Liberty Ciderworks Hewe’s Crab SV

Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ Hewe’s Virginia Crab single varietal.  Its my first time trying this, but I’ve had Liberty’s Manchurian Crabapple SV, Crabenstein, Abbess, Stonewall, Gravenstein, Cellar Series #G15, New World Style, Cellar Series (# unknown), McIntosh, Golden Russet SV, and Spokane Scrumpy.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Liberty Ciderworks.  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:  Hewe’s Virgnia Crab SV
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft cider, a single varietal from Hewe’s Virginia crabapples

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Availability:  This is a limited release, but in general their ciders are sold in Washington and Oregon (see a list of locations here).  They also have online sales through Vino Shipper.

Cider Description:  An American original, this crab apple was cultivated in Virginia some time in the 18th century with the sole intent of turning it into cider. Another one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorites, this crab apple’s 2016 crop yields floral, buttery plum, herbal aromas, with flavors of dried fruit, herbal sweetness with a dry, tannic finish.

Cidery Description:  Located in the largest apple-growing region on the continent, 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 to create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Sharing them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest.  Welcome to the cider revolution. 

They have a tap room in Spokane WA, which also now has a bottle shop of selections from around the world.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $14.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  one of the co-owners/cidermakers contacted me (Rick Hastings)

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First Impression:  The hue was in between dark straw yellow and light amber.  Very low carbonation.  Smells tart and tannic with a hint of richness.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Low bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of crabapple pomace, caramel, lemon, leather, grapefruit, and oak.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  I especially liked the richness and tannins.  I wouldn’t have minded a bit more sweetness and less tartness/acidity though.  This really tasted like a cider made from cider apples, not crabapples, which is pretty cool to be able to do with a crabapple single varietal.  I agree this cider is best drank closer to room than fridge temperature (I really wish I had a dedicated cider fridge so I could serve these types of ciders at cellar temperature!).

Most Similar to:  Liberty’s Manchurian Crabapple, but not quite as intense (as that one has a much higher ABV and is sweeter and more flavorful).

Side Note:  Crabapples are commonly used in cidermaking, especially by home cidermakers that want to add some tannins to their cider but don’t have access to cider apples.  They are typically used as part of a blend though, as very few varieties of crabapples are suitable as a single varietal, as they are so tart and tannic (and often nearly impossible to eat).

Closing Notes:  This was another great selection from Liberty, and would likely appeal best to fans of dry acidic cider.

Have you tried any ciders from crabapples?  What did you think?

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Liberty Ciderworks English Style

Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ English Style.  I previously tried this at events such as Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (see here), but I haven’t reviewed a bottle.  I’ve also tried Liberty’s Manchurian Crabapple SV, Crabenstein, Abbess, Stonewall, Gravenstein, Cellar Series #G15, New World Style, Cellar Series (# unknown), McIntosh, Golden Russet SV, and Spokane Scrumpy.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Liberty Ciderworks.  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:  English Style
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft cider from cider apples, English style

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Availability:  Year round, in Washington and Oregon (see a list of locations here).  They also have online sales through Vino Shipper.

Cider Description:  Classic cider varietals from the mother country – including Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Ashton Bitter – come together for this dry, English-style cider. Complex, layered aromas, a hint of bittersweet apple flavor, balanced acidity, tannins and residual sweetness: it’s the perfect accompaniment for both appetizers and dinner. And like all of Liberty’s ciders, it’s made entirely by hand.

Cidery Description:  Located in the largest apple-growing region on the continent, 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 to create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Sharing them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest.  Welcome to the cider revolution. 

They have a tap room in Spokane WA, which also now has a bottle shop of selections from around the world.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $12.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  one of the co-owners/cidermakers contacted me, Rick Hastings

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First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Still.  Smells of rich cider apples.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of caramel, leather, butterscotch, earth, orange, and lemon.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  This was a fun combination between a high acidity U.S. cider from heirloom apples and a rich tannic English cider.  However, it seemes a bit drier and more acidic/sharp than previously.  I preferred it slightly sweeter and less acidic, so the tannins and richness could better shine through.

Most Similar to:  Eve’s Autumns Gold

Closing Notes:  This cider is an awesome value, as cider apples are expensive, and ciders made from them usually cost more than this.  However, my favorite remains their Manchurian Crabapple – a flavorful high ABV cider you’d think was brandy fortified, but is not.  Next up I’ll be reviewing Liberty’s Hewes Crab cider.

Have you tried Liberty’s English Style cider?  What did you think?

Liberty Ciderworks Spokane Scrumpy

Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ Spokane Scrumpy.  I previously tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2017 (see here), but I hadn’t reviewed a bottle.  It was made using community sourced apples and supports the Second Harvest food bank in Spokane Washington.  Here is an article on its release.  I’ve also tried Liberty’s Manchurian Crabapple SVCrabenstein, English StyleAbbessStonewallGravenstein, Cellar Series #G15New World StyleCellar Series (# unknown)McIntosh, and Golden Russet SV.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Liberty Ciderworks.  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:  Spokane Scrumpy
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  6.4%
Residual Sugar: 1.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft cider from community-harvested apples, wild yeast fermented

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Availability:  Special release.  Their ciders are in general available in Washington and Oregon (see a list of locations here).  They also have online sales through Vino Shipper (although at the time of review I didn’t see this one listed).

Cider Description:  A hyper-local concoction of backyard, roadside and otherwise under-appreciated apples fermented wild for a light and refreshing, yet complex flavor profile. A partnership with Second Harvest food bank, a portion of proceeds goes toward helping feed people in need in our community. (WA sales only)

Cidery Description:  Located in the largest apple-growing region on the continent, 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 to create unique, wonderful ciders, and 2) Sharing them with friends and neighbors across the great Pacific Northwest.  Welcome to the cider revolution. 

They have a tap room in Spokane WA, which also now has a bottle shop of selections from around the world

Price:  n/a (probably ~ $15 like their other ciders)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  one of the co-owners/cidermakers contacted me, Rick Hastings

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First Impression:  Hazy lemonade hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells very mild.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness, tannins, and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of lemongrass, green apple, honey, butter, straw, and mineral.  Long finish with a slightly sour aftertaste.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  The flavor was really interesting in a good way, but the aftertaste was a bit weird/different, although mild.  Neither me or the two others I was tasting with could really describe it.  I think it was likely a slight sourness that only showed up on the finish.  Sourness wouldn’t surprise me, as this was a wild yeast fermented cider, which typically has significant sourness.  The apple-forward flavor and the bit of residual sweetness may have just covered up the sourness until the finish.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I can think of.  The flavor profile was unique.  This is a bit sweeter and less tart than most of Liberty’s lineup.  I’d recommend this for folks who want a little something different.

Side Note:  In the cider world, the term “scrumpy” has a range of definitions, but it currently seems most often used to describe a rustic Farmhouse-style cider made using traditional methods, often slightly cloudy (less filtered).  They are most commonly found in England, but a number of U.S. cidermakers also use this term.  Here is an article from CiderCraft pointing out five examples.

Closing Notes:  Too bad they couldn’t repeat this recipe, as it was a mix of random apples (probably mostly dessert apples, with some heirloom and crab apples).  Next up I have their English Style and Hewes Crab ciders.

Have you tried Liberty’s Spokane Scrumpy?  What did you think?

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?

 

Liberty Ciderworks New World Style

Review of Liberty Ciderworks’ New World Style.  I’ve tried a number of their ciders, including Manchurian Crabapple Single VarietalCrabensteinEnglish Style, Abbess, Stonewall Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel AgedGravenstein, and Cellar Series #G15.

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Cider:  New World Style
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  8.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft New World Style cider, made from heirloom apples and crabapples

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Availability:  Fairly limited.  Per the cidery they currently self-distribute to Spokane and Seattle.  In Seattle, I have seen them at Capitol Cider, Schilling Cider House, Total Wine, Full Throttle Bottles, and Special Brews.  Look for them in bottle shops in WA which specialize in local craft cider.  Liberty’s website lists some locations to find their ciders.

Cider Description:  A modern take on colonial-era ciders, New World combines Palouse-grown McIntosh, Cortland, Empire and Liberty apples with tiny, flavor-rich Manchurian crabapples. This off-dry cider features soft aromatics, wine-like tannic structure and vanilla overtones. (PNWCA 2014 Bronze Medal Winner)

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.

Price:  ~$9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’m a fan of Liberty and hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Very low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells overall mild–acidic, slightly sour, of citrus and with a slight mustiness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Astringent but not tannic.  Low bitterness.  Hints of sourness.  No funk.  Notes of citrus, honey, light floral, and mineral.  Quick to moderate length finish.  Low apple influence.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t so into this one…it was very acidic, and a bit harsh for my liking.  I think with some additional sweetness it would have been more doable for me.

Most Similar to:  Other dry acidic ciders.

Closing Notes:   My favorite Liberty cider remains their English Style.  I look forward to trying more from them, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of this one.

Have you tried Liberty New World Style?  What did you think?

Hard Cider News Edition 2

Here are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

Blogs & Facebook

Cider Log
My favorite cider Facebook group, who is in my neck of the woods.  Its a group of folks who enjoy hard cider. They have a cool photo album of the craft cider selection at various stores in the Seattle area, tasting notes, meetups, etc. They are not associated with any cidery, although one member does work for one.  I got to meet Sarah over the weekend at a Sonoma Cider tasting she was hosting at Whole Foods!

Rekorderlig and Kopparberg are NOT Cider
Interesting writeup on the Ciderplex Blog on two ciders which aren’t actually cider, as they aren’t made from fermented apple juice.  I wonder how many other products are like this?  Good thing we have ingredient lists to check out.

The Meteoric Rise of 2 Towns Cider
Story of 2 Towns Cider (from Corvallis OR), from All Into Cider Blog.

Learning to Use Cider in Cocktails
Q & A with Darlene Hayes about her cider cocktails book, from The Cider Journal.

Schilling Cider infographic on craft vs. all other cider
I think its important to know the difference between craft and commercial cider to be an informed consumer.  Personally I have nothing against buying commercial cider, and there are a number of selections I enjoy (such as Woodchuck).  They can be had for less money, found easier, and make for easy drinking.  I do however buy a good deal of craft cider, which is real cider, and often more complex.  It feels good to support a local business as well.

News Articles

10 Must-Try New Summer Beers & Ciders
Only one cider on the list unfortunately, Cider Riot’s Lemmy’s Summer Camp (Meyer Lemon Cider), from Portland OR.  It caught my eye as it comes in a plastic 2 liter bottle!  I spotted something like this at the Schilling Cider House (my first time seeing a cider in a 2 liter bottle), but it could have been another variety of Cider Riot’s.  This one is described as Dry with lemon tartness with a creamy overripe butterscotch tannic flavor.

Woodchuck Hard Cider Takes on the Big Guns
Woodchuck’s nearly around the clock production schedule to meet demand while allowing days off, and their new advertising strategy to compete with competition from the big name breweries such as Angry Orchard from Boston Beer.

Hard Cider, Hard Cash:  How a Father-Son Team from California is Tackling the Cider Craze
Story of Sonoma Cider (from Healdsburg CA).

Apples, apples everywhere
Cider scene in Poland of all places, where there are a lot of startups as they have an apple surplus due to not being able to export them.

Cider could lead wine drinkers “astray”
Is cider a threat to the wine industry as much as the beer industry?

Behind the scenes at Reverend Nat’s, Portland’s largest cidery (Photos)
Neat writeup of Rev Nat’s with behind the scenes photos!

Video

Made in the Northwest – Liberty Ciderworks
Segment on KXLY Spokane on Liberty Ciderworks.

Text & Video

Olympia Honey Hard Cider, a collaboration of Seattle Cider Co. and the Georgian Room at the Fairmont Olympic hotel. They are featuring the cider in a five course prix fixe dinner dubbed the “Extraction Menu” throughout August. Unfortunately the KING 5 Seattle New Day Northwest segment didn’t say if this cider would be available outside of the hotel’s restaurant & bar, but with some research it appears it won’t be (at least initially). I wonder if you can stop buy and purchase a bottle to go? Sure sounds tasty!

honey cider
(photo from @FairmontOlympic on Twitter of bees & cider while they were getting ready for the New Day Northwest segment)