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?

2 Towns Return of the Mack

Review of 2 Towns Return of the Mack, a limited release unfiltered oak aged cider made with McIntosh apples.  I previously tried an earlier release of this on draft (see here).  I’ve also tried many other ciders from 2 Towns (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:  Return of the Mack
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis Oregon
ABV:  8.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft unfiltered cider with McIntosh apples, aged 12 months in oak foeders

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Availability:  Limited release, but 2 Towns ciders are generally available in AK, CA, HI, ID, OR, WA, and Minneapolis MN & Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Rich and complex, Return of the Mack is a specialty cider aged for 12 months in 1800 liter oak foeders and finished with McIntosh apples.  So good.  Yes, I cried, yes, I cried.

From Dave Takush, head cider maker for 2 Towns Ciderhouse:  Return of the Mack is super rich, exceptionally juicy and has a big oak tannin backbone.  It makes a great pairing with dark and stormy nights, and 90s slow jams.

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)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  It showed up at my door (I’m spoiled!).

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First Impression:  Hazy dark pumpkin straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells like tart unfiltered apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Smooth with a well-hidden ABV.  Notes of unfiltered apple juice, lemon, orange, honey, and a hint of floral.  Quick to moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Low oak influence (I expect it smoothed the flavor out more than adding any significant overt oak flavor).

My Opinion:  I enjoyed Return of the Mack, but it is more of a basic easy drinking cider which I would expect to find in a multi pack, vs. a single bottle specialty release.

Most Similar to:  I’d call this a sweeter, more boozy, and slightly more complex version of 2 Towns Out Cider.

Closing Notes:  2 Towns makes some great stuff.  My favorites are Traditions Bourbon Barrel 2012, Bad Apple, Hop & Stalk, Traditions Cidre Bouche 2015, and Pommeau 2015.

Have you tried 2 Towns Return of the Mack?  What did you think?

2 Towns Cellar Series La Mûre

Review of 2 Towns’ newest Cellar Series cider, La Mûre, a sour blackberry cider aged in Pinot Noir red wine barrels for over a year.  It is inspired by Belgian-style sour lambic beer.  I’ve tried most of their cider line-up; see my past reviews 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:  La Mûre
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle
Style:  American craft sour Belgian lambic beer inspired cider with blackberries, aged in Pinot Noir barrels

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Availability:  Limited release of 70 cases, mostly in the 2 Towns tap room and a few select accounts in Oregon.  In general 2 Towns ciders are available in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  La Mûre is made with 100 percent fresh-pressed Northwest apples and whole, Oregon-grown blackberries…Inspired by the Flemish beers of Belgium, La Mûre is 6.9% ABV, bone dry, and holds complex fruit character. La Mûre is aged in local Pinot Noir barrels with lactobacillus for over a year, resulting in a strong backbone, light oak flavors and a wild lactic tang.  “This cider is for the more adventurous cider drinker who dabbles in wild ales, sour beers and farmhouse or Asturian-style ciders,” said Dave Takush, head cider maker at 2 Towns Ciderhouse. “La Mûre is French for blackberry. We named this cider after the berry  to pay homage to the Flemish ciders of Belgium, and echo wild lambic beers like framboise and cassis.”

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:  unknown (probably ~$20)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home, with a group
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Red wine hue.  Still.  Slight turbidity and sediment.  Smells of blackberries, red wine, oak, sourness, and funk.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light to medium bodied.  A balance of moderate tartness, acidity, and sourness.  However, the sourness is more at the front of the palate than a typical sour cider where the sourness hits further back.  Hints of funk and bitterness.  Tannic blackberry flavor.  Moderate to high red wine influence.  Low to moderate oak influence.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity.  No apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I’m not a sour cider fan, so no surprise, I wasn’t a fan of this cider.  And thats ok…not everyone likes every cider.  I knew going into it that I needed some backup, so I had three cider friends over.  They are all sour cider lovers, especially berry sour ciders, and loved this one.  We opened a lot of ciders and this was one of the few that actually got finished.

Most Similar to:  Finnriver Barrel Berry Sour from Port Townsend WA (although less sour) and WildCraft berry ciders from Eugene OR (all their ciders have a slight sourness although most aren’t advertised as sours).

Closing Notes:   If you love sour & farmhouse-style cider, Belgian-style lambic beer, etc, and can find this special release, give it a try.  2 Towns really branched out with this one, making something that won’t be a crowd pleaser, but will be truly appreciated by those who enjoy these types of uniquely crafted ciders.

Have you tried any sour ciders?  What did you think?

2 Towns Imperial Hop and Stalk

Review of 2 Towns’ Imperial Hop and Stalk, a seasonal release with Citra hops and Crimson Red rhubarb.  I’ve tried most of their line-up; see my reviews 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:  Hop and Stalk
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American Imperial (high ABV) craft cider made from dessert apples, with Citra hops and Crimson Red rhubarb

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

Cider Description:  An outrageous amount of Citra hops, locally grown Crimson Red rhubarb, and fresh-pressed NW apples create a trenchant hard cider with huge floral, citrus & passion fruit notes. The outspoken dry-hopped character of this cider is best when fresh, so make sure to exercise your Stalk Hoptions before they expire!

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 (runs $7-$9)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Low to moderate carbonation upon pouring.  Smells primarily of citrus, with some hops and strawberry-rhubarb.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low carbonation.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness, tannins, or funk.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate hoppiness, although with less bitterness and lingering flavor than many hopped ciders.  Notes of citrus (lots!), hops, strawberry, rhubarb, passion fruit, honey, and floral.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to strong overall flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t expecting to like this cider as I wouldn’t call myself a fan of hops or rhubarb.  However, I really enjoyed it–I loved the complexity and uniqueness.

Most Similar to:  Hopped ciders with lots of citrus notes and some fruitiness.  Portland Cider Hop’Rageous also uses Citra hops, so you get more citrus & floral than bitter hops.  Tod Creek Mala-Hop also had a lot of citrus notes, but used Chinook, Sterling and Centennial, not Citra hops.  This is the most citrusy hopped cider I’ve tried though, and the only one with another fruit addition.

Closing Notes:   Another winner from 2 Towns!

Have you tried 2 Towns Hop and Stalk?  What did you think?

2 Towns Ciderhouse Sun’s Out Saison

Review of Sun’s Out Saison from 2 Towns, their newest limited release cider with peaches and fermented with Saison beer yeast.  I’ve tried a number of ciders from 2 Towns; see here.

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Cider:  Sun’s Out Saison
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples with peaches added, fermented with Saison beer yeast

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Availability:  Limited release starting in late March 2016, in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Sun’s Out Saison is made with tart, fresh-pressed Northwest apples fermented on peaches with an authentic French saison yeast. Roll up your sleeves, or better yet, rip ‘em off to get ready for this unfiltered, dry, slightly spicy and phenolic cider, with lots of big, clean, fresh-peach aromatics. Savor liquid sunshine from Oregon’s leading craft cider producer.

Made with over 46 pounds of peaches per barrel (a barrel is 238 bottles of 500ml if my math is right).

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:  $7.59
Where Bought:  Chuck’s Hop Shop in Seattle WA (my first time there)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had seen it mentioned online, but didn’t know it was in stores here yet (and didn’t see it at the other 3 bottle shops I went that week).

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First Impression:  Hazy light straw yellow lemonade hue.  Low carbonation and foam upon pouring.  Smells of citrus, peach, green apple, a hint of sour, and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low carbonation.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  A hint of sourness.  No tannins, bitterness, or funk.  Notes of citrus, peach, green apple, tropical fruit, honey, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple influence.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  This is a perfect spring and summer cider, as it is light and refreshing.  However, I didn’t really pick up “slightly spicy” in it, although there is definitely some bite and tartness.  I think I picked up a slight amount of “phenolic” flavor, which I read is described as an herbal flavour primarily produced during the malo-lactic fermentation in ‘bittersweet’ ciders.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Cidre Moscato and Attila Scourge of God based on being light & fruity, plus other peach ciders I’ve had from Blue Mountain (Peach), Blackfin (Pacific Peach), Finnriver (Country Peach), and Fox Tail (Fuzzy Haven).

Closing Notes:   Another tasty cider from 2 Towns.  This isn’t my favorite style of cider (I usually prefer something richer), but I quite enjoyed it.  Sun’s Out Saison also suited the warm temperatures we’ve been having in Seattle to start out Spring.

Have you tried 2 Towns Sun’s Out Saison?  What did you think?

2 Towns Pommeau – 2013 Harvest / 2015 Release

Review of the 2013 harvest / 2015 release of Pommeau from 2 Towns.  This is their third release (the first two were under their Traditions Ciderworks brand), discussed in this article.  I’ve also tried their 2011 harvest / 2013 release of Pommeau under their Traditions Ciderworks brand, and previously reviewed a number of ciders from 2 Towns.

Pommeau is a port-style apple wine related to cider.  It is made from apple brandy (a spirit from distilling apple cider) with either unfermented apple juice or lightly fermented apple cider blended in (cider in this case), then barrel aged.  It is called Calvados when made in Normandy France.

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Cider:  Pommeau (2013 harvest / 2015 release)
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  19%
How Supplied:  375 ml tall frosted glass bottle, wax sealed
Style:  American craft Pommeau made from apple brandy and lightly fermented cider, barrel aged in French oak for 1 year

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Availability:  Limited release (500 cases of 12 bottles made), distributed to CA, ID, IL, MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Our Pommeau is made from locally grown traditional bittersweet cider apples which are hand-harvested and ‘sweated’ at cool temperatures. After the apples have sweetened, the fresh-pressed juice is lightly fermented and then aged with Clear Creek apple eau de vie. Our Pommeau is then matured in French oak barrels for one year. The result is a tremendously complex apple Pommeau that blossoms with aromas of fresh-pressed cider, dried fruit, and wood. This bottle will improve with cellaring for up to 20 years.

Cidery Description:  2 Towns Ciderhouse was founded in Corvallis, Oregon, in 2010 with the mission of bringing cider back to the people. 2 Towns Ciderhouse is a proud pioneer in the resurgence of America’s first beverage of choice. We planted our own orchard in 2012 to help revitalize old-world heirloom apples. We are committed to supporting local apple growers by insisting on using the finest fresh-pressed 100 percent Northwest apples and never take shortcuts in the cider-making process. Our process includes careful fermentation and no added sugar or essence flavorings, allowing the naturally fermented ingredients to speak for themselves. Named for two towns in our locale, Corvallis and Eugene, 2 Towns Ciderhouse has become one of the most award-winning and recognized ciders in the West.

Price:  $25
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had heard awhile back that 2 Towns made Pommeau, and read an article on their 2015 release in the Fall, so I started looking.  At first I only found their 2013 release, but then the Schilling Cider House decided to carry the 2015 release.

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First Impression:  Rich amber orange hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells alcohol-forward, of rich ripe apples, oak, dried fruit, leather, brown sugar, caramel, burnt sugar, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Low acidity and tartness.  A hint of tannins.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Notes of rich ripe apples, oak, dried fruit, leather, brown sugar, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, tropical fruit, and peaches.  Medium to full bodied.  Very long warming finish.  Moderate to strong apple influence.  Low to moderate barrel influence.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Amazing!  I love how flavorful this is.

Most Similar to:  I’ve only had four Pommeaux (the plural of Pommeau), so I don’t have much to compare to.  However, I really enjoy this 2 Towns Pommeau, as well as the Finnriver Pommeau.  The Finnriver Pommeau (reviewed here) is also quite flavorful and fuller bodied.

Closing Notes:   Pommeau is a unique cider related beverage to try, and I look forward to trying more.  This is my favorite Pommeau so far!  I plan to buy at least one more bottle to “cellar” for awhile.

Have you tried 2 Towns Pommeau?  What did you think?

Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns) Pommeau – 2011 Harvest / 2013 Release

Review of the 2011 harvest / 2013 release of Pommeau from Traditions Ciderworks, made by 2 Towns.  2013 was their first release of Pommeau, although there have been two releases since then, in 2014 and 2015.  Note that 2 Towns’ Traditions Ciderworks brand has since been absorbed into their regular 2 Towns line of ciders.  I actually purchased this recently after initially not being able to find the 2015 release, and had assumed it was the 2014 release, but when asking 2 Towns some questions I discovered it was actually the 2013 release (the 2014 release was in a frosted Traditions Ciderworks bottle).  I later found the 2015 release (which was labeled under 2 Towns), which I’ll review soon. I’ve previously reviewed a number of ciders from 2 Towns.

Pommeau is a port-style apple wine related to cider.  It is made from apple brandy (a spirit from distilling apple cider) with either unfermented apple juice or lightly fermented apple cider blended in (cider in this case), then barrel aged.  It is called Calvados when made in Normandy France.

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Cider:  Pommeau (2011 harvest / 2013 release)
Cidery:  Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns Ciderhouse)
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  19%
How Supplied:  375 ml tall clear glass bottle, wax sealed
Style:  American craft Pommeau made from apple brandy and lightly fermented cider, barrel aged in French oak for 1 year

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Availability:  Limited (100 cases of 12 bottles made, sold 2 years ago).  This 2013 release is actually much more limited than their 2015 release, where 500 cases were made.  In general though 2 Towns’ ciders are sold in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL, MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Our Pommeau is made from locally grown traditional bittersweet cider apples which are hand-harvested and ‘sweated’ at cool temperatures. After the apples have sweetened, the fresh-pressed juice is lightly fermented and then aged with Clear Creek apple eau de vie. Our Pommeau is then matured in French oak barrels for one year. The result is a tremendously complex apple Pommeau that blossoms with aromas of fresh-pressed cider, dried fruit, and wood. This bottle will improve with cellaring for up to 20 years.

Wow–20 years…I wonder how they came up with that number?  I believe it though.

Cidery Description:  Traditions Ciderworks produces handmade artisan ciders using only locally sourced Oregon farm grown apples. Inspired by the creativity and flair of Pacific Northwest craft brewers and winemakers, we use time-honored traditions & our own unique style to create exceptional, premium ciders. From the heart of Oregon, near the banks of the Willamette River, Traditions Ciderworks is dedicated to bringing artisan cider out of the past and into the present.

Price:  $32.25
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles (I’ve also seen 2 Towns Pommeau in the Seattle area at the Schilling Cider House and The Cave)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had heard awhile back that 2 Towns made Pommeau, and read an article on their 2015 release in the Fall, so I started looking.

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First Impression:  Rich amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells alcohol-forward, of rich apples, oak, spice, oranges, caramel, and burnt sugar.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Low acidity and tartness.  A hint of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich apples, oak, spice, oranges, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, and leather.  Medium bodied.  Long warming finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Low to moderate barrel influence.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  This is nice, but on the verge of being a bit much for me.  I’m ashamed to admit I enjoyed it with a couple ice cubes; otherwise it seemed a bit too boozy, as it doesn’t have much sweetness (and it was room temperature to start as I didn’t want to rearrange my fridge shelves for the few weeks I kept it open).  I much prefer 2 Towns’ newer 2013 harvest / 2015 release, which I’ll review soon.  I actually e-mailed them about it as the two releases were so different.  They confirmed there were some significant variations in sweetness and tannins due to growing seasons, apple blends, etc.  This 2011 harvest release was drier and had a slightly higher percentage of bittersweet apples than the later releases.  Going forward they plan to have their Pommeau more similar to the 2013 harvest release–sweeter, richer, and more full bodied.

Most Similar to:  I’ve only had four Pommeaux (the plural of Pommeau), so I don’t have much to compare to.  However, this was drier, lighter bodied, and less complex than both the Finnriver Pommeau (review here) and the 2 Towns 2013 harvest / 2015 release Pommeau (review soon).  I think it was more on par as far as sweetness and consistency with Tieton Wind, but I tried that quite awhile ago (before what I even knew what Pommeau was probably!).

Closing Notes:   Pommeau is a unique cider related beverage to try, and I look forward to trying more.  However, the newer 2 Towns Pommeau release is more to my liking than this one.  In fact, I’m planning to buy at least one more bottle to “cellar” for awhile.

Have you tried Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns) Pommeau?  What did you think?