Superstition Meadery Hawaiian Honeymoon

Diverging a bit from cider, this is a review of Superstition Meadery’s Hawaiian Honeymoon, a pineapple-vanilla mead.  Mead is made by fermenting watered down honey.  It is my first time trying this one, but I sampled a number of Superstition’s varieties when I visited their tasting room (see here).

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Mead:  Hawaiian Honeymoon
Meadery:  Superstition Meadery
Location:  Prescott AZ
ABV:  13.5%
How Supplied:  375ml corked bottles
Style:  American craft mead (honey wine), with pineapple & vanilla added

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Availability:  limited; see here, plus they have online sales

Mead Description:  Hawaiian Honeymoon is a recent Superstition creation which has become an instant staff favorite. Big juicy Tahitian vanilla beans and pineapple, aged on toasted American oak staves, join forces with Arizona honey in this delicious craft beverage that will take you on vacation.

Meadery Description:  We have introduced over 200 unique meads and hard ciders since 2012.
Our products range from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, and easy drinking to the most flavorful beverage you have ever imagined.

Price:  ~ $24
Where Bought:  unknown
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  my husband got me this (and 1 other Superstition mead) for Christmas

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First Impression:  Light yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells of pineapple and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, funk, or sourness.  Notes of pineapple, honey, lemon, vanilla, and stone fruit.  Long warm finish, due to the high ABV.  Moderate honey flavor.  High flavor intensity and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  It was more pineapple than honey forward, and the vanilla was barely perceptible.  I see mead as a nice option in between cider and wine, and although there are more sessionable (low ABV) mead options, which often tend drier, I usually prefer the more traditional sweeter higher-ABV meads, which tend to be full-flavored.

Most Similar to:  High-ABV pineapple cider, or pineapple wine, with a hint of honey.

Closing Notes:  Superstition’s meads are at the higher end of the price spectrum, but they are also high quality.

Have you tried mead?  What did you think?

Tieton Single Varietal Harrison

Review of Tieton’s single varietal cider from Harrison apples.  I first sampled this at a tasting event in August (see here), but this time I’m doing a detailed review of a bottle.  I’ve also had their Apricot, Smoked Pumpkin, Wind (Pommeau), Wild Washington, Cherry, Blossom Nectar, Cidermaker’s ReserveSparkling PerryCranberryBourbon PeachFrost (ice cider), Spice RouteRussian RedLavender HoneyOak Barrel Aged Cider Summit Collaboration, and Organic.

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Cider:  Single Varietal Harrison
Cidery:  Tieton Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom Harrison apples

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Availability:  special release, at least in AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IL, NJ, NM, NV, OR, TX, and WA; check their cider finder

Cider Description:  This is our second cider in our single varietal series. We use Harrison apples it in our ciders often because its great for blending with other apples, but since it makes such good cider on it’s own, we chose too make a single variety cider. It is golden colored, with spiced apple, honey notes and a deeply rich mouthfeel finished by a lingering hint of ginger.

Cidery Description: From our orchards to your glass, TCW controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. TCW boasts the largest orchard of cider apple varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our cider fruit with all Washington apples. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

 

Price:  $7.99

Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  initially at a tasting event

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild and slightly rich.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of heirloom & green apples, honey, pear, lemon, and an overall flavor which I would best describe as creamy.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Very approachable for an heirloom apple cider, as many tend towards super dry and tart.  Its at a nice price point too.

Most Similar to:  Snowdrift Forefathers and Locust Honey Pear

Closing Notes:  I always like finding ciders from heirloom and/or cider apples which are a bit sweeter, as I’m not usually into fully dry ciders, but like their flavor and complexity.

Have you tried Tieton Harrison?  What did you think?

2 Towns Branch & Barrel

Review of 2 Towns Branch & Barrel, an Imperial-style cider made from heirloom apples, then barrel aged.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

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Cider:  Branch & Barrel
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft Imperial-style cider from heirloom apples, barrel aged

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Availability:  seasonal, in fall, in select states where 2 Towns is typically sold (Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana)

Cider Description:  Pomona, goddess of orchards, blessed our crop this year with a bounty of eclectic heirloom apples which, when fermented & aged in French oak foeders, yield a deliciously aromatic cider fit for the gods!

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:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing; I was surprised to see this on shelves vs. usually receiving samples of their new releases in the mail (they did however send me an awesome holiday gift – a bottle of their Pommeau!)

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, of complex heirloom apples.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Notes of heirloom apple, stone fruit, and honey.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, especially because they went a bit sweeter with this one than their others and its flavor profile.  It tasted sweeter than it smelled.  My husband was also a fan, especially due to it being Imperial-style (higher ABV), which is his favorite.

Most Similar to:  Tieton SV Harrison and Snowdrift Forefathers

Closing Notes:  2 Towns is always a good choice, as they make so many different varieties of ciders, and they are all pretty middle of the road, to appeal to the masses.

Have you tried 2 Towns Branch & Barrel?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard Unfiltered Crisp Apple

Review of Angry Orchard’s newest regular release, an unfiltered less sweet version of their Crisp Apple.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had a number of their other selections (see here).

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Cider:  Unfiltered Crisp Apple
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Walden NY (their R&D facility)
Cider Production Locations:  Cincinnati OH & Breingsville PA
ABV:  6%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert & bittersweet apple varieties, unfiltered, less sweet

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Availability:  wide release

Cider Description:  Crisp Apple Unfiltered is an homage to traditional cider with a natural, less sweet, fresh apple taste.  It is made with bittersweet apples, the gold standard in cider making.

Ingredients:  hard cider, water, cane sugar, apple juice from concentrate, malic acid, honey, natural flavor, carbon dioxide, and sulfites to preserve freshness

Price:  ~ $2 / single bottle (runs ~ $8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Hazy light amber hue.  Smells of sweet baked apple.  Very low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  Notes of unfiltered apple juice, orange, honey, and chemicals.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  The weird chemical flavor ruined it for me, and my husband agreed – we ended up dumping it out.  Maybe it had gone bad, but it didn’t taste like ciders I have had before which were truly flawed (the most common I’ve found is those which have turned vinegary).

Most Similar to:  Angry Orchard Easy Apple, Crispin The Saint, and some favorites of mine, Downeast Original Blend and 2 Towns Return of the Mac, except with a chemical twist…ick

Closing Notes:  I was hoping this would be a full-ABV version of their Easy Apple (their less sweet, less filtered, low ABV cider), but that one is much better.

Have you tried Angry Orchard Unfiltered?  What did you think?

2 Towns Cosmic Currant

Review of 2 Towns Cosmic Currant, a new fruit seasonal with cranberries and black currants.  It is my first time tying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can 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:  Cosmic Currant
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans (and 500ml bottles and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with cranberries and black currants

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Availability:  seasonal (winter), in Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana

Cider Description: Crafted with a transcendent blend of Oregon-grown cranberries, black currants, and Northwest apples, Cosmic Currant’s complex profile takes you on a voyage to the cosmos. Deep ruby red hues radiate with a hint of cane fruit sweetness and earthy cassis liqueur, finishing with a robust cranberry tannin. This brilliant winter warmer creates a celestial cider experience best enjoyed on a crisp, clear night under a blanket of stars.

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 refuse to add processed sugars, 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 a true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  retails for ~ $11.99 / six pack
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium red hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart berry.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No funk or sourness.  Notes of cranberry with hints of black currant, green apple, and lemon.  Long tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate sessionability and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I’m not a big fan of cranberry, drier ciders, or tart ciders, so I wasn’t really into this.  However, my husband loved it, as he likes all of those things.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Cranberry, Apple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel, and Tieton Cranberry

Closing Notes:  Its interesting that they only put currant in the title when it tastes more like cranberry.

Have you tried 2 Towns Cosmic Currant?  What did you think?

Author Semi-Sweet Draft Mead

Not a cider review, but a mead (honey wine) review, of Author Mead’s “draft” Semi-Sweet variety.

Mead Name:  Semi-Sweet
Meadery Name:  Author Mead Co.
Meadery Location:  Vancouver WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft “draft” style mead, lower ABV and carbonated, and made using brewing techniques

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Availability:  Washington and Oregon (see here)

Mead Description:  Thanks to the simplicity of ingredients – water, Raw American Honey and yeast – Semi-Sweet is truly a gateway into Draft Mead for those who don’t drink it on a regular basis. We left just enough residual sugars to balance out its crispness and still allow it to go down smooth. People say it tastes a lot more like its lager craft beer cousin than other mead out there today.

Meadery Description:  Crafted to be different…we assembled an all-star team of brewers and dreamers to explore how to help mead rise in the ranks of the craft brew world.  Our process of craft brewing mead advances that goal and we strive daily to deliver you something unique and tasty.  Game changed…get ready to meet the product that is changing the game in craft brewing.  We re-envisioned traditional mead to create crisp, carbonated and perfectly balanced style that pair equally well with a weekend exploring outdoors, a dinner party with friends or hanging out at your favorite tap house.  Let us introduce you to Author Draft Mead.

Where Bought:  Whole Foods in Western WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mild, of sweet honey with a hint of floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of honey with hints of floral and lemon.  Long bitter beer-like chemically finish.  Low to moderate honey flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor until it got to the finish, which ruined it for me.  I assume it was from using brewing instead of wine (and cider & mead) techniques, which is the first time I’ve heard of this for mead.  I had 2 other people try it and they agreed with me, so it wasn’t just me.

Most Similar to:  drier sessionable meads like Nectar Creek Waggle, except with a weird finish

Closing Notes:  I’d recommend this for beer fans who want to try mead, but not so much for folks who like typical meads and cider.

Side Note:  I’ve found I prefer the more traditional meads, which are typically fuller flavored, sweeter, and higher ABV, over the drier carbonated session meads like this.

Have you tried Author Mead?  What did you think?

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?