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?

2 Towns Hop and Stalk

Review of 2 Towns’ Imperial Hop and Stalk, a seasonal release with Citra hops and rhubarb.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  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:  Hop and Stalk
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American Imperial (high ABV) craft cider made from dessert apples, with Citra hops and rhubarb

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Availability:  Seasonably (May-Aug) in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Fresh and citrusy, Hop & Stalk packs a Northwest punch.  Fresh-pressed apples and rhubarb are dry-hopped with Citra hops, creating a cider erupting with fresh aromatics and a tart, biting backbone.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (runs $7.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade medium straw yellow.  Low carbonation.  Smells very aromatic, primarily of citrus, with some hops and strawberry-rhubarb.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of citrus (lemon, lime, and orange), hops, floral, rhubarb, and strawberry.  Long finish with some baked apple.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Moderate to strong hoppiness.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, but I liked last year’s batch better, as it seemed a tad more balanced (more fruity / less hoppy).

Most Similar to:  Hopped ciders with lots of citrus notes and some fruitiness.  Portland Cider Hop’Rageous also uses Citra hops, so you get more citrus & floral than bitter hops.  Tod Creek Mala-Hop also had a lot of citrus notes, but used Chinook, Sterling and Centennial, not Citra hops.  This is the most citrusy hopped cider I’ve tried though, and the only one with another fruit addition.

Closing Notes:  Another winner from 2 Towns!

Have you tried 2 Towns Hop and Stalk?  What did you think?

Oregon Mead & Cider Co. Free Press Hopped Cider

Review of Oregon Mead & Cider Company’s Free Press Hopped Cider.  It is my first time trying this cider, although I tried their Dry variety the night before.

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Cider:  Free Press Hopped Cider
Cidery:  Oregon Mead & Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider, with hops

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Availability:  Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin

Cider Description:  Hard Cider Made Easy. Our ciders were born from the bounty of the Northwest and the pioneering spirit of our grandparents. A perfect balance of dry and tart, our ciders are made by the people, for the people. Press on.

Cidery Description:  Oregon Mead & Cider Co. creates award-winning, dry, sparkling meads and ciders from premium Northwest ingredients. All of our beverages are gluten-free, unfiltered, and completely dry. Oh, and we never use sulfites. Ever.

They have a tasting room in Portland (see here).

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was my first time seeing anything from this brand, although I had heard of them.

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with a large amount of foam.  Smells apple-forward, of hops with a hint of peach.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a frothy texture.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or bitterness.  Notes of hops, lemon, grapefruit, yeast, and a hint of floral & honey.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked the level of carbonation, the frothy texture, and the flavor profile.  However, the bitterness was a bit much for me.  Like the Dry, it seemed a bit beer-like.

Most Similar to:  Double Mountain Jumpin Jack Heirloom Cider and Oregon Mead & Cider Company’s Free Press Dry Cider

Closing Notes:  I liked this much better than their Dry cider, which I though had a strange flavor profile.

Have you tried Oregon Mead & Cider Company’s Free Press Hopped Cider?  What did you think?

Anthem Hops

Review of Anthem Hops.  It is my first time trying this one, although I have previously tried their flagship cider, Raz & Boyz, Ap-Bee-Cot, Rose Pinot, and Cherry.

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Cider:  Hops
Cidery:  Anthem (Wandering Aengus)
Cidery Location:  Salem Oregon
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American large craft cider from dessert apples, finished with Cascade hops

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Availability:  CA, CO, ID, IL, IN, MI, MT, NJ, NM, OR, PA, TN, TX, UH, VA, WA, and WA D.C.

Cider Description:  Anthem Cider’s tribute to the Northwest’s love of hops, Anthem Hops is a gluten free cider dry hopped with Oregon grown Cascade hops for over three weeks. The result is a light lagerish cider with all the beautiful citrus and floral aromas of Cascade hops with a only slight bitterness on the finish. Shy of Dry. Mild Tart. 10 IBU. 5.5% to 6.9% ABV. GLUTEN FREE.

Cidery Description:  We only use fresh pressed apples and other fruits, herbs sourced from the Pacific Northwest of known varieties – they are listed on every bottle and keg. To make great real cider, the varieties of apples, fruit additions and herbs matter. As does where the ingredients are grown and how far removed they are from their original form (degrees separated through processing from the farm to the bottle).

The fresh pressed apples we use provide all the sugars for fermentation and the malic acid (source of the tartness). Any and all residual sweetness in Anthem is provided by the apples we started with or the fruits we finish with.  The result is a line up of real ciders made the way you expect; apples pressed and fermented.

Price:  ~$3.50 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been getting into hopped ciders, and realized I hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of hops, citrus, and floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  Moderate bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, hops, green apple, mineral, and a hint of floral.  Moderate to long finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability, flavor, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor, but it was a bit too bitter for my preferences.

Most Similar to:  Square Mile Spur & Vine and Incline Explorer (although both are less bitter)

Closing Notes:  Hopped ciders have really grown on me.  I like the citrus flavors they impart, and especially enjoy them when they aren’t bitter.

Side Note:  After purchasing it, I realized the bottling date was June 2015 (batch 64).

Have you tried Anthem Hops?  What did you think?

Stem Ciders Remedy Dry Hopped Apple Cider

Review of Remedy from Stem Ciders, their dry hopped cider.  I’ve previously tried their Le Chene, Blood Orange Cyser, and Malice.  My husband brought this and 4 of their other ciders (plus even some Pommeau!) back from Colorado for me.

Cider:  Remedy
Cidery:  Stem Ciders
Cidery Location:  Denver Colorado
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans, and kegs
Style:  American craft dry cider made from dessert apples, with Cascade & Citra hops

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Availability:  Only in Colorado, year round, at these retailers.

Cider Description:  Dry hopped with Cascade & Citra hops.  Floral and citrus fruit intermingle with apple on the nose giving way to a tart apple zing without any bitterness.

Cidery Description:  At Stem Ciders, we are committed to creating ciders of the highest quality that honor the purity and complexity that is inherent to the apple. We can’t wait to introduce you to your perfect cider match. We are dedicated to reviving the cider tradition, which goes far beyond what you enjoy in your glass. We hold our growers in the highest regard, and by fostering relationships with them we reward their hard work and promote the regrowth of heirloom apple cultivation. We love our home-base in Denver, and embrace the Colorado lifestyle that makes us lug a bottle to share up a mountain to enjoy a drink with a view. Most importantly, we love nothing more than seeing that smile on your face when you have your first sip of one of our crisp, refreshing ciders.

Price:  $10 / four pack
Where Bought:  Stem Ciders tasting room in Denver
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about Stem Ciders online.  Last time my husband was in Colorado, he picked me up a bunch of ciders, including Stem Le Chene.  I keep hearing about their Banjo special release cider, but I’m 0/3 as far as finding it (apparently its only available about 1 month a year; its currently still barrel aging).  This time around I thought I’d make it easier on my husband and give him a shopping list all from the same cidery, so he could just stop by the tap room (vs. trying to find ciders at multiple bottle shops).  I e-mailed the cidery ahead of time and they were nice enough to send me a list of what they had in stock.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of hops and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate bitterness.  Low astringency.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of hops, citrus, floral, herbal, honey, mineral, and green apple.  Long bitter finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, although it was a bit more bitter than I prefer.  It has a light wine-like flavor which would pair well with food.

Most Similar to:  Incline Explorer, Portland Cider Hop’Rageous, and Tod Creek Mala-Hop

Closing Notes:   This is a nice hopped cider option for folks who like dry ciders and want something available in a multipack.  Next up I have their Branch & Bramble (raspberry) cider, then special releases Whiskey Barrel-Aged Apricot and Pommeau.

Have you tried Stem Remedy?  What did you think?

Square Mile Spur & Vine Hopped Cider

Review of Square Mile’s Spur & Vine hopped cider.  I’ve previously tried their other variety, Original.

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Cider:  Spur & Vine
Cidery:  Square Mile (part of Craft Brew Alliance)
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  six packs of 12oz bottles and 22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples, with Galaxy hops

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Availability:  Year round in WA, OR, CA, HI, AK, NV, AZ, TX, MT, ID, MI, & CO

Cider Description:  Spur & Vine puts a Northwest twist on our classic American hard cider.  Starting with the same apples and yeast as The Original, we added a generous amount of Galaxy hops during cold conditioning.  Since no heat is applied to the hops, our cider takes on flavors and aromas of peach, melon and honeysuckle but none of the traditional hop bitterness.  Spur & Vine is best served straight up to allow the complexities of this cider to shine.

Cidery Description:  Inspired by the pioneering spirit of those who traveled the Oregon Trail in the pursuit of a dream, we offer Square Mile Hard Cider.  We set out to reinvigorate an enduringly classic American beverage with a blend of apples hand-selected for the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  Our hard cider pays homage to the fortitude and perseverance of the original pioneers.

They were founded in 2013.

Price:  $1.99 / single bottle (runs ~ $9 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  A couple people have told me they liked this, and its even won awards, but I held off for awhile as I didn’t care for their Original cider.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of hops, floral, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of citrus (lemon), hops, floral, herbal, mineral, lemongrass, and honey.  Moderate to long finish.  Moderate hoppiness, apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I’m a fan.  Nice hops flavor without going too overboard, and without the bitterness.  Oddly enough I found this less beer-like than their Original cider.  Its probably my favorite hopped cider to date.  This category has grown on me.  I think I started off on the wrong foot, not liking beer, then having Reverend Nat’s Envy (an intensely hopped bitter dry cider) being the first I tried.

Most Similar to:  Other hopped ciders.  This one has a nice balance of citrus, floral, and herbal flavor from the hops.  Some other hopped ciders sway only towards citrus or floral.

Closing Notes:  Now I’ve tried both offerings from Square Mile; oddly enough they only make two.

Have you tried hopped cider?  What did you think?

Incline Explorer Hopped Cider

Review of Incline Cider Company’s The Explorer – Hopped Cider.  Its the first time I’ve tried their cider, and this was the first cider this company released (January 2016).

Cider:  The Explorer – Hopped Cider
Cidery:  Incline Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  six packs of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft hopped cider made from dessert apples

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Availability:  Year round in Washington and Oregon

Cider Description:  On the drier end of the scale while remaining very smooth and well balanced. The Explorer Hopped Cider is produced from our blend of Yakima apples. A hearty dose of hops is added in to create a extremely balanced, complex, and refreshing cider. NO added sugar, no concentrates, nothing funky.
Cheers!

Cidery Description:  On a mission to share craft cider with the nation. Incline Cider Company was established by dreamers turned cider adventurers.  Founded through a long time passion with the industry and for quality craft cider, Incline was born.  Our mission is to produce craft cider of the highest quality and share it with the world.

We stay true to “craft”.  This means no apple concentrates and no artificial additives.  To put it simply – we let the apples, yeast, and our expertise do the talking.  GMO and Gluten Free.  Family owned and operated..  

Price:  ~$2 for a single can
Where Bought:  Whole Foods
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I had read about this cider online and seen full six packs in other stores

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of hops, citrus, floral, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Hop-forward (moderate).  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of hops, citrus, floral, and honey.  Moderate finish length.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I found this easy to drink, but its not something I’d buy again, as I prefer a higher flavor intensity and less overt hoppiness (ie. citrus & floral notes vs. actual hop flavor).  I liked that the bitterness didn’t linger, which I’ve found some some hoppier ciders.

Most Similar to:  Other moderately hopped ciders, such as Portland Cider Hop’Rageous and Tod Creek Mala-Hop.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got to try this.  I can no longer say that I don’t enjoy hopped ciders, although they aren’t my first choice.  I think Incline did well staying middle of the road as far as hoppiness to appeal to both cider and beer drinkers.  I’m curious what they will come out with next.  Their website lists The Scout Hopped Marionberry Cider, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Have you tried Incline Explorer?  What did you think?