Liberty Ciderworks Golden Russet SV

Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ Golden Russet, a reserve series single varietal cider made from golden russet heirloom apples.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Manchurian Crabapple Single VarietalCrabensteinEnglish StyleAbbessStonewall Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel AgedGravensteinCellar Series #G15New World StyleCellar Series (unknown), and McIntosh ciders.

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Cider:  Golden Russet SV
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  9.8%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft single varietal cider from golden russet apples

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Availability:  Likely only in WA, plus their online store (although this variety is no longer listed)

Cider Description:  Reserve Series #516.  Golden Russet apples are one of America’s greatest cider discoveries, found in New York – a chance seedling – in the early 1800s. This version presents characteristic butterscotch aromas with baked/dried stone fruit flavors. Golden Russets seem to thrive in our region, with off-the charts sugar levels in our 2015 vintage, giving this cider a 9.8% ABV.

Cidery Description:  Carrying the torch for Artisan Cider. Located in the largest apple-growing region on the planet, Liberty Ciderworks is all about the apple, showcasing the diversity and wonders of locally grown fruit. From well known apples like McIntosh and Jonathan to rare, cider-specific fruit like Kingston Black and Dabinett, Liberty ciders put apples in their proper place: Front and center. We started Liberty Ciderworks in 2013 with a simple, two-part mission: 1) Using apples from local farms and fields, create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Share them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest. Welcome to the cider revolution.  Cheers!  Rick & Austin

Liberty has a tap room in Spokane WA.

Price:  $17.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve tried much of their lineup and liked most of them.

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First Impression:  Light caramel amber hue.  Nearly still.  Yeast sediment floaters.  Smells rich and boozy.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of butterscotch, stone fruit, honey, orange, earthiness/wood, leather, and a buttery starchiness.  Long warming finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Nice rich flavor.  However, I would have guessed this was a spirit barrel aged cider or even a brandy-fortified cider, as it was that strong (although it is only from the high-sugar apples in this case).  I agree with the label’s suggestion to drink it in between fridge and room temperature.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Stonewall Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel Aged, Aspall Imperial2 Towns Bad Apple, and Wandering Aengus Golden Russet (also, although not very similar, I’ve also tried another Golden Russet SV, from Reverend Nat’s, which was whiskey barrel aged with black currant and excellent – see here)

Closing Notes:  This is a heavy-hitting cider, probably best suited for winter sipping (its been sitting around my house awhile…), but enjoyable and an excellent value any time of year.

Have you tried Liberty Golden Russet?  What did you think?


Wandering Aengus Golden Russet

Review of Wandering Aengus Golden Russet, a single varietal cider from Salem Oregon.  I’ve previously tried their Bloom, Wickson, Oaked Dry, Wanderlust, and Byrd (tap only) ciders.  Wandering Aengus also makes Anthem cider, sold in four packs.

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Cider:  Golden Russet
Cidery:  Wandering Aengus Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Salem OR
ABV:  9.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and limited quantity of kegs)
Style:  Single varietal craft cider made from Golden Russet apples

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Availability:  CA, CO, ID, IL, IN, MI, MT, NM, NJ, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, and WA D.C. per this list on their website.

Cider Description:  Made from Golden Russet apples grown organically in Ashland Oregon.  Described as having “rich honey aromas”.  Suggested pairings of roasted duck or aged fontina cheese.  1,200 cases of 12 bottles and 60 kegs bottled Match 2015 from the 2014 harvest.

Cidery Description:  At Wandering Aengus Ciderworks we press and blend over 20 cider apple varietals to craft our ciders. Our cider specific apples originate from France, England, and pre-prohibition America, but are grown now in Oregon. These heirloom varieties are essential for the depth of flavor, excellent body, and delightnful aromatics of our distinctive ciders. All our ciders are always GLUTEN FREE.

They have a tasting room in Salem Oregon open Fridays 4-8pm.

Price:  $8.99
Where Bought:  Whole Foods
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  The Hard Cider Appreciation Society group on Facebook had a couple members mention they really enjoyed this cider.  I haven’t been a huge fan of any Wandering Aengus cider, but wanted to give this one a try.

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First Impression:  Light golden bronze amber.  Very low carbonation, large bubbles.  Smells like acidic & tannic apples, honey, yeast, and caramel.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Moderate acidity and tartness.  Low bitterness and tannins.  A hint of sourness.  No funk.  Caramel and honey notes.  Medium bodied.  Slightly creamy buttery type texture.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I found this a bit less bitter than most of the other Wandering Aengus ciders I’ve tried.  The tartness seemed to overpower the flavor a bit, but I liked the caramel and honey notes.

Most Similar to:  Wandering Aengus Oaked Dry and Wanderlust.

Closing Notes:   This was nice to try, but not my type of cider.  I think with a bit less tartness and bitterness I would have enjoyed it though, as the flavor notes were really nice.  I imagine I may have liked it better too if I had appropriately paired it, but I ended up drinking most of the bottle before dinner.

Have you tried Wandering Aengus ciders?  What did you think?