WA Cider Week 2020 Tasting Notes – Virtual Edition

Its that time of year – Washington Cider Week, the 10th annual, September 10-20th 2020. Usually Northwest Cider invites me and other media folks to an awesome exclusive preview tasting event. This year things are different. WA Cider Week is still on, but most events will be virtual, or for local pickup – check out the event calendar here. For me, this means a virtual private tasting, so here are my notes on 4 new cider releases to kick things off.

Photo Sep 11, 4 34 53 PM

>>This is a review of sample bottles/cans provided to Cider Says by Greenwood, Spin, Locust, and Tieton.  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.<<

Photo Sep 11, 8 39 40 PM

Some info on Spin Cider, as this is my first review of their cider – This is a Kitsap county cidery started last year by two cyclists. They are doing a virtual re-opening for WA Cider Week.  Stay tuned as I’ll soon be reviewing 2 other releases from them, ‘Sammamish River Trail’ and ‘Tour de Lopez’. Their ciders are currently available online and for local pickup, but they plan to increase as the Covid situation improves in 2021.

Spin Cider (Olalla WA) An Apple for a Teacher (7.2%): This cider is dedicated to educators, as Cathie & Mark work in teaching & training so can understand the tough time they are having right now. The cidery is even offering special discounts to teachers as this blend rolls out. Mild apple scent, on the sweeter side of semi-dry, some tartness & carbonation, apple-forward with a bit of complexity reminiscent of heirloom apples, but super friendly and sessionable.

Tieton Cider (Yakima WA) Huckleberry 6.9%): This is a new seasonal release using Northwest huckleberries. See my previous Tieton reviews here. Smells of berry, on the sweeter side of semi-dry, low tartness, super juicy, moderate blackberry flavor with a hint of cranberry.

Locust Cider (Woodinville WA) Peach Ginger (6.0%): This is a new release for WA cider week, with peach juice and a hint of ginger, sold in a four pack of 16oz cans. See my previous Locust reviews here . Mild scent, on the sweeter side of semi-dry, mild stone fruit flavor with some citrus and a hint of ginger bite on the finish. It seems like most cideries go way overboard on ginger, but this was nice, as it was so subtle, and didn’t ruin my palette.

Greenwood Cider (Seattle WA) Whiskey Barrel Heirloom (9.0%): This is a new release, made from more than 13 varieties of heirloom, bittersweet, & bittersharp cider apples and aged for 6 months in Westland whiskey barrels. See my previous Greenwood reviews here. Smells of aged spirits, lovely darkened hue from the barrel, on the drier side of semi-dry, complex apple & whiskey flavor, and oak finish with a hint of bitterness.

Closing Notes: I enjoyed all four ciders. Its been awhile since I’ve had a tasting flight, and I had missed the experience. It was fun to have an excuse to open four different ciders too! Remember to check out the WA Cider Week calendar.

Eden Benjamin

Review of Eden Cellar Series #16, Benjamin, a Petillant Naturel cider made from 2019 harvest apples from Eden’s own biodynamic orchard, and named after their orchardist Benjamin Applegate.  ‘Pet Nat’ is also known as Méthode Ancestrale, and is a way to make naturally sparkling cider (see here for more info on this style).  It is my first time trying this cider, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

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

Photo Sep 07, 5 19 34 PM

Cider:  Benjamin
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage Petillant Naturel cider from heirloom & cider apples, zero residual sugar

Photo Sep 07, 5 20 10 PM Photo Sep 07, 5 20 19 PM

Availability:  in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  PROFILE: Bubbly, tart, juicy
APPLE VARIETIES: Northern Spy, Golden Russet, Grimes Golden, Esopus Spitzenberg, Michelin, Ashmead’s Kernel, Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Egremont Russet, Stembridge Cluster, Blue Pearmain, Binet Rouge, Orleans Reinette, Calville Blanc, Rubinette
METHOD: Spontaneous fermentation, bottled in process before finishing. Not disgorged, contains residual lees
TASTING NOTES: tangerine, white roses and granite
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: oysters, charcuterie, farro bowl

For more info, see here and here.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Sep 07, 5 21 57 PM

First Impression:  Hazy light pumpkin hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of mild apple with hints of must and funk.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of sharp but juicy heirloom apple and lemon with hints of floral and earth/straw.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, and flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, once I got past the first mouth-puckering tart sip.  Super apple forward and juicy although without any sweetness.

Most Similar to:  Eden Deep Cut, except with more complexity, more tartness, and a hint of funk

Closing Notes:  Although this was nice to try, both my husband and I preferred Eden Deep Cut due to the lower tartness.

Have you tried Eden Benjamin?  What did you think?

Eden Deep Cut

Review of Eden’s Deep Cut, a new dry canned harvest cider offering, co-released with Peak Bloom which I reviewed here.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  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:  Deep Cut
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider from heirloom & cider apples, dry

Photo Sep 04, 7 38 59 PM Photo Sep 04, 7 39 14 PM Photo Sep 04, 7 39 26 PM

Availability:  soon, in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  This is a dry, hazy, full-bodied 6.2% ABV cider made from Golden Russet, Somerset Redstreak, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, McIntosh and Empire apples that were harvested in 2019.  Slow cold fermentation and no filtering means lots of layered, rich flavor, with tasting notes of peach, black tea and citrus. Eden suggests pairing Deep Cut with fried chicken, tacos and grilled anything!

For more info, see here.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $3-4 / can
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Sep 04, 7 38 41 PM

First Impression:  Hazy light yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells mild, of apple and must.

Tasting Notes:  Fully dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of juicy heirloom apple and lemon with hints of earth and herbs.  Moderate tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  Ciders like this could turn a sweeter cider lover like me onto dry ciders.  I think it was because of the lower tartness, which seemed to make it easier to drink, as it was less sharp.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had.  The less filtered style was reminiscent of ciders from Downeast, but that is not at all dry, and a completely opposite style (modern not heritage).

Closing Notes:  Usually when I drink a dry cider like this I’ll think about how just a touch of sweetness would have made it better, and more flavorful, but I truly don’t think it would have worked for this cider.

Have you tried Eden Deep Cut?  What did you think?

Eden Peak Bloom

Review of Eden’s Peak Bloom, a new semi-dry canned harvest cider offering, co-released with Deep Cut (dry), which I’ll review soon.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  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:  Peak Bloom
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider from heirloom & cider apples, semi-dry

Photo Aug 29, 5 52 05 PM Photo Aug 29, 5 52 13 PM Photo Aug 29, 5 52 21 PM

Availability:  soon, in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  This is an off-dry, clean and refreshing cider made from a blend of Dabinett, McIntosh, Empire, Spartan and Esopus Spitzenburg apples harvested in 2018. Like Deep Cut, Peak Bloom was also fermented slow and cold, blended with a few drops of ice cider, and then filtered, before being carbonated and pasteurized. Tasting notes include applesauce, honey, white grape and slate. Pairing suggestions include curries, barbecue and outdoor fun!

For more info, see here and here.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $3-4 / can
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Aug 29, 5 51 43 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, clean, of acidic citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of complex heirloom apple, citrus, honey, and floral.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor and overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability and complexity.

My Opinion:  Great!  I enjoyed the flavor profile, and found it super sessionable, but with plenty of complexity to keep my interest.  I’d personally prefer a bit more sweetness, although I say that about most heritage ciders.

Most Similar to:  Eden’s 2019 Harvest Cider

Closing Notes:  This is yet another excellent cider option from Eden.

Have you tried Eden Peak Bloom?  What did you think?

Cidrerie du Vulcain Trois Pépins

Review of Cidrerie du Vulcain’s Trois Pépins, made from 3 pommes – apples, pears, and quince, from Switzerland.  It is my first time trying this variety, but I’ve had their Transparente and Premiers Emois.  This is the only Swiss cidery I know of which distributes to the U.S., although its far from the only Swiss cidery (check out Cider Explorer’s Swiss cider reviews).

Photo Jul 12, 4 32 12 PM

Cider: Trois Pépins
Cidery:  Cidrerie du Vulcain
Cidery Location:  Fribourg, Switzerland
ABV:  7.1%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  Swiss orchard-based craft heritage apple/pear/quince cider, partial wild yeast fermentation

Photo Jul 12, 4 32 20 PM Photo Jul 12, 4 32 33 PM

Availability:  limited in the U.S.

Cider Description:  Varieties: Combination in equal parts of apples, pears, and quince.  Terroir: Deep molasse over Valais schist, or moraine gravel mixed with brown clay soil.  Agriculture: Foraged, untreated, high-branched (1.8 to 2m) trees.  Cider-making: Indigenous yeast partial fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Two to three light filtrations ensure that the desired residual sugar levels are attained. Natural prise de mousse in bottle. Low sulfur additions (about 20mg/L) before bottling.  Sweetness: Labelled as sec, tastes dry.

Cidery Description:  Location: Fribourg, Switzerland.  Origin of Name: the local Vulcain (Red Admiral) butterfly that feeds on the juice of fallen apples.  Total Trees: 150- 200.  Fruits: Local heritage varieties of apples, pears, and quinces.  Agriculture: Organic.  Vinification: Indigenous yeasts, méthode ancestrale, light Kieselguhr or diactomaceous earth filtration.  See here for more info.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  Bushel & Bee Taproom, which is one of my two favorite places to shop for cider in Leavenworth.  The other is Broken Barrel, where I also had my husband pick me up some bottles during this same trip, but I’ve already reviewed them – Manchester Road 42 and Manoir de Grandouet Cidre Fermier Brut.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  When my husband was in Leavenworth, he took photos of bottles for me to pick from.  Just from the front cidery label (as they only label type on the back) I knew I wanted multiple bottles, as I absolutely loved the other 2 ciders I’ve tried from this cidery, and haven’t found them locally, only when traveling.

Photo Jul 12, 4 35 52 PM

First Impression:  Yellow-amber hue.  Very high carbonation and foam.  Smells of citrus and pear.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied with a fluffy frothy texture characteristic of methode champenoise.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of funk and tannins.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of citrus ish (presumably from the quince), ripe pear, green apple, and floral.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate pear flavor, sessionability, complexity, and overall flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Tons of citrus flavor, which isn’t very common in ciders.  Lovely mouthfeel, reminiscent of French cider, like Vulcain’s other ciders.

Most Similar to:  Although I’ve had another apple/pear/quince cider, Alpenfire 3 Pommes, they varied quite a bit.  Both are pear forward.  However, the quince came through more as tropical fruit & honey in the Alpenfire, instead of citrus for the Vulcain.  Plus, the apple flavor was prominent and heirloom for the Alpenfire, instead of subtle and green for the Vulcain.  Also, the Alpenfire was quite wine-like, while the Vulcain is reminiscent of French cider, probably primarily due to the mouthfeel.

Closing Notes:  I prefer Cidrerie du Vulcain’s purely apple ciders, although I enjoyed trying this super unique selection.

Have you tried any Swiss cider?  What did you think?

2 Towns Blueberry Daze

Review of 2 Towns Blueberry Daze (with blueberries, grapes, and lavender).  It is my first time trying this, although I have had most of their ciders (see here).

Photo Jun 26, 6 18 57 PM

Cider:  Blueberry Daze
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.3%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with blueberries, grapes, and lavender

Photo Jun 26, 6 19 11 PM Photo Jun 26, 6 19 20 PM Photo Jun 26, 6 19 30 PM

Availability:  limited release, Spring 2020 ? , in select areas where 2 Towns is typically sold (Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Chicago, and parts of Minnesota & Montana)

Cider Description:  Blueberry Daze is a rich, smooth, soft, velvety, lush, and crazy aromatic cider. Yes. All those adjectives. The unfiltered, fresh-pressed Pacific Northwest blueberry juice is dark and full of rich berry-licious flavor. The addition of Muscat grapes lend the cider an incredibly fruity and floral aroma, while the lavender finishes the cider with deep, floral, and intoxicating notes.

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:  ~ $6.99
Where Bought:  Costco
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

Photo Jun 26, 6 21 17 PM

First Impression:  Deep purple-red hue.  Little to no carbonation.  Smells of lavender with a hint of berry.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of blueberry, lavender, tart green apple, and a hint of grape.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and overall complexity.  Moderate to high sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  The flavor was superb, with some nice complexity for a modern cider (one made from dessert apples, often with adjuncts).  I wouldn’t have minded a tad more sweetness, although as-is its super sessionable.

Most Similar to:  Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, except with blueberries & grapes instead of black currants (both are semi-dry and tart).

Closing Notes:  I wish this was a year-round canned release.

Have you tried 2 Towns Blueberry Daze?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Calypso

Review of Alpenfire Calypso.  I’ve had this previously, but never done a full review.  I’ve also had Alpenfire’s DungenessSparkEmberSimple CiderCalypso, Pirate’s Plank, GlowCindersShrubSpiced Tonic Shrub, Traditional Heirloom Cider, Flame, TempestFoxwhelp SVRosy Pommeau3 PommesKingston BlackGolden FoxSmoke, and Traditional Cuvée.

Photo Jun 12, 5 42 45 PM

Cider:  Calypso
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Newton Pippin apples and blackberries, rum barrel aged

Photo Jun 12, 5 42 53 PM Photo Jun 12, 5 43 09 PM Photo Jun 12, 5 43 03 PM

Availability:  likely only in the Northwest, plus online sales

Cider Description:  An expression of the Northwest.  Organic heirloom apples co-fermented with blackberries, then aged in rum barrels.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown heritage ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers.  Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us.  Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you!  Try Alpenfire Cider today and find your favorite expression of the Northwest.

Price:  $11.99
Where Bought:  their website – I made a large order when they had a free shipping deal during COVID-19 quarantine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  this was one of the first varieties I tried from Alpenfire

Photo Jun 12, 5 44 27 PM

First Impression:  Vibrant dark red hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of mild tart berry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of tart apple reminiscent of granny smith, complex berry, and a hint of oak.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and apple flavor.  Low to moderate overall complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Easy to drink, but still with some complexity.  However, I’d prefer a bit more sweetness and/or less tartness.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Boysenbarrel, except without the red wine flavor profile

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire consistently makes excellent ciders, and has a huge range of selections too, so there is something for everyone.

Have you tried Alpenfire Calypso?  What did you think?

Ace Guava

Review of Ace’s Guava cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their PineappleBlackjack 21, Pumpkin, Apple-Honey, Apple, Berry, Joker, and Space.

Cider:  Guava
Cidery:  Ace
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol CA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American large-craft cider from dessert apples, with Brazilian guava

Photo May 29, 5 57 41 PM Photo May 29, 5 58 11 PM Photo May 29, 5 57 57 PM

Availability:  wide release; check their cider finder

Cider Description:  Fresh Pink Guava juice blended with our semi-dry apple cider. Fruit forward with semi-dry undertones. Enjoy this taste of Brazil!

Cidery Description:  California Cider Company is the first family-owned cidery in the US. We have been making ACE Cider since 1993 in the beautiful Sebastopol area of Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco.

Price:  ~ $9.99 / six pack
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook

Photo May 29, 5 57 12 PM

First Impression:  Hazy orange with a hint of pink hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of tart tropical fruit, although not specifically guava.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of guava juice, tart green apple, and a hint of lemon.  Moderate length tart finish.  High sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, due to the great guava flavor, which is a favorite of mine.  However, I would have loved it, if only there was a touch more sweetness.  With 9g sugar per can and its tartness, this barely tasted semi-dry to me.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had four ciders with guava – Common Cider Pineapple Guava, One Tree Passionfruit Guava, Schilling Guava Mint, and Seattle Cider Strawberry Guava – but all had an additional flavor.  Ace Guava wasn’t similar to any of those, as the Common Cider and Seattle Cider selections were of a similar sweetness but mild in flavor and not guava-forward, while the One Tree and Schilling selections were much sweeter and super full-flavored.

Closing Notes:  This is a super sessionable summery cider, with the low ABV, lack of sweetness, and guava flavor profile.

Have you tried Ace Guava?  What did you think?

Tieton Hazy Strawberry

Review of Tieton’s Hazy Strawberry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

Cider:  Hazy Strawberry
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with strawberries

Photo May 08, 6 56 49 PM Photo May 08, 6 57 25 PM Photo May 08, 6 57 13 PM

Availability:  seasonally, around May thru August, at least in AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IL, NJ, NM, NV, OR, TX, and WA; check their cider finder

Cider Description:  As Washington farmers we like to support local growers and Northwest strawberries are some of the very best!  This blend of hand-picked juicy strawberries and fresh-pressed cider pours as a ruby blush.  It is unfiltered for added body and accentuated flavors.  Enjoy this fruity summer beverage with smoky bar-b-que and fresh cheeses.

Cidery Description: From our orchards to your glass, TCW controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. TCW boasts the largest orchard of cider apple varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our cider fruit with all Washington apples. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  ~ $2 / single can (runs ~ $11.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Trader Joes (note that they will sell a single can/bottle of any multi-pack, and don’t mark it up beyond the unit price like most other stores)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing the store, although I saw it first in the Hard Cider Appreciation Society Facebook group

Photo May 08, 6 56 23 PM

First Impression:  Deep red-pink hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of mild sweet berry.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry and granny smith apple.  Quick tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Interestingly it tasted much drier than the stated sugar content (19g / can), I’m guessing because of the tartness.  Nice real strawberry flavor.

Most Similar to:  My list says I’ve only tried four strawberry ciders (from Bull Run, Cider Brothers – William Tell, Longdrop, and Seattle Cider), and the later 2 had additional flavors.  Tieton Hazy Strawberry is most like Bull Run Strawberry Fields, with a similar level of sweetness and flavor profile.

Closing Notes:  I like being able to pick up single cans/bottles of multipacks, so I don’t get stuck with selections I don’t like, although in this case I wouldn’t have minded having 5 more cans.

Have you tried Tieton Hazy Strawberry?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Traditional Cuvée

Review of Alpenfire Traditional Cuvée.  It is my first time trying this variety, but I have had most of their lineup (see here).

Photo May 08, 4 45 58 PM

Cider: Traditional Cuvée
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American orchard-based cider from heirloom & cider apple varieties, dry

Photo May 08, 4 46 20 PM Photo May 08, 4 46 31 PM Photo May 08, 4 46 44 PM

Availability:  probably only through their website and in a limited number of specialty shops in WA

Cider Description:  This cider cuvée has a classic balance of traditional & heirloom apples. The cider apples are organically grown in our orchard while the heirloom apples come from two other organic growers, Lazy J Farm in Port Angeles and Heirloom Orchards in Hood River. Cider apples provide depth of flavor and a tannic sizzle while heirloom apples provide acidity and bright flavors. Cool fermentation, lengthy maturation and no filtration create complexity and rich body. Try this well rounded orchard based cider with breads & cheese, burgers, or just about everything.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown heritage ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers. Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us. Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you! Try Alpenfire Cider today and find your favorite expression of the Northwest.

Price:  $11.99
Where Bought:  Alpenfire’s online shop
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing their website when I made a large order when they were offering free shipping

Photo May 08, 4 48 12 PM

First Impression:  Medium gold hue.  Smells of dry, tart, tannic, heirloom apple with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of heirloom apple juice & pomace, wood, lemon, and floral.  Moderate length tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, and overall flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  It didn’t seem quite as tart/sharp as many other dry ciders, which I enjoyed, as I usually tend towards sweeter ciders, and tartness makes dry ciders taste even drier for me.

Most Similar to:  Eden Heritage Cider, Dragon’s Head Heritage, and also reminiscent of Snowdrift but not any 1 specific release

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire’s lineup is really wide-ranging in type, so there is something for everyone

Have you tried Alpenfire Traditional Cuvée?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Smoke

Review of Alpenfire’s Smoke Pommeau (cider + apple brandy), their barrel aged dessert cider.  I’ve had a previous version of this (see here), plus I’ve tried most of their lineup (see here).  I missed out on the only release that I knew of in between the previous one I tried years ago and this one, so I was excited to buy some.

Photo Apr 25, 5 54 29 PM

Cider:  Smoke, 2017 Harvest
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft apple brandy-fortified barrel-aged cider from Estate-grown bittersweet cider apple varieties

Photo Apr 25, 5 54 44 PM Photo Apr 25, 5 55 03 PM

Availability:  very limited, likely mostly online, plus some specialty shops in WA

Cider Description:  A barrel aged desert cider blended for those who love a rich full bodied cider and a touch of peaty smoke in their whiskey. This after dinner tipple sits as the 2nd best cider in the world on RateBeer’s best of list….Harvested in 2017 and fermented dry, referemented and aged in a rye whiskey barrel, then matured in a peated whiskey barrel, then blended with cider aged over oak chips before estate Bittersweet apple brandy is added in to bring it up to 18%.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown heritage ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers.  Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us.  Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you!  Try Alpenfire Cider today and find your favorite expression of the Northwest.

Price:  $24.99
Where Bought:  their online shop
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  originally, browsing a shop

Photo Apr 25, 5 59 26 PM

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of rich bittersweet apple, brandy / high ABV, aged spirits (esp. scotch), and oak barrel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium body.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet cider apples, oak, smoke, scotch/whiskey, and a hint of peat.  Long warm finish.  Moderate to high complexity and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I have to say that it didn’t live up to the previous version I tried, which was truly epic and one of the best things I’ve ever drank.  I imagine the years I waited to buy more of this served to further elevate my opinion on the previous version.  Never the less, as a stand-alone product, this Pommeau is superb, and I’ll happily drink the 3 bottles I bought.

Most Similar to:  a slightly lighter (less rich) and less sweet version of their previous Smoke, or a typical Pommeau with added barrel/smoke flavor

Closing Notes:  Alpenfire is a favorite of mine, and a highlight is their vast lineup, with offerings from dry to semi-sweet, fruity to rich, sessionable to not, and everything in between, all of which are exceptional.

Have you tried Alpenfire Smoke?  What did you think?

Portland CiderAde

Review of Portland Cider’s CiderAde, a special release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda DryHop’RageousLondon Dry GinApple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, Pineapple, Sangria, Mojito, Cranberry, Concord GrapePerfect 10Pumpkin SpicePineapple Rosé, Peach Berry, and Razzberry.

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  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:  CiderAde
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  19.2oz “proper pint” single cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with lemon, lime, and salt (as electrolytes)

Photo Apr 12, 4 41 04 PM Photo Apr 12, 4 41 14 PM Photo Apr 12, 4 41 21 PM

Availability:  small batch special release, starting April 2020, in Oregon (including to-go at Portland Cider’s 2 taprooms), Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California

Cider Description:  The cider that aids you! Freshly squeezed lemons and limes brighten this cider made with 100% Northwest apples. A cider that’s refreshing & replenishes with electrolytes sourced from sea salt harvested in Netarts Bay along the Oregon coast by Jacobsen Salt Company. Rejuvenation & relaxation in a glass!

Cidery Description:  We started the Portland Cider Company in 2013 with the intent of marrying English cider traditions with the innovative Northwest micro-brewing culture.  Lynda hails from Somerset county of England, the traditional cider making region, and Jeff is a native Oregonian.  It all started from a desire to make the clean, dry cider Lynda grew to love in England, and Jeff yearned to find here.  The first batches began in our guest room closet, 5 gallons at a time, made to quench our own thirst.  We then introduced it to our friends and family, most never having drank cider before, and discovered we were on to something when our popularity soared and those small batches went fast!  That cider is what became our signature and bestselling “Kinda Dry.”  Now 6 years on, we continue to devote the same passion for 5000 gallon batches as we did for those first 5 gallon ones.  Only now we don’t worry about running out of what we love!  We hope you won’t run out of it either!

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $4 per 19.2oz can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Apr 12, 4 40 35 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, lemon, salt, and lime.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low apple flavor, sessionability, and complexity.  Very high sessionability.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t super into this, as I tend towards slightly sweeter ciders, but my husband who is a bigger fan of dry tart ciders liked it.

Most Similar to:  Ulee’s Light Cider with some salt and lime

Closing Notes:  I’m not one to mix outdoor activities in hot weather with alcohol, so I don’t really get the appeal of this, but I can imagine others having the opposite opinion.  Good thing there is a wide range of ciders so there is something for everyone.

Have you tried Portland CiderAde?  What did you think?

Double Mountain Wickson Crab Cider

Review of Double Mountain Brewery’s Wickson Crab cider.  It is my second time trying this (see here for the first).  I’ve also had their Jumpin Jack Heirloom CiderDry, and Arkansas Black.

Photo Mar 28, 5 29 39 PM

Cider:  Wickson Crab
Maker:  Double Mountain
Location:  Hood River Oregon
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Wickson crabapples

Photo Mar 28, 5 29 45 PM Photo Mar 28, 5 30 07 PM Photo Mar 28, 5 29 57 PM

Availability:  likely only in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia

Cider Description:  This late season variety is tiny on the tree, but big on flavor. Sweet, tart, and earthy, this scrappy little apple makes for a robust cider. Honeydew, ripe kiwi, and big juicy apple fill the mouth, finishing less tart and a hint of sweetness.  There is nothing small about this variety of crabapple.  Wickson is bringing the sweet to balance it’s tart kick.

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

Photo Mar 28, 5 31 25 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp crabapple & green apple, lemon, and floral.  Moderate length tart finish.  Low sessionability and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t into this cider, but my husband was a big fan, as its his favorite style (dry, tart, and higher ABV).  This was drier, more tart, and higher ABV than their previous version.

Most Similar to:  Dragon’s Head Columbia Crab and Greenwood Red River Wolf Crab

Closing Notes:  Its unique to see a brewery make cider, especially heritage (vs. modern) cider.

Have you tried crabapple cider?  What did you think?

Portland RazzBerry

Review of Portland Cider’s RazzBerry, a new seasonal release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda Dry, Hop’Rageous, London Dry Gin, Apple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, Pineapple, Sangria, Mojito, Cranberry, Concord Grape, Perfect 10, Pumpkin Spice, Pineapple Rosé, and Peach Berry.

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  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:  RazzBerry
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  6-packs of 12oz cans, 19.2oz single cans, and kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with raspberries, pears, and lemon zest

Photo Mar 20, 5 17 39 PM Photo Mar 20, 5 17 53 PM

Availability:  seasonally, starting March 2020, in Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California

Cider Description:  Loads of bright raspberries combine with Northwest grown apples, a touch of lemon zest, and Hood River Valley pears for a refreshing cider that everyone will love. Easy-drinking, thirst-quenching and refreshingly tart, the cider is 5.8% ABV and ideal for barbecues and outdoor adventures.

Cidery Description:  We started the Portland Cider Company in 2013 with the intent of marrying English cider traditions with the innovative Northwest micro-brewing culture.  Lynda hails from Somerset county of England, the traditional cider making region, and Jeff is a native Oregonian.  It all started from a desire to make the clean, dry cider Lynda grew to love in England, and Jeff yearned to find here.  The first batches began in our guest room closet, 5 gallons at a time, made to quench our own thirst.  We then introduced it to our friends and family, most never having drank cider before, and discovered we were on to something when our popularity soared and those small batches went fast!  That cider is what became our signature and bestselling “Kinda Dry.”  Now 6 years on, we continue to devote the same passion for 5000 gallon batches as we did for those first 5 gallon ones.  Only now we don’t worry about running out of what we love!  We hope you won’t run out of it either!

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $12.99 per 6-pack or ~ $4.29 per 19.2oz can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Mar 20, 5 17 10 PM

First Impression:  Moderate red hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart raspberry.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of raspberry, green apple, and lemon (no noticeable pear).  Moderate length tart finish.  High sessionability.  Low complexity and apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and raspberry flavor.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Not what I’d usually pick, but tasty, on the lighter side, and super sessionable, with the low ABV, mid-level sweetness, and simpler flavor profile.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve tried, as the raspberry ciders I’ve had were:
– much sweeter (from Washington Gold, Woodchuck, Wyder’s, Eaglemount, One Tree, Schilling, & Doc’s Draft)
– much drier & high ABV (Blue Moon Winery), or
– had other ingredients (Apple Outlaw Chocolate Raspberry, Bauman’s Peach Raspberry, Pear Up Rasperry, & Cockrell Raspberry Habanero)

Closing Notes:  Last summer’s seasonal from Portland Cider was Pineapple Rosé, which they made a year-round release, so this is the replacement.

Have you tried Portland Cider RazzBerry?  What did you think?

Eden Claudine Keeved Cider

Review of Eden’s Claudine, a French-style keeved cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, The FalstaffHeritageSiren SongEzekiel Kingston BlackHarvest, and Extra Sec.

Photo Feb 15, 6 45 53 PM (1)

Cider:  Claudine (Cellar Series)
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft French-style keeved cicder

Photo Feb 15, 6 46 06 PM Photo Feb 15, 6 46 17 PM Photo Feb 15, 6 46 29 PM

Availability:  online only, limited release

Cider Description:  Normandy-style keeved cider, made from 3 bittersweet apple varieties. This is a special version of a petillant naturel that retains residual sweetness, balanced by tannin rather than acidity. Its delicious, rich flavor is a fantastic accompaniment to traditional Normandy foods. Enjoy with a plate of cider-braised mussels, a bowl of pork stew, or a slather of Camembert cheese.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  $36 / 3 bottles (currently no single bottle option) + shipping
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  e-mail from the cidery

Photo Feb 15, 6 49 03 PM

First Impression:  Medium orange amber hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells sweet, of rich apple and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No funk or sourness.  Notes of rich complex apple pomace & juice and orange.  Quick finish with a hint of bitterness and tannins.  High apple flavor, sessionability, and overall flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really liked it.  On the simpler side, but most French and French-style ciders are, and its far from boring.  Sweeter than most other offerings from Eden, which I like, as my favorite non-ice cider from them is probably their semi-sweet Guinevere’s Pearls.  I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and a French cider.  I think it would be perfect for a weekend brunch.

Most Similar to:  a number of cleaner French ciders (no funk or sourness); see here for some of my past French cider reviews

Closing Notes:  Interesting they are only selling this in half-size 375ml bottles, especially with the low ABV.  From the price and style I’m guessing this cider cost them a lot to make, and the smaller bottle size kept the price much lower (vs. $24 / 750ml bottle assuming double the price of one 375ml bottle).

Have you tried Eden Claudine?  What did you think?

Kite & String Royal Cider

Review of Kite & String’s Royal Cider, ice cider fortified with apple brandy then oak barrel aged.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Baldwin and Honeoye.

Photo Jan 24, 8 47 08 PM

Cider:  Royal Cider
Cidery:  Kite & String (Finger Lakes Cider House)
Cidery Location:  Interlaken NY
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American craft barrel-aged brandy-fortified ice cider

Photo Jan 24, 8 47 21 PM Photo Jan 24, 8 47 39 PM

Availability:  limited, probably only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Fortified desert cider. A cold concentrated ice cider partially fermented then blended with a young apple brandy. Aged briefly in American oak. Deeply textured layers of caramel and vanilla balanced with refreshing acidity. Unfiltered and unfined.

Cidermaker’s Notes:  Following a passion for port wines, Royal Cider was born.  Beginning with a a high acid blend of heirloom apples cold concentrated in the winter of 2015 to 40+ brix. Fermented to 13% ABV then fermentation was arrested via fortification with apple brandy to 18% ABV. Then barrel aged to soften the edges and allow the brandy to settle in. Naturally clarifying, requiring no filtration.

Apple Varieties:  Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Honeycrisp, & Baldwin

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun.  ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York.  Please come visit us in the tasting room any time of year.

Price:  $28
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  online discussion

Photo Jan 24, 8 51 18 PM

First Impression:  Medium caramel amber hue.  No carbonation.  Smells sweet, high ABV, and of caramel & spice.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich baked apple, caramel,  vanilla, and spice.  Long warm finish.  High apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  More ice cider than Pommeau.

Most Similar to:  ice cider + a bit of Pommeau

Closing Notes:  I think Eden ice ciders are still my favorite so far.  My favorites from Eden are are The Falstaff and Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom.

Have you tried Kite & String Royal Cider?  What did you think?

 

Schilling Cider House Visit 36 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes #36 from the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts from the cider house here.

Photo Jan 27, 2 02 48 PM

I was here on a Monday afternoon with my husband and a friend from out of town.  We skipped work to hang out with our friend at Pike Place and the cider bar.  I ordered most of the ciders they had that I hadn’t previously tried.  It appears that most if not all of these are draft-only.

Photo Jan 27, 2 02 25 PM<left to right:  Schilling Brut, Independent Barreled Blackberry Perry, Channel Marker Quince, Finnriver Bourbon Barrel Aged Heritage, and Cider Riot New Wave>

Schilling (Auburn WA) Imperial Brut (8.5% ABV):  On the sweeter side of dry, tart, with rich bittersweet cider apple flavor

Independent Cider (Dryden WA) Barreled Blackberry Perry (5.9% ABV):  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, with berry, and a hint of oak (barrel), but no detectable pear

Channel Marker Cider (Seattle WA) Quince (7.8% ABV):  Dry to semi-dry, tart, with mild general fruitiness

Finnriver (Port Townsend WA) Bourbon Barrel Aged Heritage (9.5% ABV):  Semi-dry, with heirloom apple flavor with some tannins and bitterness

Cider Riot (Portland OR) New Wave (5.1% ABV):  Dry to semi-dry with sharp heirloom apple flavor

I liked the Blackberry Perry, but wasn’t too into the others, mostly as they were on the drier / tart / sharp / bitter side.  I probably should have just ordered something I knew I would like, but I like to try new ciders, especially at the lower price of a taster.  I was more excited about the bottle shopping I did – I picked up a bunch of Dunkertons (an English cider which is a favorite of mine that hasn’t been available for quite awhile) and Alpenfire (a local favorite), plus a few others.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says.  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Hemly Pear Cider

Review of Hemly’s Pear Cider (cider from apple & pear juice).  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Photo Jan 04, 7 19 23 PM

Cider:  Pear Cider
Cidery:  Hemly Cider
Cidery Location:  Cortland CA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four-pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American craft pear cider, from apple & pear juice

Photo Jan 04, 7 19 03 PM Photo Jan 04, 7 19 34 PM

Availability:  probably only in CA; see here

Cider Description:  Our flagship and most popular cider. This pear cider is medium sweet, tastes of fresh pear and has a beer like body. Our Original is made from Bosc and Bartlett Pears and a small amount of Gala Apples, is aged on oak and unfiltered. At 5.5% alc. Hemly Original is bright, refreshing and sessionable.

Cidery Description:  It may have taken us 165 years, but it’s definitely worth the wait! Six generations later, thanks to Josiah, we can share the heart of our pear ciders with you: fermented dry,aged on oak, unfiltered. A light refreshing, authentic and cloudy pear cider crafted for you to enjoy.  Our cider is made from 100% fresh pressed fruit straight from our orchards, never artificially flavored. We control the entire process from the roots to the glass. After six generations of growing pears, we have a gold worth sharing.

Price:  $11.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  on a business trip to Southern CA I picked up a number of singles

Photo Jan 04, 7 20 27 PM

First Impression:  Hazy yellow hue.  No carbonation.  Smells mild, of pear.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, pear, and lemon.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor, apple flavor, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed the flavor.  However, it was quite mild overall.

Most Similar to:  Anthem Pear and Longdrop Tanager Pear Cider

Closing Notes:  Hemly also has at least two other pear ciders, Dry, and Sloughhouse (with Jalapeño).

Have you tried Hemly Pear Cider?  What did you think?

Eden Extra Sec

Review of Eden’s Extra Sec, their dry sparkling methode champenoise cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and New Hampshire.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, FalstaffHeritage 2018Siren SongEzekiel Kingston Black, and Harvest 2019.

Photo Dec 31, 5 13 12 PM.jpg

Cider:  Extra Sec
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  375ml & 750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom & cider apples, methode champenoise, dry

Photo Dec 31, 5 13 52 PM Photo Dec 31, 5 14 17 PM

Availability:  limited, although they have online sales

Cider Description:  Champagne-method cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and at Poverty Lane Orchards in New Hampshire. It is naturally sparkling and clean – we hand-disgorge the yeast from every bottle! Beautifully balanced between fruit, acid, and tannin. The barely perceptible dosage serves to bring forth the fruit character of the cider. Perfect with roast pork, turkey and vegetable gratin dishes.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $15
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

Photo Dec 31, 5 27 28 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of dry acidic heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of complex tart heirloom apples, lemon, wood/earth, and pineapple.  Long tart finish.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, especially as it isn’t fully dry, and has some complexity, but this isn’t my favorite style of cider.  My husband was predictably even a big fan, as its a favorite style of his.  I recommend this to fans of complex dry tart sparkling ciders; its very well made and an excellent value.

Most Similar to:  Eden Harvest cider, but sparkling, a touch drier, and more complex

Closing Notes:  Awhile back Eden replaced their flagship ‘Dry’ and ‘Semi-Dry’ ciders with ‘Brut Nature’ and ‘Extra Sec’, all of which are sparkling, with the former at 0% residual sugar and the later (reviewed here) at 0.9% residual sugar.  I think I preferred the ‘Semi-Dry’ a bit over Extra Sec, as it was a touch sweeter and richer, but anything from Eden is a good choice.

Have you tried Eden Extra Sec?  What did you think?

Tieton Single Varietal Harrison

Review of Tieton’s single varietal cider from Harrison apples.  I first sampled this at a tasting event in August (see here), but this time I’m doing a detailed review of a bottle.  I’ve also had their Apricot, Smoked Pumpkin, Wind (Pommeau), Wild Washington, Cherry, Blossom Nectar, Cidermaker’s ReserveSparkling PerryCranberryBourbon PeachFrost (ice cider), Spice RouteRussian RedLavender HoneyOak Barrel Aged Cider Summit Collaboration, and Organic.

Photo Dec 24, 4 53 57 PM

Cider:  Single Varietal Harrison
Cidery:  Tieton Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Yakima WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom Harrison apples

Photo Dec 24, 4 54 03 PM Photo Dec 24, 4 54 16 PM Photo Dec 24, 4 54 26 PM

Availability:  special release, at least in AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IL, NJ, NM, NV, OR, TX, and WA; check their cider finder

Cider Description:  This is our second cider in our single varietal series. We use Harrison apples it in our ciders often because its great for blending with other apples, but since it makes such good cider on it’s own, we chose too make a single variety cider. It is golden colored, with spiced apple, honey notes and a deeply rich mouthfeel finished by a lingering hint of ginger.

Cidery Description: From our orchards to your glass, TCW controls every aspect of the growing and cidermaking process. TCW boasts the largest orchard of cider apple varieties in Washington state and the largest Perry pear orchard in the United States. We blend our cider fruit with all Washington apples. We’ve been growing apples, apricots, cherries and pears on Harmony Orchards – our family farm – since the 1930’s and are thrilled to be involved in Re:interpreting the tradition of cider making.

Price:  $7.99

Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  initially at a tasting event

Photo Dec 24, 4 56 19 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild and slightly rich.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of heirloom & green apples, honey, pear, lemon, and an overall flavor which I would best describe as creamy.  Moderate length tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Very approachable for an heirloom apple cider, as many tend towards super dry and tart.  Its at a nice price point too.

Most Similar to:  Snowdrift Forefathers and Locust Honey Pear

Closing Notes:  I always like finding ciders from heirloom and/or cider apples which are a bit sweeter, as I’m not usually into fully dry ciders, but like their flavor and complexity.

Have you tried Tieton Harrison?  What did you think?