Gumption Cider Co. Citrus Freak

Review of Citrus Freak from Gumption Cider Co. (part of Vermont Cider Co., which also includes Woodchuck).  This is the second year-round offering from the series, along with the original Gumption (which I reviewed here).  Gumption started in 2015 under the Woodchuck brand, but it branched out as its own brand in 2016.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by the Vermont Cider Co.  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:  Citrus Freak
Cidery:  Gumption Cider Co. (part of the Vermont Cider Co.)
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with citrus and Cascade hops

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Availability:  Year-round, wide release

Cider Description:  Part prankster, part gangster, Gumption’s right-hand man is the Citrus Freak.  A perfect pairing of eating apples, grapefruit, and Cascade hops, this semi-dry cider delivers an all-day enjoyable citrus experience.

Gumption Description:  The Circus of Ciders.  Originally launched under the Woodchuck brand in 2015, Gumption® is a bold and audacious brand which has been wildly successful with consumers. In December 2016, Gumption spun off from Woodchuck® as its own brand with line extensions including the rotational Late Show series and Citrus Freak.

Vermont Cider Co. Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of their namesake brand, the original American hard cider, Woodchuck, the northeast premium hard cider brand, Vermont Cider Co., the circus of ciders, Gumption, the west coast native, Wyder’s Cider, and importers of Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award-winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $8.99-$10.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Very pale straw yellow.  Nearly still.  Smells mildly of sweet citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of grapefruit, lemon, orange, and a hint of citrus-forward hops.  Moderate length finish.  High sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the start of this cider, but after a few sips the citrus got a bit fake, almost air freshener ish, more of grapefruit extract than grapefruit juice.  I was surprised the hops were almost imperceptible, but I imagine some folks will like that.  I liked that they went drier on this one too.

Most Similar to:  Schilling Grapefruit & Chill and Somersby Citrus Fruit (or for a more real-tasting grapefruit cider, Elemental Hydrogen)

Closing Notes:  I’d love to see this go more natural tasting, then I’d be a fan, as I like the idea of it.

Have you tried Gumption Citrus Freak?  What did you think?

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Woodchuck Local Nectar Makes it to Washington! (Plus Inside Scoop on Upcoming Woodchuck Releases)

Wednesday was tap night at Special Brews in Lynnwood WA, and this week was a special treat, with four ciders on tap from Woodchuck.  Their NW representative, Jen, was even on hand.  She brought plenty of giveaways (my husband got a sweet Woodchuck polo).  Gumption, Fall Harvest, Pumpkin, and Hopsation were listed.

However, as the night went on, the Pumpkin came into question, as it was reported as pouring a very light color and not being very pumpkiny.  After some taste testing, it was determined it was actually Local Nectar!  Yes, the 100% Vermont apple Local Nectar cider which Woodchuck only sells in Vermont (they also have a Michigan version though).  The keg must have got mislabeled.  So, this may have been the first time that Local Nectar was sold in Washington!

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I tried Local Nectar before at Ciderbration 2014, Woodchuck’s grand opening party for their new cidery, which we were lucky enough to win a free weekend trip to!  They are having a repeat this year by the way, Ciderstock, happening this very weekend.  Too bad I didn’t win their contest again this year…  Anyway, back to Local Nectar.  It is one of Woodchuck’s drier selections, pretty middle of the road as far as sweetness.  Its not one of my favorites as it has some bitterness on the tail end, but it is a very nice cider, clean & refreshing.  I had thought I liked it more, but after re-tasting it, I think I was thinking of their special-release Ciderbration cider.  Now that stuff was awesome!  Sweet and very sparkling.  Otherwise, I would have got a growler, as Local Nectar in Washington is rare indeed.

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Before we found out the Pumpkin was actually Local Nectar, I had ordered Gumption, their newest core cider which I recently reviewed.  Its even better on tap!  Of course, I also did some bottle shopping.  It becomes very easy to buy cider while drinking a cider.

We also chatted with the Woodchuck rep Jen.  She had some great inside scoop to share with us:

(1)  Woodchuck’s next Out on a Limb release (next month) will be a spicy cider, Hot Cha Cha Cha.  Woodchuck tested this variety out in April with a “Firkin” keg, per their Twitter feed.  I’ve had a few spicy ciders but haven’t been a fan so far, as the heat seems to overwhelm the cider.  I imagine it will be more likable though if it has more sweetness and less heat.

(2)  A Washington version of Local Nectar is in work.  This will be made at an unspecified cidery in Washington for Woodchuck, using 100% Washington apples.  Should be interesting.  I wonder if it too will only be sold in the state the apples are from (Washington), because if so, it has a lot of competition here.  No release date yet.

I’ll definitely be reviewing both of those once they are out, so stay tuned!  Be sure to follow Cider Says on Facebook, through Wordpress, or by e-mail (link in sidebar on right, or at the bottom of the page on mobile devices) to get blog post notifications.

Woodchuck Gumption

Review of Woodchuck Gumption, released March 2015, the newest addition to Woodchuck’s Core lineup.  Their other core ciders are Amber, Granny Smith, 802, Pear, Raspberry, Local Nectar, & Hopsation.  Pretty sweet packaging, huh?

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I tried Gumption previously and for some reason I wasn’t impressed, but I thought it was worth a second taste since it has been very well received.  No idea why I didn’t like it last time, but this time, I did!  Maybe because it was hyped so much I was expecting something epic?  Woodchuck has even been having nationwide circus-themed release parties.

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Cider:  Gumption
CideryWoodchuck
Cidery Location: Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied: 12oz bottle
Availability:  year round, wide release, six packs of 12oz bottles (and now cans)

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Cider Description:  Bold and unique.  Legendary showman P.T. Barnum once noted, “everybody drank cider-spirits called ‘gumption’.” Our Woodchuck GUMPTION™ celebrates the spirit of P.T. Barnum and those with the gumption to follow their own path. We pair the fresh juice of common eating apples with dry (European Bittersweet) cider apples to bring you a bold and unique drinking experience.

Cidery Description: Here at the Woodchuck Cidery in Vermont, we handcraft every batch of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Our Cider Makers utilize the highest quality ingredients and meticulously oversee each small batch from start to finish. We reinvigorated American cider in 1991 and continue to lead the category through our commitment to craft innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  ~$2 for a single bottle (typically $8-$10 for a full six pack)
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found: There was lots of online hype prior to release, so I had been on the lookout.  I picked up my first single bottle at Total Wine just after it was released.  This time I had been wanting to try it again, and found some at Special Brews.

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First Impression: Clear orange amber color (which appears to be true, unlike their Amber cider variety which adds color).  Light carbonation.  I only pick up one scent, of ripe sweet apples.

Opinion:  Sweet but not very sweet.  I like the sweeter start with a touch of bitterness in the (quick) finish.  I also like the lack of tartness and the balanced acidity.  This is more complex than most of their other ciders, such as Amber, but isn’t all that complex when compared to most craft ciders.  I even detect a slight woody earthiness.  Gumption is very easy to drink.  It doesn’t have all that bold of a flavor, but is unique and tasty.  I find it interesting that the bottle says less than 1% natural flavor, but Woodchuck’s website says no added flavors….I wonder which is true.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve tried.  Most ciders which incorporate bittersweet cider apples are drier craft varieties.  This is a unique cider for this segment.

Closing Notes:  I quite enjoyed Woodchuck Gumption, and may have to pick up some more.  I now think I prefer it over their Amber variety (note this cider has significantly less sugar than Amber, 13 vs. 21 grams in 12 oz).  I think this is a very solid commercial cider, but I wouldn’t consider Woodchuck to be a craft cidery.  Woodchuck is undergoing a significant re-branding & marketing campaign to compete with Angry Orchard, so I’m intrigued to see what they come up with next!

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Have you tried Woodchuck Gumption?  What did you think?