Grizzly Ciderworks The Bruin Dark & Dry Hopped

Review of Grizzly Ciderworks’ The Bruin, Dark & Dry Hopped.  It is my first time trying this one, but I have had Grizzly’s The RidgeWoodlander Wit, and Pomnivore.

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Cider:  The Bruin, Dark & Dry Hopped
Cidery:  Grizzly Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  WA and/or OR (it isn’t specific)
ABV:  6.7%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with Molasses & Willamette hops

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Availability:  year round in Washington, Idaho, and Montana

Cider Description:  THE BRUIN is crafted with a dry apple base, blended with dark sugars and steeped with light touch of Willamette hops.  The nose has a nice earthiness with a palate of ripe apple, rich sugars and earthy spice.  Excellent with pork, steak and other meat dishes or hearty flavors.

Cidery Description:  Over three years in the making, Grizzly Ciderworks is pleased to release our entire line of products to the public.  We’ve test-marketed over a dozen ciders  in kegs and bottles, with varying labels and names, produced in multiple facilities in two states, and worked with a vast network of local vendor partners for each and every ingredient to make our product.  From labels to fruit, caps to hops, cases to spices, everything piece of a Grizzly Cider bottle comes from within 150 miles of our cidery.  These ingredients are ALL-NATURAL and the ciders are all GLUTEN-FREE.

They started in Woodinville WA in 2013 but moved to the Walla Walla Valley of SE Washington / NE Oregon in 2015.  Many of their ciders are beer-inspired (their bottle even said their ciders are brewed?!).

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been more into hopped ciders lately, plus I’m a fan of Mollasses in cider, so this sounded good.

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First Impression:  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Moderate orange amber hue.  Smells of bitter hops and sweet caramel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of orange, hops, molasses, caramel, and wood.  Moderate to long hopped finish.  Low hops intensity.  Moderate flavor intensity, apple flavor, and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  It was surprisingly complex, and had a nice mix of earthy & sweet notes without being overly sweet.  It was missing the typical citrus/herbal/floral type flavor notes, likely due to the molasses being more dominant than the hops.

Most Similar to:  Spire Dark & Dry and Woodchuck 802 (except less sweet and with hops), and Grizzly’s The Ridge & Woodlander Wit.

Closing Notes:  Grizzly makes some solid ciders, but so far this is my favorite.  Its a nice price point too.  I could see this selling well in a multi pack (and for a beer-inspired mid-priced cider, I’m surprised they haven’t gone that route yet…maybe as a canning line costs much more than a bottling line to set up).

Have you tried Grizzly Ciderworks The Bruin?  What did you think?

Schilling Road Trip (Peach Citra)

Review of Schilling Cider’s Road Trip (Peach Citra), a cider with peach and Citra hops.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve previously sampled their Gold, Grapefruit, Oak AgedChaiderGingerHoppedSriracha LimeBarrel #1Barrel #2Mischief Maker Pom-CranGrumpy Bear Coffee NitroPineapple PassionLumberJack (Rhubarb)Blackberry PearDryKing’s ShillingVanilla CloveRaspberry SmoothiePeach Grapefruit HabaneroBailoutTrouble in ParadiseBlueberry CobblerFrench BittersweetPippin, and Afterglow ciders.

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Cider:  Road Trip (Peach Citra)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  6.6%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with peach and CItra hops

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Availability:  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a summer seasonal release (July-September) and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  Sweet and juicy peach and farm fresh citra hops.

Cidery Description:  We capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating hard ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold, and flavor forward. 

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.

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First Impression:  Light peach amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly hopped and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of peach, tropical fruit, hops, and citrus.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low hops influence.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Refreshing, with peach and citrus.  Nice level of sweetness and balanced flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other cider which were both fruity and hopped, such as 2 Towns Hop & Stalk, Incline Lemongrass LureReverend Nat’s Hallelujah Hopricot, and Ratel Cider Dry Hopped

Closing Notes:  Schilling has really stepped up their game since they started out.  My favorite cider from them however remains King’s Shilling, a brandy barrel aged cider which is also an excellent value (as low as $4.50 / 22oz).

Have you tried Schilling Road Trip?  What did you think?

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?