Double Mountain Arkansas Black

Review of Double Mountain Arkansas Black, a single varietal cider from Arkansas Black heirloom cider apples made by Double Mountain brewery.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Jumpin Jack Heirloom Cider and Dry varieties.

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Cider:  Arkansas Black
Maker:  Double Mountain
Location:  Hood River Oregon
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Arkansas Black heirloom apples

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Availability:  likely only in Oregon and Washington

Cider Description:  Purple and black on the tree, the Arkansas Black has been grown since the 1800’s. Now grown in the Hood River Valley, this old-world fruit is renowned for its luscious cider. Juicy red apple, raspberry, honey, and a touch of vanilla cap this delightful cider.

Cidery Description:  Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom was established in 2007 in the heart of downtown Hood River, OR.  Founder, Matt Swihart, opened the brewery with a clear mission: make great beer for craft beer fans. The unique location of Double Mountain provides the use of pure and clean glacial water for beers and ciders, while also take advantage of regionally grown hops. Reusable bottles allow customers to partake in a softer environmental footprint, affirming they are part of a sustainable future. Double Mountain may be found on tap and in bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

They have 2 taprooms, in Hood River and Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (likely ~ $6.99 / bottle)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  their rep contacted me

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells tart and of honey.

Tasting Notes:  Fully dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, sharp apple, lemon, floral, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor profile, but it was a bit too dry for my personal preferences.  My husband was a fan though.

Most Similar to:  many other dry ciders from heirloom apples

Closing Notes:  Its unique to see a brewery making multiple ciders from heirloom apples, as most breweries who attempt it seem to make only 1 cider, from common dessert apples.  I’d like to see them make some slightly sweeter (semi-dry) ones though, as I find a bit of sweetness brings out more flavor.

Have you tried Double Mountain Arkansas Black?  What did you think?

Kupela Basque Cider

Review of Kupela’s Basque Cider, from France.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  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:  Basque Cider
Cidery:  Kupela
Cidery Location:  Anglet, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  330ml bottles
Style:  French (Basque region), Demi-Sec (medium dry)

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).

Cider Description:  From the Basque region, this distinctive cider is tasty, tangy, smooth yet expressive. Cellar master, Agustin Etxeberria has created this modernized version of traditional Basque cider – making it light, but dry and slightly tangy, with subtle effervescence.  The fleeting hint of sweetness, is balanced immediately by the acidic cider apple flavors. 100% natural and 100% refreshing. Fermented in the bottle, try this is a real alternative to beer.

Cidery Description:  Located in the Basque region of northern Spain, Kupela cider is produced using traditional Basque methods. Kupela pays tribute to the Basque sailors who embarked on lengthy sea voyages with cider in barrels (“Kupela” in Basque), rich in vitamin C to fight scurvy.  Its acidity, its lightness and its fruitiness match perfectly with the gastronomy acclaimed by modern Epicureans. 

Price:  n/a (retails for $5.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of green apple & pomace, pineapple, lemon, honey, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Not at all what I was expecting from a French or Basque cider, but in a good way.  I’m not typically a fan of Spanish Basque cider due to the sourness, but it was absent.  This may be the first French Basque cider I’ve tried though.  It would be a fun cider to bring to a party, as its qualities remain crowd-friendly (not sour, bitter, or funky, and mid-level sweetness), plus it has some nice complexity.

Most Similar to:  not any French or Basque Spanish cider I’ve tried, but an Italian cider, Bertilinos, except even more complex

Closing Notes:  Although ‘Basque’ cider is more commonly associated with Spain, the Basque region spans both Spain (Northern) and France (Southwestern).

Have you tried Basque French cider?  What did you think?

Herout Micro-Cuvée No. 1 Cidre

Review of Maison Herout Micro-Cuvée No. 1 Sparkling Cidre aged in Calvados barrels.  I previously tried a similar Calvados barrel aged cider from Herout, Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique, plus I’ve had their Brut, Extra-Brut, D-Day Commemorative Brut, and Pommeau.

Calvados = French apple brandy
Cuvée = a French wine term for vat/tank

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  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:  Micro-Cuvee No. 1 Sparkling Cidre aged in Calvados barrels
Cidery:  Maison Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  French cidre, from cider apples, Calvados barrel aged

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).  They also offer a number of other selections from Herout, plus ciders and Pommeaux from many other makers.

Cider Description:  Dense and complex, the Micro-Cuvée No. 1 Cidre is fermented for at least three months in an oak barrel that was previously used to age AOC Calvados. This gentle barrel fermentation gives this cider a very fine, fruity taste that is amplified by slightly tannic Calvados flavors on the finish.  Higher alcohol content due to aging in Calvados barrels.

Cidery Description:  Since the 1940s, Hérout cidre has been produced by the Hérout family on the Cotentin Peninsula on the Northwest coast of Normandy France, in Auvers, where apples thrive in its lush and oceanic climate.  They are the newest cidre AOC in France, since May 2016.  The cidermaker Marie-Agnes Herout was awarded the highest civilian honor in France for her 16 years of work getting the AOC recognized – Le Croix de Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur (Knights Cross for the Legion of Honneur).  See here for more information on the cider and here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $29)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of musty rich apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low funk and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of rich apple, must, orange, honey, leather, and earth/cork.  Long tannic slightly bitter finish.  High apple flavor, complexity, and sessionability.  Moderate overall flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed it, especially the flavor profile and complexity.

Most Similar to:  Herout Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique except more complexity and less bitterness

Closing Notes:  French Cider Inc has an awesome cider selection!

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Herout Maison D-Day Commemorative Brut

Review of Herout 2017 Maison D-Day Commemorative Brut Cidre 75th Anniversary Limited Edition, a dry sparkling French cidre.  It is my first time trying this, but I have previously had their BrutExtra Brut, Coup de Foudre Cidre Biologique, and Pommeau.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  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:  Maison D-Day Commemorative Brut Cidre, 75th Anniversary Limited Edition, 2017
Cidery:  Herout AOC
Cidery Location:  Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottle
Style:  French cidre, from cider apples, sparkling, brut (dry)

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website (at the time of this review, they are able to ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, NV, NM, AK, ND, NH, & DC).  They also offer a number of other selections from Herout, plus ciders and Pommeaux from many other makers.

Cider Description:  This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings at Normandy.  Located only 13 miles from Utah Beach, Maison Hérout is uniquely positioned to pay its respects to the Americans who fought so bravely to help liberate Europe. Limited availability and only available on the website.  Authentic and full-bodied. The 75th Anniversary D-Day Commemorative Brut Cidre is distinguished by its golden color with orange undertones – and its very fine bubbles. On the mouth, the subtle acidity on the first taste is quickly balanced out by a refreshing finish. Subtle aromas of butter and dried herbs.

Cidery Description:  Since the 1940s, Hérout cidre has been produced by the Hérout family on the Cotentin Peninsula on the Northwest coast of Normandy France, in Auvers, where apples thrive in its lush and oceanic climate.  They are the newest cidre AOC in France, since May 2016.  The cidermaker Marie-Agnes Herout was awarded the highest civilian honor in France for her 16 years of work getting the AOC recognized – Le Croix de Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur (Knights Cross for the Legion of Honneur).  See here for more information on the cider and here for more information on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $25)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Hazy light pumpkin hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of musty funky apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness, acidity, and funk.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness.  Notes of rich bittersweet apple juice and pomace, butterscotch, must/earth, and lemon.  Moderate tannic finish length.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I enjoyed this funky find – it reminded me some of English cider, except sparkling.

Most Similar to:  this was funkier than any other typical French cider I can remember trying (it nearly rivaled the Bordelet mini-keg I tried that I think was an off batch), which I personally loved, but the sweetness, carbonation level, flavor profile, etc, are all characteristically French (see a list of my French cider reviews here)

Closing Notes:  This is my favorite of the three Herout ciders I’ve tried, although I think I liked their Pommeau even better (I’ll have to double check when I open the bottle of Pommeau I have at home).

Have you tried Herout cidre?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Sangria

Review of Woodchuck’s Sangria cider.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had most of their 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:  Sangria
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with natural fruit flavors and grape skin extract for color

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Availability:  semi wide release by July 2019

Cider Description:  A semi-sweet cider with notes of red wine, citrus and berry to give a full-bodied taste inspired by Sangria.

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 (runs ~ $9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Deep red hue.  No carbonation.  Smells of red grape.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of red grape and green apple, with hints of lemon, pineapple, and red wine.  Moderate length finish.  Very high sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Super easy to drink and fruity, although rather grapey.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Sangria plus Portland Cider Concord Grape

Closing Notes:  This would be a great cider to bring to a bbq or similar summer event.

Have you tried Woodchuck Sangria?  What did you think?

2 Towns Afton Field

Review of 2 Towns Afton Field, part of their Traditions line.  I previously at least tried this on tap (see here), plus I’ve had most of their cider lineup (see here).

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<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Afton Field, 2017
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft heritage farmhouse-style dry cider, barrel aged 1 year, bottle conditioned (soured) with Brettanomyces yeast

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Availability:  limited release, yearly in April [in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana (see their cider finder)]

Cider Description:  Inspired by farmhouse ciders of the pioneer West, Afton Field is a testament to the tenacity of these settlers and their enduring orchards. Fresh-pressed, hand-picked Wickson crab, Newtown Pippin and other pioneer apple varieties are fermented, aged in oak barrels, and bottle conditioned with wild Brettanomyces yeast. Bone dry, unfiltered and uncompromising, this farmhouse cider is wild at heart and at home on the rustic table.

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:  n/a (retails for ~ $10)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy light straw yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells of musty sharp apple.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Moderate funk.  Low sourness and tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  Notes of sharp crab apple, lemon, must, straw, mineral, and a hint of herbs.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  This isn’t a style that personally appeals to me.  I’d recommend this for fans of bone dry farmhouse-style (sour, rustic) ciders and/or beers.

Most Similar to:  other bone dry farmhouse-style ciders, such as Alpenfire Pirate’s Plank, Gitche Gumee Ciderworks EntropyNumber 12 Sparkling DryRuncible Cider Light of the MoonAngry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Sietsema Traditional Dry

Closing Notes:  I think moving their ‘Traditions’ line from a separate brand of large ~$20 bottles to smaller ~$10 bottles under the 2 Towns brand (but differentiated by bottle type/size and label format) a couple years ago was a very smart move, as they are an easier sell.

Have you tried 2 Towns Afton Field?  What did you think?

2 Towns Camp Clementine

Review of 2 Towns Camp Clementine.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had most of their line-up (see here).

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<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Cider:  Camp Clementine
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with clementines and passionfruit

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Availability:  seasonal (released April 2019), in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Chicago Illinois, and parts of Minnesota & Montana – see their cider finder

Cider Description:  Juicy & Bright, Camp Clementine is an easy drinking summer cider packed with California clementines and yellow Maracuyá passion fruit. Sit back, relax and uncap some fond camp memories, or better yet, get out there and make some new ones!

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:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99 / bottle)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  No carbonation.  Light yellow hue.  Smells of citrus and passionfruit.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of passionfruit, citrus, and green apple.  Long tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it, but would have preferred a bit less tartness.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Passion Statement, plus citrus

Closing Notes:  I actually noticed more passionfruit than clementine flavor, despite the cider’s name.

Have you tried 2 Towns Camp Clementine?  What did you think?