Bushwhacker Cider Forgotten Trail

Review of Bushwhacker Cider’s Forgotten Trail.  I tried this previously on draft at their cider house (see here).  My husband picked up a few bottles at that time as he liked it so much.  This is the only house cider I’ve tried from Bushwhacker (although they offer some others).

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Cider:  Forgotten Trail
Cidery:  Bushwhacker Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.6%
How Supplied:  single 12oz bottles and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  Likely only at Bushwhacker’s cider house in Portland Oregon

Cider Description:  Our flagship cider, named after a trail that you may not have time to travel on as much as you’d like. This is a blend of estate grown fruit, sourced from Eastern Oregon. It comes out as a semi-dry cider, appealing to fans of dry cider, yet has a bit of natural sweetness to please a customer with a sweet tooth.

Cidery Description:  We opened Bushwhacker Cider – Brooklyn in the fall of 2010 as Portland’s first cidery and the country’s original cider pub. Starting with every cider available in Oregon, we had a measly selection of 35 bottles. This selection has exploded to over 340 bottles of cider from around the country and around the world. Located in Portland’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood our small pub quickly became a place to chat with neighbors and enjoy the diverse flavors that can be found in the cider world.

Price:  ~$3 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Bushwhacker’s cider house (which I did quite a bit of shopping at; see here)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  drinking (and shopping) at their cider house

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells very mild.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of apple juice and honey.  Moderate length finish.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I found this pretty average.  Very easy to drink and plenty tasty, but a bit boring.  Its unlikely to offend anyone, but I doubt too many folks would find it very impressive either.  However, its a great local craft option which isn’t too sweet or too dry.

Most Similar to:  Semi-dry flagship ciders from dessert apples, like 2 Towns BrightCider, McMenamins Edgefield Flagship, and Boonville Bite Hard

Closing Notes:  This is a really interesting cider.  My husband and I have tried it three times now (draft, and twice bottled, bought at the same time).  It was completely different each time.  The first time it was very dry and champagne-style, like my husband likes, so he picked up a few bottles to take home (and he’s not usually a cider drinker so that is saying something…).  The second time, when we opened the first bottle, it was semi-sweet and rich, so he was disappointed but I was happy (I liked that version better than this one which I am reviewing).  This time (second bottle), it was semi-dry and very mild.  I’m guessing that what we tried on draft that time was a different one of their house ciders (maybe Alice?  the hue was completely different too, nearly clear), and the bottles were from different batches.  My husband asked the bar tender if they had any in bottles and she pointed us to the Forgotten Trail bottles in the cooler, but maybe she forgot my husband was drinking their Alice variety?  Its an intriguing mystery.

Have you tried any Bushwhacker Cider flagship ciders?  What did you think?

Bushwhacker Cider and Cider Purchases in Portland Oregon

Bushwhacker Cider was the last stop of the weekend, on Sunday, on our way out of town.  We arrived when they opened just after noon.  It was quiet as expected due to the time of day, with only a couple people stopping in to buy some bottles while we were there.  The atmosphere is very casual, with some bar seating, and high top & regular tables, as well as arcade games.  The bartender was very friendly and helpful.

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They offer up to 8 ciders on tap (mostly their own) plus 6 bottle pours, and some snacks.  There are small and large pour size options too.  I think the bottle pours are especially awesome as you don’t see that much; they focused on ciders which keep well (like the awesome Etienne Dupont Pommeau which I’ve tried previously; see here).  I also really liked that they had detailed descriptions of the ciders they were pouring.

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I started off by browsing their bottle selection, which was awesome by the way, on par with the Schilling Cider House, with hundreds of options.  Everything was organized by region (and even subregion – their French ciders were labeled Normandy vs. Brittany), and refrigerated.  There was a focus on Northwest ciders of course, but also selections from across the U.S., England, France, Spain, and more.

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My husband sampled Bushwhacker’s flagship Forgotten Trail cider on tap, made from Oregon apples.  After I finished picking out bottles, I sampled a bag in box pour of Hogan’s Picker’s Passion, an English cider (they also sell at least one Hogan’s variety packaged this way with 3 liters of cider, which would be a fun option for a party and apparently keeps very well long term too).

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Bushwhacker Forgotten Trail (5.7% ABV):  Nearly clear hue (the bar’s “house water” lol).  Low carbonation.  Dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of citrus and granny smith apples.  Low apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.  This reminds me of champagne except with lower carbonation.  My husband really enjoyed it and bought a few single bottles.  I thought it was average.  Easy to drink and refreshing, but not remarkable.

Update – Based on my review of a bottled version of Forgotten Trail (see here), this may have been their “Alice” variety.

Hogan’s Picker’s Passion (5.3% ABV):  Hazy unfiltered apple juice type hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Very thin bodied.  Semi-dry.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and bitterness.  Hints of funk and sourness.  Notes of apple pomace and bittersweet apple juice, but overall the flavor is simple and mild.  Low flavor intensity and complexity.  Moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Warming moderate to long finish.  I thought it was average (I would have preferred more body and flavor).  English cider is one of my favorite categories.  So far I prefer English ciders from cideries such as Sheppy’s, Dunkertons, Worley’s, and Aspall over Hogan’s, PiltonBurrow Hill, Thatchers, Sandford Orchards, and Ross on Wye, as I enjoy a flavorful cider without significant bitterness, sourness, or funk.

I thought this was a good post to summarize what bottles we purchased over the weekend, especially as the majority were from Bushwhacker’s.

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We had a great cider weekend in Portland and look forward to another (hopefully longer) trip sometime soon!