Montana Ciderworks Darby Pub Cider

Review of Montana Ciderworks’ Darby Pub Cider.  I previously tried this at Cider Summit (see here), and have also had their North Fork TraditionalSpartan Dry-Style, and Small Batch Dolgo.

Photo Oct 19, 6 56 10 PM.jpg

Cider:  Darby Pub Cider
Cidery:  Montana CiderWorks
Cidery Location:  Darby MT
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Montana-grown cider, heirloom, & crab apple varieties, back sweetened with juice & fructose

Photo Oct 19, 6 56 19 PM Photo Oct 19, 6 56 34 PM

Availability:  Year round in CO, MT, and WA (see here)

Cider Description:  Semi-Dry New World Style Cider.  An approachable, effervescent cider made for sharing with friends. By coaxing subtle flavors from a blend of Bitterroot Valley apples through a gentle fermentation process, then adding back a bit of sweet juice, we created a fruit-forward experience perfect for drinking anytime. Appley with wood, spice & Mac notes; a medium semi-dry cider….Darby Pub Cider was awarded a Gold medal at the 2018 Great Lakes International Cider Competition, a Gold medal at the 2017 Royal Bath & West Show (United Kingdom), Best of Show at the 2016 Portland International Cider Cup, and a Silver medal at the 2015 GLINTCAP. SIP Northwest magazine awarded it Best Traditional Apple Cider in 2016.  The crisp clean flavor of Darby Pub Cider is a prefect complement to light fare, and a wonderful après de lawn mowing refreshment.

Cidery Description:  Montana CiderWorks is a bonded winery located in Darby, Montana.  We offer exceptional English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley apples and other local fruits.  We support sustainable agriculture and the preservation of open spaces in our beautiful valley. We increase the value and usefulness of Montana’s orchards so that they may support and delight future generations.

Here is a nice article from CiderCraft on Montana Ciderworks.  The owner and cidermaker is Lee McAlpine, who I’ve met at Cider Summit Seattle.

Price:  $9.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing – I realized I’ve had tastes of this, but never reviewed a bottle

Photo Oct 19, 6 58 02 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Dark straw to light gold hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart heirloom apples.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp tart heirloom & crab apples, butterscotch, wood, earth, and lemon.  Long tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I seemed to remember liking it more previously.  It seemed a bit more tart and dry this time.  That might have been my fault though, as I drank it at cellar temperature, like I do for most ciders of this style (vs. flavored ciders from dessert apples), but maybe this would be better at fridge temperature.

Most Similar to:  Finnegan Cider Semi-Dry and Grizzly Ciderworks The Ridge

Closing Notes:  This is a great selection at a nice price point.  I like that they use local cider-specific apples yet make ciders which are approachable.  I think my current favorite is North Fork Traditional (also available at Total Wine in my area).  As much as I like to support local bottle shops, Total Wine is very convenient, as they have a semi real time online inventory and keep their stock of cider pretty steady (vs. some of the smaller shops which may get some cooler smaller batch ciders, but also tend to have some items out of stock at times).  So, I go to both.

Have you tried Montana Ciderworks cider?  What did you think?

Advertisements

Montana CiderWorks North Fork Traditional

Review of North Fork Traditional from Montana CiderWorks, from Darby Montana.  I’ve previously tried their Darby Pub Cider (see my tasting notes here).  Surprisingly enough, they are far from the only cidery in Montana (Cyder Market lists four, although Montana CiderWorks appears the oldest, being founded in 2000).

2016-03-06 16.36.06.jpg

Cider:  North Fork Traditional
Cidery:  Montana CiderWorks
Cidery Location:  Darby MT
ABV:  7.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle (also 750ml)
Style:  American craft English-style semi-sweet cider made from Montana apples

2016-03-06 16.36.17 2016-03-06 16.36.26

Availability:  Year round in CO, MT, and WA

Cider Description:  Semi-Dry English Style Cider.  Golden, gently bubbly, with true cider flavor. Expressive bittersweet apple character with wood, grass & smoke notes; this semi-dry cider balances faintest sweetness against sharpness, astringency, and tart fruit…Our North Fork traditional cider received a Gold Medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.  The blend includes hard-to-find traditional cider apples & crab apples alongside Bitterroot Valley apples. North Fork offers a clean, aromatic finish that enhances the flavor of savory foods. Pairs wonderfully with spicy (ethnic) foods, game bird dishes, and hor d’oeuvres with strong cheeses.

Cidery Description:  Montana CiderWorks is a bonded winery located in Darby, Montana.  We offer exceptional English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley apples and other local fruits.  We support sustainable agriculture and the preservation of open spaces in our beautiful valley. We increase the value and usefulness of Montana’s orchards so that they may support and delight future generations.

Here is a nice article from CiderCraft on Montana Ciderworks.  The owner and cidermaker is Lee McAlpine, who I met at Cider Summit Seattle last year.

Price:  ~$8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I tried their Darby Pub Cider at Cider Summit Seattle last year, and had been wanting to try something else from their lineup.  The description of this cider sounded like something I’d enjoy.

2016-03-06 16.38.06.jpg

First Impression:  Light amber orange.  Low carbonation with some foam upon pouring.  Smells luscious, of rich ripe apples, apple skin, honey, brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Low carbonation.  The texture is a bit mousse-like.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate tartness.  Low to moderate tannins.  A hint of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Moderate to full flavored.  Medium bodied.  Notes of rich bittersweet apples, apple skin, honey, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, charred oak, and earthiness.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  The flavor started with acidity & tartness, then finished with drying tannins.  This definitely tastes like English cider, but the slight sweetness and mousse-like texture reminds me a bit of French cider too.  This is a rather approachable English style cider too–it isn’t too dry and stays clean (no funk), although it has tannins.

Most Similar to:  Other English and English-style ciders, such as Liberty Ciderworks English Style, Aspall Dry, Sheppy’s Somerset Draught, Hogan’s Medium Cider, Worley’s Premium Vintage, and Montana Ciderworks Darby Pub.

Closing Notes:   I’m a big fan of English ciders, and this didn’t disappoint.  However, I think I slightly prefer their Darby Pub cider.  I look forward to trying their other ciders; I’ve also seen Small Batch McIntosh and Newtown Pippin ciders from them in my area.

Have you tried any ciders from Montana CiderWorks?  What did you think?