Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry

Review of Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry cider.  I tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2017 (although that draft version was listed at a higher ABV).  I’ve also previously tried Rev Nat’s Revival¡Tepache!Hopland #5 / EnvyNewtown PippinCiderkinWinter Abbey SpiceHallelujah HopricotDeliverance Gin & TonicRevival DryThe PassionWhiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black CurrantNew Moon MandarinViva la PineappleRevelation Belle de BoskoopWooden Hellfire, and Tassjara Peach Book.

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Cider:  Sacrilege Sour Cherry
Cidery:  Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from granny smith apples with sour cherries, pear juice, and a hint of spice from ghost peppers

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Availability:  Year round.  Rev Nat’s ciders are in general sold in AK, CA, HI, ID, MT, NY, OR, and WA, as well as Alberta & B.C. Canada, and Japan.

Cider Description:  Others profess to produce a cherry cider, but none begin with 100% sour Granny Smith apples (eschewing all other apple varieties for their lack of sourness) unified with the superior Montmorency sour cherry (aka Prunus cerasus, a superior and vastly dissimilar cherry to Prunus avid, the bird cherry, the mere mazzard, so commonly used in cough syrup and children’s sweet-snacks) and the exotic Baladon sour cherry (hailing from my native country of Hungary), fermented with an English Ale yeast (procured from a fine brewery in Chiswick, London), rounded out with a spot of Bartlett pear juice (undeniably the world’s greatest pear-flavored pear) and completed with a touch of spiciness (largely attributable to the ghost chili pepper, although married with a secret spice), precisely enough to make your vigor race and spirits embrace another gulp. 

Cidery Description:  Reverend Nat is a single-minded cider evangelist who searches the world for superior ingredients to handcraft the most unusual ciders that no one else will make.

Price:  $7.00
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband remembered liking this and bought a bottle (this appears to be his favorite cidery…he likes the weird stuff, like Wooden Hellfire), and I tried some.

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First Impression:  Cherry red-brown hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of cherry and hot peppers (silly me made the mistake of taking a huge whiff of it too!).

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Low spiciness (heat).  Notes of real cherry, green apple, lemon, and hot peppers.  Long lingering spicy finish.  Low to moderate cherry flavor, flavor intensity,  complexity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  As expected, same as my previous trial, I didn’t like this due to the spiciness (although it was admittedly mild…I just don’t enjoy spicy beverages).  The cherry part of the cider was nice though.  My husband said the spiciness dissipated some by the time he got to the end of the bottle, but I only wanted two sips.  My husband however really enjoyed it, and was happy he got the whole bottle to himself (he is a big fan of both cherry and anything spicy).

Side Note:  Some other reviews said this was sour (like sour beer, from wild yeast), but I only picked up tart (like lemons and granny smith apples); I think the variety of cherries used are called sour cherries (similar to Doc’s Sour Cherry, my favorite cherry cider), but this wouldn’t be classified as an actual sour cider.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had plenty of cherry ciders (28 last I counted), but none that were also spicy.

Closing Notes:  My favorites from Rev Nat’s remain RevivalThe PassionWhiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant, and Viva la Pineapple….ie. his more mainstream and sweeter selections.

Have you tried Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry?  What did you think?

Locust Cider Tasting Notes #4

After lunch at Tipsy Cow in Woodinville WA, my husband and I stopped by Locust Cider.  See my notes here from visit 1, here from visit 2, and here from visit 3.

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<Cherry, Apricot, and Watermelon ciders>

Sweet Dark Cherry:  I’ve tried this previously (see here), and it is also available in cans.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Light simple cherry flavor.  Quick finish.  My husband really liked it, but for me its pretty average.

Apricot:  This is a draft-only release.  I tried an apricot cider from them awhile back (see here), but it was quite different.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Syrupy tropical and apricot flavor.  Quick finish.  This was too sweet for both of us, but had a nice flavor.  I prefer the apricot ciders from Atlas and Summit.

Watermelon:  This is a new draft-only release.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Hazy hue.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate watermelon juice flavor.  Quick finish.  I really enjoyed it (I’m a huge watermelon fan), but my husband didn’t like it for whatever reason.  It reminded me of NV Cider Watermelon Perry.

Summary:  My favorite was the Watermelon, and my husband’s favorite was the Cherry.  Overall, my favorite Locust ciders are the Bittersweet Reserve (one-time special release?), Aged Apple, and a 50-50 mix of Smoked Blueberry & Vanilla Bean, as they are all super flavorful, but also rather sweet (not something I’d drink often).

Locust is a nice place to hang out and drink cider (they even have an outdoor patio and some games), and they often have varieties which don’t even leave their tasting room.  However, I noticed the small pours are expensive, at $3 / 3oz, so a flight of five (close to a pint) is $15 + tax.  Of course its much cheaper to get a pint ($6-7?), but the vast majority of folks opt for the variety of a flight.  Also, they only have 9 taps of their own ciders.

Locust is more convenient for me to get to, so I visit semi regularly.  However, I much prefer the Schilling Cider House, as they have cheaper flights ($2 / 3oz), more variety with 32 taps (often a few are the more artisanal varieties made from cider apples vs. the more commonly found flavored ciders from dessert apples), and hundreds of bottles too.

Doc’s Draft Sour Cherry Cider

Review of Doc’s Draft Sour Cherry.  It is my second time trying this cider, but the first time was part of a cherry cider tasting, so I just shared notes, not a full review.  I’ve also tried Doc’s Raspberry and Pumpkin ciders.

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Cider:  Sour Cherry
Cidery:  Doc’s Draft (Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery)
Cidery Location:  Warwick NY
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with cherries

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Availability:  semi wide release, seasonal, May 15 to July 15

Description:  A unique, hand-crafted cherry hard cider. Made from pressed NY state apples and fresh cherries.

Price:  $8.50
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  a cherry cider tasting with local cider friends

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First Impression:  Bright red-brown hue.  Low carbonation.  Mild real cherry scent.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor is just of juicy real cherries.  Moderate length finish, mostly lingering tartness.  No apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  Very flavorful, of real cherries (some ciders come across a bit medicinal cherry), but not too sweet (although I would have liked it just a smidge drier).

Most Similar to:  Washington Gold CherryOne Tree Dark Cherry, and Steelhead Chimera Cherry Apple

Closing Notes:  This is probably my favorite cherry cider, and I’ve tried a lot of them (at least 28; see here).

Have you tried Doc’s Sour Cherry?  What did you think?

Vermont Cider Company Cerise

Review of Vermont Cider Company’s Cerise, a cherry barrel aged cider, the second of their series of seasonal barrel aged ciders.  I’ve previously tried their Addison and Wassail.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Vermont Cider Company.  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.<<

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Cider:  Cerise
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped)
Style:  commercial cider from dessert apples (Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall VT), with Michigan Montgomery cherry juice, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon barrel aged

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Availability:  seasonal release, only available in the Northeastern U.S., first available in March

Ingredients: hard cider, cherry juice, sulfites

Cider Description:  It’s a limited-time offering that will delight the senses. “Cerise is built from our barrel-aged, 100% local and fresh pressed cider with the juice of tart Michigan Montmorency cherries,” said Ben E. Calvi, Director of Cider Making. “Aging cider in Napa Valley barrels infuses notes of Cabernet wine, vanilla and oak with fresh apple and a tart cherry fruits.”

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about it online and requested a sample

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First Impression:  Bright cherry hue.  Nearly still / very low carbonation.  Smells very mild, with a hint of cherry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of cherry juice, red wine, cherry skin, and oak.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate to high sessionability.  No apple flavor.  Low oak influence.  Low red wine influence.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed this, as did my husband (he kept stealing some).  Perfect levels of sweetness, tartness, and flavor.  The barrel aging was definitely noticeable, but not overpowering.  It was surprisingly flavorful compared to the mild scent.  All in all this actually tastes like what I except from a craft cider.  Nice price point too.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Private Reserve Barrel Aged Cherry, which was also a cherry cider aged in red wine barrels (except that was more commercial tasting / less refined), Virtue Cider Cherry Mitten (except that had added complexity from the apple & yeast varieties, and was Bourbon not wine barrel aged), and Apple Outlaw Oaked Sweet Dark Cherry (except that was less flavorful, and aged in new oak not wine barrels).

Closing Notes:  Too bad this isn’t available locally, as I would definitely purchase some.  I think its my favorite cider of the entire Vermont Cider Co. lineup.

Random Note:  My cider list has 27 cherry ciders listed that I’ve tried!

Have you tried Vermont Cider Company’s Cerise?  What did you think?

Cherry Cider Tasting

There was recently a cherry cider tasting at my house (thanks Sarah, Merce, Kevin, and Si from Cider Log for sharing all the ciders!).  I took a few tasting notes.

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<Woodchuck Sour Cherry, Anthem Cherry, Julian Cherry Bomb, Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry, Finnriver Chimacum Kriek, Griffin Cider Works Strong Woman, Doc’s Draft Sour Cherry, and Greenwood Cherry>

With all of these I didn’t pick up any flavor besides cherry, and maybe a bit of green apple or citrus.  The apple flavor was also none to mild.

Woodchuck (Middlebury VT) Sour Cherry (6.9% ABV):  This was part of their Cellar Series (since discontinued) and hasn’t been sold since July 2014, but this bottle held up better flavor-wise than the bottle I had that I opened a year ago (review here).  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Mild to moderate slightly cherry flavor.  Still.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Not bad.

Anthem (Salem OR) Cherry (6.2% ABV):  This is sold year round and now also available in cans.  Semi-dry.  Mild cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Mild apple flavor.  I didn’t find it flavorful enough.

Julian (Julian CA) Cherry Bomb (6.99% ABV):  This is sold year round.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Moderate real cherry flavor. Low carbonation. Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I liked it.

Reverend Nat’s (Portland OR) Sacrilege Sour Cherry (6.5% ABV):  This is a seasonal release.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate cherry flavor, slightly sour.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I thought it was pretty average; I’d prefer no sourness.

Finnriver (Chimacum WA) Chimacum Kriek (6.0% ABV):  This sour cherry cider is part of their Crew Selection series, a limited release in May 2016.  Semi-dry.  Mild to moderate cherry flavor, moderately sour.  Still.  Medium to full bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I didn’t care for this at all, due to the sourness.

Griffin Cider Works (Westlake OH) Strong Woman (6.5% ABV):  This is an English-style cider finished with cherry, sold March thru October, whose proceeds go towards fighting breast cancer.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tannins.  I thought it was pretty average.  There was an additional flavor in this that none of us could identify.  The tannins were unique.

Doc’s Draft (Warwick NY) Sour Cherry (6.0% ABV):  This is sold year round.  Semi-sweet.  Moderate to strong real cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I really liked it.

Greenwood Cider (Seattle WA) Cherry (unknown ABV):  This appears to be draft only.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Mild weird cherry flavor.  Low carbonation.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  I thought this one was a bit strange, but ok.

Between the six of us at the tasting, the clear winner of the evening was from Doc’s.  Unfortunately this variety isn’t sold in Washington in bottles, but can be found in Oregon, or sometimes on draft here.  My second favorite was from Julian.  What both of these had in common was they were a bit sweeter, more intense cherry flavor, and more “real” flavor (not medicinal).  The least favorites were the Anthem, Greenwood, and Griffin varieties.

One Tree Hard Cider Dark Cherry

Review of One Tree’s Dark Cherry Cider.  I’ve tried a few of their ciders–see here.

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Cider:  Dark Cherry
Cidery:  One Tree Hard Cider
Cidery Location:  Spokane Valley WA
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with cherries added

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Availability:  This is a new release which appears to be year round, in Idaho, Montana, and Washington (soon to be in Oregon).

Cider Description:  Welcome to flavor town my friend. Step into the ring with a cherry hard cider that drops the press (get it?!) on the apples and makes them ride passenger! This is what cherry cider is supposed to taste like, bold & delicious. Lift your pinky finger cider friends! This one is for you!

Cidery Description:  Founded in 2014, One Tree Hard Cider has quickly become a well-known, and highly sought after cider in the Pacific Northwest. We believe in bold, flavor-forward profiles using fruit sourced in our home state of Washington. We are naturally gluten-free, and use only the highest quality, natural ingredients. Customers love our bold flavor profiles, with ciders such as Lemon Basil and Caramel Cinnamon leading the pack.

They have a tasting room in Spokane Washington.

Price:  $10.75
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I saw this was available on their Facebook page, and it sounded interesting.  This is my first time reviewing a bottle from One Tree (previously I’ve only tried it on tap).

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First Impression:  Deep cherry hue.  Low carbonation and foam upon pouring.  Strong tart cherry scent.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Definitely sweet.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  It has an almost frothy mouthfeel.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The apple is well-hidden by the cherry flavor.  I really didn’t pick up many other flavors besides cherry, which was strong…maybe some strawberries and watermelon?  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked the strong cherry flavor, but it was too sweet for my liking.  I only had half the bottle / 11oz (I had someone to share it with for once), but even that was too much.  The sweetness is pretty on-par with their other ciders I’ve tried.

Most Similar to:  Other sweeter full-flavored ciders with cherries / cherry juice added, such as from Woodchuck and Washington Gold.

Closing Notes:   My favorite cherry cider remains the one from Washington Gold, which I find to be less sweet than this one.  For fans of sweet ciders however, I think One Tree’s Dark Cherry cider will be a big hit (as all their other varieties have been).

Have you tried One Tree Dark Cherry?  What did you think?

Washington Gold Cider Cherry Hard Cider

Review of Washington Gold Cider’s Cherry Hard Cider.

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Cider:  Cherry Hard Cider
Cidery:  Washington Gold Cider
Cidery Location:  Chelan WA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  750ml clear glass flip-top bottle
Style:  American hard apple cider with cherry juice

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Availability:  Year round in Washington and Southern California until it sells out (as they only make it once a year).  However, their Original variety is more commonly found.  See here for further information.

Cider Description:  None given, but I was told they use fresh pressed apple juice with Washington cherries.

Cidery Description:  Crisp, refreshing, and steeped in our family’s rich apple-growing tradition, Washington Gold Cider is crafted from the best apples in the world. Farm fresh. Family-owned. Proudly made in Washington State. Washington Gold Cider…The world’s best cider, made from the best apples on Earth.  Try our Heritage, Original, and Cherry Hard Cider today.

Price:  $12.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  They were tasting their entire line-up of three ciders (Heritage, Original, and Cherry) at Total Wine in August.  This was by far the winner for me, and I decided to buy a bottle.

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First Impression:  Deep cherry hue.  Low carbonation with small bubbles.  Rich cherry scent, sweet with a hint of tartness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet (although at 26.5 grams of sugar in 12.7 ounces, it would probably be rated sweet).  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Cherry is the only flavor I pick up in this (the apple is well-hidden), so its a rather simple cider.  Full-flavored.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.  Highly sessionable.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I love how strong the cherry flavor is, and that it tastes like real cherries.

Most Similar to:  Other cherry ciders, although this has a stronger and truer cherry flavor than everything I’ve tried so far (which includes cherry ciders from Woodchuck, Locust, Tieton, Apple Outlaw, Elemental, Jester & Judge, Julian, and Original Sin).

Closing Notes:   This is definitely my favorite cherry cider so far.  Reminds me of summer!  (which is why I saved it for this time of year, when it always seems to be dark, damp, and cold in WA)

Do you have a favorite cherry cider?