2 Towns Boysenbarrel

Review of 2 Towns Boysenbarrel, a barrel aged boysenberry cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their lineup (see here).

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Cider:  Boysenbarrel
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft with from dessert apples with boysenberries, barrel aged

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Availability:  seasonal (winter), in some states (see their cider finder), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Tart and complex, Boysenbarrel is packed with Pacific Northwest grown boysenberries. Aged on heavy toasted French oak for a strong tannic backbone, this rich and tangy berry treat is perfect for the winter season.

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:  I first read about it online

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First Impression:  Purple-red hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells of tart berry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of berry with hints of lemon and green apple.  Long tannic oaky red wine finish (although I’m guessing the red wine flavor was just tannic berry + oak barrel, as they didn’t specify red wine barrels were used).  Low apple flavor and barrel influence.  Moderate flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability,

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it was a bit too red wine-like for me.

Most Similar to:  a non-sour version of 2 Towns Traditions La Mure (marion blackberry cider aged in red wine barrels), and Seattle Cider Red Wine Barrel Berry

Closing Notes:  I’d recommend this for folks of berry and barrel aged ciders, especially wine lovers.

Have you tried 2 Towns Boysenbarrel?  What did you think?

Stoked Blue Palm

Review of Stoked Blue Palm, a blueberry-pineapple hopped cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Blue Palm
Cidery:  Stoked Cider
Cidery Location:  Westlake Village CA (although I’m guessing that is their office, as the can said Stevenson WA, so they probably use a co-packer in apple country)
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples w/ Mosaic hops, blueberry, & pineapple

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Availability:  limited, likely only in CA, plus  online sales

Cider Description:  HOP ON THIS CIDER WHALE AND CRUISE YOUR WAY TO FLAVOR ISLAND.  THIS IS A JUICY HOP MONSTER, REFRESHINGLY DRY WITH A BURST OF TROPICAL FRUIT AND FRAGRANT WEST COAST HOPS.WE CRAFTED THIS CIDER FOR BIKINI BABES, BIG WAVE SURFERS, AND HOP HEADS WHO ENJOY A HEALTHIER BUZZ. DRY HOPPED WITH MOSAIC HOPS, THEN BLENDED WITH FRESH BLUEBERRIES AND PINEAPPLES. DIVE RIGHT IN AND GET YOUR HAIR WET, THEN STICK YOUR FEET IN THE SAND AND SIP ’TIL YOU SWAY LIKE A LAZY PALM BENDING WITH THE SEA BREEZE

Cidery Description:  WELCOME TO THE MOST CRUSHABLE CRAFT CIDER ON THE PLANET. WE ARE ALL ABOUT OUR BLENDS, ALWAYS MADE USING FRESH PRESSED JUICE AND NEVER TOO SWEET. WE MAKE CIDER FOR THE WEST COASTER, BRINGING YOU A HEALTHIER BUZZ.  6.9% ABV. 3 GRAMS OF SUGAR. UNFILTERED.  TOTALLY.

Price:  $3.99 / single can
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA on a cruise port stop in fall 2018
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light pink-orange hue. Low carbonation.  Smells hopped and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of hops, watermelon, pineapple, and lemon.  Long bitter hoppy finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I thought this was pretty ok.  I had no problem finishing it, but its not really my sort of thing (a bit too dry and bitter).  It had a bit of complexity and had a good deal of flavor & fruitiness, which was nice to see.

Most Similar to:  other drier fruity hopped ciders like ^5 Strawbasaurus (strawberry hopped), Incline Cider Scout (hopped marionberry), or Swift Pineapple Hop (although in this category my favorite is probably 2 Towns Hop & Stalk, although oddly enough I wouldn’t say I like either hops or rhubarb)

Closing Notes: Surprisingly I got more watermelon than blueberry flavor from it, maybe due to the combination of flavors going on.

Have you tried Stoked Blue Palm?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Tank Series Belgian White

Review of Woodchuck Tank Series Belgian White.  They made this years ago, it went on hiatus, then they re-released it recently for a limited run.  I previously tried this pre-blog, plus I’ve had most of Woodchuck’s line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  Tank Series, Belgian White
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with Belgian beer yeast

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  Crafted with a classic Belgian beer yeast, cloudy with a rich, golden huge, it presents a delicate aroma and taste, with coriander and orange notes.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders fora variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders. 

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

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First Impression:  Smells of orange with a hint of apple.  Hazy light orange brown hue.  Still (no carbonation).

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of apple juice, orange, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed it.  It actually tastes different than their other ciders, which all seem kinda similar to me.

Most Similar to:  It almost reminded me of a still French cider with orange.

Closing Notes:  This is one of my favorite Woodchuck special releases.

Have you tried Woodchuck Belgian White?  What did you think?

Original Sin Elderberry

Review of Original Sin Elderberry cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Cherry Tree, PearNorthern Spy, and Extra Dry

Cider:  Elderberry
Cidery:  Original Sin
Cidery Location:  New York NY
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  multipack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with elderberries

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  A balanced cider combining the natural acid and sugar of apples with the tart qualities of elderberries.  Elderberries have been adding flare to hard cider for centuries.  In fact, the 1822 book The American Orchardist suggests adding Elderberries to give cider “a fine colour as well as flavour.” Original Sin brings back this brilliant tradition with our new Elderberry Cider.

Cidery Description: Established in 1996, Original Sin is one of the original modern-day U.S. cider companies. With a mere $5,000 in funding, founder Gidon Coll began making cider in Upstate New York and spent two years going bar to bar in New York City to develop his early market base. Today, Original Sin is still 100% independent and now distributed in 32 U.S. States, The United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan.

Original Sin started a New York State test orchard five years ago, which now features over 100 rare, cider and contemporary apple varieties. Each year, the company adds interesting and historically significant varieties to the Original Sin orchard’s genetic pool.

Price:  ~ $3 / can
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium purple-red hue.  Smells of tart berry.  Very low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of berry with hints of cranberry & pomegranate.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average.  Plenty drinkable, but it didn’t really stand out.

Most Similar to:  any other semi-dry berry cider

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Closing Notes:  I also bought a can of Locust Vanilla Bean and mixed them together.  That one was a bit of an off can, less flavorful and sweet than usual, but its a nice mix.

Have you tried Original Sin Elderberry?  What did you think?

Vizo Elderflower

Review of Vizo’s Organic Elderflower cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Green Apple variety.

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Cider:  Elderflower
Cidery:  Vizo Organic Apple Cider
Cidery Location:  Denmark
ABV:  4.8%
How Supplied:  11.2oz bottles
Style:  organic craft cider from Denmark, from unknown apple varieties, with elderflower extract

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Availability:  limited, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The aroma of our cider is intense, fresh and with a slightly floral background. Vizo Organic Hard Cider perfectly combines sweet and tart apples in order to enrich the flavor, leaving a pleasant, fruity and  refreshing aftertaste. Made from Danish organic apples with just the right touch of elder-flower, forest fruits or green apple flavor. It is a seamless amalgam of flavors, with no sugar or additives, resulting in a 100% natural drink a craft cider like no other.

Cidery Description:  The aroma of our cider is intense, fresh and with a slightly floral background. Vizo Organic Hard Cider perfectly combines sweet and tart apples in order to enrich the flavor, leaving a pleasant, fruity and  refreshing aftertaste. Made from Danish organic apples with just the right touch of elder-flower, forest fruits or green apple flavor. It is a seamless amalgam of flavors, with no sugar or additives, resulting in a 100% natural drink a craft cider like no other.

Price:  ~ $4.50 / 1 bottle
Where Bought:  a natural grocery store in Northern California
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light caramel hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of sweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of rich sweet caramelized apple juice and a hint of honey.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, although it was a bit too sweet for my liking.  Same as the first one I tried from them, the color confuses me.  This was quite similar in flavor to the first one too, just a tad less tart, and with a hint of honey (I didn’t pick up any floral notes)

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Barrel Select but without the barrel & bourbon flavor, Locust New England Amber but sweeter and less complex, Locust Sweet Aged Apple with more caramel than honey & brown sugar, or Spire Dark & Dry but more caramel then molasses and no malt

Closing Notes:  I also picked up Vizo’s ‘Forest Fruits’ variety.

Have you tried Vizo cider?  What did you think?

BX Press The Bandit cider with cherry

Review of The BX Press’ The Bandit, cider with cherry.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  The Bandit, cider with cherry
Cidery:  The BX Press
Cidery Location:  Vernon B.C. Canada
ABV:  7.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider from a variety of apples, with cherry

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Availability:  probably only in B.C. Canada (see here), plus direct sales in Canada

Cider Description:  This unique cider with cherry is fermented from over 12 varieties of apples and has natural BC cherry added to it just before bottling. Due to the added cherry, this cider is slightly sweeter than our others, but balanced with the crisp acidity of the apples, and underlying complexity from the cherry.  See here for more info.

Cidery Description:  We are 3rd-Generation Apple Growers trying something new.  Or depending how you look at it – something old.  Real Cider – made from apples, has been around for centuries – yet in North America the word cider has been so obscured that most no longer know what to expect.  We invite you to try real cider, made from apples. Not watered down, not artificially flavoured. Not sugary sweet or cloying.  Our ciders are natural, refreshing, and a true expression of the apples they are made from. They are unpretentious, yet have enough character to be served alongside the finest meal. Did we mention we grow all the apples we use in our ciders – nearly 30 varieties – right on the same orchard the cidery is located?  We hope you will come visit our tasting room and experience real cider.

Price:  ~ $10 CAN ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  on a cruise port stop (side note – I picked up about 2 cases of cider on that trip in Sept, and I only have 1 or 2 left now)

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First Impression:  Deep purple hue, reminiscent of red grape wine.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, of cherry.

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

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  A tad dry for my tastes, and drier than most other cherry ciders I’ve had, but very fruity, and not too tart.

Most Similar to:  although I’ve tried over 30 cherry ciders (see here), this one was unique, as it was drier than average, yet had more cherry flavor than average, a rarely seen combination

Closing Notes:  This was one of my favorite B.C. ciders so far, as so many I’ve tried were super dry, tart, and bland.  My absolute favorite however is probably Central City Limited Edition Imperial though.

Have you tried BX Press Bandit?  What did you think?

Windfall Jackpot

Review of Windfall Cider’s Jackpot.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Jackpot
Cidery:  Windfall Cider
Cidery Location:  British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  7.0%
How Supplied:  473ml cans
Style:  Canadian craft cider from dessert apples, dry

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Availability:  probably only in B.C. Canada, primarily in Vancouver (see here)

Cidery Description:  Windfall is an urban cidery based in Vancouver. We believe in making your own luck, and we’re here to turn the world of cider on its head. We find the best BC apples, the purest juice, and experiment with old-world techniques to create a one-of-a-kind cider like you’ve probably never tasted before. Like a little sip of good fortune in every can.

Cider Description:  You’ve hit the big one with this dry cider, balanced and crisp with a bit of sweetness, Jackpot is made from a premium blend of BC dessert apples with a hint of tropical fruit on the palate.  Like a a little sip of good fortune in every can.

Price:  ~ $4 CAN / 1 can ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, while on a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Very light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells very mild, of dry tart apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple and lemon with a hint of pineapple.  Moderate tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average.  Nothing wrong with average though, as everybody doesn’t like every cider.  Plenty drinkable, but a bit bland, as expected for a dry cider made from dessert apples.

Most Similar to:  Seattle Cider Dry, or a drier version of Far West Orchard Blend 1

Closing Notes:  This is their flagship cider, and possibly the only one currently available, per their website.

Have you tried Windfall Jackpot?  What did you think?