Portland Cider Blueberry Bourbon Basil

Review of Portland Cider’s Blueberry Bourbon Basil, a bourbon barrel aged blueberry-basil cider. It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their lineup (see here).

>>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:  Blueberry Bourbon Basil
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Cider
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  19.2oz single cans and 6 packs of 12oz cans
Style: American craft cider from dessert apples with blueberries and basil, aged in bourbon barrels

Availability:  limited release, on Dec 15 2020 for cans and Jan 2021 for kegs/draft (check out their cider finder), in Oregon (including Portland Cider’s 2 taprooms), Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California

Cider Description:  Our collaboration with Blue Star Donuts, the iconic Portland-based donut shop known for their brioche donuts. This cider is exactly what it says – Blueberry, basil, and deep rich bourbon notes from oak aging. It’s delicious mouthful! Tasting notes: Oak, Vanilla, Blueberry Pie, Sweet Basil. Food pairings: Blue Star Donuts, Gouda Cheese, Cured Meats, Chocolate, Toasted hazelnuts.

Cidery Description:  Portland Cider Company is an award-winning premium cider producer that owes its success to the perfect marriage of the cider-making traditions of Somerset, England, with the eclectic and oddly unique spirit of cider-passionate Portland, Oregon.  We are committed to using 100% Northwest apples without additives, colors, or added sugar. This commitment gives our fans, like you, the confidence that you can enjoy the cleanest, crispest, and tastiest cider Portland has to offer.

Price:  ~$4-5 per single 19.2oz can or ~$11-12 per 6 pack of 12oz cans
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

First Impression:  Medium red-purple hue. Very low carbonation. Smells mild, of tart berry.

Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light bodied. Moderate to high tartness. Moderate acidity. No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk. Notes of berry and green apple with hints of herbs and smooth oak (I couldn’t specifically identify basil and bourbon barrel aging). Moderate length tart finish. Low apple flavor. Moderate overall flavor intensity. Low to moderate complexity. High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it, especially due to its unique flavor, which added some complexity to an otherwise relatively common blueberry cider.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had, as although I’ve tried at least 10 blueberry ciders, I only know of sampling 1 other cider with basil, One Tree’s Lemon Basil.

Closing Notes:  It would be interesting to try this with more basil and longer barrel aging, to make those flavors more prominent, although I imagine they wanted to ensure they weren’t overdone.

Have you tried Portland Cider’s Blueberry Bourbon Basil?  What did you think?

Portland Cider Crangerine

Review of Portland Cider’s Crangerine, a cranberry-tangerine cider. It is my first time trying this variety, but I’ve had much of their line-up (see here).

>>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:  Crangerine
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.1%
How Supplied:  19.2 oz single cans (and kegs/draft)
Style: American craft cider from dessert apples with cranberry & tangerine

Availability:  small batch holiday release, in late 2019 & 2020, in Oregon (including Portland Cider’s 2 taprooms), Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California – check out their cider finder

Cider Description:  Delightfully tart, juicy tangerine plays nicely with Oregon grown cranberries. Add some sparkle to your glass with this ruby colored hard cranberry cider, with brilliantly bright flavors that aren’t too sweet.

Cidery Description:  Portland Cider Company is an award-winning premium cider producer that owes its success to the perfect marriage of the cider-making traditions of Somerset, England, with the eclectic and oddly unique spirit of cider-passionate Portland, Oregon.  We are committed to using 100% Northwest apples without additives, colors, or added sugar. This commitment gives our fans, like you, the confidence that you can enjoy the cleanest, crispest, and tastiest cider Portland has to offer.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $4-5 / can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

First Impression:  Medium red hue. Very low carbonation. Smells mild, non-specific, and tart.

Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light bodied. High tartness. Moderate acidity. Hints of bitterness and tannins. No sourness or funk. Notes of cranberry juice, orange/tangerine, and green apple. Moderate length tart finish. Low apple flavor. High cranberry flavor. Low to moderate complexity. Moderate flavor intensity. High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it, although I’m not big on cranberry juice, and this tasted more of cranberry juice than cider (although not nearly as sweet as most juices), so it got passed to my husband who was happy to get most of the can to himself. This would probably pair well with Thanksgiving dinner, as it reminds me of fancy cranberry sauce where they add orange.

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider’s Cranberry except with tangerine added, or Apple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel

Closing Notes:  Next up I have Portland Cider’s Blueberry Bourbon Basil.

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

Fenceline Whip & Tongue, Spur Bearer, and Pommeau

Review of Fenceline’s first cider club shipment, including Whip & Tongue, Spur Bearer, and Pommeau.  It is my first time trying their cider.  I’m doing this as a mega review since its a cider club shipment.

IMG_7784 cropped2

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Fenceline.  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: Whip & Tongue / Spur Bearer / Pommeau
Cidery:  Fenceline Cider & Wine
Cidery Location:  Mancos CO
ABV:  6.8% / 6.7% / 22%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider

Photo Oct 09, 4 25 39 PM

Photo Oct 09, 4 29 06 PM

Availability:  shipped to ~ 40 of 50 states (see here for their 4x/year cider club and here for individual bottle sales), local pickup, and retail sales in Colorado & Arizona (see here for details)

Whip & Tongue Description:  The Whip & Tongue is our expression of a Bittersharp cider. The fruit was sourced from highest quality, Colorado Grown, English-style cider apples available.  Aged in French oak casks, this cider is well balanced and fruit forward. The rich layers of tannin and malic acid born into this old world fruit presents the tongue with a myriad of flavors.

Spur Bearer Description:  This cider is crafted from rare, red fleshed apples that are close relatives of the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan.  At their core, these apples are crimson red, and their flesh is bursting with a myriad of wild flavors.  With roots that stretch back to the Eurasian steppe, red fleshed apples are hearty and well adapted for life here in the arid west.  This cider is complex, tart, and tastes of summer melon and tropical pineapple.

Pommeau Description:  Pommeau is traditionally a French product and very popular in Normandy.  A select amount of this 100 proof apple brandy product becomes the alcohol base and preservative for fresh apple juice that we age in bourbon barrels.  This unique spirit, called Pommeau, lives in between the bold and higher proof Calvados and the sweet and tart of the cider it was born from.  Fenceline’s Pommeau is made from a bittersweet apple blend, which we then distilled at Honey House Distilling in Durango, Colorado.  Once blended with fresh apple juice, the final mixture is then left to age in used bourbon barrels for 12 months.  The result is a bright harmony of sweet, tannic, and tart – true to the cider apples and the mountain orchards from which it came.

Cidery Description:   Fenceline produces hand-crafted Cider & Wine located in Mancos, Co. They are on a mission to preserve the rich apple and fruit legacy of this high desert and mountain region by sourcing ingredients directly from the community orchards based in the Southwest.  The cidery’s Mancos-based tap room pairs Fencline’s products with live music, food trucks, and an outside patio for the ultimate tasting experience.

Price:  n/a (retails for $59 + shipping every 3 months)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidery contacted me

Photo Oct 17, 6 43 47 PM

Whip & Tongue Tasting Notes:  Light amber hue.  Very low carbonation with some foam.  Smells sweet, of oak, and alcohol-forward.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No funk or sourness.  Notes of rich complex bittersharp apple, oak, leather, and lemon.  Long tannic oak finish.  Moderate overall flavor intensity and apple flavor.  High oak influence.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

Spur Bearer Tasting Notes:  Peach hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of sweet, of watermelon.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple, watermelon, and raspberry.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate overall flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability.  Low apple flavor.

Pommeau Tasting Notes:  Moderate amber hue.  No carbonation.  Smells sweet and alcohol-forward.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  Low bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple, caramel, leather, brown sugar, and orange.  Moderate to high complexity and overall flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed all three.  Especially that they weren’t super dry or acidic (which is common with heritage ciders).  Amazing complexity.  The Whip & Tongue was my favorite though, with a lovely scent and rich oaky flavor.

Closing Notes:  See here for more info on their cider club, which includes cider seasonally, every 3 months (~ Jan, April, July, Oct) plus other benefits (including a discount on additional bottles).

Have you tried Fenceline Cider?  What did you think?

Snow Capped JalaPEARno

Review of Snow Capped JalaPEARno, a perry (from only pears, no apples) infused with jalapenos.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Gold RushColorado Peach, Sour Cherry, Plum Lemongrass, and 6130′ Dry.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Snow Capped.  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:  JalaPEARno
Cidery:  Snow Capped
Cidery Location:  Austin CO
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft canned perry (only pears, no apples) infused with jalapenos

Photo Oct 10, 6 17 20 PM Photo Oct 10, 6 17 29 PM Photo Oct 10, 6 17 41 PM

Availability:  in Colorado (check out their cider finder), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Golden hue, with a fresh fruit nose, balanced by a notable Jalapeño infusion and pear sweetness. soft smooth finish.

Cidery Description:  We craft our ciders using stone fruit, heritage and cider specific apples grown in our 6,130 ft. elevation Colorado orchards.  At the core of our ciders is a long history in fruit growing.  For over a century and five generations our family has respected and developed the land entrusted to us. Today we are one of the largest apple producers in Colorado Growing fruit is both a passion and a privilege.  Through generations we have succeeded in a high elevation environment, this is one of the most labor intensive, riskiest and extreme environments to grow apples, with fewer successful outcomes.

Price:  ~ $10.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  N/A
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Oct 10, 6 16 52 PM

First Impression:  Hazy lemonade-like hue.  Low visible carbonation.  Spicy scent.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness & acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Moderate level of spiciness for me (low to average tolerance), but very low for my husband (super high tolerance).  Notes of jalapeno (both spice & flavor) with a bit of pear.  Moderate overall flavor intensity.  Low pear flavor, sessionability, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t a fan, but I’ve never liked any spicy drink, so it wasn’t anything specific to this cider.  My husband however was a fan, and was happy I didn’t like it, as it meant more for him.  He actually liked that it had the flavor from the jalapenos, not just the heat.  Also, I asked him, and he said its something he’d drink a full can/pint of once in awhile, ie. more than a novelty, but not an everyday type of cider either.

Most Similar to:  Nothing much.  I think I’ve only had 1 cider with jalapeno, but it also had lime and cilantro, so it was a different flavor profile.  I’ve also had spicy ciders with sriracha and chili peppers and such too.

Closing Notes:  This was my last sample from Snow Capped.  My favorite was definitely the Gold Rush.

Have you tried Snow Capped Cider?  What did you think?

Snow Capped 6130′ Dry

Review of Snow Capped 6130′ Dry.  I tried this in 2016 (see here), plus I’ve had their Gold RushColorado Peach, Sour Cherry, and Plum Lemongrass.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Snow Capped.  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:  6130′ Dry
Cidery:  Snow Capped
Cidery Location:  Austin CO
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft canned cider from heirloom cider apples grown at their 6,130 foot elevation orchard

Photo Oct 10, 6 11 19 PM Photo Oct 10, 6 11 44 PM Photo Oct 10, 6 11 31 PM

Availability:  in Colorado (check out their cider finder), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Five cherished heirloom varieties blended into dry complexity with hints of oak. Smooth, body and finish. Grown in our 6130’ elevation orchards.

Cidery Description:  We craft our ciders using stone fruit, heritage and cider specific apples grown in our 6,130 ft. elevation Colorado orchards.  At the core of our ciders is a long history in fruit growing.  For over a century and five generations our family has respected and developed the land entrusted to us. Today we are one of the largest apple producers in Colorado Growing fruit is both a passion and a privilege.  Through generations we have succeeded in a high elevation environment, this is one of the most labor intensive, riskiest and extreme environments to grow apples, with fewer successful outcomes.

Price:  ~ $10.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  N/A
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Oct 10, 6 10 52 PM

First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  Low visible carbonation.  Smells dry and tart with some funk.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No funk or sourness, despite the scent.  Notes of sharp complex heirloom apple, with lemon and a hint of herbal quality.  Moderate tart length finish.  Moderate complexity and flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  More flavorful than a lot of dry ciders due to the type of apples used.  A bit tart for my personal preferences, but I commonly say that.  This is a nice budget-friendly heirloom canned cider option, which there aren’t a lot of, as most are sold in bottles and/or are more expensive.

Most Similar to:  Eden Deep Cut, except that is less tart

Closing Notes:  Next up I have their JalaPEARno variety.

Have you tried Snow Capped Cider?  What did you think?

Snow Capped Plum Lemongrass

Review of Snow Capped Plum Lemongrass.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their 6130′ Dry in 2016, and more recently, Gold Rush, Colorado Peach, and Sour Cherry.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Snow Capped.  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:  Plum Lemongrass
Cidery:  Snow Capped
Cidery Location:  Austin CO
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft canned cider from Jonathan apples, plums, dried lemongrass, & ginger

Availability:  in Colorado (check out their cider finder), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Gentle Jonathan apple base blended with delicious plum, lemongrass and hints of ginger.  Smooth, easy drinking without overpowering flavor or sweetness.

Cidery Description:  We craft our ciders using stone fruit, heritage and cider specific apples grown in our 6,130 ft. elevation Colorado orchards.  At the core of our ciders is a long history in fruit growing.  For over a century and five generations our family has respected and developed the land entrusted to us. Today we are one of the largest apple producers in Colorado Growing fruit is both a passion and a privilege.  Through generations we have succeeded in a high elevation environment, this is one of the most labor intensive, riskiest and extreme environments to grow apples, with fewer successful outcomes.

Price:  ~ $10.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  N/A
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

First Impression:  Light pink hue. Low carbonation. Smells mild and fruity with a hint of spice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry. Light bodied. Moderate tartness & acidity. No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins. Notes of non-specific berry-like fruitiness (I wouldn’t have been able to guess plum). Moderate length finish with a hint of ginger bite. Low apple flavor and complexity. Low to moderate overall flavor intensity. High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it. I’m not a fan of ginger, but this remained super mild. I’ve never been able to specifically identify plum in a cider though (and I’ve tried ~ 5 before).

Most Similar to:  Mission Trail Plum Jerkum (which also tasted berry-like to me), or Soundbite Cider Two Plums Up (which tasted of strawberry-rhubarb to me)

Closing Notes:  Next up I have their Jalapearno and 6130′ Dry varieties.

Have you tried Snow Capped Cider?  What did you think?

Snow Capped Sour Cherry

Review of Snow Capped Sour Cherry.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their 6130′ DryGold Rush, and Colorado Peach.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Snow Capped.  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:  Sour Cherry
Cidery:  Snow Capped
Cidery Location:  Austin CO
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft canned cider from granny smith apples & Colorado Montmorency sour cherries

Availability:  in Colorado (check out their cider finder), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Sour cherry shines through this apple – cherry blend, powerful flavor that hangs on the dry side of semi sweet.  Natural blush color, medium structure, tart finish.

Cidery Description:  We craft our ciders using stone fruit, heritage and cider specific apples grown in our 6,130 ft. elevation Colorado orchards.  At the core of our ciders is a long history in fruit growing.  For over a century and five generations our family has respected and developed the land entrusted to us. Today we are one of the largest apple producers in Colorado Growing fruit is both a passion and a privilege.  Through generations we have succeeded in a high elevation environment, this is one of the most labor intensive, riskiest and extreme environments to grow apples, with fewer successful outcomes.

Price:  ~ $10.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  N/A
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

First Impression:  Medium pink-red hue. Very low carbonation. Smells mild and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry. Light bodied. Moderate tartness. Moderate to high acidity. No bitterness or tannins. Notes of granny smith apple, non-specific cherry/berry, and a hint of lemon. Moderate length finish with a hint of sourness. Low apple flavor. High sessionability. Moderate cherry/berry flavor and overall flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t as into this one due to the hint of sourness, which I appear to be especially sensitive to. Sourness is characteristic of farmhouse-style or Spanish cider, and is separate from tartness. Most folks probably wouldn’t even notice it in this cider though as it was quite mild.

Most Similar to:  many of the semi-dry cherry ciders I’ve had (see here)

Closing Notes:  Next up I have their Plum Lemongrass, Jalapearno, and 6130′ Dry varieties.

Have you tried Snow Capped Cider?  What did you think?

Snow Capped Colorado Peach

Review of Snow Capped Colorado Peach.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their 6130′ Dry in 2016, and more recently, Gold Rush.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Snow Capped.  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:  Colorado Peach
Cidery:  Snow Capped
Cidery Location:  Austin CO
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft canned cider from Colorado-grown apples & peaches

Photo Sep 26, 6 27 14 PM Photo Sep 26, 6 27 24 PM Photo Sep 26, 6 27 36 PM

Availability:  in Colorado (check out their cider finder), plus online sales

Cider Description:  Our high altitude peaches and apples unite for semi sweet richness, powerful fresh aromatic nose and smooth tart finish.

Cidery Description:  We craft our ciders using stone fruit, heritage and cider specific apples grown in our 6,130 ft. elevation Colorado orchards.  At the core of our ciders is a long history in fruit growing.  For over a century and five generations our family has respected and developed the land entrusted to us. Today we are one of the largest apple producers in Colorado Growing fruit is both a passion and a privilege.  Through generations we have succeeded in a high elevation environment, this is one of the most labor intensive, riskiest and extreme environments to grow apples, with fewer successful outcomes.

Price:  ~ $10.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  N/A
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Sep 26, 6 26 44 PM

First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells non-specifically fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of tart green apple and stone fruit with a hint of lemon.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Nice peach flavor, and sweet but not too sweet.

Most Similar to:  Incline White Peach (but sweeter & less tart)

Closing Notes:  Next up I have their Cherry, Plum Lemongrass, Jalapearno, and 6130′ Dry varieties.

Have you tried Snow Capped Cider?  What did you think?

Snow Capped Cider Gold Rush

Review of Snow Capped Gold Rush, made from English and French cider apples.  It is my first time trying this, but I had their 6130′ Dry in 2016.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Snow Capped.  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:  Gold Rush
Cidery:  Snow Capped
Cidery Location:  Austin CO
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned cider from English & French cider apples from the cidery’s own orchard

Photo Sep 26, 5 06 50 PM Photo Sep 26, 5 07 31 PM

Availability:  in Colorado, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The Colorado Gold Rush is back. Coveted cider apples deliver with brilliant golden hue, tantalizing ripe fruit character. Clean quintessential medium tannin’s only produced from English and French varietals. Panning with complexity and a striking rich mouth feel, Sweetness is found upfront leading to off dry semi sparkling finish. Colorado grown cider apples bring a whole new meaning to cider in a can. Crafted with a century old fruit growing family’s perspective, pressed and slow fermented with no added sugar.

Cidery Description:  We craft our ciders using stone fruit, heritage and cider specific apples grown in our 6,130 ft. elevation Colorado orchards.  At the core of our ciders is a long history in fruit growing.  For over a century and five generations our family has respected and developed the land entrusted to us. Today we are one of the largest apple producers in Colorado Growing fruit is both a passion and a privilege.  Through generations we have succeeded in a high elevation environment, this is one of the most labor intensive, riskiest and extreme environments to grow apples, with fewer successful outcomes.

Price:  ~ $10.49 / four cans
Where Bought:  N/A
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Sep 26, 5 06 31 PM

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of rich sweet bittersweet cider apple juice with some barnyard funk.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Low tannins.  Low bitterness.  No sourness.  No funk (interesting, as it was very apparent by nose).  Notes of rich bittersweet apples with hints of orange and leather.  Moderate length tart slightly tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Reminiscent of English cider, but more friendly (to people who haven’t drank English cider, to pair with food, as a more sessionable option, etc).

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Cider Bouche Brut (except reminiscent of English not French cider) and Schilling Excelsior (except not Imperial style, but that one is also sold in cans)

Closing Notes:  I’d love to see this available in WA.  Looks like their online shop is currently sold out, although I imagine they just haven’t had a chance to re-stock it.  Luckily they sent me some extra cans.  Cheers!

Have you tried Snow Capped Cider?  What did you think?

Spin Cider Tour de Lopez

Review of Spin Cider’s Tour de Lopez, co-fermented apple & blackberry juice, finished with loganberry juice. It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their An Apple for Teacher and Sammamish River Trail.

Photo Sep 19, 7 17 32 PM

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Spin 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 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:  Tour de Lopez
Cidery:  Spin Cider
Cidery Location:  Olalla (Kitsap County) WA
ABV:  7.1%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style: American craft heritage apple & blackberry cider finished with loganberry juice

Cider Description:  Tour de Lopez is a blend of our apple and blackberry wines, finished with juice from loganberries grown here at the farm.  This blend is a tribute to Lopez Island, the flattest, quietest, and most bike-friendly of the San Juan Islands.

Cidery Description:
Why “Spin”?  Cathie and I are bikers and got inspired to open a cidery while on a bike ride in Vermont. We name (almost) all our ciders after our favorite bike routes.
Our approach.  We follow a more traditional cider-making approach, working only with fresh juice that we press ourselves. We age all our ciders, never filter, and never use concentrates. We do very small batches – sometimes only 12 cases per blend.
What’s in the blend?  Most of our blends use both cider apples and dessert apples. Our orchard is young, and just starting to produce, so we source some of our fruit from Yakima and some from an Oregon grower. When we add other fruits, we try to use pure juice – nothing fake. When possible…we grow the fruits ourselves.

Price:  n/a (retails for $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up with the WA Cider Week samples

Photo Sep 19, 7 19 42 PM

First Impression:  Dark purple-red hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells of sweet tart berry.

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

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Lots of berry flavor.  I would have personally preferred a bit more sweetness or less tartness however.

Most Similar to:  Alpenfire Calypso, except with more berry and without the oak influence

Closing Notes:  This sure packed in a lot of berries per bottle, I assume due to both fermenting apple & berry juice together and adding more berry juice afterwards.

Have you tried Spin Cider?  What did you think? 

Spin Cider Sammamish River Trail

Review of Spin Cider’s Sammamish River Trail, made from a blend of apples, including bittersweet & bittersharp cider apples. It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their An Apple for Teacher for WA Cider Week, and have their Tour de Lopez (loganberry) in the fridge.

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Spin 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 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:  Sammamish River Trail
Cidery:  Spin Cider
Cidery Location:  Olalla (Kitsap County) WA
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style: American craft heritage cider

Availability:  currently here, direct from the cidery (local pickup or shipped), with hopes to expand in 2021 to farmer’s markets, festivals, and bottle shops

Cider Description:  This complex, apple-heavy blend highlights juices of bittersweet and sharp cider apples with a touch of our own apple brandy to bring out the flavors. The blend takes its name from the popular bike trail that begins at the northern tip of Lake Washington and follows the Sammamish River past the Woodinville wineries and on to Redmond.

Cidery Description: 
Why “Spin”?  Cathie and I are bikers and got inspired to open a cidery while on a bike ride in Vermont. We name (almost) all our ciders after our favorite bike routes.
Our approach.  We follow a more traditional cider-making approach, working only with fresh juice that we press ourselves. We age all our ciders, never filter, and never use concentrates. We do very small batches – sometimes only 12 cases per blend.
What’s in the blend?  Most of our blends use both cider apples and dessert apples. Our orchard is young, and just starting to produce, so we source some of our fruit from Yakima and some from an Oregon grower. When we add other fruits, we try to use pure juice – nothing fake. When possible…we grow the fruits ourselves.

Price:  n/a (retails for $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up with the WA Cider Week samples

First Impression:  Light gold hue. Low carbonation. Smells of tart heirloom apple juice.

Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light bodied. Moderate tartness and acidity. Hints of bitterness and tannins. No sourness or funk. Notes of complex heirloom apple with some lemon and floral. Moderate length tart finish. Moderate flavor intensity, complexity, apple flavor, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it, as did my husband. Easy to drink, yet with some complexity from the cider apples.

Most Similar to:  Whitewood Jonathan and Spin Cider An Apple for Teacher (except slightly more complex and less sweet)

Closing Notes:  This would be perfect in a multipack, as its a nice everyday type of selection, but slightly stepped up from most of the multipack options, even here in the cider capitol of Western WA.

Have you tried Spin Cider?  What did you think? 

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 Siren Song

Review of Eden Cellar Series #9 Siren Song, 2019 harvest.  I’ve tried a previous version of this 2 years ago (see here), and have also 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.>

Cider:  Siren Song
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider from heirloom sharp & sweet and bittersweet cider apple varieties

 

Availability:  in limited markets and through their website

Cider Description:  A blend of heirloom sharps and sweets, and bittersweet cider apples, including Belle de Boskoop, Golden Russet, Ashton Bitter, Tremlett’s Bitter, Dabinett, Orleans Reinette, and Franklin grown at our friends at Poverty Lane Orchards, Scott Farms and Windfall Orchard. The best fruit of the season, balanced and blended to perfection….Clean, off-dry, medium carbonation…Slow cold fermentation, blended, dosed very lightly with ice cider, filtered and carbonated…Extremely versatile dinner cider, try it with sushi, pad thai, or whole roasted snapper…7g residual sugar.

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:  $20
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, with a hint of sweet honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Hints of tannins & bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp heirloom apple with hints of honey, orange, and floral.  Long tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, overall flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Nice flavor, although a bit tart & acidic for me.  Due to that I preferred the previous release, which I found slightly sweeter, richer, and more tannic.  However, this is indicative of heritage ciders, which even if made from the same blend of apple varieties using the same methods, will vary from year-to-year, due to the harvest being influenced by nature.

Most Similar to:  Eden Extra Sec and Kingston Black

Closing Notes:  I usually taste ciders before reading any accompanying description, so as to not have any pre-conceived expectation.  While my tasting notes are typically in the same realm as the cidery’s, this time they were completely spot-on (acidic, orange, and wildflower honey).

Have you tried Eden Siren Song?  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?