Kite & String Honeoye

Review of Kite & String’s Honeoye.  It is my first time trying this cider, although I’ve had their Baldwin.

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Cider:  Honeoye
Cidery:  Kite & String
Cidery Location:  Interlaken, New York
ABV:  6.3%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider, semi-sweet to sweet (5.1% RS), sparkling, from Newtown Pippin, Baldwin, McIntosh, & Liberty apples

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Availability:  probably only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  A tribute to the sweetness of a fall apple harvest. Sharp and heirloom apples fermented to dryness, balanced with a sweet reserve of high Brix fresh juice, cold concentrated on the farm to 29 Brix through cryo-extraction.  Semi-sweet. Sparkling. Aromatics of fresh baked apple and summer honey. Boldly fruit forward yet balanced with bright acidity and a rich juicy finish.

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun. ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York. Please come and visit us in the tasting room any time of the year.

Price:  $16
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard they were doing free shipping for the holidays, and I’ve always read good things about their ciders, so it was an easy choice to place an order.  Plus, they have a nice wide selection for all tastes.  I also picked up their Baldwin and Royal Cider.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Smells mild and sweet.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of honey, sweet apple, and tropical fruit.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high overall flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it – very honey-forward for not having honey added (which would be a cyser).  However, it was right on the edge of being too sweet for my liking.  For many it might be better as a dessert cider and/or something to share, but I drank it all myself.  Its a fairly simple cider as far as heritage ciders go, and with its qualities and sweetness, it would make a great introductory cider for folks new to heritage cider.

Most Similar to:  cyser, although most of those are much higher ABV, so I’d say Bertilinos and Austin Eastciders Texas Honey

Closing Notes:  I like seeing sweeter heritage cider options, as I prefer semi-dry to semi-sweet, and the majority seem to be dry.

Have you tried Kite & String Honeoye?  What did you think?

Kite & String Baldwin Cider

Review of Finger Lakes Cider House’s Kite & String (formerly Good Life Cider) Baldwin.  This is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Baldwin
Cidery:  Kite & String
Cidery Location:  Interlaken, New York
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft heritage cider from Baldwin & Wickson crabapples, semi-dry, traditional method (methode champenoise)

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Availability:  likely only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Made from Baldwin apples, with a modest addition of Wickson Crab, this blend highlights the bright tropical notes and intense acidity of these varieties. The high alcohol and robust flavor come from the cryoextraction process (similar to Ice Cider) used to concentrate this juice to 20 brix prior to fermentation. It is then fermented slowly to retain maximum esters and polyphenols, and aged for only a short time to best showcase its fresh and bright, fruit-forward nature.

Semi Dry, Traditional Method.  Pineapple, lime, and Riesling on the nose. Bursting with bright, tropical fruitiness and slight perceptive sweetness on the front palate, moving to thirst quenching mid palate and bracing acidity with a dry, weighty finish.

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun. ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York. Please come and visit us in the tasting room any time of the year.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  online
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard they were doing free shipping for the holidays, and I’ve always read good things about their ciders, so it was an easy choice to place an order.  Plus, they have a nice wide selection for all tastes (although it looks like they sold out of this variety since I purchased it).  I also picked up their Honeoye and Royal Cider.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of sharp apples and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and hints of floral.  Long tart warming finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t super into this cider.  I thought the acidity, carbonation, and ABV overpowered the fruitiness, and it was mouth-puckering tart for my tastes.  Actually it tasted more like champagne than cider.  However, my husband loved it.  If you are into drier, super tart, highly carbonated champagne-alternative ciders, I’d recommend it.  I tried this at multiple temperatures and seemed to like it closer to room temperature to tone down the tartness some.

Most Similar to:  Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut cider

Closing Notes:  Despite being too tart for my liking, this was a great New Year’s Eve selection, as it is bubbly, and with a higher ABV, one bottle lasted all night.  I bet any leftovers would make good mimosas too, although we didn’t have any left…

Have you tried Kite & String cider?  What did you think?

Eve’s Scatterseed

Review of Eve’s Cidery’s Scatterseed.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Beckhorn HollowAutumn’s GoldKingston Black, and Rustica.

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Cider:  Scatterseed (2014 vintage)
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten NY
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  American artisan methode champenoise cider from cider apples

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Availability:  sold out per their website

Cider Description:  Aromas of damp earth, ripe waxy apple, tamari and beeswax focus (coalesce) into flavors of ripe fruit and game which are deep and layered. Textures of sandstone and chewy bittersweet apple. Finish is completely dry and savory with full, lingering tannin.

See here for more info on this cider; I like how they are very detailed in all their cider descriptions.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  the cidery’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium gold hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells dry, tannic, and rich.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate to high tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Earthy notes of caramel, leather, butterscotch, lemon, butter, and floral.  Long tannic finish.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  The tannins and flavor were great.  However, I would have preferred more sweetness and less acidity.  I’d love to see more tannic traditional ciders like this that are semi-dry instead of dry, as I think it brings out more flavor, and makes them more approachable.

Most Similar to:  very few ciders, as very few cideries are using such a high percentage of bittersweet & bittersharp cider apples in a cider (although it is getting more common, but usually they are blended with heirloom apples such that the bittersweet & bittersharp apple characteristics are muted)

Closing Notes:  my favorite Eve’s cider remains Rustica, but I’d love to see a slightly sweeter version of this or their Kingston Black

Have you tried Eve’s Scatterseed?  What did you think?

Slyboro Night Pasture

Review of Slyboro’s Night Pasture.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Old Sin and Hidden Star.

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Cider:  Night Pasture
Cidery:  Slyboro
Cidery Location:  Granville NY
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from heirloom & cider apple varieties, still, dry

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Availability:  Currently sold out for the year, but typically sold year-round, in limited markets

Cider Description:  Subtly complex, dry, with hints of spice and caramel, made from Golden Delicious, English Bittersweet varieties and Northern Spy apples. Named after our oldest orchard, where earlier farmers once turned out their livestock at the end of the workday. Now a favorite spot for painters, dancers, apple pickers, skiers and red foxes.

Cidery Description:  Named for the centuries-old hamlet that is home to Hicks Orchard, Slyboro Ciderhouse re-introduces the lost craft of traditional American ciders. Just as grapes are transformed into wine, our ciders are fermented from our own orchard-grown apples; unlocking the full potential of the apple by creatively blending a a distinctive range of delicious, award-winning ciders. We at Slyboro Ciderhouse are dedicated to reclaiming cider – “true cider” – as America’s favorite drink. We invite you to explore and discover the flavors and delights of Slyboro Ciders. In any season, for special occasions, or to enrich the moment, “consider cider.”

Slyboro has a tasting room open seasonally, July through Christmas.

Price:  $10 (50% off of $20, although the cidery lists it for $11.99, now sold out)
Where Bought:  Downtown Spirits in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I visited the store for a cider class taught by Rev Nat during WA Cider Week 2017, and stocked up on all the awesome ciders on their 50% off shelf.  Unfortunately the higher end ciders from cider apples can sell slowly even where cider is popular, such as here in the Seattle area.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue, with some particulates.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells mild, of rich caramel and earth.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry (but that was just perceived, likely due to the ‘juiciness’, as their website says 0% residual sugar).  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of caramel, earth, smoke, wax, cork, lemon, and a hint of herbs.  Long slightly warming acidic finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor, flavor intensity, and sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  This was much more doable for me than many of the other dry East Coast ciders I’ve tried, which tend to be much more acidic and less intense in flavor than the Washington ciders I am used to.  This would be very food friendly, and likely appeal to wine lovers as well.  It had a really unique flavor profile.

Most Similar to:  Understood in Motion 02 and Farnum Hill Kingston Black

Closing Notes:  My favorite from Slyboro remains their Old Sin, due to its higher flavor intensity, richness, and sweetness.

Have you tried Slyboro Night Pasture?  What did you think?

Slyboro Hidden Star

Review of Slyboro Hidden Star, from New York.  I’ve previously only tried their Old Sin cider.

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Cider:  Hidden Star
Cidery:  Slyboro
Cidery Location:  Granville NY
ABV:  6.9%
Residual Sugar: 2.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from heirloom apple varieties

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Availability:  Year round in limited markets

Cider Description:  Discover the secret in the apple! Cider from historic, hearty Northern Spy apples blended with ecologically grown Liberty apples, brings a deeply rooted American tradition to the modern table for your enjoyment.
Made from apples grown at Hicks Orchard, a family farm in the Adirondack foothills and New York?s oldest U-Pick orchard. Clean, crisp, aromatic and refreshingly smooth, like a ripe apple just picked from a tree. Hidden Star pairs well with Summer barbeques, Autumn picnics, Winter festivities, and Spring frolics.

Cidery Description:  Named for the centuries-old hamlet that is home to Hicks Orchard, Slyboro Ciderhouse re-introduces the lost craft of traditional American ciders. Just as grapes are transformed into wine, our ciders are fermented from our own orchard-grown apples; unlocking the full potential of the apple by creatively blending a a distinctive range of delicious, award-winning ciders.

We at Slyboro Ciderhouse are dedicated to reclaiming cider – “true cider” – as America’s favorite drink. We invite you to explore and discover the flavors and delights of Slyboro Ciders. In any season, for special occasions, or to enrich the moment, “consider cider.”

Slyboro has a tasting room open seasonally, July through Christmas.

Price:  $17 (which is apparently $5 more than the going price in New York)
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I previously tried and enjoyed their Old Sin, so I was game to try something else from Slyboro.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Smells fruity, of stone fruit and pineapple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate carbonation, tiny bubbles.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Notes of honey, peach, pineapple, mineral, green apples, and a slight metallic flavor.  Long finish with some sharpness and warming (tasting higher than 6.9% ABV).  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, although I prefer their Old Sin (which is richer).  This is a nice summery cider in flavor, although not sessionable.

Most Similar to:  Eve’s Beckhorn Hollow (although Hidden Star is sweeter and more fruity).  It even reminded me a bit of ciders which used some crabapples (such as Raven’s Moon and Dragon’s Head Columbia Crab), as it had a sharp flavor.  It also seemed a bit boozy, especially in the finish, like something Sea Cider or Eaglemount would make.

Closing Notes:   I look forward to trying more from Slyboro, and the East Coast / New York in general.  I have seen two more varieties from them locally.

Have you tried Slyboro Hidden Star?  What did you think?

Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow

Review of Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow.  Its the first time I’ve tried their cider.  I was surprised to see it in the store as I didn’t even know they distributed out here (I’ve heard of them online).  We don’t get too many East Coast ciders here in the Pacific Northwest (at least compared to WA & OR ciders).

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Cider:  Beckhorn Hollow
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten, New York
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750 ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Craft cider made from heirloom apple varieties, methode champenoise style (naturally sparkling)

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Availability:  Mostly in New York, but also in some other states such as Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and Delaware (and now, Washington).  They also have an online store (check for shipping availability for states besides New York).  310 cases of this vintage of this cider were produced in 2014.

Cider Description:  This extra dry cider is a blend of American cider apples and English heirloom varieties, with a focus on Golden Russet. The aroma starts off with sour dried apricots and a warm field and moves into something darker like green oak leaves and forest duff. The mouth feel is light and airy, dominated by bubbles and is followed by a burst of juicy acidity which brings out bright fruit in spite of the bone dryness. The finish is long and mouthwatering, reminiscent of limes.

On the nose, sweet aromas of bartlett pear, cream and raw honey. The mid palate is bright and bubbly with succulent fruit flavors of peaches and sour orange.  A tart and juicy finish ends in dry lemon pith. Residual Sugar 0.0%, Alc/Vol 8.9%, Titratable Acidity 9.7g/l, pH 3.5

Apple Varieties: A blend of aromatic, sharp and heirloom apples: Golden Russet, Wealthy, Wixson, Cox Orange Pippin, Northern Spy, Manchurian Crab, Spigold, Idared.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

All of our sparkling ciders are made using the Champagne Method. We harvest and press our apples as they mature from early September through November. We blend at the press based on harvest dates and pH for a healthy fermentation. After the primary fermentation in the fall, the ciders are racked and left to mature in stainless steel over the winter. In the early spring, we blend to find dynamism and synergy. The cider is then bottled with a liqueur de tirage, yeast and sugar, to initiate a secondary fermentation. In the cool cider barn, the secondary fermentation proceeds slowly, taking nearly 4 months to complete. The slow secondary fermentation is what creates tiny, persistent bubbles of unrivaled elegance which lift aromas out of the glass and impart a lively, creamy mouthfeel. After a period of rest we disgorge, eject the yeast, every bottle by hand and top it up with a dosage of cider.

Price:  $19
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been wanting to try cider from Eve’s and even considered ordering them online, but this is the first time I’ve seen them in the Seattle area, so it was an easy choice to pick it up.  This is the only Eve’s variety they had in the store.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, acidic, creamy, of citrus, earth, and green apples.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry.  Medium bodied with a creamy and frothy texture.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Low bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp crabapple bite, citrus (orange), peach, potato starch, honey, mineral, white grape, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This is a very well made cider.  However, its not really my favorite type of cider (dry and sharp).  I knew that going into it, and mostly just wanted to give it a try.  I imagine this would be a great wine lovers cider.  My husband really liked it.

Most Similar to:  Snowdrift Semi DryLiberty Ciderworks New World Style, and Wandering Aengus Wickson, which are all dry and sharp.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got a chance to try this cider.  I’m curious if I’ll be able to find any other varieties from them locally; maybe something slightly sweeter and with bittersweet instead of bittersharp apple varieties (their Darling Creek sounds to my liking).

Have you tried anything from Eve’s Cidery?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard Walden Hollow

Review of Angry Orchard’s newest Ciderhouse Collection selection, Walden Hollow, named for their cidery headquarters and orchard in Walden New York.  It is made exclusively from apples grown in New York state, including some from Angry Orchard’s own 60 acre orchard.  I’ve previously tried a number of ciders from them; see here.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Angry Orchard.  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.<<

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Cider:  Walden Hollow
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Cincinnati OH
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  American commercial cider made from New York state dessert & heirloom apple varieties, wild yeast fermentation

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Availability:  year round, wide release, limited availability, with plans to release a new batch each Spring

Cider Description:  Walden Hollow is an annual vintage cider made with our cider maker’s choice of heirloom New York state apples varieties, including apples from the Angry Orchard in Walden, NY. The 2016 edition is a mildly tannic, off dry cider with intense apple aroma and notes of butterscotch and almond. The cider makers wanted to capture the essence of wild fermentation, but without the funkiness or sour qualities sometimes associated with the process.

With Walden Hollow, Angry Orchard’s cider makers fermented the cider with wild yeast to evoke earthy, farmhouse qualities that complement the cider’s clean finish.  This cider has a bright aroma of fresh peeled apple skins, a rich full body, medium sweetness in taste with tartness characteristic of New York State.

Their Ciderhouse Collection also includes Iceman, The Muse, and Strawman.

Apple Varieties: Rome, Jonathan, Macintosh, Rhode Island Greening, Golden Russet, Newtown Pippin, and Northern Spy

Interestingly enough the press release they sent only mentioned the heirloom apple varieties (“apple varieties include…”), but their website also listed the dessert apple varieties.

Price:  n/a (retails for $14.99-$17.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Bright medium straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells sour, of citrus, honey, and floral.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Mild sourness, funk, bitterness, and tannins.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Mouth-puckering sourness and tartness, but the sourness is only at the front of the palate, not the back like a true sour cider (farmhouse-style or Sidra).  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, honey, vinegar, hay, floral, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I don’t really appreciate this style of cider (sourness and funk isn’t my cup of tea), but those who like this style will probably enjoy it.

Most Similar to:  This seems to be a less intense (less sour) version of traditional farmhouse-style cider (like from Millstone Cellars) or Spanish Sidra.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got to try this cider.  Angry Orchard really branched out with it…I’m curious how it will be received by their typical customers.

Have you tried Angry Orchard Walden Hollow?  What did you think?