Yes, I made yet another trip to the Schilling Cider House! Check out my past posts here. This time it was for a random visit in early December, as I knew I wouldn’t have time to go for awhile with the holidays. I wasn’t disappointed, as there were a good number of ciders on tap I hadn’t tried previously.
I had a flight of six ciders, then picked up a half growler of Locust Bittersweet (which I have a bottle of, but was a really good deal and is quite tasty) and a few bottles. I was intrigued by a new Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA) cider called Garretza, but learned it is a barrel aged sour, and passed as I’m not into sours.
<left to right: Schilling Pineapple Passion, Number 6 Pomegranate, AeppelTreow Barn Swallow, Eaglemount Cyser, 2 Towns Nice & Naughty Bourbon Barrel Aged, and Cider Riot Champoeg X-17>
Schilling Pineapple Passion (aka Trouble in Paradise), 5% ABV, Seattle WA: This is a brand new currently tap-only release at Schilling which added pineapple & passion fruit juices to cider, and may be canned in the future. Slightly hazy pineapple-yellow hue. On the drier side of semi-sweet. Light bodied. Moderate pineapple flavor. I didn’t pick up any passion fruit flavor. The only other pineapple ciders I’ve had are Ace Pineapple (apple cider backsweetened with pineapple juice) and Reverend Nat’s Tepache (made only using pineapple juice, very low ABV, and lots of spice). In my mind I was comparing this to Ace’s pineapple cider. I liked Schilling’s much better, as it wasn’t as juice-like (I used to really enjoy Ace’s Pineapple, but my tastes moved away from ciders which taste like juice). However, Schilling’s Pineapple cider seemed to be missing something…maybe it needed more carbonation?
Number 6 Pomegranate, 5.4% ABV, Seattle WA: I’ve previously only had their “True Cider” variety. Light cherry / pomegranate type hue. Semi-sweet. Light bodied. Low acidity and tartness. It remained light to moderate on the pomegranate flavor, similar to Elemental’s “Oxygen” Pomegranate cider (Elemental is also in the Seattle area, in Woodinville WA). I found this to be rather average, as it left me wanting more flavor. I mostly tried it as I hadn’t had it before.
AeppelTreow Barn Swallow, 6% ABV, Burlington WI: This is the first cider I’ve had from them. Made from Red Delicious, Cortland, Ida Red, and Greenings apples. Semi-sweet. Medium straw yellow. Low acidity and tartness. No bitterness. Medium boded. There was a slight richness which I enjoyed. Overall definitely well above average, and quite tasty. I look forward to trying the bottle of their Appely Brut I have at home.
Eaglemount Cyser, 8% ABV, Port Townsend WA: Cysers are made by fermenting both apple juice and honey, so are classified in between cider and mead. Smells dry, of yeast & honey, with a slight funk. Medium straw yellow. Semi-sweet. Nice mild honey flavor. Medium bodied. Moderate acidity. Mild tartness. The higher ABV was noticeable. Really nice! However, I was more impressed with their Quince cider I had a bottle of awhile back, which was crazy complex and fruity. I want to try more from them.
2 Towns Nice & Naughty Bourbon Barrel Aged, 10.5% ABV, Corvallis OR: I had 2 Towns’ Nice & Naughty (their holiday seasonal) on tap only a couple weeks before this, but this one is a special bourbon barrel aged release of it which appears to be tap-only. Smells spiced, rich, and alcohol-forward. The spice remains very mild, even more so than the regular version. Moderate barrel influence and mild bourbon influence for the flavor, but this tastes quite boozy. Some caramel and vanilla notes, and oddly enough, ginger? Mild tartness, acidity, and bitterness. Medium bodied. Long finish with a lot of warmth. I drank it last, letting it warm up to close to room temperature, based on my previous experience with the regular version of Nice & Naughty tasting better that way. However, it may have been a mistake, as I didn’t really care for this version of the cider. The high ABV, spice, barrel aging, and bourbon influence seemed to be competing for attention. I much preferred the regular Nice & Naughty (which is odd as typically I love barrel aged ciders), but would be curious to try this one again when it was very cold.
Cider Riot Champoeg X-17 on Nitro, 4.6% ABV, Portland OR: This is a hopped cider, part of their new Champoeg line, and made using an experimental hops variety. Smells herbal & floral. Semi-dry. The hops flavor remains very mild, and is more herbal & floral than hoppy. It reminded me some of Portland Hop’rageous and Tod Creek Mala-Hop, which are also both mild (although this cider was even milder on the hops). Very light boded. The Nitro tap didn’t seem to add much except additional foam (I think it works best with Berry ciders). I’m not a hops fan, so I don’t think I fully appreciated it, but it wasn’t bad. Overall it left me wanting more flavor, but I wouldn’t have wanted any more hops flavor.
My favorites of the evening were Eaglemount Cyser, AeppelTreow Barn Swallow, and Schilling Pineapple Passion, in that order.
Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says! Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?