Stem Cider Pommeau

Review of Stem Cider’s Pommeau.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve also had their Le Chene, Malice, Blood Orange Cyser, Remedy, Branch and Bramble, and Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot, and also tried Pommeau from 2 Towns, Etienne Dupont, Finnriver, Tieton, Traditions, and Wandering Aengus.

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Cider:  Pommeau
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml corked bottles
Style:  American craft Pommeau (apple brandy + apple cider), oak aged

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Availability:  Only at their tap room, released December 2015

Cider Description:  Apple dessert wine aged in oak for 8 months.  Full of cherry and fruit skin notes, with distinctive oakiness perfect for sipping slowly.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  Stem’s tap room
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband picked this up for me when travelling.  He made a special trip to the Stem tasting room just to buy me cider.  I’m spoiled!

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<cider tasting event glasses like this one from Cider Rite of Spring make perfect vessels for Pommeau, ice cider, and the like!>

First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells sweet, rich, and of caramel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, brown sugar, leather, and orange.  Long finish.  High apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  No overt oak influence.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it didn’t seem to have quite the amount of complexity of some others I’ve tried (possibly as it wasn’t quite as sweet as some).  However, it is more budget friendly than many other options.  This year’s Stem Pommeau release was aged 20 months, so I’m curious if that gave it more complexity than this batch.

Most Similar to:  The Traditions Pommeau, as it had a similar level of sweetness and complexity.

Closing Notes:   My favorites remain the 2 Towns, Etienne Dupont, and Wandering Aengus Pommeaux (the plural of Pommeau…very cool).  However, I wouldn’t say I’ve disliked any Pommeau I’ve tried.

Have you ever tried Pommeau?  What did you think?

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Stem Ciders Branch and Bramble

Review of Branch and Bramble from Stem Ciders, their dry raspberry cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le CheneMalice, Remedy, and Blood Orange Cyser.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Branch and Bramble
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft dry cider made from dessert apples, with raspberries

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Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Intense raspberry aromas and ruby hues.  Tartness from the raspberries and apples meld in this dry, refreshing cider.  A light tannin structure from the raspberries lingers on the palate.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Light pink/red hue.  Low carbonation with foam.  Smells of sweet tart raspberries.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  The flavor is almost purely sharp raspberry, with hints of green apple and lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Tasty and refreshing, with a surprising amount of flavor for how dry it is.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a number of raspberry ciders, from Wyder’s, Woodchuck, Doc’sSchilling, One Tree, Raven’s Moon, and Eaglemount, but they were all sweeter.  Raven’s Moon was the driest, a semi-dry, but was much higher in ABV, and the most tart cider I’ve ever had.

Closing Notes:   I think this was my favorite of their three canned ciders.  Next up I have their Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Branch and Bramble?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Remedy Dry Hopped Apple Cider

Review of Remedy from Stem Ciders, their dry hopped cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene, Blood Orange Cyser, and Malice.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Remedy
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans, and kegs
Style:  American craft dry cider made from dessert apples, with Cascade & Citra hops

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Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Dry hopped with Cascade & Citra hops.  Floral and citrus fruit intermingle with apple on the nose giving way to a tart apple zing without any bitterness.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of hops and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate bitterness.  Low astringency.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of hops, citrus, floral, herbal, honey, mineral, and green apple.  Long bitter finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, although it was a bit more bitter than I prefer.  It has a light wine-like flavor which would pair well with food.

Most Similar to:  Incline Explorer, Portland Cider Hop’Rageous, and Tod Creek Mala-Hop

Closing Notes:   This is a nice hopped cider option for folks who like dry ciders and want something available in a multipack.  Next up I have their Branch & Bramble (raspberry) cider, then special releases Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Remedy?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Blood Orange Cyser

Review of Stem Ciders’ Blood Orange Cyser (a cross between cider and mead, made from both apples and honey).  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene and Malice.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

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Cider:  Blood Orange Cyser
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  10%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft apple-honey wine with blood orange

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Availability:  Their ciders are available only in Colorado, at these retailers, but this is a special release which may only be found at the cidery.

Cider Description:  Apple-honey wine with blood orange.  Rosy in hue with light notes of honey and citrus zest on the nose.  Acidity from the blood orange plays off the sweetness of the honey, allowing an off-dry yet refreshing beverage.  Light apple tannins fill out the finish.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Light orange-pink hue.  Very low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells mild, of honey and tart blood orange.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Moderate carbonation.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of blood orange, honey, honeycomb, grapefruit, lemon, mineral, and green apple.  Quick to moderate length finish, with less warming than expected for 10% ABV.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate honey and blood orange flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Unique citrus champagne-like flavor.  I imagine if I actually liked blood orange I would have loved it.  I’m a fan of high ABV cider, citrus notes in cider, and cyser & mead though, which is why I wanted to try it.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had various cysers (such as Finnriver Cyser CiderEaglemount Cyser, Moonlight Meadery Last Apple, and Sea Cider Birds and the Bees), as well as two blood orange ciders (Elemental Calcium and Ace Space), and this is a bit of a cross between the two, and much drier than any of those.  It also reminds me a bit of a mimosa, with the citrus, higher ABV, and higher carbonation.

Closing Notes:   This cyser is a great value, between it being small batch, blood orange & honey being expensive, and its high ABV.  I look forward to trying my other selections from Stem Ciders.

Have you tried anything from Stem Ciders?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Malice

Review of Malice from Stem Ciders, a flagship dry tank-aged cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene (see here).  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Malice
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans, and kegs (previously sold in 750ml bottles)
Style:  American craft flagship dry cider made from dessert apples, tank-aged

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<isn’t the can design cool?  its actually a clear wrap-around sticker, not etched>

Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Tart, dry, and clean, allowing the apples to speak for themselves.  Alluringly clean and unassuming, this crisp and fruit-forward cider is crafted from Pacific Northwest apples, fermented dry, and aged in stainless steel.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, and of citrus with a hint of funk.

Tasting Notes:  Fully dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acid.  Low to moderate astringency.  Low bitterness.  Hints of funk and sourness.  Notes of lemon, green apple, mineral, and white grape.  Moderate length slightly astringent and tart finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Nice.  Wine-like.  Its a bit on the boring side for my tastes (I prefer very flavorful ciders), but its well-crafted and I really don’t have any complaints.

Most Similar to:  Original Sin Extra Dry, which is also a fully dry sessionable acid and cirtrus-forward canned cider from dessert apples

Closing Notes:   If you live in Colorado, enjoy a fully dry cider, and want something sessionable and/or available in a multipack, Stem Malice is a great option.  Next up I have their canned Remedy (hopped) and Branch & Bramble (raspberry) ciders, then special releases Blood Orange Cyser, Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot, and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Malice?  What did you think?

Big B’s Lazy Daze Lemon Hard Cider

Review of Big B’s Lazy Daze Lemon Hard Cider, their dry hard cider mixed with their lemonade.  I’ve also tried their Grizzly Brand (bourbon barrel aged) and Pear Supply ciders.  My husband picked this up for me in Colorado.

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Cider:  Lazy Daze Lemon Hard Cider
Cidery:  Big B’s
Cidery Location:  Hotchkiss Colorado
ABV:  4.7%
How Supplied:  500ml clear glass bottles and 12oz cans
Style:  American Organic craft cider mixed with lemonade (which includes sugar)

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Availability:  Only in Colorado,  although they take phone orders to ship to customers when the state allows it.

Cider Description:  Big B’s Hard Lemonade is made by combining our Orchard Original Hard Cider with one of Big B’s most popular selling juices, our Orchard Recipe Lemonade.  It’s a perfect marriage between dry cider, sweet and tart lemonade. Ultra refreshing and amazingly crisp!

Cidery Description:  Big B’s Hard Ciders – Local, Organic, Delicious.  Big B’s proudly handcrafts American Farmstead Hard Ciders in small batches using only organic apples, hand picked at the peak of ripeness.  Our orchard and tasting room is located in the North Fork Valley on the Western Slope of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Big B’s has an organic farm market and tasting room in Hotchkiss CO for their juices and hard cider (first sold in 2011), which re-opens for the season in May 2016.

Price:  $4.98
Where Bought:  Hazel’s Beverage World in Boulder CO
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this online and put it on a list for my husband to check for.

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First Impression:  Smells like lemonade.  Lemonade dark straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Fizzy mouthfeel.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor is lemonade with a bit of baked apple.  Quick finish length.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  This is simple, but I enjoyed it.  Perfect for summer and almost too easy to drink.  I’m surprised they kept so much of the lemonade flavor despite the addition of hard cider.  I also liked the bit of apple flavor.

Most Similar to:  Any other hard lemonade.  My other favorite is Crabbie’s Cloudy Alcoholic Lemonade, but I think I now like this one better.  Alcopops are becoming quite popular.  Another cider based one I’ve tried is Elemental’s NW Atomic Root Beer.

Closing Notes:   Too bad this is only sold in Colorado, or else it would be a summer staple in my house.  They recently released it in cans too.

Have you tried Big B’s?  What did you think?

Colorado Cider Company Ol’ Stumpy

Review of Colorado Cider Company’s Ol’ Stumpy.  My husband brought this back from Colorado for me (I may have given him a shopping list…), and its the first cider I’ve tried from them.

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Cider:  Ol’ Stumpy
Cidery:  Colorado Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Denver CO
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  500ml clear bottle
Style:  American craft cider made from cider & dessert apples, aged in oak chardonnay barrels with oak spirals

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Availability:  Limited release, and only in Colorado.  See the list on their website for availability.

Cider Description:  Made with bittersweet apples, Ol’ Stumpy has a silky mouth feel, aromas of earth, and oak and a touch of tannins. Our modern take on an early American cider. Aged for a full year, including 4 months in oak Chardonnay barrels. (they now age it with oak spirals)

The bittersweet apples are sourced from New Hampshire while they are waiting for their own orchard to mature.  Also see this fact sheet on Ol’ Stumpy.

Cidery Description:  Colorado Cider Company was founded in 2011 to produce fresh hard cider for the discerning Colorado drinker. With a well-developed craft beer market and an educated populace, Hard Cider has been a missing choice in the cacophony of craft drinks in local pubs and liquor stores.  We set out to remedy that.  We bottled our first batch of Glider in April of 2011 – Celebrating 5 years of cidering in the spring of 2016!  Glide On!!!

Here are some great writeups on Colorado Cider Company from Drinking Cider and Cider Sage.

Price:  $9.48
Where Bought:  Hazel’s Beverage World in Boulder CO
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I browsed the websites of all the Colorado cideries with an online presence and made my husband a list of ciders to look out for when he was in Colorado.  This one sounded the most to my liking from Colorado Cider Company’s lineup, as I love anything with bittersweet apples and/or barrel aged.

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First Impression:  Light orange amber hue.  No carbonation upon pouring.  Smells rich and sweet, of bittersweet apples and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Still.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness.  Mild tannins.  Mild to moderate bitterness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet apples, apple pomace, citrus, honey, and oak.  Earthy and moderate to full flavored.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Low to moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this cider.  However, after the AMAZING scent, the taste was honestly a bit of a let down.  I think the high acidity and bitterness combined with the dryness made the flavor a tad harsh.  I imagine that with a bit of honey this would be even better.  I also imagine aging it in neutral oak or anything but chardonnay barrels would decrease the acidity.

Most Similar to:  Despite using bittersweet apples, Ol’ Stumpy definitely doesn’t taste like an English cider, due to the addition of dessert apples (including granny smith) and aging in oak chardonnay barrels.  Its rather unique and I have a tough time finding any similar ciders that I’ve tasted.  I’ve had other bittersweet ciders though, such as from Sea Cider and Locust, and both were sweeter, with less acidity and less bitterness.

Closing Notes:   I’m usually a huge fan of bittersweet apples in cider and barrel aging, and although I wasn’t blown away by this one, it was definitely pleasant to drink and I’m glad I got a chance to try it.  My husband was an even bigger fan than I was (probably as it was on the dry side but remained really flavorful).  Hopefully I’ll get to try more ciders from them in the future.

Have you tried any ciders from Colorado Cider Company?  What did you think?