Lonetree Apple Peach

Review of Lonetree’s Apple Peach cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this Canadian cidery.

Cider:  Apple Peach
Cidery:  Lonetree
Cidery Location:  Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  cans
Style:  Canadian cider from heirloom apples, with peaches

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Availability:  likely only in British Columbia, Canada

Cider Description:  Our Peach apple cider recipe is bursting with the taste of fresh & juicy BC peaches. We know you’ll taste the difference.

Cidery Description:  We are a small, BC-owned company, making cider the old-fashioned way. We start with real BC apples from old growth orchards, deep in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.  Our authentic dry ciders are natural and real – from apples that are crushed and fermented, then filtered fresh clear and pure – much like a premium quality wine.  We believe in local, natural, and sustainable farming. Our business concept started when we were introduced to 3rd generation family orchardists in Kelowna. To this day, we work with that same family, but have also expanded to work with BC Tree Fruits Co-Op which is made up of over 500 grower families in BC for our apple supply.  We selected the name “Lonetree” because we think we stand alone in our belief in a 100% BC quality product. And we use the phrase “old growth orchard” because many of the apple trees are nearly 80 years old.  We believe the old ways are still the best. We know you will taste the difference.

Price:  ~ $3-4 CAN / 1 can
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  When in port during a cruise.  I was able to buy a number of single cans downtown, mostly 16oz, which is awesome as cans pack the easiest (can fit in a gallon Ziploc baggie).

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First Impression:  Pale peach yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sweet peach puree.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of sharp heirloom apples and pomace, peach, and hints of citrus & apricot.  Moderate length tannic finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  Great peach flavor with a tannic finish, very unique.  Not overly tart either, which I appreciate.  Most cideries don’t use cider apples when making flavored ciders.  This is a bit of a mix between a heritage and modern cider, and I liked it.

Most Similar to:  I’ve tried over a dozen peach ciders (see here and search for ‘peach’), and Tieton Bourbon Peach is the closest to this, except the finish on that was bourbon instead of tannic apple.

Closing Notes:  I’m bummed this isn’t available locally, as I’d stock up.  Hopefully I can find it when I’m in Vancouver in May.

Random Note:  Lonetree’s ciders were apparently available in the U.S. for a short while under the name Soultree (due to a naming conflict).  However, the distributor went under, so their ciders are no longer available in the U.S.  I actually tried Soultree Dry previously, but I much prefer this peach one.

Have you tried Lonetree Apple Peach?  What did you think?

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Mission Trail Peach Coast

Review of Mission Trail’s Peach Coast.  This isn’t actually cider, but fruit wine, or as they call it, Jerkum (only peaches, no apples).  However, Mission Trail also makes ciders, and I occasionally review non-cider beverages here.  I’ve previously tried Mission Trail’s Perry.

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Product:  Peach Coast
Cidery:  Mission Trail
Cidery Location:  Bradley CA
ABV:  6.1%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Californian craft peach wine backsweetened with peach juice

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Availability:  at least in CA, OR, and WA, plus case sales online to AZ, CA, NV, OR, and WA (although this style is listed as sold out on their website, and they only produce once a year, at harvest)

Product Description:  Another first! This incredibly aromatic, dry, soft, and complex jerkum is made entirely from peaches. Delicate sweetness and a lingering fruitiness give this jerkum light body with an unmistakable peach glow and soft peach “fuzz” on the finish. Truly a remarkable drink to be enjoyed by all!

Cidery Description:  We focus on: artisanal and traditional cider making practices, original seasonals, innovation, and creating one-of-a-kind jerkums, perrys, and ciders done “right”!

They started in 2014 and don’t have a tasting room.

Price:  $11
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  Mission Trail’s products are newly available in the Seattle area

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First Impression:  Smells mild, of stone fruit.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Moderate peach hue.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of peach, apricot, nectarine, and lemon.  Moderate peach flavor, flavor intensity, and sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, but didn’t love it.  My husband however was a bigger fan (although he admittedly loves anything peach).  I would have appreciated less tartness and more complexity.  I think its pretty cool however that they made a 100% peach wine, as I’d always heard that non-grape and non-apple wines were quite cost-prohibitive (although $11 / pint isn’t cheap).

Most Similar to:  I haven’t heard of anyone else making this sort of product, although a handful of grape wineries release some other fruit wines which may include peach.  I’ve had a number of peach flavored ciders though, such as Blue Mountain Peach, Blackfin Pacific PeachCarlton Bourbon Barrel Peachy Keen, Finnriver Country PeachNumber 6 Peach FuzzRed Branch Peach CiderSchilling Road Trip (Peach Citra), and Tieton Bourbon Peach (Tieron’s was my favorite – I think its the best cider they make).

Closing Notes:  I think they are doing some pretty cool stuff at Mission Trail, and I’d be interested in trying more.

Have you tried Mission Trail’s fruit wines?  What did you think?

Red Branch Peach Cider

Review of Red Branch Cider Company’s Peach Cider (actually technically a cyser as it has honey added).  It is my first time trying this cider, and any cider from this cidery.

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Cider:  Peach Cider
Cidery:  Red Branch Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Sunnyvalle CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American cider with honey, peach juice, carbonated water, and sugar

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Availability:  A small batch release.  Red Branch cider appears to only be available in California, plus through their online store.

Cider Description:  We take great care in producing this hard peach cider from the finest ingredients available. We only use premium fruit juices and honey. This one has a twist though, we’ve added peach juice to give it a great flavor with a terrific peach aroma. If you love peaches, then this is for you. Try our other flavors, too and you might just find your favorite beverage choice is something new. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. If you don’t, tell us and we’ll make it right. Mike & Maria

Cidery Description:  We believe that producing a quality hard cider of any variety is 90% art and 10% science. Toss in a bit of sweat and heartburn for good measure and you’ll have a typical small cidery. Crafting cider is a lot like crafting many other beverages, and our love of quality ingredients drives us to produce more than just an average cider, but what we believe, is the finest cider possible. Our passion is to create something special from one of the most natural substances on earth, and share it with everyone.

Quality and consistency are the most important aspects of our products, if they aren’t good enough for us to drink or offer to our own friends and family, then we won’t sell it to you!  Red Branch Cider Company offers both traditional and seasonal ciders with an innovative honey twist.

They were established in 1995 and have a tap room in Sunnyvale CA.

Price:  $8.49
Where Bought:  a natural grocery store in a small town in Northern California
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  They had an impressive cider selection.

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First Impression:  Light peach hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells of peach candy.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of peach candy at the beginning with a hint of nectarine, lemon, & honey, and a medicinal flat metallic bitter peach flavor at the end.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I found this cider odd.  I think without the weird finish and with some carbonation it wouldn’t have been too bad.

Most Similar to:  I’ve previously had the following peach ciders:  Blue Mountain Peach, Blackfin Pacific Peach, Carlton Bourbon Peachy Keen, Finnriver Country Peach, Number 6 Peach FuzzPeach Grapefruit Habanero, and Tieton Bourbon Peach.  This one was quite different than all the others – the sweetest and most candied tasting.  My favorite of those is probably the Tieton one.

Closing Notes:  Hopefully I have a chance to try something else from Red Branch in the future.

Have you tried Red Branch Peach Cider?  What did you think?

2 Towns Ciderhouse Sun’s Out Saison

Review of Sun’s Out Saison from 2 Towns, their newest limited release cider with peaches and fermented with Saison beer yeast.  I’ve tried a number of ciders from 2 Towns; see here.

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Cider:  Sun’s Out Saison
Cidery:  2 Towns Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and kegs
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples with peaches added, fermented with Saison beer yeast

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Availability:  Limited release starting in late March 2016, in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Sun’s Out Saison is made with tart, fresh-pressed Northwest apples fermented on peaches with an authentic French saison yeast. Roll up your sleeves, or better yet, rip ‘em off to get ready for this unfiltered, dry, slightly spicy and phenolic cider, with lots of big, clean, fresh-peach aromatics. Savor liquid sunshine from Oregon’s leading craft cider producer.

Made with over 46 pounds of peaches per barrel (a barrel is 238 bottles of 500ml if my math is right).

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  $7.59
Where Bought:  Chuck’s Hop Shop in Seattle WA (my first time there)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had seen it mentioned online, but didn’t know it was in stores here yet (and didn’t see it at the other 3 bottle shops I went that week).

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First Impression:  Hazy light straw yellow lemonade hue.  Low carbonation and foam upon pouring.  Smells of citrus, peach, green apple, a hint of sour, and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low carbonation.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  A hint of sourness.  No tannins, bitterness, or funk.  Notes of citrus, peach, green apple, tropical fruit, honey, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple influence.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  This is a perfect spring and summer cider, as it is light and refreshing.  However, I didn’t really pick up “slightly spicy” in it, although there is definitely some bite and tartness.  I think I picked up a slight amount of “phenolic” flavor, which I read is described as an herbal flavour primarily produced during the malo-lactic fermentation in ‘bittersweet’ ciders.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Cidre Moscato and Attila Scourge of God based on being light & fruity, plus other peach ciders I’ve had from Blue Mountain (Peach), Blackfin (Pacific Peach), Finnriver (Country Peach), and Fox Tail (Fuzzy Haven).

Closing Notes:   Another tasty cider from 2 Towns.  This isn’t my favorite style of cider (I usually prefer something richer), but I quite enjoyed it.  Sun’s Out Saison also suited the warm temperatures we’ve been having in Seattle to start out Spring.

Have you tried 2 Towns Sun’s Out Saison?  What did you think?

Jester & Judge Columbia Belle

Review of Jester & Judge’s Columbia Belle, a peach & mint infused cider from Stevenson Washington.  I’ve also had their American Apple and Sharp Cherry varieties.

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Cider:  American Apple
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles and 22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples, infused with peach & mint

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Availability:  likely only WA & OR

Cider Description:  We wanted to bring a soft southern hospitality to Pacific Northwest fruit.  Columbia Belle is a refined peach and mint infused cider, soft, luscious and fruit forward.  Equally at home, at the beach or at the bistro.  100% natural, 100% Pacific Northwest and chock full of good manners.

Cidery Description:  We’ll bring the Jester and you be the Judge.  At Jester & Judge we believe that balance is important in life and in cider.  It’s the foundation of our seriously whimsical attitude.  Serious about the quality of the ciders we make.  No concentrates, sorbates, artificial flavorings, colorings, or other shortcuts.  Whimsical because we have fun making the best ciders we can featuring local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, which sometimes means snubbing our nose a little at traditional cider.

Price:  ~$2.50 for a single bottle (runs $8-9 for a four pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I had heard about this variety online

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First Impression:  The first half of the bottle poured a hazy orange-pink straw yellow (pictured above).  The second half of the bottle had a crazy amount of sediment and poured a murky brown hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells like peach, citrus, tropical fruit, mint, and a hint of apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  The flavor starts with a refreshing & fruity peach with hints of citrus, followed up by a cooling mint finish (the mint was less pronounced when there was more sediment).  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Medium bodied.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple influence.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this better than their American Apple and Sharp Cherry (it was more flavorful), but overall the flavor combination with the mint wasn’t really to my liking (plus generally I don’t go for fruity ciders).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a few peach ciders, such as from Blue Mountain, Finnriver, and Black Fin.  I’ve also had a few herb-infused ciders, such as Finnriver’s Lavender Black Currant, Honey Meadow, Cranberry Rosehip, & Solstice Saffron, One Tree Lemon Basil, and J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Summer.  I’ve even had Woodchuck’s Mint cider.  However, I haven’t seen this combination before.

Closing Notes:   Columbia Belle was very refreshing and would be nice on a summer afternoon.

Have you tried Jester & Judge Columbia Belle?  What did you think?

Millstone Cobbler

Review of Millstone Cellar’s “Cobbler” variety.  This is the first cider I’ve tried from Millstone Cellars, the first highly rustic cider, and I believe my first East Coast craft cider.  Lots of firsts this time around.  I love the bottle design and color with this one!

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Cider:  Cobbler
Cidery:  Millstone Cellars
Cidery Location:  Monkton MD
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml clear glass resealable bottle (wax covered top)

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Availability:  MD, VA, DC, DE, NY, WA, and soon to be CA

From Kyle Sherrer, Owner/Fermentologist at Millstone:

The Cider:  The Cobbler was 8 barrels of peach wine fermented and aged in bourbon barrels using wild yeast for the fermentation and aging for 6 months.  The cider was 22 barrels blended in after oak barrel aging in nuetral oak for 6 months and consisted of Goldrush and York Imperial varietals.  We then bottle conditioned the cider using house made unfermented ice cider.  The cider has characteristics of peach skin and a lactic soft cheese like quality as well as a hint of vanilla from the bourbon barrel.  Like all of our ciders it is dry has high acid and a moderate helping of funk.

The Cidery:  We are a cidery that focuses solely on rustic ciders and by that I mean we do all unfiltered, unsulfited, unpastuerized naturally dry ciders that are all wild yeast influenced.  All of our ciders are fermented single varietal and then we blend varietals after aging (generally 6-8 months) for the final ciders.  All of our ciders are fermented and aged in oak aging Sur Lie (on top of the lee’s) the entire time which helps round out the flavor profile and encourage a natural malolactic fermentation for all of our ciders.  Lastly we source all of our ingredients within 150 miles of our cidery.

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Price:  $17
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing cider stuff on the internet, then I saw a post on Schilling’s Facebook that they carried this one, so I looked for it at the Cider House.  I love the idea of a barrel aged peach cider.

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First Impression:  Cloudy lemonade yellow color.  Significant yeast sediment, especially stuck inside the bottom of the bottle.  Mild carbonation.  Yeasty citrus scent.

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Opinion:  Dry.  Overwhelmingly mouth-puckering farmhouse funky tangy sour tartness.  I only detect citrus, not peach.  Very very long finish (oddly enough I couldn’t eliminate the taste for hours).  High tannin thick mouthfeel.  Heavy bodied.  I couldn’t detect any barrel influence as the other qualities were a bit overwhelming to the palate for me.  I had three other taste-testers, and all four of us agreed it was unfortunately undrinkable.  I don’t mind a dry & funky cider, but the mouth-puckering astringent tang was intolerable.

I hadn’t been expecting this style of cider from the description on the bottle & their website (it only mentioned cask aged cider, bourbon barrel aged rustic peach wine, & farmhouse style).  However, after I purchased the bottle, from the reviews and the information the cidery gave me, I discovered this is supposed to be a funky cider style.  I think I got a bit too excited about barrel aged & peach and didn’t do enough detailed research before buying this cider.  Millstone utilized wild yeast fermentation, bottle conditioning, and kept the cider unfiltered, all of which appear to make very unique funky ciders.  Although I wasn’t expecting a sweet cider, with a name like Cobbler and the addition of peach wine, I was expecting some significant peach flavor, but none was detectable.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had!  Apparently this is comparable to Basque or Austrian Spanish ciders, but the couple I’ve tried weren’t this polarizing.

Closing Notes:  This cider was unfortunately a big disappointment.  I just don’t think this style of cider is my cup of tea.  Its probably a love it or hate it thing.  However, if you enjoy a funky high acidic tart rustic cider, you may like ciders from Millstone…they are definitely unique!  It seems that plenty of folks do enjoy their ciders (see UNTAPPD and RateBeer), just not me.

Have you tried Millstone Cobbler?  What did you think?