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?

Liberty Ciderworks Stonewall (Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel Aged)

Review of Stonewall (a Dry Fly whiskey barrel aged cider) from Liberty Ciderworks, part of their Reserve series.  I’ve tried a number of ciders from Liberty, including Manchurian Crabapple, English Style, Crabenstein, and Abbess.

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Cider:  Stonewall (Dry Fly Whiskey Barrel Aged)
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  8.4%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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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:  Named for General “Stonewall” Jackson – who reportedly enjoyed blending cider and whiskey – ‘Stonewall’ is our English blend aged in Dry Fly™ whiskey barrels. This oaky, dry cider serves up scents and flavors reminiscent of vanilla, ripe apple, and coconut. (GLINTCAP 2015 Gold Medal & “Best In Class” 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 and offers over 10 varieties of cider.  Here are links to two articles discussing this cider’s win at GLINTCAP, from Inlander and NW Cider.

Price:  $13.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I was on the lookout for this variety after reading about it online, as I’m really into barrel aged ciders.

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First Impression:  Copper amber hue.  Lovely brilliant sheen.  Very little carbonation.  Mild rich apple, whiskey, and barrel scent.

Opinion:  Dry.  Moderate acidity, tannins, bitterness, astringency, and tartness.  Medium bodied.  Long finish.  Rich caramel, vanilla, and ripe apple notes.  The whiskey and barrel notes are mild to moderate.  Note that I don’t like aged spirits at all, but love those flavors in a barrel aged cider.  At first the tannins, astringency, and bitterness were a bit harsh, but as the cider warmed up and I had a few sips, I warmed up to it.  I definitely find some similarities to their English style cider, which is what this cider is, except it was aged in whiskey barrels.  I’m not really sure if I like this one or the English style better…I like the whiskey & barrel notes, but I found this one to have a bit more bitterness.

Most Similar to:  Other barrel aged ciders made from cider apples, such as Traditions Ciderworks Bourbon Barrel 2012 and Whitewood Cider Kingston Black Whiskey Barrel Aged, which I tried at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (tasting notes here).

Closing Notes:   Tasty!  The price point is also quite good considering this is a craft cider from a small cidery, made using cider apples, is a higher ABV, and was barrel aged.  Another great selection from Liberty Ciderworks!  I look forward to continuing to try their ciders.

Have you tried Liberty Stonewall?  What did you think?

Liberty Ciderworks Manchurian Crabapple Single Varietal

Review of Manchurian Crabapple Single Varietal by Liberty Ciderworks.  This is my first time trying any of their ciders, and is my first time trying a Single Varietal cider as far as I know (most ciders use a blend of apple varieties).

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Cider:  Manchurian Crabapple Single Varietal
Cidery:  Liberty Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Spokane WA
ABV:  12.5%
How Supplied:  375 ml tall clear glass bottle
Availability:  Fairly limited.  Per the cidery they currently self-distribute to Spokane and Seattle.  In Seattle, they can at least be found at Capitol Cider, Schilling Cider House, Full Throttle Bottles & Special Brews & other bottle shops which specialize in local craft cider, and Total Wine.

Cider Description on Bottle:  No larger than a cherry, the Manchurian Crabapple packs a huge flavor punch.  Ready for one of the most full-bodied, intensely-flavored ciders you’ll ever encounter?  This semi-sweet, single-varietal cider is for you.  Enjoy on its own as a digestif, with soft artisan cheeses, or with rich, creamy desserts.  Still (non-carbonated).

Additional Information from Rick Hastings, co-founder of Liberty Ciderworks (per my e-mail request):  Thanks for your interest in the Manchurian! It’s certainly a unique cider (none others that I’m aware of, presently) and has been very poplar in our tasting room in downtown Spokane. It’s certainly an assertive cider that showcases bright acidity and strong tannins – so much so that in describing it to first-time customers, I’ve taken to calling it a “cider port”, even though it’s not fortified with spirits like true Port is. It’s simply the juice of manchurian crabapples, fermented until the yeast we selected gave up at the 12.5% ABV mark. The juice had potential to hit 14% ABV – certainly the highest sugar content in any apple I’ve ever heard of or used. We age the finished cider around nine months, though not in oak (we’re experimenting with that approach now)….I’ve attached an image of the apples below (at right). As you might imagine, harvesting these tiny apples and sorting them into usable juice takes a LOT of work….Here’s hoping you enjoy it. Some sip it by itself as an aperitif, but I’d suggest you try it with a quality goat cheese, cheesecake dessert or creme brûlée – imagine there’s a world of other options, too. I hear Capitol Cider is using it in a mixed drink or two, as well. 

Photo of the crabapples they use:

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Rick also sent a great link to a blog article on the labels for this cider, from Advanced Labels Northwest (Seattle area) which has some great photos and cidery & cider info in addition to label/packaging info.

Cidery Description: Liberty Ciderworks (founded 2012) is in Spokane WA, where they also have a tasting room. Their website was surprisingly sparse besides the basics, but they are active on Facebook & Twitter.  Facebook lists the following Liberty Ciderworks varieties as available by the bottle:  English Style, New World Style, Turncoat Dry-Hop, Stonewall, Heirloom Series, McIntosh Single Varietal, Manchurian Single Varietal, Kingston Black Single Varietal, and Reserve Series.  There are more varieties available on tap at their tasting room.  They won several awards at this year’s GLINTCAP competition, including a Silver medal for this cider.  Congrats!

Price:  $14
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown (Seattle), who has a huge local craft cider selection
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve had my eye on Liberty Ciderworks though, deciding which one to try first (I was lucky enough to have a few options…New World & English style at Total Wine, and a few at Full Throttle Bottles including this and one other Single Varietal).  I chose this one as it looked to be their sweetest offering and I find the high ABV / port or dessert style ciders interesting.  Oddly enough I like strong flavors and barrel aged ciders even though I don’t like aged spirits!

Where Drank:  home

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First Impression: Corked bottle (with attached cap for easy re-capping) with foil covering.  Lovely bottle/label too!  Amber orange hue, completely still, sweet inviting boozy smell.

Opinion:  I find this on the sweeter side of semi-dry than semi-sweet.  It definitely has some warmth, and reminds me of similar high ABV bold ciders I’ve liked such as Alpenfire Smoke, 2 Towns the Bad Apple, Sea Cider Prohibition, and especially, Tieton Wind (which is a 16% ABV Pommeau with apple brandy).  I pick up some mild vanilla & caramel notes and find it rich & earthy with a bit of a bitter finish.  Although I haven’t tried any other single varietals to compare with, I find this cider incredibly complex for one apple variety and no additives.  It seems like it has some hints of apple brandy (but it doesn’t).  To me it has an interesting thick mouthfeel which sticks around for awhile, which from my experience with the above mentioned ciders seems to occur with these high ABV ciders.

This cider definitely won’t be for everyone…oddly enough my husband thought it smelled “off” and tasted “terrible”, but he hasn’t enjoyed similar ciders like I have.  I quite like this cider though!  Its very different than what most folks would think of when they think of cider.  I go for these sorts of ciders though, when I’m in the right mood.  I agree it has an intense flavor.  Its also impressive they didn’t need to add any sugar to get the crabapple juice to ferment to that high of an ABV; those are definitely some powerful apples!

I didn’t however completely take Liberty’s suggestion of having this more as a dessert cider, nor did I have any goat cheese, cheesecake, or creme brulee in the house (I wish!).  I’d like to try pairings in the future so I’ll have to plan ahead better next time.  I opened the bottle before dinner and sipped on it throughout the evening, which also did include dessert (meringues, which worked pretty well).  I did this mostly as I wanted to at least try to finish the bottle as I wasn’t sure how it would taste on Day 2 or 3 (as I am drinking it all myself).  I’ve found the taste of a cider changes as it is open, no matter how well you re-seal it (typically it becomes less intense).  Even then, I couldn’t quite finish it off, so I will have a nice small serving later in the weekend.
Update:  On Day 2 the flavor had changed slightly, a bit less bold and a bit more bitter.

Closing Notes:  I enjoyed this cider.  I imagine if my cider palate was more refined I could offer more descriptors and pairing suggestions, but I can overall say I’m glad I tried it and would recommend it if you think this sort of unique bold strong cider would fit your tastes.  I hope Liberty Ciderworks can continue to expand so more folks can try their ciders!  I imagine down the road I will try more of their ciders (I’m trying to teach myself to enjoy drier ciders).  And, a big big thank you to co-founder Rick Hastings (the other co-founder is Austin Dickey) for the extra info.  I think it was a great addition to this review.  To be able to speak to a cidery founder for more detailed information is definitely an advantage of small craft cideries.

Have you tried anything from Liberty Ciderworks, or any single varietal or high ABV ciders?  What did you think?