Far West Orchard Blend No. 1

Review of Far West Cider’s Orchard Blend No. 1.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their San Joaquin Sparkler.

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Cider:  Orchard Blend No. 1
Cidery:  Far West Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Richmond CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  mostly only in Northern California (see here), plus online sales

Cider Description:  This cider uses a combination of GoldRush, Cripps Pink and Granny Smith apples grown on Chinchiolo Family Farms. It is fermented with Champagne yeast at very low temperatures and aged to develop more complexity than your typical cider. Fruit-forward, sparkling, and just barely semi-sweet with great acid balance, this cider pairs nicely with warm patios, fancy brunches, funky tunes and pork.

Cidery Description:  Californian ciders from a 4th generation family farm in San Joaquin County.

They have a taproom in Richmond CA.

Price:  $11.99 (although its $11 at their online store)
Where Bought:  Village Market in the ferry building in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  on a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, tart.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, citrus, and pineapple.  Long tart finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor, complexity, and overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Tasty and easy to drink.  Overall this would probably have wide appeal.

Most Similar to:  Seattle Cider Semi-Sweet and Scandinavian Green Apple Craft Cider

Closing Notes:  I thought it was a bit spendy for being a typical craft cider from dessert apples, like you’d often find in a 4 or 6 pack for this price.

Have you tried Far West Cider Orchard Blend No. 1?  What did you think?

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Far West San Joaquin Sparkler

Review of Far West Cider’s San Joaquin Sparkler.  It is my first time trying anything from this California cidery.

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Cider:  San Joaquin Sparkler, 2015 harvest
Cidery:  Far West Cider
Cidery Location:  Richmond CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from primarily Cripps Pink apples (aka Pink Lady), wild yeast fermented, off dry

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Availability:  only in California (see here), plus online sales (although at the time of review I didn’t see this cider in stock)

Cider Description:  This cider uses primarily Cripps Pink apples.  We encourage a slow native fermentation in the freshly pressed apple juice before inoculating with Champagne yeast to finish this cider to dryness.  After aging for a minimum of two months, this off-dry cider shows some deep woody apple notes and phenolic spiciness.  Paris well with leather chairs, old books, easy conversation, and difficult-to-pronounce cheeses.

Cidery Description:  Every bottle of Far West Cider is a product of our fourth generation family farm in San Joaquin County, California.  All of the apples used in this cider are harvested and pressed by hand on our ranch and cared to throughout fermentation, aging, and bottling to help express the best of the fruit that we grow.

They have a tasting room in Richmond CA (see here).

Price:  $9.49
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, when we were there on a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Barely noticeable smell, acidic dry apple with a hint of nuttiness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Subtle notes of tart green apple, lemon, herbs, butter, almonds, and must.  Moderate length finish with a hint of brine.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor and complexity.

My Opinion:  I was indifferent about this one, I didn’t personally like or dislike it.  The flavor was subtle and quite peculiar, difficult to describe.  However, the description said phenolic, and based on my experience with a FlavorActiv sensory analysis kit, my taste buds don’t detect it well.  It tasted nearly like a farmhouse-style cider, but didn’t have the sourness or funk I’d expect with that style (and wild fermented ciders in general).  I’d recommend this for folks who like interesting wine-like ciders.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve tasted

Closing Notes:  I’d be interested in hearing from others as far as what flavors they picked up with this cider.  It looks like this cider is rated well on untappd, but none of the reviews really described it.

Have you tried Far West Cider?  What did you think?