Hard Row to Hoe The Other Cider of the Lake

Review of Hard Row to Hoe’s The Other Cider of the Lake.  It is my first time trying anything from this winery (they primarily makes grape wine).

Cider:  The Other Cider of the Lake
Cidery:  Hard Row to Hoe
Cidery Location:  Chelan, WA
ABV:  4.7%
How Supplied:  16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  likely limited to the Chelan area, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The Other Cider of the Lake is our seasonal, small-batch, premium hard cider.  Made with Granny Smith, gala, fuji and honeycrisp apples and finishes dry and crisp.  The name harkens back to the Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards namesake story about a copper mine, a row boat and a brothel on the other side of the lake [Chelan].  This cider comes in a 4 pack of 16 ounce cans.

Cidery Description:  Making Serious Wines with a Lighthearted Approach

Price:  ~ $4 / can
Where Bought:  my husband picked this up for me at the winery when wine tasting
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Nearly clear.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sweet green apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Very light bodied.  Very low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple with a hint of pineapple.  Short finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Very low flavor intensity.  Very high sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average, plenty drinkable, but it didn’t hold my interest.  A bit watery and light in flavor, probably due to it being drier and made from non-cider apples.  My husband was a bigger fan.

Most Similar to:  Ulee’s Light Cider Dry and Number Six Dry 99

Closing Notes:  For the most part I haven’t been impressed by ciders made by wineries or breweries.

Have you tried The Other Cider of the Lake?  What did you think?

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Manchester Road 42

Review of Manchester Road’s “42”.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.  They appear relatively new, only available in a limited area of Washington, and to only have released this one cider.  Despite the name and theming, this is a locally owned and operated cidery, although the cidermaker is British.

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Cider:  42
Cidery:  Manchester Road Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Chelan WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American cider from dessert apples, medium sweet

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Availability:  Very limited, in parts of WA, such as Chelan, Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Orondo, and Cashmere (see here)

Cider Description:  42 is Manchester Road’s leading cider and our first to bring to market.  This cider is light and refreshing with full apple flavor. The recipe was developed over the last decade reminiscent of a modern, British draft, style cider. 42 tastes great with all types of food and is especially delicious on a warm, summer afternoon. 42 – a smooth, medium sweet, sparkling cider.  

Cidery Description:  Our production facility sits in the heart of Washington’s apple country with over 170,000 acres of orchards surrounding us. We are able to make our cider locally and with the best apples in the world. What truly makes us unique is the combination of Washington apples and a British cider maker.  With over 30 years of experience enjoying and making cider and growing up where cider originated, our cider maker was inspired by north central Washington apples to create a modern, refreshing cider that is popular today in British pubs.

Price:  ~$5.99
Where Bought:  Dan’s Food Market in Leavenworth WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, when we visited in early Dec 2017

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Nearly still.  Smells of sweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of concentrated baked apple with honey and pear, and hints of spice.  Quick finish length.  High sessionability.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  However, it didn’t remind me of English cider in the least.  English cider would typically be made from bittersweet cider apples, and thus have their characteristic flavor (plus it is often drier and higher in tannins).  The flavor was most similar to a typical American craft cider from dessert apples.

I did however notice “natural flavoring” on the ingredient list, which puzzled me, as it is typically only found in commercial cider.  Maybe apple flavor?  This was quite apple-forward, but ciders of this style are often significantly back sweetened with unfermented apple juice, to impart an apple-forward flavor which can be muted when using dessert apples and fermenting to dryness (which is the easiest way to make cider), add sweetness, and reach a target lower ABV.

Most Similar to:  a mix of Locust Honey Pear and Locust Aged Apple

Closing Notes:  I’m interested to see what they release next.

Have you tried Manchester Road Cider?  What did you think?