Worley’s Red Hen

Review of Worley’s Red Hen.  It is my first time trying this English cider, but I have had their Special ReservePremium Vintage, and Mendip Hills.

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Cider:  Red Hen
Cidery:  Worley’s
Cidery Location:  Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  English cider from cider apples

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  Red Hen is a rich, satisfying cider made from a blend of early-season bittersweet cider apples with sharp apples from the same part of the season.  It is naturally the colour of golden straw and its two main characteristics are distinctive fruity apple and a lingering spicy tannin.  The name is inspired by our lovely flock of chickens.

Cidery Description:  Worley’s ciders are made on a 17th Century farm in England using fresh-pressed apple juice to create modern ciders with bold tannins and deep flavours.

Price:  $8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing; this is the first time I’ve seen this variety

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First Impression:  Medium orange amber hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells rich, tannic, and funky.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and funk.  Moderate tannins.  No sourness.  Notes of caramel, orange, and leather.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, sessionability, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, its not one of my favorites, mostly due to the bitterness.

Most Similar to:  Worley’s Premium Vintage, although that seemed more complex and cost $11, and this was only $8.

Closing Notes:  My favorite Worley’s is Mendip Hills.

Have you tried English cider?  What did you think?

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Eden Heritage Cider

Review of Eden Heritage Cider, their first canned product.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), and The Falstaff.

<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.>

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Cider:  Heritage Cider
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned heritage cider

Availability:  VT, MA, ME, NJ, NY, CO, NC, SC, and soon in NH, VA, MD, D.C., and IL, released June 2018

Cider Description:  More flavor.  Less sweet.  Harvest Pressed.  Cold fermented.  Nothing but apples.  Made like wine.  Canned for convenience.

Made from Vermont-grown heirloom & cider apples, fermented dry, aged 5 months, then blended with a touch of ice cider to 1.2% residual sugar.  It won silver in the Heritage Dry category at GLINTCAP 2018.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (runs $16 / four pack, which sounds like a lot, but is an awesome deal at just over $8 / 750ml instead of ~ $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidermaker Eleanor Leger contacted me

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of acidic citrus-forward heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of heirloom apple, lemon, mineral, white grape, green apple, and floral.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Lots of flavor without being sweet.  Complex.  More of the flavor profile was from the heirloom apples (acidic, citrus, floral, fruity) than the cider apples (rich, caramel); I’ve found this to be the case when both types are listed in a blend.

Most Similar to:  A mix between Eden’s Dry and Semi-Dry ciders, although slightly less complex and more sessionable.

Closing Notes:  This is a great option which would work just as well when spending time outside on a hot day as it would with a fancy dinner.

Have you tried any canned heritage ciders?  What did you think?

Locust Watermelon

Review of Locust’s Watermelon cider.  I previously tried this on draft (see here), but this time I am doing a full review of a can.  I’ve also previously tried Locust’s Sweet Dark Cherry, Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricot 1Sweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel PerryHibiscusHoney Pear (drier)Apricot 2PineappleHoney Pear (sweeter)

Cider:  Watermelon
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with watermelon juice

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Availability:  likely at least in Washington, Oregon, Chicago, Florida, California, and Texas

Cider Description:  Washington apples, watermelon juice, & that’s all

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple.  Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores- diverting them from destruction because their juice is still great. Our unique process then transforms the apples into great cider through methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.

They have tap rooms in Woodinville WA, Seattle WA (Ballard), Tacoma WA, and Ft. Worth TX.

Price:  $9.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  PCC in Fremont Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, after visiting the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Hazy light pink-orange hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mildly of watermelon.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of watermelon and a hint of white grape.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I like it, especially as I’m a huge watermelon fan.  Its a nice light option for spring & summer, less sweet, but still fairly flavorful, although fairly simple.

Most Similar to:  The only other watermelon beverages I’ve tried are a watermelon perry (from pears) from NV Cider and a watermelon session mead (from honey) from Bee Haven.

Closing Notes:  Locust has a great lineup of flavorful ciders, from dry to sweet, although my favorites from them are on the sweeter end (this one, Bittersweet Reserve, Sweet Aged Apple, and Vanilla Bean + Smoked Blueberry)

Have you tried Locust Watermelon?  What did you think?

2 Towns Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Review of 2 Towns Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, a new seasonal lemon raspberry cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Bright CiderBad AppleSerious ScrumpOut Cider, Cherried Away, Made MarionCidre Moscato, Throne of Thorns, Cider Master Reserve Batch No. 01 – Barrel Select BlendPrickle Me PinkNice & Naughty Nice & Naughty Bourbon Barrel AgedDark CurrantRiverwood Brut 2014RhubarbarianPommeau (2013 Harvest, 2015 Release), Ginja 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 2016Man GoghPacific Pineapple, and Passion Statement.

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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:  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with lemons and raspberries, soured with lacto

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

Cider Description:  Citrusy and refreshing, Easy Peasy will have you leisurely drifting your way through summer. Crafted with fresh-pressed Northwest apples, Meyer lemon, raspberries and soured with lactobacillus, it’s summertime and the livin’s squeezy!

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:  retails for $6.99
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Hazy pink lemonade hue.  Still.  Smells of lemon and raspberry.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Hints of sourness and bitterness.  No tannins or funk.  Notes of lemon, raspberry, granny smith apples, and grapefruit.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really liked the flavor, and the sweetness was spot-on, but it was a bit too mouth-puckering tart for me.  I didn’t read that this was soured with lacto until after trying it, and I wouldn’t really have guessed, as it was mostly front of the palette tart, not back of the palette sour.  Good for me, as I don’t like true sour ciders (like Spanish sidra and rustic/farmhouse-style).

Most Similar to:  an alcoholic version of a less sweet than normal raspberry lemonade (my favorite lemonade is Crabbie’s Cloudy Alcoholic Lemonade, which like this is less sweet than typical, but I can’t seem to find it anymore)

Closing Notes:  I’m surprised they are only releasing this in bottles (at least for now), as I imagine this would be a great cider to have in cans for summer.

Have you tried 2 Towns Easy Peasy?  What did you think?

Apple Outlaw Pineapple Getaway

Review of Apple Outlaw’s Pineapple Getaway.  This appears to also be sold as ‘Pura Vida’ in bottles.  I’ve also previously tried Apple Outlaw’s Oaked Sweet Dark CherryBlackberry BountyOriginalTangerine TwistGinger BiteCranberry JewelThompson Creek Whiskey Barrel AgedChocolate Raspberry, and Thompson Creek Creekside.

Cider:  Pineapple Getaway
Cidery:  Apple Outlaw
Cidery Location:  Applegate, OR
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with pineapple juice

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Availability:  probably only in Oregon and Washington

Cider Description:  This Northwest cider has vibrant tropical aromas with fresh juicy flavor and a slightly sweet yet refreshing finish.

Cidery Description:  We strive to be good stewards of the land.  We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to care for the small piece of our earth where our trees live and we take this responsibility seriously.  We farm organically,  irrigate conservatively, and encourage biodiversity.

Price:  $7.50 / 14oz draft pour
Where Bought:  Malt & Vine in Redmond WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing a tap list

First Impression:  Pale yellow hue.  Mild pineapple scent.  Very low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of pineapple juice, granny smith apples, and lime.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was rather average.  For my personal tastes I prefer a more intensely flavored cider, which for dessert apple ciders typically means sweeter (my favorites tend to be semi-sweet).

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Pineapple (or a drier and less flavorful version of 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple, Jester & Judge Pineapple Express, or Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple)

Closing Notes:  I could see this appealing to folks who think that most other pineapple flavored ciders are too sweet.

Have you tried pineapple cider?  What did you think?

Le Brun Brut

Review of Le Brun’s Brut.  This is my first time trying this Brittany French cidre, although I have had their Organic Cidre and Poire (perry).  These three varieties are the only ones offered in the U.S., although in France (and Europe probably) there are probably more.

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Cider:  Brut
Cidery:  Le Brun
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  375ml (and 750ml) bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  semi wide release, imported by Winesellers, Ltd.

Cider Description:  Aromas of sweet, ripe apples dominate the nose.  The sweetness is nicely balanced by moderate acidity and light tannins drying it out on the finish with a beautiful woody note. A crisp, well balanced and an interesting cider. A cider with real depth and character.

Cidery Description:  Le Brun Cidres have been produced in Brittany, France since 1955. Cidres are made using the traditional method of natural fermentation of pure pressed juices from handpicked apples.

See here for more info.

Price:  $5
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the first time I had seen these half bottles, which at 1/2 the price are a great deal.

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<the bottle foamed over after opening, even after letting it sit a few minutes after I took it out of the fridge and photographed the labels>

First Impression:  Medium hazy orange hue.  High carbonation with foam.  Smells of bittersweet apples and funk.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low funk, bitterness, and tannins.  Notes of bittersweet apples, juice, & pomace and orange with some earthiness.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I didn’t personally like this at all due to the sourness, which is my number one disliked quality in a cider (for some reason it just hits my taste buds all wrong and that is all I can taste).  I was surprised by the sourness and funk, as although this is noted as being wild fermented, Brittany cidres usually remain clean (unlike most Normandy cidres), and the other two selections I’ve tried from the cidery were clean.

Most Similar to:  Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut

Closing Notes:  I much prefer their Organic Cidre, which is sweeter and fairly clean (only a bit of funk, which I actually like).

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 32 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 32nd visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Its actually been a few times more than that as sometimes I just pop in to buy bottles.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there on a Friday around lunchtime as I got off work early.  It has been so long since my last visit as its not on my way home from work anymore, as I now both live and work up North, so its a bit of a long drive.  I got a flight, as usual.  Its pretty sweet that even with all the ciders I’ve tried, there were 5 new-to-me varieties.

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<left to right:  Schilling Excelsior, Schilling Campfire, Woodbox Heritage,
Channel Marker Lavender Bergamot, and Redstone Cyser>

Schilling (Auburn WA) Excelsior (8.5% ABV):  This is their new Imperial-style cider made from bittersweet and dessert apples, also available in bottles (I picked one up – $7 / 500ml – an amazing value), and soon, cans.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Nice rich bittersweet apple flavor with some caramel and orange.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  Noticeable ABV.  The tartness picked up as it warmed.  I liked that they left this a bit sweeter, which makes it even more flavorful, and likely helps cut down on the bitterness.  This is quite different from English cider, but was not advertised as English-style, which I appreciate (it seems like every U.S. cider I’ve had that was labeled as English-style didn’t come even close, which is understandable as even if the same techniques and apples were used, which often isn’t the case, the terrior and cidermaker experience is different here).  Excellent, and a great use of the bittersweet apples.  Lately I’ve been seeing them used in blends with heirloom apples, which I think tends to hide their flavor.  Its great to see a cidery use them exclusively, make a product that is likely to be fairly widely appealing (vs. going dry & bitter with it), and still come in at an awesome price point!

Schilling (Auburn WA) Campfire (6.5% ABV):  This is their new draft-only “Smokey Vanilla Bourbon” cider, bourbon barrel aged.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Smells of vanilla extract.  The vanilla flavor is less intense than it smells, and it finishes with smoke, bourbon, and oak.  Moderately flavored.  I really enjoyed it, and wouldn’t consider it a novelty at all.  It would be neat to see this bottled.

Woodbox (Portland OR) Heritage (8.1% ABV):  This is the first cider I’ve tried from them besides their barrel aged ice cider (see here).  This is their flagship cider, made from heirloom, English, and French apple varieties, partially wild fermented, and also available in bottles.  Smells sour.  Semi-dry to dry.  The flavor is tart heirloom apples with some citrus.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Hints of sourness.  I didn’t personally care for this due to the sourness and bitterness and as the flavor was a bit nuanced.  These sorts of farmstyle ciders seem to be getting more common though, so there must be a demand.

Channel Marker (Seattle WA) Lavender Bergamot (6.9% ABV):  This is the first time I’ve tried anything from this cidery, which was established in 2016 but I didn’t start to hear about until quite recently.  This variety is made with lavender and bergamot (a type of oranage – I had to look that up), and said to be their cidermaker’s favorite.  Hazy hue.  Semi-dry to dry.  Very tart and bitter.  The lavender was only present in the scent and the finish for me.  In between was a tart bitter apple-citrus flavor.  I didn’t like this one at all.

Redstone (Boulder CO) Cyser (8.0% ABV):  The meads (honey wines) from this meadery are fairly widely distributed, in blue glass bottles.  This is the first cyser (from apples and honey) I’ve seen from them, although I’ve tried at least one of their meads previously.  Sweet.  Full bodied.  Simple honey-apple flavor (with more honey than apple) with hints of caramel.  Well-hidden ABV.  I liked it.  However, although they are a nice budget-friendly mead & cyser option, but don’t really stand up against some of the higher quality more complex (and admittedly mostly more expensive) meads I’ve tried, such as from Superstition (Prescott AZ), Æsir (Everett WA), Sky River (Woodinville WA) and Moonlight (Londonderry NH).

I also had a taste of a new cider they just tapped.

Schilling (Auburn WA) Watermelon Mint (6.6% ABV):  This is a brand new tap-only release.  Smells of watermelon toothpaste.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Very light bodied.  The mild flavor was all watermelon, with a hint of mint on the finish.  Refreshing.  I liked it, although its not something I’d really choose to drink a pint of.

My favorites were Schilling’s Excelsior and Campfire and the Redstone Cyser.  I also picked up some bottles, as usual, as they have an excellent selection (and prices) – I got a bottle of the Excelsior (for $7, why not?), Alpenfire’s new Foxwhelp single varietal, a new to this area Worley’s English cider (Red Hen), restocked my supply of go-to English ciders (Newton Court’s Gasping Goose and Dunkertons Black Fox), and got a fancy barrel aged Moonlight cyser.  Plus at PCC down the street I picked up a four-pack of Locust Watermelon (it was the first time I had seen it in cans – I tried it on draft awhile back).

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