor and a hint of grapefruit and ginger, and a sour finish (back of the palate).

Schilling (Auburn WA) Blueberry Pommeau (21% ABV):  This is a draft-only birthday release, where Pommeau = apple brandy + apple juice, then barrel aged, with blueberry added.  Semi-sweet, fuller bodied, with a tart fruity berry start and a rich boozy finish.

Schilling (Auburn WA) Guava Mint (8.5% ABV):  This is a draft-only release for the fruit cider challenge at Seattle Cider Summit.  Semi-sweet, full bodied with a guava pulp mouthfeel, lots of guava flavor, and a hint of mint on the finish.  Hidden ABV.

I didn’t care for the Rev Nat’s or Brownrigg selections, due to the sourness, but liked all the others, especially the Schilling Guava mint, which I ordered more of.

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

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.

Cider Summit Seattle 2019 Post 1/2 – The Event

Epic!  This was my fifth year attending (see here for previous posts), but was the 10th annual Cider Summit in Seattle Washington.  It took place on Friday & Saturday September 6th & 7th.  This is post 1/2, covering the event.  Post 2/2 will have tasting notes on all the ciders I tried.

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See my preview here.  I attended Friday afternoon, which is awesome as it isn’t too crowded yet, especially the VIP hour (2pm-3pm).  See here for the full event info and here for the full list of cideries (~54) and ciders (~150-200).  There were some substitutions and even 1 cidery no-show, but there were plenty of options, even for someone like me who had tried most of the lineup from most of the cideries.  There was even ice cider, Pommeau, Calvados and other spirits, and cider cocktails.

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Although most ciders were from the PNW, there were a good number of national and international ones as well.  Also, the selections were primarily on the craft (vs. commercial) end.  Like last year, they had smaller pour sizes and more tickets for pours, so it was easier to try more selections.

Entry included a tasting glass, drink tickets, and wristband.  A cool feature of this event is that in addition to in & out privileges, one entry fee gets you in both days (and you can even skip the line on the second day), just keep your wristband on and bring your glass.  This year they were at a new venue, Lake Union Park outside of the MOHAI, instead of at South Lake Union Discovery Center across from Whole Foods.  It was still an outdoor event, and < 1 mile from the old site.  I liked this venue a bit better, as there seemed to be more space.  The only traffic jam area was around the heritage cider tent.

However, parking was a bit trickier.  Previously we’d always just park in the Whole Foods garage.  MOHAI has very little parking, and their main lot was marked permit only when we checked.  We ended up parking about a 5 minute walk away, at Chander’s Cove next to Daniels, where it was $20 for up to 10 hours, and a nice paved lot (vs. rocks); however, it was a pain to pay (needed to download an app and create an account).  The Amazon lots can be a great option if you are attending Friday night or anytime Saturday, but at 1:30pm on Friday we didn’t even try.

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This event is very well organized, by far the best I have attended.  It is also very consistent year-to-year.  Everything from detailed pre-event information online (even a full cider list) to signage at the event to thinking of the little things like having rinse water available and a shaded seating area.  Its crazy to think about how much work goes into an event of this magnitude…renting a space, tables, canopies, and even fencing…finding volunteers, hiring staff for liquor enforcement and safety (at emergency exits), having extra ice and cider available, etc.

Another thing about this event that I really like is that the folks pouring the cider are associated with the cidery (cidery employees, sometimes even the cidermakers, or the distributor), so you can ask about the cidery and cider.  Plus, all the canned/bottled ciders are available in the shop (too bad there are so many great special releases they only had on draft).  The crowd was really varied, but had a lot of cider enthusiasts like myself.  There were also lots of vendors trying ciders, as it is common for a cidery to bring multiple people and swap out pouring.  A number of people brought their dogs too.

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Layout

Besides the main attraction of cider booths, they had an event store (with can/bottles and t-shirts and such), a stage where they switched between interviews with some of the cidery reps and live music, food for sale (hot dogs, tamales, and pretzels – which were tasty but festival priced).  There were also cider related vendors (such as the Northwest Cider Association, CiderCraft & Sip Northwest magazines, and Press Then Press – a new online cider shop; see my reviews hereand some non-cider and non-food vendors.  The amenities were also above average for an outdoor event, with multiple food options for sale, concrete planter box edges to sit on, covered tables & chairs, clean port-a-potties with outdoor sinks, and free water (although this year it wasn’t cold like in years past…).

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<Cider Summit Seattle weekend purchases>

My Tips

Friday is typically much less busy than Saturday, especially earlier in the afternoon and the VIP hour.  My game plan this year involved sleeping in, having a big lunch, getting to the event early to figure out parking, visiting all the cidery booths which are new to me during the VIP hour, taking a snack break, trying more ciders, then leaving and eating dinner with my husband.

I recommend good walking shoes, as you are on your feet for most of these types of events, and there are uneven dirt and patches of grass at outdoor sites like this.  Also, pants with pockets, to put your tasting tickets and cell phone and such in.  There are less grab & go food options within easy walking distance of this site, mostly sit down restaurants (like Daniel’s, whose bar we ate dinner at), but 3 food options on-site.  I bring my own snacks and water bottle though.

Other must-haves for me are a hat, sunblock, bug repellent, sunglasses, notebook & pencil, and a plastic baggie to put the tasting glasses in afterwards when they are sticky.  Its nice having a bag to put all that stuff in, as well as any free swag you want to collect.  ID is required to get in, and cash never hurts, although some places (like the Summit store) take cards.

A great way to get free admission is to volunteer; they had several shift options each day, and I heard that if you work closing on Saturday you may even get leftover bottled/ canned cider.  For the best ticket price, buy in advance, although there are taxes & fees for online sales.  Although VIP tickets are online sales only, if you want the best price on a regular ticket, you can go to Capitol Cider to avoid the fees.  The event didn’t sell out as far as I know, but the ticket price was higher at the door.  Designated driver tickets ($5) were only available at the door.

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Closing Notes

In addition to Seattle, there are Cider Summits in Chicago IL (February), San Francisco CA (April), and Portland OR (June).

My 2nd Cider Summit Seattle 2019 post with tasting notes will be out soon!

Eve’s Albee Hill Still & Dry

Review of Eve’s Cidery’s Albee Hill, their Still & Dry cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Beckhorn HollowAutumn’s GoldKingston BlackRustica, and Scatterseed.

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Cider:  Albee Hill (2015 harvest, 2016 release)
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten, NY
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider from heirloom, cider, & dessert apple varieties, Still (no carbonation), Dry (not sweet)

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Availability:  Mostly in New York, but also in some other states, such as Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Washington; see this page for detailed info on distribution.  However, the easiest spot is at the cidery and their online store (check for shipping availability for states besides New York).

Cider Description:  Sweet on the nose, with honey, flowers and lychee but balanced with darker aromas like damp wood and coffee. Flavors of citrus peel and quinine hang off a taut tannic frame in the mid-palate. The finish has plenty of dusty brown tannin and bittersweet apple skin.  This dry, tannic cider should be served at cellar temperature : ~55 degrees. Pair with nutty cheeses like cave aged cheddar, savory meats like Merguez sausage, and all manner of vegetables, especially grilled.

See their page for this cider for even more info; I love that they publish specific apple varietal percentages, residual sugar & acid content, fermentation type, batch size, etc.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $16
Where Bought:  the cidery’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  A free shipping deal in December (2017?).  This may have sat in my cider fridge awhile.)

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First Impression:  Lovely medium caramel amber hue.  No carbonation.  Smells amazingly rich, dry but with sweet flavors like caramel, and tannins.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of Dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel and leather, with hints of brown sugar, orange, and earth.  Moderate length tannic finish.  High complexity.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this; the flavor profile was awesome.  However, I would have preferred a bit of sweetness and carbonation.  I’d recommend this cider, especially to folks who like dry and tannic grape wine.

Most Similar to:  Eve’s Kingston Black SV, which I also found to be still and with a similar profile of “sweet” flavors, yet in a dry cider

Closing Notes:  There aren’t too many truly Still ciders out there.  I think they let the qualities of the cider apples shine even more, although many (like me) aren’t really accustomed to them.

Have you tried Eve’s cider?  What did you think?

Double Mountain Wickson Crab

Review of Double Mountain Brewery’s Wickson Crab cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Jumpin Jack Heirloom CiderDry, and Arkansas Black.

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Cider:  Wickson Crab
Maker:  Double Mountain
Location:  Hood River Oregon
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Wickson crabapples

Photo Aug 30, 5 48 49 PM Photo Aug 30, 5 49 13 PM Photo Aug 30, 5 49 03 PM

Availability:  likely only in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia

Cider Description:  This late season variety is tiny on the tree, but big on flavor. Sweet, tart, and earthy, this scrappy little apple makes for a robust cider. Honeydew, ripe kiwi, and big juicy apple fill the mouth, finishing less tart and a hint of sweetness.  There is nothing small about this variety of crabapple.  Wickson is bringing the sweet to balance it’s tart kick,

Cidery Description:  Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom was established in 2007 in the heart of downtown Hood River, OR.  Founder, Matt Swihart, opened the brewery with a clear mission: make great beer for craft beer fans. The unique location of Double Mountain provides the use of pure and clean glacial water for beers and ciders, while also take advantage of regionally grown hops. Reusable bottles allow customers to partake in a softer environmental footprint, affirming they are part of a sustainable future. Double Mountain may be found on tap and in bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

They have 2 taprooms, in Hood River and Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acid.  Hints of bitterness, funk, and tannins.  No sourness.  Notes of juicy sharp crabapple, lemon, and hints of herb and earth.  The cider starts fizzy but quickly goes flat in the mouth, creating an interesting mouthfeel.  Long tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, although its not a type I’d usually drink.

Most Similar to:  Dragon’s Head Columbia Crab and Greenwood Red River Wolf Crab

Closing Notes:  Its surprising to see a brewery make cider, and especially to go the heritage (vs. modern) cider route, but pretty cool.

Have you tried crabapple cider?  What did you think?

Stone Circle Farmhouse Dry

Review of Stone Circle Cider’s Farmhouse Dry.  I’ve tried their Semi Dry and Sour Cherry.  I was introduced through Press Then Press, a new online cider store focusing on small batch ciders.  They had a soft launch Aug 19 and are officially launching Sept 9 2019.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Press Then Press.  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:  Farmhouse Dry
Cidery:  Stone Circle Cider
Cidery Location:  Estacada, OR
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft farmhouse style dry cider from heirloom & bittersweet cider apples

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Availability:  probably only though Press Then Press (which ships to 43/50 states), unless you live near Portland Oregon

Distributor Description:  Don’t taste the same, taste the difference!  Press Then Press – Farm to you small batch cider.  We focus on small batch and hard to find cider.  Please visit our curated online store!  We are a mom and pop who wanted more fine cider available to everyone (over 21), so we started this up.  Press Then Press will email you when a fine cider is available for purchase.  If you want it, visit our site and purchase it!  Pick up your cider in Seattle, or we ship to you.  Sign up with your email to be included on future available ciders.  You will hear about it first!  1) Press the fruit  then  2) Press the order button

Cider Description:  Our signature cider is a true dry “scrumpy” style cider, inspired by our favorite ciders of the English westcountry. This cider is made from a blend of over 12 varieties of cider apples. It is slow fermented and left unfitlered to retain flavor. It features a beutiful dark golden color and a rich and robust apple aroma and flavor. Pair with seafood , pork, or cheese for an unforgetably unique experience.

Cidery Description:  We own a 36 acre farm, just outside of Estacada, Oregon. It’s a beautiful property that offers lovely views of the Willamette Valley and Coastal Range Mountains. The farm had been exclusively Christmas trees, but we began the transition to heirloom variety cider apples in the winter of 2015. We’ve continued to transition more and more space into cider apples every year since.

Price:  ~ $9.00
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through Press Then Press

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First Impression:  Hazy orange hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells funky and sour, of rich rustic apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate sourness and funk.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of cider apple juice & pomace, orange, must, and leather.  Moderate length sour finish, at the back of the palette.  Moderate flavor intensity, complexity, sessionability, and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I loved the profile of this cider, with the big cider apple flavor, but unfortunately I’m super sensitive to sourness, so due to its presence, I wasn’t personally a fan.  Everyone has different tastes – good thing there are more cider options than ever.  I’d suggest this selection to fans of farmhouse-style / rustic ciders, who like a bit of sourness & funk.  However, overall the levels of both were low, so some may not even notice.  Sourness & funk often occur together, and typically result from wild yeast fermentation, which uses natural yeast in the juice which was on the skin of the apples from the environment, which is typical for a farmhouse-style cider, same with haziness.

I liked that the bottle was clearly labeled ‘farmhouse’, and their website discusses their methods, as I’ve had some surprise bottles I’ve bought that have had even more sourness, but neither the bottle or their website had noted the style.  To be honest I wouldn’t have bought this cider myself due to the style, but I’m glad I got to try it, and I think my personal opinions in a review are more of an afterthought than a focus.

Side Note:  This is an excellent price point for the type of cider, and I liked seeing it available in smaller bottles, as it reduces the price point further, making it an easier buying decision than a $15+ bottle.  This appears to be a current trend, with more heritage cideries using 500 ml instead of 750 ml bottles like they used to do.  I think this helps them be more competitive with smaller modern cideries, making their ciders closer in price to them (and in this case, actually about equivalent).

Most Similar to:  This reminded me a lot of some Normandy France ciders I’ve tried, with rich bittersweet cider apple flavor and some sourness & funk, as well as U.S. ciders of a similar rustic style, like Runcible Old Hoot.

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying the other ciders in Press Then Press‘ introductory lineup.  Their website is well laid out and informative, making the order process easy, and providing access to unique ciders which otherwise wouldn’t be available to most folks.  Note that they offer 2 other varieties from Stone Circle, their Dry and Sour Cherry, which I will be reviewing soon.

Have you tried Stone Circle cider?  What did you think?

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Stone Circle Farmhouse Sour Cherry

Review of Stone Circle Cider’s Farmhouse Sour Cherry.  I tried their Semi Dry a couple weeks ago (see here).  I was introduced through Press Then Press, a new online cider store focusing on small batch ciders.  They had a soft launch Aug 19 and are officially launching Sept 9 2019.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Press Then Press.  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:  Farmhouse Sour Cherry
Cidery:  Stone Circle Cider
Cidery Location:  Estacada, OR
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft farmhouse style semi-dry cider from heirloom & bittersweet cider apples, with a “splash” of cherry juice

Photo Jul 31, 6 24 15 PM Photo Jul 31, 6 24 28 PM

Availability:  probably only though Press Then Press (which ships to 43/50 states), unless you live near Portland Oregon

Distributor Description:  Don’t taste the same, taste the difference!  Press Then Press – Farm to you small batch cider.  We focus on small batch and hard to find cider.  Please visit our curated online store!  We are a mom and pop who wanted more fine cider available to everyone (over 21), so we started this up.  Press Then Press will email you when a fine cider is available for purchase.  If you want it, visit our site and purchase it!  Pick up your cider in Seattle, or we ship to you.  Sign up with your email to be included on future available ciders.  You will hear about it first!  1) Press the fruit  then  2) Press the order button

Cider Description:  A simple splash of cherry juice adds a whole new world of flavor to this traditional, unfiltered English farmhouse cider. Made with pie cherries and  tart apples, this semi-dry cider is the right kind of sour. Pro tip: slow cook pork loin in a bath of this cider for an amazing experience.

Cidery Description:  We own a 36 acre farm, just outside of Estacada, Oregon. It’s a beautiful property that offers lovely views of the Willamette Valley and Coastal Range Mountains. The farm had been exclusively Christmas trees, but we began the transition to heirloom variety cider apples in the winter of 2015. We’ve continued to transition more and more space into cider apples every year since.

Price:  ~ $9.50
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through Press Then Press

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First Impression:  Hazy orange hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells funky and sour, of rich rustic apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate sourness and funk.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of cider apple juice & pomace, orange, must, and leather (I didn’t pick up any cherry).  Moderate length sour finish, at the back of the palette.  Moderate flavor intensity, complexity, sessionability, and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I loved the profile of this cider, with the big cider apple flavor, but unfortunately I’m super sensitive to sourness, so due to its presence, I wasn’t personally a fan.  Everyone has different tastes – good thing there are more cider options than ever.  I’d suggest this selection to fans of farmhouse-style / rustic ciders, who like a bit of sourness & funk.  However, overall the levels of both were low, so some may not even notice.  Sourness & funk often occur together, and typically result from wild yeast fermentation, which uses natural yeast in the juice which was on the skin of the apples from the environment, which is typical for a farmhouse-style cider, same with haziness.

I liked that the bottle was clearly labeled ‘farmhouse’, and their website discusses their methods, as I’ve had some surprise bottles I’ve bought that have had even more sourness, but neither the bottle or their website had noted the style.  To be honest I wouldn’t have bought this cider myself due to the style, but I’m glad I got to try it, and I think my personal opinions in a review are more of an afterthought than a focus.

Side Note:  This is an excellent price point for the type of cider, and I liked seeing it available in smaller bottles, as it reduces the price point further, making it an easier buying decision than a $15+ bottle.  This appears to be a current trend, with more heritage cideries using 500 ml instead of 750 ml bottles like they used to do.  I think this helps them be more competitive with smaller modern cideries, making their ciders closer in price to them (and in this case, actually about equivalent).

Most Similar to:  This reminded me a lot of some Normandy France ciders I’ve tried, with rich bittersweet cider apple flavor and some sourness & funk, as well as U.S. ciders of a similar rustic style, like Runcible Old Hoot.

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying the other ciders in Press Then Press‘ introductory lineup.  Their website is well laid out and informative, making the order process easy, and providing access to unique ciders which otherwise wouldn’t be available to most folks.  Note that they offer 2 other varieties from Stone Circle, their Dry and Sour Cherry, which I will be reviewing soon.

Have you tried Stone Circle cider?  What did you think?

Eden Harvest Cider

Review of Eden Harvest Cider, their second canned cider release (see here for my review of the first).  I’ve also tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The Falstaff, Siren Song, and Ezekiel Kingston Black.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

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Cider:  Harvest Cider
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.4%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned heritage cider from Vermong grown heirloom & cider apple varieties

Availability:  limited, to parts of CO, MA, NC, NJ, NY, SC, and VT

Cider Description:  Aromatic. Generously sparkling. Off-dry. Our new, canned Eden Harvest Cider reflects everything we care about:  High flavor, heirloom and tannic apples grown in small, regional orchards.  Fresh pressed at harvest to capture the full flavor of the fruit just as it ripens.  Fermented dry and blended with just a drop of our award-winning Eden Ice Cider to create an everyday cider with extraordinary complexity.  Contains heirloom and tannic apples varieties from local small family orchards, including: Dabinett, McIntosh, Empire, Spartan, and Esopus Spitzenburg.

See more on their website, here and here.  They amazingly only make this once a year.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

Price:  n/a (runs ~ $16 / four pack, which sounds like a lot, but is an awesome deal at just over $8 / 750ml, instead of $15-20)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a cidery rep contacted me

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of citrus and heirloom apples.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of super juicy apple and lemon with hints of floral and tropical fruit.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  This went over really well with my husband and non-cider drinking house guests too.  Lots of complex flavor without being sweet.  Super refreshing and easy to drink.

Most Similar to:  A sessionable version of a drier heritage cider.

Closing Notes:  This is definitely the highest quality cider currently available in a can.  I liked it even better than last year’s version.  I’m impressed!  Too bad it doesn’t sound like it’ll be available locally, as I’d love to stock some in my cider fridge.

Have you tried any canned heritage cider?  What did you think?

Far West Proper Dry

Review of Far West Cider’s Proper Dry.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their San Joaquin Sparkler and Orchard Blend No. 1.  I got this bottle through Press Then Press, a new online cider store focusing on small batch ciders.  They had a soft launch Aug 19, and will officially launch Sept 9 2019.

Photo Jul 31, 6 15 46 PM.jpg

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Press Then Press.  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:  Proper Dry
Cidery:  Far West Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Richmond CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider, dry

Photo Jul 31, 6 15 56 PM Photo Jul 31, 6 16 34 PM Photo Jul 31, 6 16 07 PM 

Availability:  only through Press Then Press (which ships to 43/50 states), unless you happen to be at a specific store in California

Distributor Description:  Don’t taste the same, taste the difference!  Press Then Press – Farm to you small batch cider.  We focus on small batch and hard to find cider.  Please visit our curated online store!  We are a mom and pop who wanted more fine cider available to everyone (over 21), so we started this up.  Press Then Press will email you when a fine cider is available for purchase.  If you want it, visit our site and purchase it!  Pick up your cider in Seattle, or we ship to you.  Sign up with your email to be included on future available ciders.  You will hear about it first!  1)Press the fruit  then  2) Press the order button

Cider Description:  Our Proper Dry cider uses a mixed blend of apples from our orchards with an emphasis on the crisp and clean acidity that gives most tart apples their zing. This blend packs a whole bunch of fruit on the nose while keeping a crispy clean and fully dry finish on the palate. We think it pairs well with your favorite fish on a dish, mornings on the sundeck, and trying hard, but not too hard.

Cidery Description:  Californian ciders from a 4th generation family farm in San Joaquin County.

Price:  $15
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found: through Press Then Press

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of crisp citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Low carbonation.  High tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of lemon, green apple, and mineral.  Long tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was a bit too tart and dry for my personal liking.  However, it had a nice flavor profile, similar to the Greenwood Dry I tried at the same time.  I’d recommend this to folks who like tart dry ciders, and even champagne lovers, as although this is lower carbonation, the flavor profile reminded me of champagne.

Most Similar to:  a tart version of Bauman’s Dry, Seattle Cider Dry, or Original Sin Extra Dry

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying the other ciders in Press Then Press‘ introductory lineup.  Their website is well laid out and informative, making the order process easy, and providing access to unique ciders which otherwise wouldn’t be available to most folks.

Have you tried Far West Cider?  What did you think?

Herout Pommeau

Review of Herout’s Pommeau, from France.  Pommeau is Calvados apple brandy + cider.  I sampled this at Cider Summit 2018 (see my notes here), and I’ve also had Herout’s Cotentin Extra-BrutCotentin BrutPommeauCoup de FoudreD-Day Commemorative Brut, and Micro-Cuvée No. 1,

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Cider:  Pommeau de Normandie
Cidery:  Maison Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  17%
How Supplied:  750ml corked cap bottle
Style:  organic French Pommeau (1/4 apple brandy + 3/4 cider) from cider apples

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).  They also offer a number of other selections from Herout, plus ciders, Pommeaux, and Calvadoses  from many other French makers.

Cider Description:  Produced from apples in specially designated organic orchards on the Cotentin peninsula, this aperitif wine is made by mixing 3/4 fresh apple cider and 1/4 one-year-old Calvados (a cognac-style spirit made from apples) then aging it for at least 14 months in old oak barrels at the Vergers de la Chapelle estate in Normandy, France.

Cidery Description:  Since the 1940s, Hérout cidre has been produced by the Hérout family on the Cotentin Peninsula on the Northwest coast of Normandy France, in Auvers, where apples thrive in its lush and oceanic climate.  They are the newest cidre AOC in France, since May 2016.  The cidermaker Marie-Agnes Herout was awarded the highest civilian honor in France for her 16 years of work getting the AOC recognized – Le Croix de Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur (Knights Cross for the Legion of Honneur).

See here for more info on the Pommeau and here for more info on the cidery.

Price:  $40
Where Bought:  Cider Summit Seattle 2018.  Now that the 2019 event is coming up (see here), I thought it was about time I opened it!
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  sampling it at Cider Summit Seattle 2018 (see here)

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First Impression:  Caramel hue with a hint of pink.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of apple brandy, sweet and rich.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples, smoke, caramel, orange, leather, brown sugar, and of course, brandy.  Long warming alcohol-forward finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  No sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I loved how smokey it was, and the level of sweetness.  Lovely flavor profile and complexity.  Note that I prefer this cold with one ice cube, as I’m not super accustomed to drinking spirits and such straight, and the slight dilution didn’t significantly change the flavor.

Most Similar to:  Although I have tried one other French Pommeau, from Etienne Dupont, that one perceived sweeter and had a much different flavor profile, more vanilla than smoke.  Therefore, I’d say this is closest to a more complex version of 2 Towns Pommeau.  Most others I’ve tried were drier or sweeter than this.

Side Notes:  Due to the high alcohol content and being still, Pommeaux can be kept open much longer than a cider, weeks or even months, so no need to avoid purchasing (or opening) it due to the larger bottle size.  This is also an excellent value, as it is no more expensive than local Pommeaux (which run ~ $20 / 375ml, and this is ~ $40 / 750ml), but I think it is superior.

Closing Notes:  French Cider Inc has an awesome selection of French Pommeaux and ciders.  They now also have some selections available at Total Wine, at least in Washington, which makes their imports easier to buy than ever.  A favorite of mine from them is La Chouette Cidre Rosé.

Have you tried Pommeau?  What did you think?

Greenwood Cider Dry

Review of Greenwood Cider’s Dry.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their HuckleberrySweet Orange CinnamonCedar CiderLavender Blackberry, Cherry, Red River Wolf CrabBlush, Peach, and Lingonberry varieties.  I got this through Press Then Press, a new online cider store focusing on small batch ciders.  They are having a soft launch today, Aug 19, and an official launch Sept 9 2019.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Press Then Press.  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:  Dry
Cidery:  Greenwood Cider
Cidery Location:  Seattle WA
ABV:  7.8%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider, dry

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Availability:  only through Press Then Press (which ships to 43/50 states), unless you happen to be at a specific store in Western Washington

Distributor Description:  Don’t taste the same, taste the difference!  Press Then Press – Farm to you small batch cider.  We focus on small batch and hard to find cider.  Please visit our curated online store!  We are a mom and pop who wanted more fine cider available to everyone (over 21), so we started this up.  Press Then Press will email you when a fine cider is available for purchase.  If you want it, visit our site and purchase it!  Pick up your cider in Seattle, or we ship to you.  Sign up with your email to be included on future available ciders.  You will hear about it first!  1)Press the fruit  then  2) Press the order button

Cider Description:  Our signature dessert apple blend finished with heirloom and wild apples picked from local farms, small homesteads, and abandoned orchards. Hand-pressed and unfiltered, this modern style dry cider sits just above complete dryness, with hints of apple peel, lime, and fresh straw.

Cidery Description:  Andy and Ryan Short (yep, brothers) and Marshall Petryni of Greenwood Cider make their cider in Seattle! They got their start with apples leftover from a CSA that didn’t get picked up. A few fermenting sessions later, they were selling their ciders & Greenwood Cider was born. Nowadays the fruit supply they work with is more consistent, and it shows up in the two ciders we are featuring. Something I really enjoy about these guys is their sense of humor and style. And that sometimes you need a cider with breakfast.

Price:  ~ $9.00
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through Press Then Press

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First Impression:  Hazy light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, and tart,

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of crisp tart green apple, lemon, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, I personally prefer a bit sweeter.  This wasn’t as tart as many dry ciders, and I think that made it seem less dry.  I was surprised that the higher ABV (7.8%) wasn’t more apparent.

Most Similar to:  Bauman’s Dry, Seattle Cider Dry, and Original Sin Extra Dry

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying the other ciders in Press Then Press‘ introductory lineup.  Their website is well laid out and informative, making the order process easy, and providing access to unique ciders which otherwise wouldn’t be available to most folks.

Have you tried Greenwood cider?  What did you think?

Far West Cider Orchard Blend No. 1

Review of Far West Cider’s Orchard Blend No. 1.  I’ve previously sampled a different vintage of this cider (see here), plus Far West’s San Joaquin Sparkler.  I got this bottle through Press Then Press, a new online cider store focusing on small batch ciders.  I got a sneak peak, but they are planning to launch late Aug / early Sept 2019 having a soft launch Aug 19 and an official launch Sept 9 2019; sign up for e-mails to be first in the know.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Press Then Press.  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:  Orchard Blend No. 1
Cidery:  Far West Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Richmond CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  only through Press Then Press (which ships to 43/50 states), unless you happen to be at a specific store in California

Distributor Description:  Don’t taste the same, taste the difference!  Press Then Press – Farm to you small batch cider.  We focus on small batch and hard to find cider.  Please visit our curated online store!  We are a mom and pop who wanted more fine cider available to everyone (over 21), so we started this up.  Press Then Press will email you when a fine cider is available for purchase.  If you want it, visit our site and purchase it!  Pick up your cider in Seattle, or we ship to you.  Sign up with your email to be included on future available ciders.  You will hear about it first!  1)Press the fruit  then  2) Press the order button

Cider Description:  This cider uses a combination of GoldRush, Cripps Pink and Granny Smith apples grown on Chinchiolo Family Farms. It is fermented with Champagne yeast at very low temperatures and aged to develop more complexity than your typical cider. Fruit-forward, sparkling, and just barely semi-sweet with great acid balance

Cidery Description:  Californian ciders from a 4th generation family farm in San Joaquin County.

Price:  $15
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  originally browsing when in a bottle shop in San Francisco CA, now through Press Then Press

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, tart.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of green apple, lemon, pineapple, and honey.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor, complexity, and overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Tasty and easy to drink.  This perceives a bit drier (less sweet) than the last vintage I tried, possibly because it is more tart & acidic than that version.  Overall I’d expect this to have wide appeal.

Most Similar to:  Seattle Cider Semi-Sweet and Scandinavian Green Apple Craft Cider

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying the other ciders in Press Then Press‘ introductory lineup.  Their website is well laid out and informative, making the order process easy, and providing access to unique ciders which otherwise wouldn’t be available to most folks.

Have you tried Far West Cider?  What did you think?

Westons Caple Rd Blend No. 3

Review of Westons Caple Rd Blend No. 3 cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Blend No. 3
Cidery:  Westons Caple Rd
Cidery Location:  Ledbury, Herefordshire, England
ABV:  5.3%
How Supplied:  four pack of 500ml cans
Style:  English cider, craft per their website, although per the ingredient list, they add water & sugar, presumably to obtain their desired sweetness and ABV levels (note in the U.S. it would instead be more common to backsweeten with unfermented juice)

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  The UK’s first canned cider produced with genuine craft credentials.  Slowly fermented fresh pressed English apple juice – no concentrate.  Small batch production.  Matured for up to 18 months in both oak and stainless steel vats.  Produced by an independent cider maker.  An uncompromising and challenging cider, with taste and flavour at its heart.  Matured in both oak and steel for a refined, full-bodied flavour.  Full bodied dark straw / amber sparkling cider.  Oaky, smoky, with subtle notes of leather…Fresh English apple juice.  A first for canned cider.  Unique authentic provenance.  Genuine, true cider.

Cidery Description:  Being the fifth generation of the Weston family line, Guy inherited a fine cider making heritage, which he uses to create contemporary and pioneering ciders. Try as he might, Guy can’t help but go against the grain, determined to challenge cider-lovers palates.  —  Great ciders are in my blood, Caple Rd is no different. I demand the finest yeast and fresh bittersweet English apple juice to craft ciders I am proud of.  My patience for a slow fermentation and up to 18 months maturation, is challenged with the anticipation to taste the complex, full-bodied cider I have crafted and nurtured.

Price:  $9.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing; I was excited to see a new-to-me English cider available

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells musty, of rich sweet apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of tannins, bitterness, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of juicy apple, lemon, caramel, and leather.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I liked the flavor profile.  It is more fitting for warm weather than most other English ciders, being more fruity than rich.  It still has plenty of characteristic English cider flavor, and more complexity than I expected for a canned cider.  From the taste I’d believe this was craft, and in a much higher price range than under $2.50 / pint.

Most Similar to:  a higher quality version of Crispin Browns Lane, one of the fruitier Aspall varieties, or Sheppy’s Somerset Draught if it was more fruity (as its one of the least rich English ciders I’ve tried)

Closing Notes:  I hope this will continue to be available.  Seems like all my favorite English ciders are no longer sold locally.

Have you tried Caple Rd?  What did you think?