Portland Cider Cans – Apple, Hop’Rageous, and Sangria

Review of Portland Cider’s three current canned varieties – Apple, Hop’Rageous, and Sangria.  I’ve tried these all before, but had previously only had Hop’Rageous and Sangria in bottles (see my previous reviews of Apple, Hop’Rageous, and Sangria).  Their Sangria is new to cans (and is currently also still sold in 22oz bottles), but the Apple and Hop’Rageous have been around in cans for awhile (and “Apple” has only ever been sold in cans).  I have also tried their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda DryLondon Dry GinCrooked Cock ScrumpyStrawperryPineappleMojito, and Cranberry ciders.

>>This is a review of sample cans 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 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.<<

Cider:  Apple, Hop’Rageous, and Sangria
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.5% or 6.5%
How Supplied:  four or six pack of 12oz cans of a single variety (it appears they are moving from four packs to boxed six packs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with nothing (Apple), Citra hops (Hop’Rageous), or fruit added (Sangria)

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Availability:  year round, in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado

Descriptions:
Apple –  An authentic medium-dry cider classic, bursting with juicy crisp apple taste.
Hop’Rageous –  Dry hopped with Citra Hops then infused with bitter orange peel to reinforce the citrus notes. Delicious & Hop’Rageous!
Sangria –  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:  Portland Cider Company was started in October 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing cider, handcrafted in the English tradition, to the Northwest.

They have two tap rooms in the Portland area.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $7.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Apple:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart apples with a hint of honey.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor was pure apple with hints of honey & citrus.  Quick finish.  Mild to moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.  Moderate apple flavor.  High sessionability.  I liked how this had a lot of juicy apple flavor without tasting like alcoholic apple juice (which I think many commercial ciders do) or being too sweet.  Most similar to Jester & Judge American Apple.

Hop’Rageous:  Light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of citrus and floral with a hint of hops.  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk or tannins.  The flavor was very citrus (orange and lemon) with hints of hops and floral.  Moderate length finish with more citrus than hops.  Mild to moderate flavor intensity, complexity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability.  I liked how refreshing it was, with only a mild hops flavor, and lacking bitterness.  I used to think I didn’t like hopped ciders, as I don’t like beer and the first couple hopped ciders I tried were very intense, but since then I’ve found a few hopped ciders I enjoy, like this one.  Most similar to Tod Creek Mala-Hop and Incline The Explorer.

Sangria:  Pink hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells deliciously fruity.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, white grape, lime, and passion fruit.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.  I liked the flavor variety and complexity, with all the different fruit flavors.  This wound be perfect in summer!  Most similar to Bull Run Strawberry Fields and Portland Cider Strawperry.

Closing Notes:  Canned cider is becoming popular, and I’m seeing a lot of cideries launch with only canned products, add cans to their lineup, or switch to cans, even cideries that you’d never expect to.

Have you tried Portland Cider’s canned ciders?  What did you think?

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Portland Cider Concord Grape

Review of Portland Cider’s new seasonal Concord Grape cider.  This was a follow up to a Concord grape cider they made for the Willamette Week Beer & Cider Pro-Am in October 2017.  It was my first time trying this, but I have had their Passion FruitPearfect Perry, Kinda DryHop’RageousLondon Dry GinAppleCrooked Cock ScrumpyStrawperryPineappleSangriaMojito, and Cranberry.

>>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 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:  Concord Grape
Cidery:  Portland Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with Concord grapes

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Availability:  Seasonally, January thru April, in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado

Cider Description:  A deliciously tart bend of 100% NW apple cider and fresh pressed Concord Grapes. The result is a delightful treat, reminiscent of your childhood grape juice box.
Apple Varieties:  gala, honeycrisp, golden delicious, and fuji

Cidery Description:  Portland Cider Company was started in October 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing cider, handcrafted in the English tradition, to the Northwest.

They have two tap rooms in the Portland area.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Light purple-red hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of grape juice.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of tart green apple (although that wasn’t listed as a variety), purple grape juice, lemon, and pomegranate.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it – flavorful and refreshing without much sweetness.  The grape flavor was real, but more present in the scent than flavor, and I would have preferred a bit more (I actually picked up more tart apple than grape).

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve tried, as it was cider not perry (vs. Elk Horn Brewing Grape Perry), and wasn’t very sweet (vs. Attila Rapture).

Closing Notes:  I prefer Portland Cider’s Sangria, which has more variety in the flavor and is slightly sweeter.

Have you tried Portland Cider Concord Grape?  What did you think?

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.>

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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

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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?

Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple

Review of Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple.  I first tried this cider awhile when I visited their tap room (see here), during my Portland cider trip, which also included Cider Rite of Spring (see my event review and my cider tasting notes).

I have also tried Rev Nat’s Revival¡Tepache!Hopland #5 / EnvyNewtown PippinCiderkinWinter Abbey SpiceHallelujah HopricotDeliverance Gin & TonicRevival DrySacrilege Sour CherryThe PassionWhiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black CurrantNew Moon MandarinRevelation Belle de BoskoopWooden Hellfire, and Tassjara Peach Book.

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Cider:  Viva La Pineapple
Cidery:  Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  craft cider from dessert apples with pineapple juice and a touch of spices

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Availability:  Summer seasonal.  Rev Nat’s ciders are in general sold in AK, CA, HI, ID, MT, NY, OR, and WA, as well as Alberta & B.C. Canada, and Japan.  They have a cider finder and also have online sales for Tent Show ciders.

Cider Description:  This cider is a blend of fermented fresh apple juice (sourced, like all the apples I use, from Oregon and Washington, but mostly Eastern Washington in the case of this cider), and unfermented fresh pineapple juice. A touch of spice is added (cinnamon and cloves and allspice) and it is not to be consumed by those allergic to pineapples.

Cidery Description:  Reverend Nat is a single-minded cider evangelist who searches the world for superior ingredients to handcraft the most unusual ciders that no one else will make.

Price:  ~$7.99
Where Bought:  Whole Foods in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this at the cidery’s Portland tap room

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First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Dark straw yellow hue.  Smells of pineapple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple juice and lime.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  However, I didn’t pick up any of the spices mentioned in the description, which was just fine with me.  Definitely on the easy drinking side.  It would be perfect on a hot summer day.  I recommend lightly shaking the bottle before pouring as otherwise it will be a bit chunky at the end.

Most Similar to:  Jester & Judge Pineapple Express (although I’ve also previously tried pineapple ciders from Ace, Atlas, Locust, Pear Up, Portland Cider, Schilling, Swift, and Wyder’s)

Closing Notes:  My favorite ciders from Reverend Nat’s have been the most mainstream ones, like this one, Revival, and The Passion, plus Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant.

Have you tried Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple?  What did you think?

Bushwhacker Cider Forgotten Trail

Review of Bushwhacker Cider’s Forgotten Trail.  I tried this previously on draft at their cider house (see here).  My husband picked up a few bottles at that time as he liked it so much.  This is the only house cider I’ve tried from Bushwhacker (although they offer some others).

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Cider:  Forgotten Trail
Cidery:  Bushwhacker Cider
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.6%
How Supplied:  single 12oz bottles and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  Likely only at Bushwhacker’s cider house in Portland Oregon

Cider Description:  Our flagship cider, named after a trail that you may not have time to travel on as much as you’d like. This is a blend of estate grown fruit, sourced from Eastern Oregon. It comes out as a semi-dry cider, appealing to fans of dry cider, yet has a bit of natural sweetness to please a customer with a sweet tooth.

Cidery Description:  We opened Bushwhacker Cider – Brooklyn in the fall of 2010 as Portland’s first cidery and the country’s original cider pub. Starting with every cider available in Oregon, we had a measly selection of 35 bottles. This selection has exploded to over 340 bottles of cider from around the country and around the world. Located in Portland’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood our small pub quickly became a place to chat with neighbors and enjoy the diverse flavors that can be found in the cider world.

Price:  ~$3 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Bushwhacker’s cider house (which I did quite a bit of shopping at; see here)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  drinking (and shopping) at their cider house

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells very mild.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of apple juice and honey.  Moderate length finish.  Low flavor intensity.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I found this pretty average.  Very easy to drink and plenty tasty, but a bit boring.  Its unlikely to offend anyone, but I doubt too many folks would find it very impressive either.  However, its a great local craft option which isn’t too sweet or too dry.

Most Similar to:  Semi-dry flagship ciders from dessert apples, like 2 Towns BrightCider, McMenamins Edgefield Flagship, and Boonville Bite Hard

Closing Notes:  This is a really interesting cider.  My husband and I have tried it three times now (draft, and twice bottled, bought at the same time).  It was completely different each time.  The first time it was very dry and champagne-style, like my husband likes, so he picked up a few bottles to take home (and he’s not usually a cider drinker so that is saying something…).  The second time, when we opened the first bottle, it was semi-sweet and rich, so he was disappointed but I was happy (I liked that version better than this one which I am reviewing).  This time (second bottle), it was semi-dry and very mild.  I’m guessing that what we tried on draft that time was a different one of their house ciders (maybe Alice?  the hue was completely different too, nearly clear), and the bottles were from different batches.  My husband asked the bar tender if they had any in bottles and she pointed us to the Forgotten Trail bottles in the cooler, but maybe she forgot my husband was drinking their Alice variety?  Its an intriguing mystery.

Have you tried any Bushwhacker Cider flagship ciders?  What did you think?

Bushwhacker Cider and Cider Purchases in Portland Oregon

Bushwhacker Cider was the last stop of the weekend, on Sunday, on our way out of town.  We arrived when they opened just after noon.  It was quiet as expected due to the time of day, with only a couple people stopping in to buy some bottles while we were there.  The atmosphere is very casual, with some bar seating, and high top & regular tables, as well as arcade games.  The bartender was very friendly and helpful.

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They offer up to 8 ciders on tap (mostly their own) plus 6 bottle pours, and some snacks.  There are small and large pour size options too.  I think the bottle pours are especially awesome as you don’t see that much; they focused on ciders which keep well (like the awesome Etienne Dupont Pommeau which I’ve tried previously; see here).  I also really liked that they had detailed descriptions of the ciders they were pouring.

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I started off by browsing their bottle selection, which was awesome by the way, on par with the Schilling Cider House, with hundreds of options.  Everything was organized by region (and even subregion – their French ciders were labeled Normandy vs. Brittany), and refrigerated.  There was a focus on Northwest ciders of course, but also selections from across the U.S., England, France, Spain, and more.

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My husband sampled Bushwhacker’s flagship Forgotten Trail cider on tap, made from Oregon apples.  After I finished picking out bottles, I sampled a bag in box pour of Hogan’s Picker’s Passion, an English cider (they also sell at least one Hogan’s variety packaged this way with 3 liters of cider, which would be a fun option for a party and apparently keeps very well long term too).

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Bushwhacker Forgotten Trail (5.7% ABV):  Nearly clear hue (the bar’s “house water” lol).  Low carbonation.  Dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of citrus and granny smith apples.  Low apple flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.  High sessionability.  This reminds me of champagne except with lower carbonation.  My husband really enjoyed it and bought a few single bottles.  I thought it was average.  Easy to drink and refreshing, but not remarkable.

Update – Based on my review of a bottled version of Forgotten Trail (see here), this may have been their “Alice” variety.

Hogan’s Picker’s Passion (5.3% ABV):  Hazy unfiltered apple juice type hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Very thin bodied.  Semi-dry.  Low tartness, acidity, tannins, and bitterness.  Hints of funk and sourness.  Notes of apple pomace and bittersweet apple juice, but overall the flavor is simple and mild.  Low flavor intensity and complexity.  Moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Warming moderate to long finish.  I thought it was average (I would have preferred more body and flavor).  English cider is one of my favorite categories.  So far I prefer English ciders from cideries such as Sheppy’s, Dunkertons, Worley’s, and Aspall over Hogan’s, PiltonBurrow Hill, Thatchers, Sandford Orchards, and Ross on Wye, as I enjoy a flavorful cider without significant bitterness, sourness, or funk.

I thought this was a good post to summarize what bottles we purchased over the weekend, especially as the majority were from Bushwhacker’s.

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We had a great cider weekend in Portland and look forward to another (hopefully longer) trip sometime soon!

Tasting Notes from Reverend Nat’s Tap Room in Portland Oregon

Reverend Nat’s tap room was the next stop in our Portland Oregon cider weekend adventure after Cider Rite of Spring (see my event review and tasting notes), checking into our hotel (the Embassy Suites on Pine St – nice for being in a historic building), and dinner at The Ringside steakhouse (I’m not a steak eater but my husband was a big fan…dinner there was his only request of the weekend).

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Reverend Nat’s Cider has been around officially since 2011, and moved into the current building in 2013, although “The Reverend” Nat West (he is actually ordained online) has been making cider since 2004.  They specialize in making weird & interesting ciders that no one else would have the guts to make, and they actually sell very well.

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It was shockingly quiet in the tap room for a Saturday night, but I guess its not really in an area which gets a lot of foot traffic, despite being in the downtown area.  Its a cool building, with high ceilings, and one wall was a roll-up garage door.  There were about four barstools at the main bar, a few at a center bar, one booth, and the rest were stools pulled around wine barrel tables.  There were maybe six other patrons and one bartender there with us.

They have 12 ciders on tap (and sometimes bottle pours), and sell bottles & growlers of their ciders as well as some merchandise.  Many of the ciders poured in the tap room are varieties which never leave the tap room.  They also offer a “Tent Show” cider club which gives members first pick at special release ciders (and only if any bottles are left are they sold in the tap room); there is currently a waiting list to even sign up for their cider club.

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The tap room is also the production area (although obviously not in use late at night), so I got to have a peek at the cidery itself.  I was surprised how small it was compared to how large Reverend Nat’s (and Cascadia Ciderworks United‘s) cider distribution is.

2017-03-25 20.13.47.jpgthe full menu

My husband and I ordered some tasters to share ($2-$5 for 4oz) of #7 Viva la Pineapple!, #10 Tent Show Wooden Hellfire, #11 Tassjara Peach Book, and #12 Belle de Boskoop (I’ve previously tried the Revival, Sour Cherry 2016 and 2015 versions, Hallelujah Hopricot, and New Moon Mandarin).

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<left to right:  Viva la Pineapple!, Revelation Belle de Boskoop, Tent Show Wooden Hellfire, and Tassjara Peach Book>

Viva la Pineapple! (6.0% ABV):  Described as a granny smith apple cider with pineapple juice and cinnamon.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Moderate pineapple flavor.  Mild spice.  This was reminiscent of their Tepache, but apple not pineapple based, less spiced, and more drinkable by itself.  I really liked it.

Revelation Belle de Boskoop (6.8% ABV):  Described as a single varietal cider from an heirloom apple variety.  Semi-dry.  Apple forward.  However, the flavor for me was overwhelmingly vinegary with some sourness too.  I wasn’t a fan.

Wooden Hellfire (16.6% ABV):  This is a very unique cider which was started by boiling cider for 18 hours, making a concentrate (similar to freezing is used when making ice cider), then barrel aged for one year.  Very dark hue.  Dry to semi-dry.  Rich flavor with notes of caramel, prune, oak, and smoke.  High complexity and flavor intensity.  I liked the flavor (although the prune was odd), but this is something more to sip on a shot of than drink in any quantity or frequency.  My husband fell in love with it, saying it was the best cider he had ever tried, and ended up buying a bottle ($30, although its 750ml of 16.6% cider, if you can really call it cider anymore), plus two more bottles for some friends he told it about.  I really wish they would have sold this in smaller bottles, as 750ml is a lot of an intense high ABV cider, plus that would decrease the price point.

Tassjara Peach Book (8.5% ABV):  A cider with Mosaic hops, which are described as adding the scent and flavor of peaches to this cider without using any actual peaches.  Semi-dry.  There was definitely a very subtle peach flavor in addition to some citrus and hops notes.  Moderately bitter finish.  I found it to be average.

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Bottom Line:  To be honest, most of the ciders Rev Nat’s makes aren’t to my liking…they tend towards the weird, dry, spicy, sour, etc.  However, some of the staples such as Revival are awesome.  I also had a draft-only special release from them for last year’s Cider Summit (Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant) which I really enjoyed.