Original Sin Elderberry

Review of Original Sin Elderberry cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Cherry Tree, PearNorthern Spy, and Extra Dry

Cider:  Elderberry
Cidery:  Original Sin
Cidery Location:  New York NY
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  multipack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with elderberries

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  A balanced cider combining the natural acid and sugar of apples with the tart qualities of elderberries.  Elderberries have been adding flare to hard cider for centuries.  In fact, the 1822 book The American Orchardist suggests adding Elderberries to give cider “a fine colour as well as flavour.” Original Sin brings back this brilliant tradition with our new Elderberry Cider.

Cidery Description: Established in 1996, Original Sin is one of the original modern-day U.S. cider companies. With a mere $5,000 in funding, founder Gidon Coll began making cider in Upstate New York and spent two years going bar to bar in New York City to develop his early market base. Today, Original Sin is still 100% independent and now distributed in 32 U.S. States, The United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan.

Original Sin started a New York State test orchard five years ago, which now features over 100 rare, cider and contemporary apple varieties. Each year, the company adds interesting and historically significant varieties to the Original Sin orchard’s genetic pool.

Price:  ~ $3 / can
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium purple-red hue.  Smells of tart berry.  Very low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of berry with hints of cranberry & pomegranate.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average.  Plenty drinkable, but it didn’t really stand out.

Most Similar to:  any other semi-dry berry cider

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Closing Notes:  I also bought a can of Locust Vanilla Bean and mixed them together.  That one was a bit of an off can, less flavorful and sweet than usual, but its a nice mix.

Have you tried Original Sin Elderberry?  What did you think?

Locust New England Amber

Review of Locust’s New England Amber.  It is my first time trying this, but I previously tried their Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark Cherry, Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricot 1Sweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel PerryHibiscusHoney Pear (drier)Apricot 2WatermelonPineapple, and Honey Pear (sweeter).

Cider:  New England Amber
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  7.1%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft New England style cider from dessert apples, with brown sugar and dates

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Availability:  seasonal (winter), with semi wide distribution in the U.S.

Cider Description:  Inspired by New England style ciders, Washington apples are blended with brown sugar and dates for a complex but smooth and balanced flavor.

Cidery Description:  Family owned and operated out of Woodinville, WA since 2015, we believe in making real cider accessible for real people.  We specialize in modern ciders made with all locally sourced Pacific Northwest ingredients, adding an innovative spin on classic cidermaking methods to bring out the best in the everyday apple.

They have a cidery & taproom in Woodinville WA, taprooms in Seattle and Tacoma WA, and a cidery & taproom in Ft Worth TX.

Price:  ~$3 / single can (runs $8.99 / four pack of cans)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – Total Wine is awesome as you can get a single can/bottle from most any multipack

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First Impression:  Moderate pumpkin amber hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells sweet and rich.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich apple, caramelized sugar, molasses, honey, and orange.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Nice flavor and even some complexity, but not too sweet.  Dates were substituted for raisins here, which would be more traditional, but I think it was a nice choice.  I didn’t specifically pick up date flavor, but I imagine it added to the overall profile.  The ABV was lower than is typical for the style.

Most Similar to:  Cockrell Colonial Winter

Closing Notes:  This is a great selection at an awesome price.

Have you tried Locust New England Amber?  What did you think?

Locust Watermelon

Review of Locust’s Watermelon cider.  I previously tried this on draft (see here), but this time I am doing a full review of a can.  I’ve also previously tried Locust’s Sweet Dark Cherry, Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Washington Dessert AppleBittersweet ReservePumpkinThai GingerBourbon Barrel AgedWinesapAlder Smoked AppleMangoElder & OakWabi SabiApricot 1Sweet Aged AppleBerry SessionSmoked BlueberryVanilla BeanWinter BananaChili PineappleSeckel PerryHibiscusHoney Pear (drier)Apricot 2PineappleHoney Pear (sweeter)

Cider:  Watermelon
Cidery:  Locust
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with watermelon juice

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Availability:  likely at least in Washington, Oregon, Chicago, Florida, California, and Texas

Cider Description:  Washington apples, watermelon juice, & that’s all

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 them from destruction because their juice is still great. Our unique process then transforms the apples into great cider through methodical yeast selection, meticulous temperature control, slow aging, and creative and deliberate blending.

They have tap rooms in Woodinville WA, Seattle WA (Ballard), Tacoma WA, and Ft. Worth TX.

Price:  $9.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  PCC in Fremont Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, after visiting the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Hazy light pink-orange hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells very mildly of watermelon.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of watermelon and a hint of white grape.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I like it, especially as I’m a huge watermelon fan.  Its a nice light option for spring & summer, less sweet, but still fairly flavorful, although fairly simple.

Most Similar to:  The only other watermelon beverages I’ve tried are a watermelon perry (from pears) from NV Cider and a watermelon session mead (from honey) from Bee Haven.

Closing Notes:  Locust has a great lineup of flavorful ciders, from dry to sweet, although my favorites from them are on the sweeter end (this one, Bittersweet Reserve, Sweet Aged Apple, and Vanilla Bean + Smoked Blueberry)

Have you tried Locust Watermelon?  What did you think?

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.

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.

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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?