Woodinville Cider Tasting 4 at Locust Cider

I spent some time in Woodinville Washington recently, including cider tasting at the Locust Cider tap room (and lunch at one of my favorite spots, a burger place called Tipsy Cow).  See my notes from visit 1, visit 2, and visit 3.  My husband and a friend joined me, and we shared a flight of five ciders.

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<left to right: Hibiscus Wine, Dark Cherry, Aged Apple, Pineapple, and Honey Pear, all 5-6% ABV>

Hibiscus Wine:  This was labeled as being a guest tap with a wine which finished like a cider.  That was a bit confusing though as it was still labeled as 6% (which would be very low for a grape wine) and it didn’t say from where it was from.  Semi-dry with floral and berry notes and a hint of oak.  I couldn’t really tell if it was from grapes or apples, as it was very mild.

Dark Cherry:  My husband’s favorite.  Semi-dry with real cherry flavor but a bitter aftertaste.  Also sold in cans.

Aged Apple:  My favorite (see my full review here), but I wish it was drier.  Sweet to semi-sweet.  Very apple forward with hints of oak.  Also sold in cans.

Pineapple:  My friend’s favorite.  This may have been a one-off / tasting room only release, as it wasn’t their Chili Pineapple.  Semi-sweet.  Not as intense of a pineapple flavor as I expected, and it also had some citrus notes.

Honey Pear:  This one was very different than when I tried it before (see here), as this time it was on the sweeter side of semi-sweet instead of on the drier side of semi-dry.  Way more honey and pear flavor due to the increase in sweetness.  Also sold in cans.

They also had Original Dry, Cilantro Jalapeno, and Spiced Pumpkin.  I was surprised with how sweet all the options were.  The driest were their Original Dry and the Dark Cherry.  Its ironic as Locust started out only making dry ciders (the Dark Cherry used to be their sweetest).  I imagine the market wants sweeter ciders though.  Sweeter ciders tend to be more flavorful than drier ciders when using dessert apples.

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Locust Cider Tasting Notes #4

After lunch at Tipsy Cow in Woodinville WA, my husband and I stopped by Locust Cider.  See my notes here from visit 1, here from visit 2, and here from visit 3.

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<Cherry, Apricot, and Watermelon ciders>

Sweet Dark Cherry:  I’ve tried this previously (see here), and it is also available in cans.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Light simple cherry flavor.  Quick finish.  My husband really liked it, but for me its pretty average.

Apricot:  This is a draft-only release.  I tried an apricot cider from them awhile back (see here), but it was quite different.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Syrupy tropical and apricot flavor.  Quick finish.  This was too sweet for both of us, but had a nice flavor.  I prefer the apricot ciders from Atlas and Summit.

Watermelon:  This is a new draft-only release.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Hazy hue.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate watermelon juice flavor.  Quick finish.  I really enjoyed it (I’m a huge watermelon fan), but my husband didn’t like it for whatever reason.  It reminded me of NV Cider Watermelon Perry.

Summary:  My favorite was the Watermelon, and my husband’s favorite was the Cherry.  Overall, my favorite Locust ciders are the Bittersweet Reserve (one-time special release?), Aged Apple, and a 50-50 mix of Smoked Blueberry & Vanilla Bean, as they are all super flavorful, but also rather sweet (not something I’d drink often).

Locust is a nice place to hang out and drink cider (they even have an outdoor patio and some games), and they often have varieties which don’t even leave their tasting room.  However, I noticed the small pours are expensive, at $3 / 3oz, so a flight of five (close to a pint) is $15 + tax.  Of course its much cheaper to get a pint ($6-7?), but the vast majority of folks opt for the variety of a flight.  Also, they only have 9 taps of their own ciders.

Locust is more convenient for me to get to, so I visit semi regularly.  However, I much prefer the Schilling Cider House, as they have cheaper flights ($2 / 3oz), more variety with 32 taps (often a few are the more artisanal varieties made from cider apples vs. the more commonly found flavored ciders from dessert apples), and hundreds of bottles too.

Locust Honey Pear

Review of Locust’s Honey Pear cider.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I’ve previously had their Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark Cherry,  Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricotSweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel Perry, and Hibiscus.

Cider:  Honey Pear
Cidery:  Locust Cider
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  draft only
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with honey and pear juice

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Availability:  Likely only in bars & restaurants in the Seattle area (including Locust’s tap room), although in general their ciders are sold in CA, ID, OR, TX, and WA.

Cider Description:  none given

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple. 

Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores, diverting these from destruction because their juice is still great! Our unique process then transforms them into great cider- methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.

We are now made up a great small team: Chelsea, head cidermaker, Ryan, cellar manager, Shenna, tap room manager, Spring, events manager, and Chris, sales manager. We are a “family” passionate about cider, and we thank you for visiting our tasting room, and being part of our family!  -Jason Spears, founder of locust cider

Their Woodinville cidery has a tap room.

Price:  $6.50 / pint
Where Bought & Drank:  Tipsy Cow in Woodinville WA (an awesome burger restaurant)
How Found:  This was one of two ciders on draft at the restaurant (they also had D’s Baked Apple).

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells very mild, slightly of tart apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of green apple, pear, honey, and citrus.  Quick finish.  Low complexity.  Moderate apple flavor.  Low flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was very average.  I liked that it wasn’t very sweet (which most of Locust’s recent releases have been, and is common with draft cider at restaurants & bars in my area as it sells well).  However, I actually think the dryness was too much for this cider, as it was very tart and not very flavorful.  Also, both pear and honey ciders are typically sweeter, so that would be expected.

Most Similar to:  Longdrop Tanager Pear Cider

Closing Notes:  I always like finding local cider on tap to go with a nice meal, even if the offering isn’t a favorite of mine.

Have you tried Locust Honey Pear?  What did you think?

Locust Sweet Aged Apple

Review of Locust’s Sweet Aged Apple cider.  I thought this was my first time trying it, but turns out I tried it here, although I haven’t done a full review.  I’ve also sampled their Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark CherryWashington Dessert Apple, Bittersweet Reserve, Pumpkin, Thai Ginger, Bourbon Barrel Aged, Winesap, Alder Smoked Apple, Mango, Elder & Oak, Wabi Sabi, Apricot, Berry Session, Smoked Blueberry, Vanilla Bean, Winter Banana, Chili Pineapple, Seckel Perry, and Hibiscus.

locust.jpg

Cider:  Sweet Aged Apple
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  multi packs of 12oz cans, and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, aged for 6 months

Availability:  Year round in CA, ID, OR, TX, and WA

Cider Description:  We leave a blend of pressed washington dessert apples on their own and let the wild yeasts do their work. then we age it for 6 months. the result is a semi-sweet, full bodied, deep, very appley, smooth and round cider. there is beauty in imperfection. great with meat and cheese, stands up!

Cidery Description:  My brother Patrick and I founded Locust Cider in March 2015 with the mission of making outstanding hard cider using the fruit that is most available in Washington- the eating apple. Washington growers produce 60% of the apples in the United States, and cider-specific varieties are in a major shortage, so we set out to put innovative spins on classic cider-making methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple. 

Our delicious ciders begin with great fruit- we primarily use “cull” apples- those that are not pretty enough or are too small or large to make it to grocery stores, diverting these from destruction because their juice is still great! Our unique process then transforms them into great cider- methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.   -Jason Spears, founder of locust cider

Their Woodinville cidery has a tap room.

Price:  $6.50 / pint draft
Where Bought & Drank:  Tipsy Cow Burger Bar in Woodinville WA
How Found:  This was one of two draft cider options (the other was D’s Wicked Baked Apple)

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Smells like apple juice.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of apple juice, honey, brown sugar, and maybe a hint of oak?  Quick finish.  High apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked this.  However, it was a bit sweet for a full pint.  The flavor is really nice though.  Definitely a simple cider, but tasty.  Perfect for a canned multipack.

Most Similar to:  Locust Aged Washington Dessert Apple

Closing Notes:  Tipsy Cow is one of our favorite local restaurants, and it is awesome they have cider (and 2 local craft ciders at that).  However, I wish they had a drier option, as both are sweet.  Oddly enough I actually liked when they offered Spire Dark & Dry, as although not dry, it is drier than this, and it goes really well with greasy food.

Have you tried Locust Sweet Aged Apple?  What did you think?

Woodinville Cider Tasting at Locust & Elemental – Visit 3

I spent another afternoon in Woodinville Washington, cider tasting at the tap rooms for Locust and Elemental.  See my notes here from visit 1 and here from visit 2.

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<tap list at Locust Cider>

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<Locust Vanilla Bean & Smoked Blueberry>

At Locust I tried two bottle pours of ciders that are part of their new ‘Hootenanny’ series.

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Locust Vanilla Bean, 5.0% ABV:  Mild scent.  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness, funk, or bitterness.  The flavor was vanilla creamsicle–yum!  Hints of citrus and pineapple.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  I really liked the flavor of this one, but it was too sweet.

Locust Smoked Blueberry, unknown ABV:  This cider was made using smoked apples and blueberries.  Mild scent.  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and sourness.  No funk.  Notes of blueberry juice & skin and a hint of lemon.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  I didn’t find this overtly smoked, but I imagine it had some influence.

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<tap list at Elemental Cider>

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<Elemental Lemoncello & Mango>

Elemental ‘Lithium’ Lemoncello, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied with a fizzy mouthfeel.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Lots of lemon, slight creaminess, and hints of grapefruit.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

Elemental Mango, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of mango, citrus, and pineapple.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

My favorite at Locust was Vanilla Bean, although I wouldn’t be able to drink an entire pint of it or anything as it was quite sweet.  My favorite at Elemental was the Lemoncello, as it was more flavorful than the Mango.

Schilling Cider House Visit 18 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my eighteenth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there last Thursday, for the One Tree Crisp Apple cider release party, and enjoyed a flight of four ciders, plus One Tree’s new cider.

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<left to right: Portland Pineapple, Wandering Aengus Barrel Aged Wickson, Tieton Bourbon Peach, & Locust Sweet Aged Apple>

Portland Cider Company (Portland OR) Pineapple (5.7% ABV): This draft-only pineapple cider poured foamy but settled down after awhile.  This may be their “Maui Cruiser” variety, which also has coconut blossom nectar, as I couldn’t find any evidence that they have a strictly Pineapple cider.  Smells of fresh pineapples.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  The flavor is purely pineapple, with low flavor intensity.  I felt this cider smelled much better than it tasted…it left me wanting more flavor.  The pineapple aroma was so strong (especially in comparison to the cider’s flavor) that it makes me curious if it was added.

Wandering Aengus (Salem OR) Barrel Aged Wickson (8.0% ABV): This is a barrel aged draft-only version of their single varietal Wickson crab apple cider, which is available in bottles (which I tried previously and found overly harsh).  Smells mild, with hints of crab apples and oak.  Dry.  Low flavor intensity.  The barrel aging seemed to mellow the cider’s intensity compared to the original version.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Alcohol-forward with crab apple sharpness, oak, and honey notes.  This is best drank cold as it becomes more harsh as it warms up.  I found this more drinkable than the original version, but I still didn’t care for it.

Tieton (Yakima WA) Bourbon Peach (6.5% ABV): A draft-only bourbon barrel aged peach cider.  Hazy lemonade hue.  Smells of bourbon, peaches, and pineapple.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Hints of boozy bourbon (but not overpowering) and peach & pineapple notes.  Yum!  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.  Medium to high sessionability.  I’m a fan of bourbon barrel aged ciders, but often they tend towards being overly boozy, harsh, dry, etc…this one was tasty and easy to drink.

Locust (Woodinville WA) Sweet Aged Apple (6.9% ABV): This is a barrel aged cider made from dessert apple varieties which is available on draft and in bottles.  I’ve tried this previously (when it was called Aged Washington Dessert Apple; see here), but had heard they significantly changed the recipe, so I wanted to give it another try.  Last time it was quite hazy and unfiltered looking, but this time there was no haziness.  Smells mild and apple-forward.  Semi-sweet (less sweet than the previous recipe).  Less flavorful than the previous recipe, but much more sessionable.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Caramel, vanilla, and honey notes.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  I’m not sure which recipe I preferred, as there are pros & cons of each, but I enjoyed both versions.

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<One Tree Crisp Apple>

One Tree Hard Cider (Spokane WA) Crisp Apple (6.8% ABV): This is their new flagship cider, sold in four packs of 16oz cans and on draft.  Hazy.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Unfiltered baked apple flavor with honey notes.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  High sessionability.  Strong apple flavor.  I enjoyed this.  I found it very similar to 2 Towns Out Cider, but slightly sweeter and slightly more flavorful.  Much less sweet than any of the other ciders I’ve tried from them.

The Tieton Bourbon Peach cider was my favorite, and my favorite cider from Tieton so far.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Woodinville Cider Tasting 2 – Locust & Elemental

I spent another afternoon in Woodinville Washington, cider tasting at the tap rooms for Locust and Elemental.  See my notes here from my last visit.

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<tap list at Locust Cider>

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<left to right: Locust Mango, Elder & Oak, and Wabi Sabi>

Locust Mango, 6.0% ABV:  Yellow dark straw gold hue.  Mild fruity mango scent.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Real mango flavor with some tropical and honey notes.  Quick finish length.  Fairly simple, but I liked the moderately intense real mango flavor (although it was a sweet cider, it didn’t have a mango candy flavor).

Locust Elder & Oak, 7.0% ABV:  Deep berry hue.  Mild scent with hints of berry and oak.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Very textural with berry tannins.  Earthy and wine-like.  Moderate length finish.  Mild to moderate barrel influence.  Very low apple influence.  Although I’m a fan of barrel aged ciders, I wasn’t into this.  I think it was too tannic (although it tasted like that was only from the elderberries, not applies) oddly enough.

Locust Wabi Sabi, 6.9% ABV:  Yellow dark straw gold hue.  Low carbonation with some foam.  Smells mild, acidic, and of citrus.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Mild tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Apple-forward and a bit juice-like.  Notes of fresh apple, honey, citrus (although less than the scent), and apple pomace.  Quick finish length.  I found this to be a very typical sweeter flagship cider.

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<tap list at Elemental Cider; sorry for the blur>

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<left to right: Blackberry Cobbler, Pom-Rose, Root Beer, and Carbon>

Elemental Blackberry Cobbler, 6.5% ABV:  Deep blackberry hue.  Sweet to very sweet.  The flavor is very blackberry, but I also picked up a carbohydrate component in the scent and texture (kinda like “cobbler”, although I was told the only other addition was pie spices, which I didn’t pick up).  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Mild acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Quick finish length.  I wasn’t really into this, but I imagine it will sell very well.  It was a one-off keg as they came into some blackberry concentrate (which I learned is about the most expensive flavor), but they plan to make some other blackberry ciders in the future.

Elemental Pomegranate-Rose, 6.5% ABV:  Light pink hue with some foam.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Mild acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Very mild and smooth with some mild fruitiness.  I tried this before too.  Its well balanced and refreshing.

Elemental NW Atomic Root Beer, 6.5% ABV:  This is a cider-based hard root beer (vs. making an alcoholic root beer with a malt base).  I’ve had this a few times before.  This time I really enjoyed it…I think its the best batch yet…I tasted more apple than previously, but apparently it was less.  The “root beer” is stronger in the scent than the flavor.  This doesn’t taste exactly like root beer, but it has a great flavor.  Oddly enough this is my favorite cider that Elemental makes.  Probably as it has a rich full flavor (I tend towards English & French ciders).

Elemental ‘Carbon’ Dry, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light bodied.  Apple-forward.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Citrus notes with some mineral.  A hint of tannins.  This tasted between that that of the first two times I tried it.  I liked the previous batch a bit more, as it was richer and less tart.  Elemental is unique in that they continue to tweak their ciders after release, so although it has the same name, it may be different.