Ole Swede Blueberry Hard Cider

Review of Old Swede’s Blueberry Hard Cider.  They are a relatively new cidery from North Central middle of nowhere WA, and its the first time I’ve tried their cider.  Their second introductory release is a Sour Cherry Perry.

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Cider:  Blueberry Hard Cider
Cidery:  Old Swede
Cidery Location:  Tonasket WA
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert & crab apple varieties, with blueberries

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Availability:  Only in WA

Cider Description:  Our Cider is crafted from Jonathan, Jonagold, Gala, and Manchurian Crab apples handpicked near the Okanogan River on the Maldonado Family Orchard and Big Check Orchard near Loomis.  These apples were naturally fermented with blueberries from Hunter’s Moon Farm creating a delicious libation.  Nicely balanced, dry to medium dry cider with a hint of blueberries.  Bright, Balanced, Refreshing.

Cidery Description: Our ciders are hand crafted from farm to bottle.  Out family farm was homesteaded in 1899 as new territories were opened in the west, near Havillah, Washington.  Old Swede is born from our roots in North Central Washington’s Okanagan Highlands, a place of natural beauty perched above a valley known around the world for apple production.  We moved back to the family homestead in 2014 and began to take our cider into the world in 2015.

They don’t have a tasting room, but do offer mobile juicing and event catering.

Price:  $9
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  A friend recommended this cider, and I hadn’t tried anything from them, so I thought I’d pick it up.

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First Impression:  Light red wine hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of red wine, grape, blueberries, and tannins.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Hints of sourness and funk.  Notes of red wine, tannic blueberry skin, cherry, pomegranate, and lemon.  Long finish with lingering tartness.  Moderate complexity.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I found this a bit too tart and in general wasn’t wowed by the flavor, but berry cider isn’t typically my favorite.  However, my husband (a red wine drinker) fell in love with this cider, and said its probably his favorite ever!  He kept stealing sips of it.

Most Similar to:  Red wine; I got a lot of grape notes from this, and the blueberry skins and crab apples added some significant tannins.  I’ve previously tried two blueberry ciders, WildCraft Cider Works Blue River Blueberry and Superstition Meadery Blueberry Spaceship Box.  This actually really reminds me of the Blueberry Spaceship Box, with the tartness and blueberry skin tannins.  Although the Blue River Blueberry also had the tartness and blueberry skin tannins, it was much drier and slightly sour.  It also reminds me of Finnriver’s Black Currant cider, which is also grape-like and tart.  I’m curious how different a blueberry cider would turn out if they used blueberry juice vs. throwing in crushed blueberries (which I assume is what they do as all 3 blueberry ciders had that tannic blueberry skin flavor, and would be much less expensive and much easier than adding blueberry juice).

Closing Notes:   This is a great selection in their cider lineup, and will likely be especially appealing to red wine drinkers.  I’m interested to see what else they will release.

Have you tried Ole Swede cider?  What did you think?

Crispin Venus Reigns

I drank this interesting cider two weeks ago:


Cider:  Venus Reigns
Cidery:  Crispin
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV: 6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz brown glass bottle

Description on Bottle:  The gift of the Golden Pear. To distract the gods while he stole fire for mortal man, Prometheus threw a Golden Pear into the courtyard of Olympus with the inscription, “For the most beautiful goddess”. This coveted pear was awarded to Venus, goddess of love, sensuality, and beauty. A goddess of nature, revered at springtime, the bringer of joy to gods and mortals. Venus Reigns caresses your lips with purity and charm. A soaring achievement of elegance and simplicity. Colfax golden pear wine aged to full maturity in specially selected red wine casks, finished with a gentle kiss of honey. Before pouring, give a solid bottoms-up tilt and swirl to disperse sediment evenly and best enjoy the complex aroma and bouquet. Best enjoyed at cellar temperature, 50/55F. With or without 1or 2 ice cubes.

Price:  about $9
Where Bought:  Total Wine
How Found: Hubby actually found this at the supermarket and texted to ask if I wanted it, but I said no because I don’t like red wine.  I’m surprised it was there as this is a limited release.  Later in the week we were browsing Total Wine and I saw it, did some research on my phone about the flavor profile, and thought, why not?
Where Drank:  home

Opinion:  This is the first barrel-aged pear cider I’ve seen, as well as the first wine barrel aged cider I’ve seen.  Quite the interesting combination.  Even though I don’t like red wine, I pushed myself to try it, as it sounded really interesting.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.  I really didn’t pick up too much wine flavor, although my wine drinking hubby did.  It did however have a considerable amount of sediment from the wine.  I think a lot of what we pick up in cider flavors is a matter of perception.  I was surprised to read this was aged 26 months–wow!

I picked up a lot of fruit/berry flavor, and could taste that it was a perry (pear cider) and was barrel aged (although I wouldn’t have guessed for so long).  I’d recommend it for wine lovers and folks just wanting something different.  As with many of these special release ciders, I’m glad I tried it, but don’t see a reason to buy it again.  I’ve had quite a number of other Crispin ciders, including their regular release Original, Pear, & Blackberry Pear, and special releases such as Honeycrisp, Bohemian, The Saint, & Steeltown.