McMenamins Edgefield Hard Cider

Review of Edgefield Hard Cider, only available at McMenamins.  I tried this at their new Anderson School location in Bothell WA.  I was surprised to learn that Edgefield has been supplying McMenamins with cider for their locations since 1992, well before the more recent cider boom.

Cider:  Edgefield Hard Cider (Original)
Cidery:  McMenamins (made by Edgefield Winery)
Cidery Location:  Troutdale OR
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  tap-only (I am surprised they don’t sell it bottled, as they sell bottles of all their beers and wines onsite)

Availability:  All McMenamins locations (WA & OR)

Cider Description:  Pale yellow gold in color, Edgefield Hard Cider has aromas of fresh apple, apple skin, and pie spices.  Lively on the tongue, fresh apple flavor dominates with hints of pear and honey. Crisp and refreshing, the sweetness in this semi-sweet cider is balanced out by tart acidity.

Cidery Description: McMenamins has been crafting hard cider to serve in our pubs since 1992, offering clean, crisp flavors that highlight the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Using quality juices pressed from neighboring orchards in the Columbia River Gorge, we craft this gluten-free cider year-round at Edgefield Winery. The apples pressed off for our cider are primarily a blend of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious (added for color), Granny Smith (for acidity), and Fuji, Galas, and Honeycrisp (to increase sweetness). All of our ciders are lightly carbonated, just under 7% ABV and made with gluten-free ingredients.  The freshly pressed juice arrives at the Edgefield Winery, where it is pumped into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.  Employing a cool fermentation to maintain as much of the fresh apple aromas as possible, we ferment the cider until it is completely dry.  A bit of fresh-pressed apple juice is then blended back into the hard cider for some sweetness and to balance the acidity.  We keg the cider with some CO2 spritz, and ship it off to all of our locations to enjoy!

Price:  $6.50 / pint
Where Drank:  McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell WA
How Found:  I had heard online that McMenamins made their own cider and it was pretty good, so when we attended an event at McMenamins, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  At the Anderson School they had Edgefield Apple and Blackberry ciders, and Schilling Ginger and Chai ciders (at the main bar…the smaller bars only had this one).  The actual location (literally a previous school) is pretty cool, with a hotel, multiple restaurants, multiple bars, a swimming pool, gift shop, brewery, movie theater, and event spaces.  There is definitely a lack of parking and though, and its pretty busy as they just opened.

2015-11-07 11.46.15

First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  High carbonation (bubbles rising from bottom to top, which you can actually kinda see in the photo) and a bit of foam.  Smells of crisp fresh apples with a hint of yeast, but not much else.

Opinion:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  I was expecting sweeter (to appeal to the masses), so it was nice to find it more middle of the road.  I wouldn’t have guessed it was back sweetened (where they add un-fermented juice after fermentation to increase sweetness), as it isn’t really juice-like (as can often happen with back sweetened cider).  It was however obviously force-carbonated, but I enjoy high carbonation levels.  High acidity.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate astringency.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Light bodied.  Crisp and refreshing.  I pick up green apples, citrus, and tropical notes.

Most Similar to:  A lot of flagship ciders, such as Boonville Bite Hard, which is also acidic & tart, but a bit drier.

Closing Notes:   I’d definitely drink this again, but for my tastes it honestly isn’t too much above average (which isn’t really bad at all, as half of all ciders statistically would be below average in my book).  I thought it was quite good for an American flagship cider (which I usually tend away from liking), but I prefer a richer flavor.  I’m interested to try their other varieties.  For seasonal releases, Edgefield has Black Cherry (April-July), Blackberry (July-Oct), Ginger Perry (Nov-Jan), and Pomegranate (Jan-April).  Also, their limited release Estate Cider sounds awesome (barrel aged for 18 months, available in late June at select locations).

Have you tried McMenamins Edgefield Hard Cider?  What did you think?

Do You Know How Many Cider Bars there are in the U.S.?

Have you ever been to a cider bar?  Or did you not know they even exist?  Yes, they do–an entire bar devoted to hard cider!  Most have an extensive tap selection.  Some serve food.  Some have a bottle shop for you to have a bottled cider there or one to take home.  Some also serve other types of alcoholic beverages.  We are lucky enough to have two in the Seattle area, but I was curious how prevalent they are in the U.S.  I was able to find 11.  Are there any others?  Do you have any information to share about any of them?

My definitions for inclusion were cider-focused bar/pub type establishments (although some places also have other beverages) that offer cider from more than one cidery (ie. a tap room for a single cider company was not included, but it was if they also offer ciders from other cideries).  Many cideries have great tap rooms that are more like a bar than a tasting room though.  Note that “The Northman” is also planned in Chicago IL but hasn’t opened yet.

A “cider bar” is quite a new trend, as all of these opened in the last few years as far as I know (although apparently Ace gets credit for the first modern cider bar, which opened in 1999 but closed in 2010; they have a tap room now though).

Capitol Cider (Seattle WA)
20 cider taps
250+ bottles (list available online)
beer, wine, & cocktails also available
full gluten free kitchen

Schilling Cider House (Seattle WA)
32 cider taps (2 Nitro)
250+ bottles
no food (allowed to bring in outside food)
also carries their own line of ciders

Bushwhacker Cider (Portland OR, Woodlawn location)
14 cider taps
bottles available
full kitchen
also carries their own line of ciders

Bushwhacker Cider (Portland OR, Brooklyn location)
8 cider taps
350+ bottles
limited food menu
also carries their own line of ciders

Portland Cider House (Portland OR)
28 cider taps
no food (allowed to bring in outside food)
also carries their own line of ciders

McMenamin’s Tavern & Pool (part of their Portland OR location)
6 cider taps
full restaurant
also carries their own line of ciders (Edgefield)

Upcider (San Francisco CA)
cider on tap & bottled
limited food menu

Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar (Fort Collins CO)
18 cider taps
limited food menu
also carries their own line of ciders

Urban Orchard (Asheville NC)
7 cider taps
limited food menu
beer & wine also available
also carries their own line of ciders

Wassail (New York City NY)
13 cider taps
full restaurant (vegetarian)
wine, beer, & cocktails also available

Finger Lakes Cider House (Interlaken NY)
has cider from five local cideries (Good Life, Black Diamond, Eve’s, Redbyrd, & South Hill)
23 cider taps
limited food menu

It looks like the Schilling CIder House wins for the most number of cider taps, at 32!  Check out my review.