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?

2 Towns Dark Currant

Review of 2 Towns’ newest limited release (late Dec 2015), Dark Currant, a cider with black currant juice added and was aged in new oak barrels.

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Cider:  Dark Currant
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle (and kegs)
Style:  American black currant cider, oak barrel aged

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Availability:  Limited release which is available in OR, WA, AK, HI, CA, ID, NV, MN, and Chicago IL.

Cider Description:  Harvested from NW farms, local black currants are fermented during the cold winter, on Oregon-grown white oak. A strong oak profile backs the complex berry aromas. You can’t fight the currant.

The black currants were harvested from Queener Farm in Scio, Oregon and Kalapooia Haven Farm in Brownsville, Oregon in late summer, then this cider was lightly aged in new oak barrels until its release in December.

Cidery Description:  2 Towns was founded in 2010 by partners Lee Larsen and Aaron Sarnoff. Dave Takush joined us shortly thereafter. All three of us grew up together in the Corvallis, OR area. We’ve had explosive growth since our inception at which point we had intended to produce and distribute cider to the Corvallis, OR and Eugene, OR areas only (incidentally, the 2 Towns of our namesake). It became readily apparent that our initial vision needed to grow as we hit our maximum capacity in our first production space (a converted 1,000 sq ft garage) in roughly 2 months. We’ve since built 2 new production facilities with a total of 25,000 sq ft of production space and our team has grown to over 30 people to help us to distribute to 9 states and counting.

Over this time, we’ve kept to our original goal of bringing craft hard cider back to the people. We feel that a craft cider is made with fresh-pressed fruit and contain no artificial flavorings. Our fruit is all sourced in Oregon & Washington and all of our ciders are also free from added sugars other than those present in the juice and in some cases local honey. We feel that cider doesn’t need to be sweet to express the natural flavors of the fruits we ferment.

2 Towns Ciderhouse planted an orchard in 2011 with all traditional cider apple varieties such as Kingston Black, Dabinett, Jersey Brown Snout, and many others. 2 Towns has also contracted with several growers in the Willamette Valley and beyond to grow additional traditional cider fruit.

Price:  $7.50
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read online about the release and had been on the lookout (2 Towns is one of the brands I try just about everything from).  I was at Full Throttle Bottles to pick up some 2 Towns Pommeau, and figured I might as well get it.

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First Impression:  Cranberry pink hue.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles at the edges of the glass.  Smells like raspberries, black currant, citrus, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate tartness.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  A hint of tannins.  Raspberry, blackberry, and black currant notes with hints of lemon and oak.  Light to medium bodied.  Low apple influence.  Low barrel influence.  Moderate to long finish.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I’m not usually a huge fruity cider fan, but I really enjoyed this…probably as the black currant didn’t completely overpower the apple, and it wasn’t overly sweet, tart, or juice-like.  I enjoyed the oak influence, but it left me wanting more oak flavor (but I say that about most barrel aged ciders).

Most Similar to:  Other black currant ciders.  I’ve had Finnriver Black Currant.  As far as craft black currant ciders, I’ve read Doc’s Draft and Slyboro make them.  In comparison to Finnriver Black Currant, 2 Towns Dark Currant is less fruity, rich, and tart.  However, the flavor added from the oak barrel aging was nice.  I slightly prefer Dark Currant.  This fruity barrel aged cider also reminded me of Alpenfire Apocalypso, which is a rum barrel aged blackberry cider (similar to their Calypso, which is a regular release, although this was a keg-only release).

Closing Notes:   This was quite tasty, and a great mix of summer (berry) and winter (oak) type flavors.  I think 2 Towns ciders are unique and at a great price point.

Have you tried 2 Towns Dark Currant?  What did you think?

2 Towns Cidre Moscato

Review of Cidre Moscato from 2 Towns, made using Muscat grapes.  I had this awhile back and couldn’t remember if I liked it before, so was curious to try it again when I stumbled upon a bottle in the walk-in cooler of a local grocery store.  This was a special release quite awhile ago, so I was surprised to find it.  I’ve had at least 10 selections from 2 Towns.

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Cider:  Cidre Moscato
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml glass bottle

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Availability:  Probably limited at this point as it was a special release in 2014 I think.  2 Towns ciders however are sold in OR, WA, CA, AK, HI, NV (limited), ID, IL (Chicago), & MN (Minneapolis).

Cider Description:  Out of the rich soils of the NW grow lush and zesty muscat grapes. Full of vibrant aroma, this blend of Muscat and hard cider will make you wave your pinky in the air like you just don’t care.

Cidery Description:  2 Towns was founded in 2010 by partners Lee Larsen and Aaron Sarnoff. Dave Takush joined us shortly thereafter. All three of us grew up together in the Corvallis, OR area. We’ve had explosive growth since our inception at which point we had intended to produce and distribute cider to the Corvallis, OR and Eugene, OR areas only (incidentally, the 2 Towns of our namesake). It became readily apparent that our initial vision needed to grow as we hit our maximum capacity in our first production space (a converted 1,000 sq ft garage) in roughly 2 months. We’ve since built 2 new production facilities with a total of 25,000 sq ft of production space and our team has grown to over 30 people to help us to distribute to 9 states and counting.

Over this time, we’ve kept to our original goal of bringing craft hard cider back to the people. We feel that a craft cider is made with fresh-pressed fruit and contain no artificial flavorings. Our fruit is all sourced in Oregon & Washington and all of our ciders are also free from added sugars other than those present in the juice and in some cases local honey. We feel that cider doesn’t need to be sweet to express the natural flavors of the fruits we ferment.

2 Towns Ciderhouse planted an orchard in 2011 with all traditional cider apple varieties such as Kingston Black, Dabinett, Jersey Brown Snout, and many others. 2 Towns has also contracted with several growers in the Willamette Valley and beyond to grow additional traditional cider fruit.

Price:  $7 on sale from $9
Where Bought:  QFC grocery store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing the walk-in fridge.  I also found the first bottle awhile back the same way.

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<looks nice in my new Sangria glass!>

First Impression:  Light carbonation, a few small bubbles.  Straw yellow, no haze.  Very light tropical and white grape scent.

Opinion:  Semi-dry.  Fruity, refreshing, and light.  The tropical and white grape notes continued into the flavor. Higher acidity.  Low to moderate tartness.  No bitterness.  Light astringency.  It has some sweet flavor notes without being sweet.  The flavor profile on this cider is pretty mild.  Very unique.  Moderately complex too.

Most Similar to:  Attila Scourge of God (review here), although that didn’t have the additional fruitiness.  Moa Kiwifruit was also on the drier side and had a light tropical kiwi flavor.  Most tropically ciders I’ve had were a bit sweeter, such as Reverend Nat’s Revival (review here) and Woodinville Ciderworks Tropical (review here).

Closing Notes:   Tasty!  This would especially be a great summer cider.  I was surprised I enjoyed it so much as usually I go for bolder ciders.

Have you tried 2 Towns Cidre Muscato?  What did you think?