Portland Cider Cranberry

Review of Portland Cider Company’s Cranberry seasonal cider.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda Dry, Hop’Rageous, London Dry Gin, Apple, Scrumpy, Strawperry, Pineapple, Sangria, and Mojito.

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

Photo Nov 28, 3 45 48 PM

Cider:  Cranberry
Cidery:  Portland Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  22oz clear bottles (and draft)
Style:  seasonal American craft cider from dessert apples, with cranberries

Photo Nov 28, 3 45 59 PM Photo Nov 28, 3 46 11 PM Photo Nov 28, 3 46 31 PM

Availability:  seasonably (~ Nov-Jan), in Oregon (especially in the Portland area, including at all Safeways, and some Fred Meyers, New Seasons, Whole Foods, and Market of Choices) and Washington

Cider Description:  Get into the Holiday Season (which is somehow already here – crazy!!) with our Cranberry cider! A blend of freshly pureed cranberries from local Everest Farms in Bandon, Ore., with our 100% NW apple cider, this cider is brilliantly red in color and incredible to drink. Tastes just like Cranberry relish, making it the perfect pairing for the Thanksgiving table!

Ingredients:  apples (honeycrisp, pink lady, golden delicious, fuji), cranberries, and orange zest

Cidery Description:  Authentically crafted Cider with quality Northwest ingredients.  Our business is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail.  Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from 100% Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it, using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are ciders that are high quality – easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  That’s why we say, Drink it, it’s Good!

They were founded in 2012 and have tap rooms in Hawthorne and Clackamas in Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidery contacted me

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First Impression:  Pink hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells mild – fruity and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of berry and citrus to start, then distinctive tart cranberry on the long finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This had some great real cranberry flavor.  However, due to that, if you are like me and not really a fan of cranberry, it may not be appealing.  If you like cranberry, you are likely to enjoy it.

Most Similar to:  Tieton Ciderworks Cranberry, Apple Outlaw Cranberry Jewel, and d’s Wickled Cranny Granny (which is sweeter).

However, I prefer the less intensely cranberry ciders, like Downeast Cranberry BlendFinnriver Cranberry Rosehip, and Schilling Mischief Maker Pom-Cran,

Closing Notes:  The cidery has three suggested cocktail recipes – one with vodka (similar to a Cosmo), a cranberry Sangria, and another with Vodka & ginger.

Do you like cranberry cider?  What did you think?

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Portland Cider Sangria

Review of Portland Cider’s Sangria, released last month.  It is my first time trying it, although I have tried their Passion Fruit, Pearfect Perry, Kinda Dry, Hop’Rageous, London Dry Gin, Apple, Crooked Cock Scrumpy, Strawperry, and Pineapple ciders.

<This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

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Cider:  Sangria
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with 7 fruit juices

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Availability:  year round, in California (Los Angeles), Colorado, Oregon, and Washington

Cider Description:  Blend our delicious cider with the juices of orange, strawberry, pear, passionfruit, elderberry, and lime, to get our Sangria cider. It’s your new favorite fruit punch, for grown-ups!

Cidery Description:  Authentically crafted Cider with quality Northwest ingredients.  Our business is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail.  Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from 100% Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it, using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are ciders that are high quality – easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  That’s why we say, Drink it, it’s Good!

They were founded in 2012 and have tap rooms in Hawthorne and Clackamas in Portland Oregon.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~$6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  contacted by the cidery

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First Impression:  Pink hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells deliciously fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, white grape, lime, and passion fruit.  Moderate length fruity acidic finish.  Low apple flavor.  High flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed it.  This would be especially great in summer.  The notes of kiwi were interesting considering they didn’t add kiwi juice, but I imagine it was the combination of juices.  I liked the higher carbonation level.  The acidity helped balance the sweetness.

Most Similar to:  Bull Run Strawberry Fields cider also had some great strawberry notes, but didn’t have any other fruits.  Portland Cider Strawperry had some similar strawberry notes, but wasn’t nearly as flavorful as their Sangria.  Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry also had strawberry, but Portland Cider’s Sangria had a more real flavor.  As for strawberry (and watermelon) flavor without any strawberries added, Alpenfire Glow is an amazingly complex cider made from red-fleshed apples.

Closing Notes:  This is my favorite cider so far from Portland Cider.

Have you tried Portland Cider Sangria?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 18 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my eighteenth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there last Thursday, for the One Tree Crisp Apple cider release party, and enjoyed a flight of four ciders, plus One Tree’s new cider.

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<left to right: Portland Pineapple, Wandering Aengus Barrel Aged Wickson, Tieton Bourbon Peach, & Locust Sweet Aged Apple>

Portland Cider Company (Portland OR) Pineapple (5.7% ABV): This draft-only pineapple cider poured foamy but settled down after awhile.  This may be their “Maui Cruiser” variety, which also has coconut blossom nectar, as I couldn’t find any evidence that they have a strictly Pineapple cider.  Smells of fresh pineapples.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  The flavor is purely pineapple, with low flavor intensity.  I felt this cider smelled much better than it tasted…it left me wanting more flavor.  The pineapple aroma was so strong (especially in comparison to the cider’s flavor) that it makes me curious if it was added.

Wandering Aengus (Salem OR) Barrel Aged Wickson (8.0% ABV): This is a barrel aged draft-only version of their single varietal Wickson crab apple cider, which is available in bottles (which I tried previously and found overly harsh).  Smells mild, with hints of crab apples and oak.  Dry.  Low flavor intensity.  The barrel aging seemed to mellow the cider’s intensity compared to the original version.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Alcohol-forward with crab apple sharpness, oak, and honey notes.  This is best drank cold as it becomes more harsh as it warms up.  I found this more drinkable than the original version, but I still didn’t care for it.

Tieton (Yakima WA) Bourbon Peach (6.5% ABV): A draft-only bourbon barrel aged peach cider.  Hazy lemonade hue.  Smells of bourbon, peaches, and pineapple.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Hints of boozy bourbon (but not overpowering) and peach & pineapple notes.  Yum!  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.  Medium to high sessionability.  I’m a fan of bourbon barrel aged ciders, but often they tend towards being overly boozy, harsh, dry, etc…this one was tasty and easy to drink.

Locust (Woodinville WA) Sweet Aged Apple (6.9% ABV): This is a barrel aged cider made from dessert apple varieties which is available on draft and in bottles.  I’ve tried this previously (when it was called Aged Washington Dessert Apple; see here), but had heard they significantly changed the recipe, so I wanted to give it another try.  Last time it was quite hazy and unfiltered looking, but this time there was no haziness.  Smells mild and apple-forward.  Semi-sweet (less sweet than the previous recipe).  Less flavorful than the previous recipe, but much more sessionable.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Caramel, vanilla, and honey notes.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  I’m not sure which recipe I preferred, as there are pros & cons of each, but I enjoyed both versions.

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<One Tree Crisp Apple>

One Tree Hard Cider (Spokane WA) Crisp Apple (6.8% ABV): This is their new flagship cider, sold in four packs of 16oz cans and on draft.  Hazy.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Unfiltered baked apple flavor with honey notes.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  High sessionability.  Strong apple flavor.  I enjoyed this.  I found it very similar to 2 Towns Out Cider, but slightly sweeter and slightly more flavorful.  Much less sweet than any of the other ciders I’ve tried from them.

The Tieton Bourbon Peach cider was my favorite, and my favorite cider from Tieton so far.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Portland Cider Company “Apple”

Review of Portland Cider Company’s canned cider dubbed “Apple”.

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Cider:  Apple
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Oregon City, Oregon (near Portland)
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned cider made from dessert apples

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Availability:  OR & WA

Cider Description:  Medium-dry classic bursting with juicy crisp apple taste and a tart finish.

This cider was released in late 2015 for the first time, and I couldn’t find much information or a detailed description.

Cidery Description:  What do you do when you’re frustrated by the quality of the commercial cider available?  You start making your own!  What do you do when friends and family keep telling you it’s the best cider they’ve ever had?  You start a business!  That is the essence of how the Portland Cider Company got its start.  Founded by Jeff Parrish, an Oregon native, and his wife Lynda, an ex-patriot from the Somerset region of England (the Mecca of cider), the Portland Cider Company is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail. Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are cider blends that are easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  Drink it, it’s good!

Portland Cider was started in 2012, and they have a taproom in the Portland area (with their ciders and some others).  They have four ciders available in 22oz bottles (Kinda Dry, Sorta Sweet, Hop’Rageous, and Pearfect Perry), plus Apple and Hop’Rageous in four packs of 12oz cans, and other ciders that are tap only.

Price:  ~$2.50 for a single can (runs around $8 for a four pack of 12oz cans)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I had seen a release announcement on Facebook from them.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Light carbonation upon pouring with large bubbles.  Smells of tart apples with a hint of honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Low acidity and tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  I didn’t really pick up any other flavor notes besides apple, which was on the strong side.  No carbonation in the mouthfeel despite the visible bubbles.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.  Mildly flavored.  Highly sessionable.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed how much apple flavor this had without the apple juice type flavor that is common with sweeter commercial ciders which backsweeten.  I also liked that although it was light bodied and mildly flavored, it didn’t have a watered down tasting flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other semi-dry apple-forward flagship craft ciders, such as Jester & Judge American Apple.  However, although they are quite similar, I enjoyed this cider more.

Closing Notes:   This is a great basic cider option for folks who want a canned craft cider, but I prefer more flavor and complexity.

Have you tried Portland Cider Company ciders?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 3 and Portland Cider Tasting at Total Wine

I enjoyed my last visits (one and two) to the Schilling Cider House so much that I was looking for another opportunity to visit.  I got my chance the following week when my husband had Friday night plans that didn’t interest me, so I went my own way.  I arrived at the Schilling Cider House around 3:30pm, and it was already pretty busy.

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I had tried a number of their tap selections (especially since I was there only the week before), but found six of interest that I hadn’t tried yet.

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<left to right: Schilling Mischief Maker, Schilling Barrel #1, Moonlight Boys ‘nd Berries,
Rootwood Lot 17, Greenwood Huckleberry, and One Tree Huckleberry>

Schilling Mischief Maker Cran-Pom, 5.8% ABV:  This is a newish cranberry-pomegranate cider by Schilling (available in bottles too).  A bit foamy of a pour.  On the drier side of sweet.  Nice balanced sweet & tart.  However, it was a bit too heavy on the cranberry for my liking, and quite juice-like.

Schilling Barrel #1, 21% ABV:  This is similar to their Barrel #2 I had the previous week, some sort of spirit (not sure if it was distilled or fortified with brandy).  I was able to find out that this one is whiskey barrel aged  However, this was much drier than Barrel #2, on the sweeter side of dry.  It was very very boozy in comparison to Barrel #2.  I really didn’t like it much at all.  It didn’t have nearly as much flavor as Barrel #2.

Moonlight Meadery Boys ‘nd Berries, 6%:  Cherry color.  Boysenberry scent.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Kinda boring, but it is one of the better berry ciders I’ve had.  I’ve found I’m just not a fan of berry ciders, as they are often really juice-like.  This cider oddly enough though came across as a bit boozy, tasting higher than 6% ABV, which is unusual for a berry cider.

Rootwood Cider Company Lot 17, 7.2% or 7.5% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve tried from Rootwood, which hails from the Lake Chelan WA area.  They are newish to cider (launched about a month ago and had a launch party at the Schilling Cider House during Washington Cider Week), but have been growing apples for over 100 years.  They have their own tasting room in Manson WA, which offers growler fills.  They are working on getting their ciders bottled and out to stores, but for now, can be found on tap in the greater Seattle area (such as the Schilling Cider House and 192 Brewing Company in Kenmore).  “Lot 17” refers to the name of one of the family’s original orchard plots in the hills outside of Manson, and it is primarily made using Fuji apples (but also includes Jonagold, Elstar, Foxwelp, Browns, and Kingston Black).  Semi-dry. Fairly simple.  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity & bitterness.  Light bodied.  It had hints of a rich flavor, and some mild fruity notes, but left me wanting more.  Overall I found this rather boring.

Greenwood Cider Company Huckleberry Wedding Cider, 6.5% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve tried from Greenwood, which hails from the Seattle WA area.  I hadn’t even heard of them, despite them being local and my interest in cider.  I really couldn’t find any info on them online oddly enough, just a Facebook page, so I e-mailed them.  They are about a year old and currently only sell kegs of their small batch ciders.  In the Seattle area, their customers include Capitol Cider, the Schilling Cider House, and Chuck’s Hop Shop.  I found out this cider was primarily huckleberry, but also included blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (the “wedding” part), and made from piñata, golden delicious, fuji, braeburn, granny smith, and golden russet apples.  It had an orange-pink hue, which was interesting for what I thought was only a huckleberry cider, especially compared to the very dark colored One Tree Huckleberry cider.  I picked up much more citrus (grapefruit?) than berry in it.  Ryan from Greenwood thought I may have been picking up some of the tartness of the raspberries or acidity of the heirloom golden russet apples in detecting citrus notes.  Still, this one was a bit too unique for me, and my least favorite of the seven ciders I ended up trying.  I’m definitely game to try other ciders from them though!

One Tree Hard Cider Huckleberry on Nitro, 6.8% ABV:  Deep deep berry hue.  Excessive foam from the Nitro process and the scent I have come to associate with it.  Very sweet.  I found this to be just your standard juice-like berry cider.  Medium bodied.  There actually wasn’t any perceivable tartness, which was surprising, and would have been welcomed.

All in all I wasn’t impressed with any of my selections.  The Moonlight Meadery Boys ‘nd Berries was probably my “favorite” of the six (actually seven; see below).  They had ciders I really liked still on tap though, such as Moonlight Meadery Last Apple, Schilling Barrel #2, NV Cider Pear Essentials, and 2 Towns Bad Apple & Prickle Me Pink…I just wanted to get ciders I hadn’t tried before.

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They also ended up putting a Randall together while I was there, which was a cool process to watch.  Apparently they often will do this on the weekend.  It doesn’t appear they charge any extra for a Randalled cider either.  The process appeared to be a seat of the pants sort of thing, with ingredients they picked up from the PCC grocery store down the street.  I had a front & center view of it all too!  They started with Rootwood Lot 17, then added corn, cilantro, and hot peppers to the infuser chamber.

I got a sample of the resulting cider, and it was pretty good!  It mostly had cilantro flavor, with a hint of heat (the peppers were placed at the top of the chamber so the cider didn’t get much of their influence).  I really love Cilantro, so it was nice.  This would have paired very well with Mexican food, which few ciders do (my choice would be Wyder’s Reposado Pear).  I didn’t really pick up the corn in the flavor, but I think it added a bit of color & texture.  You can really see a difference in hue between the pre-Randall Lot 17 (fourth cider from left in flight photo above) vs. the post-Randall Lot 17.

I didn’t have a good view of the cutting board of ingredients, but here is a photo from their Twitter feed:

randall

After going to the Schilling Cider House, on my way home, I stopped at the Northgate Total Wine, where they were having a Portland Cider Company cider tasting (4-7pm).  I had spotted it on Total Wine’s event calendar and taken note.  I met their rep Ingrid (whose business card says “cider maven” lol) and tried three of their ciders.  They were pouring Kinda Dry, Pearfect, and Hop’Rageous.  I had tried a bottle of Kinda Dry (review here) and had Pearfect Perry on tap awhile back at my first visit to the Schilling Cider House (tasting notes here), but gave them another go.

Even though I don’t like hops, I thought I might as well try a sip of the Hop’Rageous.  It was surprisingly good!  There was very very little hop flavor, more of an aftertaste.  Apparently they use Citra hops, which are mild, and apparently they didn’t use a huge amount of them.  They also incorporated some orange peel.  Most hopped ciders go quite overboard on the amount of hops.  It had a lovely aroma & flavor of both floral (probably from the hops) and citrus (probably from the orange peel).  I found it dry to semi-dry.  Nice and refreshing, and very light in flavor overall.  I’d actually consider getting a bottle of it, although I imagine I might not like the hops aftertaste when drinking a larger amount.  This is a great example of a well-done hopped cider that even someone who doesn’t like hops/beer can probably enjoy!

As a side note, I’m quite proud of myself for not buying any bottles of cider at the Schilling Cider House or Total Wine, which is unheard of for me.  I have so much cider at home that I can’t justify buying anything but a special release / rare find.

Portland Cider Kinda Dry

Review of Kinda Dry from Portland Cider.  They have two flagship ciders, Kinda Dry and Sorta Sweet.  Pretty creative naming and to offer two ends of the spectrum.

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Cider:  Kinda Dry
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland WA
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  22oz bottle

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Availability:  OR & WA

Cider Description:  Traditional English cider is dry, lightly carbonated, has very subtle apple flavors, and a lingering fresh finish. It is in the spirit of this traditional cider that we blend our Kinda Dry. We use fresh pressed juice from a blend of NW grown culinary apples such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Gala, Golden and Red Delicious, carefully ferment them with a yeast that preserves their subtle characteristics, give the cider time to develop to its full potential, then bottle or keg at just the right time. Just off dry, light, clean, refreshing, with a pleasant finish, Kinda Dry is the cider to always have on hand.

Cidery Description:  What do you do when you’re frustrated by the quality of the commercial cider available?  You start making your own!  What do you do when friends and family keep telling you it’s the best cider they’ve ever had?  You start a business!  That is the essence of how the Portland Cider Company got its start.  Founded by Jeff Parrish, an Oregon native, and his wife Lynda, an ex-patriot from the Somerset region of England (the Mecca of cider), the Portland Cider Company is based on the belief that good cider comes from good fruit, honest practices, and attention to detail. Our cider starts with fresh pressed juice from Northwest grown apples.  We then carefully ferment it using yeast that protects the delicate characteristics of the fruit.  The results are cider blends that are easy to drink, refreshing, and downright delicious.  Drink it, it’s good!

Portland Cider started in 2012, and they have a taproom in Portland (with their ciders and some others).

Price:  ~$7
Where Bought:  My husband brought this home from Whole Foods for me.  I had joked for him to bring me home some cider, and he did!
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I’ve had my eye on Portland Cider after trying their Passion Fruit and Pearfect Perry on tap at the Schilling Cider House (see tasting notes here).

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First Impression:  High carbonation with tiny bubbles.  Shiny light gold amber.  Dry clean apple scent.

Opinion:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Moderate acidity and bitterness.  Mild tannins.  Nice higher carbonation level.  This has a pretty standard flagship cider flavor and I didn’t pick up too many distinctive flavor notes.  I’m surprised there is so much bitterness from dessert apples, but I’ve also found that in other ciders, and its something I’m sensitive to.  I think my favorite thing with this cider was the higher carbonation.  For me, the more bubbles the better most of the time!  Many ciders seem to be lacking in carbonation, which may be due to the current taxation levels which penalize cider and tax it as champagne above a certain carbonation level (one of the main points of the CIDER Act).

Most Similar to:  Other flagship ciders with higher bitterness.

Closing Notes:   I found Kinda Dry to be kinda boring, but its a solid craft cider choice.  For what you get (a 22oz bottle of craft cider from PNW apples and no additives), its a nice price point.  I think it just needs more flavor in general.  I found the dryness and bitterness to overwhelm the cider a bit.  I also wasn’t impressed with their Passion Fruit and Pearfect Perry, also thinking they needed more flavor.  I may be convinced to try their Sorta Sweet, but I heard it is quite sweet, and I’ve been moving towards drier ciders.  I see on their website they offer “Bourbonator” in their taproom, which sounds more to my liking, as I love anything barrel aged.

Have you tried Portland Cider Kinda Dry?  What did you think?