Eden Cellar Series #9 Siren Song

Review of Eden Cellar Series #9, Siren Song.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many varieties from Eden – Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The Falstaff, and Heritage (canned).

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Cider:  Cellar Series #9, Siren Song
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport, VT
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider

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Availability:  probably just online, although their regular ciders are sold in stores

Cider Description:  In Greek mythology the songs of the Sirens were enough to entice a Mariner to jump off his trireme, only to meet his end in the depths of the Adriatic Sea. This cider will beguile you with fruit, spice and smoke, cradled in an illusion of residual sweetness. As you follow it down to the depths of your glass, the tannins reveal themselves in astringency rather than bitterness. The complexity derives from a mix of over 20 apple varieties, harvest-pressed and fermented slow and cold as are all our heritage ciders. The curvaceous balance derives from skillful blending by our enraptured Cider team. Another glassful calls.

Limited run: Only 80 cases produced.  Winner 2018 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) Gold: Heritage Dry Cider.  2017 Harvest.  20 variety blend of tannic cider apples, including Kerr and Dolgo crabs, Russets and high acid heirlooms.  Filtered and carbonated.  7.5% ABV, 1.2% residual sweetness.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a Tasting Bar in Newport VT, and a Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar in Winooski VT.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  their online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, as I wanted to check if they had any new varieties since I last looked, and they did, so I ordered some, then they e-mailed to say they were offering free shipping! (through Dec 20 2018, on 3 or more bottles)

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart tannic rich apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, caramel, lemon, mineral, earth, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity, sessionability, and apple flavor.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Nice complexity with a unique flavor profile, a little of everything.  I definitely picked up more influence from crab and heirloom apples than bittersweet apples though.  I had this after dinner, but I think it would be even better suited to pair with a meal, nearly anything.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Ciderworks Hewe’s Crab SV

Closing Notes:  I also purchased Eden’s newish Extra Sec and Cellar Series Ezekiel (Kingston Black SV), both of which I’ll review soon, and another bottle of Guinevere’s Pearls, which I have to say I prefer over Siren Song.

Have you tried Eden Siren Song?  What did you think?


South City Ciderworks Original Blend

Review of South City Ciderworks’ Original Blend cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Original Blemd
Cidery:  South City Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  San Bruno CA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  probably only in Northern California, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The Original Blend is our very first cider, formerly known as “South City Cider”. We started the company because we wanted an easy-drinking cider we could bring camping, while hanging out at the beach, to the dog park, or really anywhere that glass wasn’t a good idea, and this blend was the result. This semi-sweet, dry finishing cider is known for it’s easy drinkability without being overly sweet. The Original Blend is available in 12-ounce cans and kegs.

Cidery Description:  We founded South City Ciderworks in 2015 as an urban cider company to make great cider and a difference. Using only fresh-pressed, West Coast apples our ciders are crafted to be well balanced and easy drinking. We support non-profits focused on helping the community, animals, and the environment. We’re here to Make Cider Make A Difference. 

Price:  ~$3 / can
Where Bought:  at the ferry terminal in San Francisco CA (they have a bunch of cool shops, many with local stuff – this was from a shop which had wine and some single bottles/cans of beers & ciders, but no idea which one unfortunately)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Moderate straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells mild, of sweet apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of non-specific apple with hints of lemon and floral.  Quick finish.  Low flavor intensity, complexity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, it was a bit boring, like most unflavored ciders from dessert apples (ie. those without fruit/hops/spices/etc) are to me.  At least they made it a bit sweeter, as that does help these sorts of ciders have some flavor, but wasn’t anywhere near too sweet.

Most Similar to:  a bit like Blackfin Splash

Closing Notes:  I bet this selection would have a wide appeal, being mid level sweetness and no qualities to not make it entry level (like sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins).

Have you tried South City cider?  What did you think?

Cidrerie Milton CID Original Cider

Review of Cidrerie Milton’s CID Original Cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  CID Original Cider
Cidery:  Cidrerie Milton
Cidery Location:  Quebec Canda
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 355ml bottles
Style:  Canadian cider from heirloom apples

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description (translated):   Developed from Mcintosh and Spartan apples, our Cid Original is the essential cider to keep the doctor away! Gerald the moose, the biggest animal in the province, must consume 30 bottles of original cid per day to satisfy his needs!  Refreshing.  Light.  Fresh apples.  Perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.

Price:  ~$4 / bottle?
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – this was a random selection as I couldn’t read the bottle (I assume its in French), but I thought I might as well give it a try

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mild, of sweet apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of non-specific apple with some pineapple and lemon.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor, complexity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  I had been expecting something more commercial tasting, but this was quite nice, with some light flavor.

Most Similar to:  a more refined and light version of Woodchuck 802 Collection ‘Lil Dry

Closing Notes:  I think this may be the first regular Quebec cider I’ve tried (although I think I had some ice cider from there).  Also, their website shows updated bottle labels, so who knows how old this bottle is.

Have you tried Canadian cider?  What did you think?

Hard Row to Hoe The Other Cider of the Lake

Review of Hard Row to Hoe’s The Other Cider of the Lake.  It is my first time trying anything from this winery (they primarily makes grape wine).

Cider:  The Other Cider of the Lake
Cidery:  Hard Row to Hoe
Cidery Location:  Chelan, WA
ABV:  4.7%
How Supplied:  16oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  likely limited to the Chelan area, plus online sales

Cider Description:  The Other Cider of the Lake is our seasonal, small-batch, premium hard cider.  Made with Granny Smith, gala, fuji and honeycrisp apples and finishes dry and crisp.  The name harkens back to the Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards namesake story about a copper mine, a row boat and a brothel on the other side of the lake [Chelan].  This cider comes in a 4 pack of 16 ounce cans.

Cidery Description:  Making Serious Wines with a Lighthearted Approach

Price:  ~ $4 / can
Where Bought:  my husband picked this up for me at the winery when wine tasting
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Nearly clear.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sweet green apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Very light bodied.  Very low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple with a hint of pineapple.  Short finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Very low flavor intensity.  Very high sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average, plenty drinkable, but it didn’t hold my interest.  A bit watery and light in flavor, probably due to it being drier and made from non-cider apples.  My husband was a bigger fan.

Most Similar to:  Ulee’s Light Cider Dry and Number Six Dry 99

Closing Notes:  For the most part I haven’t been impressed by ciders made by wineries or breweries.

Have you tried The Other Cider of the Lake?  What did you think?

Sicera Cidre de Normandie Florentin

Review of Sicera Cidre de Normandie’s Florentin  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Florentin
Cidery:  Sicera Cidre de Normandie
Cidery Location:  Normandy, France
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  French cidre

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Availability:  unknown

Cider Description (translated):  The Florentine is a cider with a fruity and fresh nose in the mouth.  There are notes of citrus and pine.  The varieties of apple that make up this cider: Red Binet, Caillouel, Clos Renaud, Judor, Petit.  The Florentine is the result of a fermentation on native (natural) yeast for 5 months.  The yeasts present in the fruit and atmosphere of the cellar are called indigenous yeasts.

Cidery Description:  The family property “Amfreville” is located in Eturqueraye in Calvados appellation area, in the heart of Normandy, between the Seine Valley and the Risle Valley.  The apples are all from our family orchards. We work 10 hectares of tall orchards and 10 hectares of low stems. We grow 15 varieties of apples belonging to the groups: bitter, sweet, bittersweet and tart.  Each cider is made up of several varieties of apples, each of which has its importance: the bitter ones bring structure, the bittersweet their aromas, the sweet ones for the sugar and finally the acidulated ones structure the product and bring freshness. 

Price:  ~$20 CAN ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, at a cruise port

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Smells of apple pomace and funk.  Moderate carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a fluffy texture from the natural carbonation.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, apricot, and lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Drier and less rich (more fruity) than most other French ciders, which made it unique.

Most Similar to:  Kystin Opalyne

Closing Notes:  I thought this was a neat find in Victoria, one that I hadn’t seen previously, and such a pretty label.

Have you tried French cider?  What did you think?

Newton’s Folly Semi-Dry Barrel Select

Review of Newton’s Folly Semi-Dry Barrel Select.  This is a Trader Joe’s exclusive, made at the Woodchuck facility, and appears to be a barrel aged version of their regular Newton Folly Semi-Dry canned cider, which I reviewed here.

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Cider:  Newton’s Folly Semi-Dry Barrel Select
Cidery:  American Hard Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottle
Style:  American commercial semi-dry cider, barrel aged

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Availability:  only at Trader Joe’s

Cider Description:  Hard Cider has a history that reaches back hundreds of years in Vermont, where our Newton’s Folly Cider is fermented and bottled.  Newton’s Folly Barrel Select Semi-Dry delivers an oaky, bourbon taste perfect for enjoying with family and friends.  We do offer a heads up however.  Enjoy this fine cider directly under an apple tree at your own risk.

Price:  $5.99
Where Bought:  Trader Joe’s
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of green apple juice, honey, tropical fruit, and hints of oak & bourbon.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.  Low barrel influence.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  I wished there was more barrel influence, but I say that about nearly every barrel aged cider.  Also, the cider profile isn’t really the type that is ideal for barrel aging (more fruity than rich).

Most Similar to:  a slightly barrel aged version of Bertolinos (except Newton’s Folly is lower carbonation), Bite Hard Semi-Sweet, or Woodchuck 802 Collection Lil’ Dry

Closing Notes:  Like Trader Joe’s Dan Armor (French cider), this is a tasty budget-friendly cider that likely would have wide appeal, and be a perfect cider to serve at a gathering.

Have you tried Newton’s Folly?  What did you think?

Embark Dream Cicle Field of Dreams

Review of Embark Cider’s Dream Cicle, Field of Dreams.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery (or even seeing their products in person, although I heard about them online).  Note that they also have another cider in the ‘Dream Cicle’ series, called The Topics, a hopped mango version, with a green can label, as described in this article.

Cider:  Dream Cicle (series), Field of Dreams
Cidery:  Embark Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Williamson, NY
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, unfiltered, with strawberries, blackberries, peaches, and milk sugar

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Availability:  likely limited

Cider Description:  Fermented with milk sugar and blended with strawberries, blackberries, and white peaches.

Cidery Description:  We focus on what makes a great hard cider: local passion, unique heritage & quality apples.

They have a tap room in Williamson NY.

Price:  $13.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  Cheese Plus in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a cruise port stop (this shop is across the street from The Jug Shop, and both are awesome)

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First Impression:  Hazy pink hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of berry.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk (although it seemed to have a lot of the qualities of a sour cider without the actual sourness itself).  Notes of non-specific berry (but not peach), lemon, malt, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  This cider grew on me.  Overall I’d say I liked it, but just barely.  Its definitely beer-inspired, super unique, and was quite difficult for me to try to describe.  The only reason I bought it is because I was intrigued by the use of milk sugar (I assume lactose).  I’ve heard of it being used in home cidermaking as it is a non-fermentable sugar so you don’t have to worry about cider fermentation restarting and creating “bottle bombs”.  I’m wondering if the milk sugar significantly contributed to the overall flavor profile, or whether that was from something else.  If the description had said it was beer-inspired I probably wouldn’t have bought it.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve had!

Side Note:  I bought about 2 cases of cider on my last cruise.  Good thing we didn’t have to fly.  And of those, this was the only cider I bought a multi-pack of.  Most everything else I bought was either a single large format bottle, or a single 16oz can (in Victoria B.C. – probably split by the shops for convenience as we were in a downtown/tourist area).  Plus I realized I wouldn’t be able to get nearly as many selections if I bought multipacks.

Closing Notes:  I’d be interested in trying a more traditional cider from them.

Have you tried Embark Dream Cicle?  What did you think?