2 Towns Pacific Pineapple

Review of 2 Towns’ newest release, Pacific Pineapple.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Bright CiderBad AppleSerious ScrumpOut Cider, Cherried Away, Made MarionCidre Moscato, Throne of Thorns, Reserve #1 Barrel Select BlendPrickle Me PinkNice & NaughtyNice & Naughty Bourbon Barrel AgedDark CurrantRiverwood Brut 2014RhubarbarianPommeauGinja NinjaSun’s Out SaisonReturn of the MackHop and StalkLa MûreCot in the ActHollow JackTraditions Cider Bouche 2015Traditions Riverwood 2015Flight of the KiwiPrickle Me Pink ^2Afton FieldTraditions Cidre Bouche 2016, and Man Gogh.

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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:  Pacific Pineapple
Cidery:  2 Towns Cider House
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.0%
How supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs and cans)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with Costa Rica gold pineapples

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Availability:  year round, in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Chicago and parts of Minnesota (see their cider finder)

Cider Description:  Juicy and tropical, Pacific Pineapple rolls ripe Costa Rica golden pineapples into fresh-pressed Northwest apples. This refreshingly juicy and easy drinking session cider will relax your state of mind, no matter your locale!

Ripe Costa Rica Gold pineapples drop in on a fresh-pressed wave of Northwest apples in Pacific Pineapple, a tropical cider made possible by the diverse climate of the vast Pacific. Temperate conditions of the Pacific Northwest nurture apple orchards, whereas proximity to the equator further south creates the consistently warm temperature required to grow pineapples. Connected to apples only by name, pineapples have a radical history traveling the world after being discovered by Western explorers, who named them for their resemblance to the pine cone. Popular wherever it landed, the pineapple was regarded as an exotic delicacy, even becoming a symbol of hospitality, as only the most generous of hosts presented their guests with a pineapple. So #BeMorePacific and show your friends the hospitality of a Pacific Pineapple!

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. 

They were founded in 2010 and have a tap room in Corvallis Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $5.49 / 500ml bottle)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium yellow hue.  Smells of fresh pineapple.  Very low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of fresh pineapple (not pineapple juice) and citrus.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  Refreshing, with real pineapple flavor.  This would be especially nice in summer, and at 5% and not being too sweet, it would be almost too easy to drink.  Its a tad drier than all the other pineapple ciders I’ve tried, but just as flavorful.

Most Similar to:  Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple (and to a lesser extent, Schilling Pineapple Passion, Jester & Judge Pineapple Express, Locust Pineapple, and Ace Pineapple)

Closing Notes:  I’ve been really impressed with 2 Towns lately, as they have delivered many flavorful ciders at just the right level of sweetness for me.

Have you tried 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple?  What did you think?

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Merridale Cyser

Review of Merridale Cyser (made from apple juice and honey).  It is my first time trying this, but have previously had their Scrumpy and House Craft Cider.

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Cider:  Cyser
Cidery:  Merridale
Cidery Location:  Cobble Hill, B.C., Canada
ABV:  10%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Canadian cyser

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Availability:  mostly in Southwest British Columbia (see here)

Cider Description:  A rich blend of aromatic cider apples and local wildflower honey from our own orchard. Inspired by the finest tradition of Medieval England, where the Normans and Celts credited cyser with magical powers. Aged for several months to a year after bottling…Winner of Silver Medal at the North American Beer Awards, and won ‘Best in Show’ at the 2013 Portland International Cider Cup.

Cidery Description:  Since 1990, we have been making our unique ciders from heritage varieties of English, French, and German cider apples. These apples have been used in the cider regions of Europe for many hundreds of years.  Each of our ciders is a blend of apples aimed at a particular palate. Our orchard has a wide range of bittersharp and bittersweet apples allowing us to create our distinctive family of products.  Some, like the House, Merri Berri and Traditional are designed to be enjoyed as a glass or a pint, with or without food. Others, like our Scrumpy and Cyser are rich in history from medieval times of Olde England.  As always, our cider is made without artificial flavours or colours and no added sulphites.

In addition to cider, they also run a farm and distillery under the same name.

Price:  $9.49 CAN (~$7.55 USD)
Where Bought:  Liquor Express in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  High carbonation.  Smells of acidic apples and honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple, honey & honeycomb, floral, lemon, and butterscotch.  Long boozy finish.  Moderate apple flavor, honey flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really liked it.  Great apple and honey flavor with a bit of an extra kick with the high ABV.  However, it was a tad harsh due to that higher ABV; I think barrel aging this would have been awesome.

Most Similar to:  Moonlight Last Apple, Eaglemount Cyser, Finnriver Cyser, and Finnriver Honey Meadow

Closing Notes:  This was an excellent value.  I look forward to trying more from them.

Have you tried Merridale Cyser?  What did you think?

Cidre de Rhuys Brut

Review of Cidre de Rhuys Brut, from France.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Cidre de Rhuys
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  330ml and 750ml bottles, and kegs
Style:  French cidre from the Brittany region

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Availability:  semi wide release (see here)

Description:  For three generations our family has perfected the craft of making artisanal natural cider. Made from only freshly harvested fruit, each apple is carefully selected and hand picked. A slow fermentation allows the cider to develop its rich fine flavours and gentle acidity without the use of added sulfites or pasteurization. Award winning in both regional and international competitions, please enjoy our cider fresh and lightly chilled.

Price:  ~$4?
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the only French cidre available at the time in single serve bottles, and I hadn’t tried it.

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First Impression:  Moderate brown amber hue.  Very high carbonation with some foam (I ended up spilling about 1/3 of the bottle upon opening!).  Smells of sweet bittersweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied with a fluffy texture.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of primarily apple pomace, with some brown sugar and caramel.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity, apple flavor, and sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, its not one of my favorite French cidres.  It smelled quite sweet and of apple juice, but the flavor was surprisingly dry and mild, of apple skin, with some hints of richness.  With the flavor profile I think I would have liked it a bit sweeter.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut and Aval.  However, for a single serve Brittany France cidre, I prefer Celt (this has a bit less sweetness and more complexity though) as well as Lefevre Winter Cidre.

Closing Notes:  This also comes in a Doux version, and in larger bottle sizes, but I’ve only seen this one.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Salt Spring Wild Cider Semi-Dry

Review of Salt Spring Wild Cider’s Semi-Dry.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Semi-Dry
Cidery:  Salt Spring Wild Cider
Cidery Location:  Salt Spring Island, B.C., Canada
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider from heirloom apples

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Availability:  In B.C. Canada, such as in Salt Spring, Pender, Victoria, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Okanagan Valley (see here)

Cider Description:  Our ciders are made with the wild apples and pears that grow on Salt Spring Island, and with apples from regional organic orchards.  We never add any water. Our process involves slow-fermenting single varieties and allowing each to mature until it has fully developed. The ciders are then carefully blended for complexity and depth of flavor; our Dry and Semi-Dry ciders are each blends of over 10 different apple varieties!  While the blending process is crucial (and arduous), the special character of our cider is due to the wealth of heritage cider apples that grow on Salt Spring, and to our commitment to making fully organic ciders.  In general, you’ll find that we tend to make our ciders quite dry, with delicate flavors (including our berry and plum ciders), and that’s the way we like them!

Cidery Description:  Crafted from handpicked Salt Spring Apples, this refreshing cider brings just a touch of sweetness to brighten up your day. Light-hearted citrusy notes are offset by earthy undertones, making this a well balanced cider that’s great for any occasion. Viva la Cidré!

They have a tasting room on Salt Spring Island.

Price:  $14.19 CAN (~$11.28 USD)
Where Bought:  Liquor Express in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, while we were in port during a cruise

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of acidic heirloom apples and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple, lemon, herbs, and straw.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it was fairly simple and more acidic than I prefer.  I was hoping for a bit of cider apple flavor based on the bottle label description, but I just picked up the heirloom apples.  I’d recommend this for folks who like drier acidic unflavored ciders, but want something a bit more complex than the more commonly found ciders from dessert apples.

Most Similar to:  Wandering Aengus Cellar Door, Montana Ciderworks Spartan Dry-Style, and Seattle Cider Washington Heirloom

 Closing Notes:  Salt Spring has a large lineup of ciders I’d be interested in trying if I spot them on a future trip to B.C.

Have you tried Salt Spring Wild Cider?  What did you think?

Scenic Road Razz

Review of Scenic Road Cider’s Razz, a raspberry flavored cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Razz
Cidery:  Scnenic Road Cider
Cidery Location:  Kelowna B.C. Canada
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider from dessert apples, with raspberries added

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Availability:  in Western Canada (see their cider locator here)

Cider Description:  A unique blend of traditional apple varieties from the Okanagan Valley pressed and fermented with Fraser Valley raspberries. This sparkling cider has a distinct well- balanced aroma that leaves a hint of raspberry after each sip.

Cidery Description:  Scenic Road’s orchards have produced eight decades of harvest. Our backyard is home to the apple varieties found in our small-batch, hand crafted ciders. Follow the Scenic Road to our tasting room and savour the taste of the good life!

Price:  $8.17 CAN (~$6.58 USD)
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, while we were on a cruise port stop.  This is a gem of a bottle shop near downtown Victoria and the port, with a little bit of everything.

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First Impression:  Light red hue.  Nearly still / very low carbonation.  Smells like real raspberries.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of fresh/real raspberry and tart green apple.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  I’m glad this didn’t get the sweet raspberry candy scent/flavor which I’ve commonly found with fruity ciders.  However, this is a rather simple easy-drinking cider, which I think may be better suited for cans (although the price for a 500ml bottle was pretty reasonable).

Most Similar to:  Raven’s Moon Apple Raspberry, which is also a B.C. cider, although that one was significantly more tart and less sessionable (and a bit more complex); I think Scenic Road has the edge over Raven’s Moon for raspberry cider.  All the other raspberry ciders I’ve had have been significantly more sweet.

Closing Notes:  This would be great especially in spring/summer, for folks who want a fruity and flavorful cider without much sweetness.

Have you tried Scenic Road Cider Razz?  What did you think?

Foggy Ridge Serious Cider

Review of Foggy Ridge’s Serious Cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.  I picked it up at a cruise port stop in San Francisco CA last fall.

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Cider:  Serious Cider
Cidery:  Foggy Ridge
Cidery Location:  Dugspur VA
ABV:  7.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom & cider apples

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Availability:  At least in NY, MD, DL, DC, VA, NC, SC, TN, AL, and GA (and CA)

Cider Description:  Foggy Ridge Cider began in 1997 with a cider apple orchard in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Founder Diane Flynt “grows ingredients”—bitter and acidic apples like Hewe’s Crab, Harrison, Tremlett’s Bitter, Ashmead’s Kernel and Dabinett, all full of complex flavor. For over a dozen years, the Foggy Ridge crew has crafted traditional cider apples into fine cider using all the skill and expertise of modern fermentation.

Cidery Description:  Serious Cider mixes traditional English cider apples like Tremlett’s Bitter and Dabinett with tart American favorites like Ashmead’s Kernel and Roxbury Russet. This crisp light food friendly cider is a refreshing aperitif paired with cheesy nibbles.  Cidermaker Notes: “Rich apple and citrus aroma with a touch of apricot and apple blossoms. Serious Cider is bright and lively on the palate with creamy layers. It is full bodied with soft minerality and hints of peach and lime zest. Focused acidity combined with textured dusty tannin create a long and pleasantly dry finish.”

Price:  $19.99
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had heard of Foggy Ridge, but haven’t seen them in WA.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of acidic tropical fruit.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of pineapple, stone fruit, white grape, green apple, lemon, and mineral.  Long acidic finish.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, dry acidic ciders just aren’t a style I love.  I was hoping for some rich bittersweet apple flavor, but I only picked up the heirloom apples (high acidity with hints of bitterness and tannins).  All in all this is well made and will likely appeal to folks who enjoy dry acidic ciders.

Most Similar to:  Eve’s Beckhorn Hollow

Closing Notes:  Unfortunately Foggy Ridge is no longer making cider, as their lead cidermaker Diane Flynt recently retired.  You may be able to still find some of their bottles in stores for a bit, but they have stopped online sales (out of inventory).

Have you tried Foggy Ridge cider?  What did you think?

Left Field British Dry

Review of Left Field’s British Dry.  I picked this up at a cruise port stop in Victoria B.C.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Little Dry before.

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Cider:  British Dry
Cidery:  Left Field
Cidery Location:  Logan Lake, B.C., Canada
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider from B.C. apples, including bittersweet varieties

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Availability:  Year round, only in B.C. and Alberta Canada

Cider Description:  Our English Dry cider is dominated by bittersweet cider apple varieties which originated in the United Kingdom.  The result is a cider that balances bitter tannins and stringency with rich apple aromatics.

Cidery Description:  Family-owned and operated by sisters Theresa and Kate, Left Field focuses on a small batch approach to traditional cider-making which brings out the natural characteristics of the apples. We make handcrafted, artisanal English-style cider by blending English and French cider varieties with BC dessert apples.

They have a tasting room open seasonally.

Price:  $9.05 CAN (~ $7.35 USD)
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells acidic and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of juicy tart green apple, lemon, and mineral.  Moderate length acidic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked the juicy flavor.  However, I was disappointed by the lack of perceived bittersweet cider apple flavor and English cider qualities – it tasted more like a mix of dessert and heirloom varieties to me.  That said, I imagine the bittersweet apples added to the flavor of the final product, despite them not being individually identifiable.

Most Similar to:  Left Field Little Dry and Virtue Cider Michigan Brut

Closing Notes:  I’d recommend Left Field to fans of dry cider who live in B.C.  They remain one of the best choices for true craft cider in the area, along with Sea Cider, Tod Creek, etc.  Stay tuned for more reviews of B.C. cider here, as I picked up a number of bottles when I was there.

Have you tried Left Field cider?  What did you think?