Windfall Orchard Ice Cider

Review of Windfall Orchard Ice Cider, made by Eden Specialty Ciders.  Ice cider is made by using apple juice which has been naturally concentrated by cold, creating a very high sugar fuller bodied juice syrup which is then fermented.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve tried most everything else Eden has made – Sparkling DryCellar Series Cinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 Rosé, and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider.

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Cider:  Ice Cider
Cidery:  Windfall Orchard (made by Eden Specialty Ciders)
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  9.0%
How Supplied:  187 & 375 ml bottles
Style:  American craft ice cider from heirloom apples from Cornwall VT

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Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia Canada, although this one likely has less distribution.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Ice cider made from a blend of apples grown at Windfall Orchard in Cornwall, Vermont.  This small-batch ice cider is made from apples grown by Chef Brad Koehler on the farm he shares with his wife Amy Trubek, UVM Professor and author of “The Taste of Place”. There are about 200 trees in Brad’s orchard, and among them he has over 80 varieties. Over thirty of them are used to make this light, smooth and extremely elegant ice cider.

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 VT.

Price:  $17 / 187ml or $27 / 375ml
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing; it was the only ice cider variety from Eden I hadn’t tried

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First Impression:  Dark amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of caramelized apple syrup.

Tasting Notes:  Very sweet.  Full bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Low tannins.  Concentrated notes of rich ripe baked apple, caramelized sugar, honey, stone fruit, and floral.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it; Eden has never disappointed.  This was a bit more fruity than rich, and slightly less complex than some of their others.  A lovely sipping beverage to have with dessert.

Most Similar to:  All of Eden’s other ice ciders.  It also reminded me a bit of Tieton Frost.

Closing Notes:  My favorite Eden ice cider remains their Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider, but they are all awesome.

Have you tried ice cider?  What did you think?

Liberty Ciderworks Golden Russet SV

Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ Golden Russet, a reserve series single varietal cider made from golden russet heirloom apples.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Manchurian Crabapple Single VarietalCrabensteinEnglish StyleAbbessStonewall Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel AgedGravensteinCellar Series #G15New World StyleCellar Series (unknown), and McIntosh ciders.

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Cider:  Golden Russet SV
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  9.8%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft single varietal cider from golden russet apples

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Availability:  Likely only in WA, plus their online store (although this variety is no longer listed)

Cider Description:  Reserve Series #516.  Golden Russet apples are one of America’s greatest cider discoveries, found in New York – a chance seedling – in the early 1800s. This version presents characteristic butterscotch aromas with baked/dried stone fruit flavors. Golden Russets seem to thrive in our region, with off-the charts sugar levels in our 2015 vintage, giving this cider a 9.8% ABV.

Cidery Description:  Carrying the torch for Artisan Cider. Located in the largest apple-growing region on the planet, Liberty Ciderworks is all about the apple, showcasing the diversity and wonders of locally grown fruit. From well known apples like McIntosh and Jonathan to rare, cider-specific fruit like Kingston Black and Dabinett, Liberty ciders put apples in their proper place: Front and center. We started Liberty Ciderworks in 2013 with a simple, two-part mission: 1) Using apples from local farms and fields, create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Share them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest. Welcome to the cider revolution.  Cheers!  Rick & Austin

Liberty has a tap room in Spokane WA.

Price:  $17.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve tried much of their lineup and liked most of them.

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First Impression:  Light caramel amber hue.  Nearly still.  Yeast sediment floaters.  Smells rich and boozy.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of butterscotch, stone fruit, honey, orange, earthiness/wood, leather, and a buttery starchiness.  Long warming finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Nice rich flavor.  However, I would have guessed this was a spirit barrel aged cider or even a brandy-fortified cider, as it was that strong (although it is only from the high-sugar apples in this case).  I agree with the label’s suggestion to drink it in between fridge and room temperature.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Stonewall Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel Aged, Aspall Imperial2 Towns Bad Apple, and Wandering Aengus Golden Russet (also, although not very similar, I’ve also tried another Golden Russet SV, from Reverend Nat’s, which was whiskey barrel aged with black currant and excellent – see here)

Closing Notes:  This is a heavy-hitting cider, probably best suited for winter sipping (its been sitting around my house awhile…), but enjoyable and an excellent value any time of year.

Have you tried Liberty Golden Russet?  What did you think?

 

2 Towns Cot in the Act

Review of 2 Towns’ Cot in the Act, an apricot infused seasonal cider.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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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 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:  Cot in the Act
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles, 6 packs of 12oz cans, kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, unfiltered, with apricots (2 lb per gallon)

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Availability:  Seasonably (July-September) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Luminous & divine, Cot in the Act is just too tempting to resist, coupling Northwest apples with local Rival apricots. Referred to as “golden eggs of the sun” by the Greeks, apricots make this seasonal cider the perfect summer treat.

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:  n/a (retails for ~ $7.99 / 500ml or $11.49 / six pack of 12oz cans)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It showed up

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low to low carbonation.  Smells of dried apricots.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness & acidity.  Hints of bitterness & tannins.  No sourness & funk.  Notes of apricot, peach, and lemon, and a hint of herbal & floral.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed how flavorful and juicy this cider was without being sweet (and it tasted even sweeter than the listed sugar content).  It is often difficult to find a drier but flavorful cider.

Most Similar to:  I’ve also tried apricot ciders from Anthem, Atlas, Carlton, Locust, Stem, Summit, and Tieton.  The most similar was from Summit (as it was also a semi-dry, but flavorful), followed by those from Atlas & Locust, (although both of those were sweeter).

Closing Notes:  2 Towns remains a favorite PNW cidery for a reason.

Have you tried 2 Towns Cot in the Act?  What did you think?

Wrangletown Cider Co. Fieldbrook Nursery Orchard

Review of Wrangletown Cider Company’s Fieldbrook Nursery Orchard cider.  I’ve previously tried their “Original“, Oak Barrel Aged, and Monument Apples Orchard ciders.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wrangletown.  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:  Fieldbrok Nursery Orchard
Cidery:  Wrangletown Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Arcata CA
ABV:  8.3%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft dry farmhouse-style cider from heirloom & culinary apples

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Availability:  Only in Northern California.  They self distribute, and have a tasting room in Arcata (open Friday thru Sunday and by appointment) in Humboldt county.  The owner also said she may also be able to ship through a third party to some states if there was interest.

Cider Description: Wrangletown Cider’s Fieldbrook Nursery Orchard is a dry Farmhouse style Cider.  It is sourced from a blend of Heirloom and Culinary apples grown in Fieldbrook, California.  This cider from Fieldbrook Nursery Orchard is bold, refreshing and full of fresh apple flavor.  It has strong apple aromas and a fruity and full mouthfeel.   This cider was fermented in stainless steel barrels.  Varieties include Spartan, Glowing Coal, Pink Pearl, King and Cortland. 

Cidery Description:  Wrangletown Cider Company produces small batch, dry, bottle conditioned ciders featuring family-owned orchards from Humboldt County, California.

The cidery is owned and operated by Pat Knittel, since 2015 (a one-woman show).  The cidery is named after the “wrangle” town the cidermaker grew up in, which was infamous for two women brawling in the streets.  The cidery had a Kickstarter campaign, successfully raising funds for equipment.  Ciderpress wrote an article after touring the cidery.  Here is another article on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $18)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  The owner/cidermaker contacted me.

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells dry, slightly sour, funky, and musty, and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Very light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Hints of sourness and funk.  Notes of heirloom apples, lemon, must, mineral, yeast, and honey.  Long finish.  Hidden ABV.  Moderate complexity and sessionability.  Low flavor intensity and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  This isn’t my favorite style of cider; I usually go for a more intensely flavored cider, and I found this a bit nuanced.  However, I certainly couldn’t find any faults, and didn’t dislike it.  This will likely appeal to folks who enjoy wine and milder food-friendly ciders.  I always think of my personal opinion as more of an afterthought to my reviews (which is why I don’t rate ciders here).  Everyone has a different taste in ciders, and every cider won’t appeal to every person.

Most Similar to: Runcible Cider Light of the MoonAlpenfire Pirate’s PlankBrooklyn Cider House Half SourNumber 12 Sparkling DryAngry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Sietsema Traditional Dry

Closing Notes:  All in all, Wrangletown’s lineup is on the entry level end of the farmhouse-style spectrum, with only a touch of sourness & funk, so they remain rather easy to drink / consumer-friendly.  However, the flavor intensity was lower than I prefer, very nuanced, and all four ciders were quite similar (and the other four folks I shared the ciders with also agreed on all those points).

I think their ciders would especially appeal to wine drinkers, and are food-friendly.  My favorite of the four was the Oak Barrel Aged, as I found it to be the most flavorful and unique.  Also, although the labels look really cool, I think they could be a detriment in the long term, as it is very difficult to tell the varieties apart (as only the name varies, on the bottom left), so a consumer could assume they only make one variety.

Have you tried Wrangletown Cider?  What did you think?

Wrangletown Cider Co. Monument Apples Orchard

Review of Wrangletown Cider Company’s Monument Apples Orchard cider.  I’ve previously tried their “Original” and Oak Barrel Aged ciders.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wrangletown.  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:  Monument Apples Orchard
Cidery:  Wrangletown Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Arcata CA
ABV:  8.4%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft dry farmhouse-style cider from heirloom & culinary apples

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Availability:  Only in Northern California.  They self distribute, and have a tasting room in Arcata (open Friday thru Sunday and by appointment) in Humboldt county.  The owner also said she may also be able to ship through a third party to some states if there was interest.

Cider Description:  Wrangletown’s Monument Apples Orchard is dry cider produced from a special orchard in Rio Dell, California.  The apples in this orchard are Heirloom and Cider varieties.  Varieties from this orchard include Cox’s Orange Pippin, Roxbury Russet, Wickson, Hudson’s Golden Gem,  Smith Cider and Golden Russet.  The juice was fermented and aged in Stainless Steel.  This dry cider shows stone fruit, fruit blossom and beeswax aromas .  It has wonderfully bright acidity and is proof that true cider and heirloom apples produce the best ciders.

Cidery Description:  Wrangletown Cider Company produces small batch, dry, bottle conditioned ciders featuring family-owned orchards from Humboldt County, California.

The cidery is owned and operated by Pat Knittel, since 2015 (a one-woman show).  The cidery is named after the “wrangle” town the cidermaker grew up in, which was infamous for two women brawling in the streets.  The cidery had a Kickstarter campaign, successfully raising funds for equipment.  Ciderpress wrote an article after touring the cidery.  Here is another article on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $18)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  The owner/cidermaker contacted me.

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells dry, slightly sour, funky, and musty, and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Very light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Hints of sourness and funk.  Notes of heirloom apples, lemon, stone fruit, must, mineral, yeast, and honey.  Long finish.  Hidden ABV.  Moderate complexity and sessionability.  Low flavor intensity and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  This isn’t my favorite style of cider; I usually go for a more intensely flavored cider, and I found this a bit nuanced.  However, I certainly couldn’t find any faults, and didn’t dislike it.  This is a more introductory farmhouse-style cider, with only hints of sourness & funk.  This will likely appeal to folks who enjoy wine and milder food-friendly ciders.  I always think of my personal opinion as more of an afterthought to my reviews (which is why I don’t rate ciders here).  Everyone has a different taste in ciders, and every cider won’t appeal to every person.

Most Similar to: Runcible Cider Light of the MoonAlpenfire Pirate’s PlankBrooklyn Cider House Half SourNumber 12 Sparkling DryAngry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Sietsema Traditional Dry

Closing Notes:  Three down, one to go!

Have you tried Wrangletown Cider?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 28 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 28th visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there on a random Friday afternoon.  There were only 2 ciders on the board out of 32 that I hadn’t tried, so that meant I got to order some of my favorites.

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<left to right:  Incline Rosé, Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, Portland Sangria, NV Cider Watermelon Pear, Aspall Dry, and Snowdrift Cornice>

Incline (Auburn WA) Compass Rosé (6.5% ABV):  This was the only new-to-me cider in my flight.  It appears to be a year round release, and is also available in cans.  Like all their ciders, it is hopped, plus hibiscus, elderflower, ginger, and rose petals were added (no grape, which is typical for a rosé).  Pale pink hue.  Very mild fruity scent.  Notes of grape, watermelon, and strawberry to start.  As it warmed up, I got a hint of hops and some floral & herbal flavor.  I didn’t pick up any ginger (which is good, as I don’t like it).  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied. Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Mild flavor intensity.  Interesting that I found it more fruity than floral, but maybe I was tasting what I expected (I only found out later what was added).  I enjoyed it.

Finnriver (Chimacum WA) Lavender Black Currant (6.9% ABV):  This is a special release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here), similar to their regular Black Currant (see here).  This batch seemed a bit less sweet, with more lavender.  Too bad it wasn’t on one of their 2 Nitro taps, as that is a special treat.  I enjoyed it.

Portland Cider (Portland OR) Sangria (5.5% ABV):  This is a relatively new year round release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here).  This batch was a bit less flavorful and a bit fuller bodied, but still plenty fruity.  I enjoyed it.

Pear Up / NV Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Watermelon Pear (5.3% ABV):  This is a year round release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here).  This batch had much more pear than watermelon flavor, and had a hint of vinegar flavor & sourness.  I didn’t really care for it this time around with the slightly off flavor.  Their raspberry perry is my favorite so far (see here).

Aspall (Suffolk England) Dry (6.8% ABV):  This is an English import, available year round, also in bottles, which I’ve tried previously (see here).  Their Dry is actually my least favorite of their line-up, but still plenty good.  Their Imperial is my favorite so far (see here); too bad they stopped selling the black label version of it though, as that was a truly amazing cider.

Snowdrift (Wenatchee WA) Cornice (7.5% ABV):  This is a year round release, also available in bottles, which I’ve tried previously see here).  This batch of this barrel agsed cider was a bit more fruity / less rich.  I enjoyed it.

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

Wrangletown Cider Co. Oak Barrel Aged

Review of Wrangletown Cider Company’s Oak Barrel Aged Cider.  This is my first time trying this cider, but I previously tried their “Original“.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wrangletown.  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:  Barrel Aged
Cidery:  Wrangletown Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Arcata CA
ABV:  7.8%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft dry farmhouse-style cider from heirloom & culinary apples, oak barrel aged

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Availability:  Only in Northern California.  They self distribute, and have a tasting room in Arcata (open Friday thru Sunday and by appointment) in Humboldt county.  The owner also said she may also be able to ship through a third party to some states if there was interest.

Cider Description:  Wrangletown’s “Oak Barrel-Aged” Dry Farmhouse style cider is a combination of several Northern California Orchards.  It is a dry cider,  aged for 8 months in lightly used French Oak that formerly held Russian River Chardonnay.   The palate is rich with fine tannins and  a  round wine-like mouthfeel.  This cider would appeal to both oak barrel-aged beer fans as well as wine drinkers.  It pairs wonderfully lively flavored foods.  Wrangletown’s Oak Barrel-Aged Cider is made from Heirloom and Culinary apples.

Cidery Description:  Wrangletown Cider Company produces small batch, dry, bottle conditioned ciders featuring family-owned orchards from Humboldt County, California.

The cidery is owned and operated by Pat Knittel, since 2015 (a one-woman show).  The cidery is named after the “wrangle” town the cidermaker grew up in, which was infamous for two women brawling in the streets.  The cidery had a Kickstarter campaign, successfully raising funds for equipment.  Ciderpress wrote an article after touring the cidery.  Here is another article on the cidery.

Price:  n/a (retails for $18)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  The owner/cidermaker contacted me.

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade hue.  Moderate carbonation).  Smells dry, slightly sour, funky, and musty, and of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied with a nice fizz.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Hints of sourness and funk.  Notes of heirloom apples, lemon, must, mineral, and yeast.  Long finish.  Hidden ABV.  Moderate complexity and sessionability.  Low flavor intensity, apple flavor, and barrel influence.

My Opinion:  This was a bit smoother than the “Original”, with a hint of oak and a bit more earthiness.  I liked this a bit more than “Original”.  However, this isn’t my favorite style of cider; I usually go for a more intensely flavored cider, and I found this a bit nuanced.  However, I certainly couldn’t find any faults, and didn’t dislike it.  This is a more introductory farmhouse-style cider, with only hints of sourness & funk.  This will likely appeal to folks who enjoy wine and milder food-friendly ciders.  I always think of my personal opinion as more of an afterthought to my reviews (which is why I don’t rate ciders here).  Everyone has a different taste in ciders, and every cider won’t appeal to every person.

Most Similar to: Alpenfire Pirate’s PlankBrooklyn Cider House Half SourNumber 12 Sparkling DryRuncible Cider Light of the MoonAngry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Sietsema Traditional Dry

Closing Notes:  Two down, two to go!

Have you tried Wrangletown Cider?  What did you think?