Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut Cider

Review of Finnriver’s Artisan Sparkling Brut cider, made using the traditional labor intensive méthode champenoise.  I’ve tried a good portion of Finnriver’s lineup, but I think this is the first time I’ve tried a special release cider.

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Cider:  Artisan Sparkling Brut
Cidery:  Finnriver
Cidery Location:  Chimacum WA
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  375ml corked & caged champagne bottle (also more widely available in a 750ml size)
Style:  American méthode champenoise sparkling cider

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Availability:  In general, Finnriver ciders are sold in WA, OR, CA, AZ, NV, TX, IL, CO, and Alberta & BC Canada (detailed info here).  They also have an online store (which can ship to WA, OR, CA, AK, CO, MN, FL, & WA D.C.).  However, this is a special release, and likely has more limited availability.

Cider Description:  Crafted using the traditional, labor-intensive méthode champenoise, this bright, naturally carbonated brut champagne-style cider offers an effervescent apple bouquet, tart elements of the orchard, and a crisp, clean finish.  To make this cider, we learned old world methods of secondary fermentation in the bottle that require daily hand turning of each bottle on woodenriddling racks (constructed by our boat-building neighbor Pete), and then disgorging residual yeast sediment one bottle at a time.  This is ‘slow cider’ that results in golden clarity and enduring bubbles in every glass.  A unqiue alternative to champagne that features Washington organic dessert apples at their most sparkling!

Cidery Description:  At Finnriver we gather and ferment the flavors of the land to offer you farmcrafted hard ciders and spirited fruit wines. We are inspired by the allure of the fruit, the ancient history of the craft of fermentation and the lively traditions we now seek to revive.  Our mission is to inspire a deeper connection to the land that sustains us….Some of these ciders are small-batch, seasonal and labor-intensive. Others are produced with contemporary methods and more readily available year-round…Finnriver grows over twenty varieties of traditional and heirloom apples in our organic orchard, to feature in our traditional and specialty ciders.

They have a tasting room open seven days a week, noon to 5pm, and are on the Olympic Pennsylvania cider route along with Eaglemount and Alpenfire cideries.  I look forward to visiting in February for my birthday!

Price:  $10
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been wanting to try this cider for awhile, but previously only saw 750ml bottles for about $22, which was more commitment then I was interested in.  When I saw half bottles, I knew it would be perfect to try for New Year’s Eve.  Oddly enough the half bottles were less expensive per ounce too.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very high carbonation.  Smells dry, crisp, and of yeast, with only a hint of apple.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry.  Moderate acidity and tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Very champagne-like.  Yeast, floral, citrus, and green apple notes.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.  Moderate sessionability.  Low apple influence.  I enjoyed this cider better as it warmed up from fridge cold.

My Opinion:  This was enjoyable, but not really a style I enjoy (I like a sweeter and richer cider).  It was definitely a sparkling cider, moreso than any other cider I’ve tried I think (but luckily the bottle didn’t overflow when I opened it…the bottle even includes a warning).

Most Similar to:  Dry champagne and other méthode champenoise ciders.

Closing Notes:   This cider is a great champagne alternative and was very appropriate for New Year’s Eve.

Have you tried Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut cider?  What did you think?