Cider Riot San Patricios

Review of Cider Riot Black Bloc series San Patricios Tequila Barrel Aged Irish Cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Never Give An Inch Oregon Blackberry1763Champeg X-17Burn Cider, and Everyday Semi-Dry.

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Cider:  San Patricios
Cidery:  Cider Riot
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, Irish-style, tequila barrel aged

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Availability:  Limited release of 100 cases, at least 1 year ago.  In general their ciders are sold in Oregon, Washington, and California in the U.S., British Columbia in Canada, plus Norway and Japan (see here).

Cider Description:  After 6 months in a fresh Mexican tequila barrel our Irish-Style cider is revved up and ready for action. Dedicated to those who fight for freedom and against injustice, this cider allies spicy, fresh tequila notes with stalwart French and American oak tannins from the barrel. Born a rebel, the San Patricios will die just the same. With less than 100 cases produced be sure to get yours before the battle is over.

I sent them an e-mail asking about apple varieties, and they said dessert (supermarket) apples, then fermented warm with Australian white wine yeast, with the tannins coming from the American and French oak mezcal tequila barrels.

Cidery Description:  Cider Riot! is dedicated to producing high quality ciders from Cascadian grown apples.  With tradition as our guide and our roots firmly planted in the rich soils of our bioregion, our urban cidery produces refreshing, flavorful ciders.

They have a “pub” in the Portland area.

Price:  $14
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of cider apples.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich tannic apples & pomace, oak, caramel, and earth.  Long warm finish with a hint of tequila.  Moderate barrel influence, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Low tequila influence, apple flavor, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I was a bit ambivalent about this one.  I liked the flavor, and was very surprised to hear it was only dessert apples, as it was rich & tannic (plus darker in color).  However, I think it was a bit too dry for my personal liking, which also made the bitterness prevalent, plus the tequila flavor was very mild.  I think this would have been awesome if they went a bit sweeter and added some tequila and lime to up the flavor profile.

Most Similar to:  The only tequila barrel aged cider I’ve had is Wyder’s Pear Reposado, which in contrast to this one is sweeter and more tequila-forward, plus was from pears not apples.  I also read that Austin Eastciders, Blake’s, Downeast, and Xylem make tequila barrel aged ciders.

Closing Notes:  I think this is the richest / most tannic cider from only dessert apples that I’ve tried.  Its crazy that just the barrel aging did that.

Have you tried any tequila barrel aged cider?  What did you think?

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Cider Riot! 1763 (Revolutionary West Country Cider)

Review of 1763 (Revolutionary West Country Cider) from Cider Riot! from Portland OR.  This is the first bottled cider I’ve had from Cider Riot!, although I had their Never Give an Inch Oregon Blackberry on tap recently.

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Cider:  1763 (Revolutionary West Country Cider)
Cidery:  Cider Riot!
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle

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Availability:  Cider Riot! is available in bottles and on tap in OR, WA, and British Columbia.  1763 is part of their Reserve line, and available in bottles in OR & WA.  Its definitely a limited release, with only 100 cases of 12 bottles made.

Cider Description:  Our tribute to those who stand up against the status quo, 1763 commemorates the year of the Cider Riots in the English West Country, when cider lovers rose up and overthrew the nefarious Prime Minister Bute who imposed a tax on cider. 1763 is inspired by the West Country ciders that warranted such passion. Yamhill County grown Yarlington Mill, Harry Masters Jersey, Dabinett, & Kingston Black apples lend robust tannins, and rich flavours to a cider that’s worth fighting for.  Ranked #2 in the Traditional Apple Category in Sip magazine’s Best of the NW competition 2015.

Cidery Description:  Cider Riot! is an urban cidery located in a detached garage off East Burnside Street in Portland’s North Tabor neighborhood dedicated to the production of dry ciders. We use a variety of apples grown in Cascadia, including rare English and French cider variety apples, wild apples from Yamhill County, Oregon, and dessert apples from the Yakima and Hood River Valleys.

Price:  $12
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  This was a new release they had at the cash register.  Actually it was this year’s release, as this cider actually launched July 2014.  Here is a press release from NW Cider on this year’s release of the 2014 vintage of 1763.

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy amber-orange with a hint of pink oddly enough.  Almost still (little carbonation, just a bit of foam).  Smells of high tannin apples, a slight earthy funk, and a touch of honey.

Opinion:  Dry to semi-dry.  High tannins.  Moderate to high astringency.  Moderate bitterness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Mild sourness.  Earth, yeast, and wood notes.  Very mild funk.  Full bodied.  The flavor of the cider finished quickly, but bitterness lingered at the back & sides of my mouth.  I found the bitterness overwhelmed my palate and didn’t let the full richness of the cider apples shine through.  I think if the bitterness was decreased and/or the sweetness was increased it would have been a more balanced cider.  I also found it to be alcohol-forward, with a warm burn (it is 7.5% ABV though).  Oddly enough this cider had some of the flavor characteristics of being barrel aged, but it wasn’t.  I recommend drinking this cider between fridge and room temperature, as it mellowed a bit as it warmed up.

Most Similar to:  High tannin ciders (such as English-style), including Alpenfire Ember, Traditions Bourbon Barrel 2012, Whitewood Kingston Black, and Liberty English-Style, all of which I tried at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (tasting notes here), and Worley’s Premium Vintage.

Closing Notes:   Unfortunately this cider was too bitter for my liking.  I think fans of high tannin ciders who don’t mind bitterness would really enjoy this one however.  Its commendable they were able to make a cider using only local cider apples, which are rare and expensive.  I also believe that this cider would have greatly benefited from cellaring…I wish I had given it a year or two before drinking, as it likely would have mellowed out some of the bitterness.  However, it appears they  already aged this cider a year, as it was noted the 2014 vintage was released this year.  I look forward to finding another variety to try from Cider Riot! that might be more to my liking.

Have you tried anything from Cider Riot?  What did you think?

Hard Cider News Edition 2

Here are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

Blogs & Facebook

Cider Log
My favorite cider Facebook group, who is in my neck of the woods.  Its a group of folks who enjoy hard cider. They have a cool photo album of the craft cider selection at various stores in the Seattle area, tasting notes, meetups, etc. They are not associated with any cidery, although one member does work for one.  I got to meet Sarah over the weekend at a Sonoma Cider tasting she was hosting at Whole Foods!

Rekorderlig and Kopparberg are NOT Cider
Interesting writeup on the Ciderplex Blog on two ciders which aren’t actually cider, as they aren’t made from fermented apple juice.  I wonder how many other products are like this?  Good thing we have ingredient lists to check out.

The Meteoric Rise of 2 Towns Cider
Story of 2 Towns Cider (from Corvallis OR), from All Into Cider Blog.

Learning to Use Cider in Cocktails
Q & A with Darlene Hayes about her cider cocktails book, from The Cider Journal.

Schilling Cider infographic on craft vs. all other cider
I think its important to know the difference between craft and commercial cider to be an informed consumer.  Personally I have nothing against buying commercial cider, and there are a number of selections I enjoy (such as Woodchuck).  They can be had for less money, found easier, and make for easy drinking.  I do however buy a good deal of craft cider, which is real cider, and often more complex.  It feels good to support a local business as well.

News Articles

10 Must-Try New Summer Beers & Ciders
Only one cider on the list unfortunately, Cider Riot’s Lemmy’s Summer Camp (Meyer Lemon Cider), from Portland OR.  It caught my eye as it comes in a plastic 2 liter bottle!  I spotted something like this at the Schilling Cider House (my first time seeing a cider in a 2 liter bottle), but it could have been another variety of Cider Riot’s.  This one is described as Dry with lemon tartness with a creamy overripe butterscotch tannic flavor.

Woodchuck Hard Cider Takes on the Big Guns
Woodchuck’s nearly around the clock production schedule to meet demand while allowing days off, and their new advertising strategy to compete with competition from the big name breweries such as Angry Orchard from Boston Beer.

Hard Cider, Hard Cash:  How a Father-Son Team from California is Tackling the Cider Craze
Story of Sonoma Cider (from Healdsburg CA).

Apples, apples everywhere
Cider scene in Poland of all places, where there are a lot of startups as they have an apple surplus due to not being able to export them.

Cider could lead wine drinkers “astray”
Is cider a threat to the wine industry as much as the beer industry?

Behind the scenes at Reverend Nat’s, Portland’s largest cidery (Photos)
Neat writeup of Rev Nat’s with behind the scenes photos!

Video

Made in the Northwest – Liberty Ciderworks
Segment on KXLY Spokane on Liberty Ciderworks.

Text & Video

Olympia Honey Hard Cider, a collaboration of Seattle Cider Co. and the Georgian Room at the Fairmont Olympic hotel. They are featuring the cider in a five course prix fixe dinner dubbed the “Extraction Menu” throughout August. Unfortunately the KING 5 Seattle New Day Northwest segment didn’t say if this cider would be available outside of the hotel’s restaurant & bar, but with some research it appears it won’t be (at least initially). I wonder if you can stop buy and purchase a bottle to go? Sure sounds tasty!

honey cider
(photo from @FairmontOlympic on Twitter of bees & cider while they were getting ready for the New Day Northwest segment)