Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry

Review of Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry cider.  I tried this at Cider Summit Seattle 2017 (although that draft version was listed at a higher ABV).  I’ve also previously tried Rev Nat’s Revival¡Tepache!Hopland #5 / EnvyNewtown PippinCiderkinWinter Abbey SpiceHallelujah HopricotDeliverance Gin & TonicRevival DryThe PassionWhiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black CurrantNew Moon MandarinViva la PineappleRevelation Belle de BoskoopWooden Hellfire, and Tassjara Peach Book.

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Cider:  Sacrilege Sour Cherry
Cidery:  Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from granny smith apples with sour cherries, pear juice, and a hint of spice from ghost peppers

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Availability:  Year round.  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.

Cider Description:  Others profess to produce a cherry cider, but none begin with 100% sour Granny Smith apples (eschewing all other apple varieties for their lack of sourness) unified with the superior Montmorency sour cherry (aka Prunus cerasus, a superior and vastly dissimilar cherry to Prunus avid, the bird cherry, the mere mazzard, so commonly used in cough syrup and children’s sweet-snacks) and the exotic Baladon sour cherry (hailing from my native country of Hungary), fermented with an English Ale yeast (procured from a fine brewery in Chiswick, London), rounded out with a spot of Bartlett pear juice (undeniably the world’s greatest pear-flavored pear) and completed with a touch of spiciness (largely attributable to the ghost chili pepper, although married with a secret spice), precisely enough to make your vigor race and spirits embrace another gulp. 

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:  $7.00
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband remembered liking this and bought a bottle (this appears to be his favorite cidery…he likes the weird stuff, like Wooden Hellfire), and I tried some.

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First Impression:  Cherry red-brown hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of cherry and hot peppers (silly me made the mistake of taking a huge whiff of it too!).

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Low spiciness (heat).  Notes of real cherry, green apple, lemon, and hot peppers.  Long lingering spicy finish.  Low to moderate cherry flavor, flavor intensity,  complexity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  As expected, same as my previous trial, I didn’t like this due to the spiciness (although it was admittedly mild…I just don’t enjoy spicy beverages).  The cherry part of the cider was nice though.  My husband said the spiciness dissipated some by the time he got to the end of the bottle, but I only wanted two sips.  My husband however really enjoyed it, and was happy he got the whole bottle to himself (he is a big fan of both cherry and anything spicy).

Side Note:  Some other reviews said this was sour (like sour beer, from wild yeast), but I only picked up tart (like lemons and granny smith apples); I think the variety of cherries used are called sour cherries (similar to Doc’s Sour Cherry, my favorite cherry cider), but this wouldn’t be classified as an actual sour cider.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had plenty of cherry ciders (28 last I counted), but none that were also spicy.

Closing Notes:  My favorites from Rev Nat’s remain RevivalThe PassionWhiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant, and Viva la Pineapple….ie. his more mainstream and sweeter selections.

Have you tried Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry?  What did you think?

Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice

Review of Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice, “apple wine with raisins and spices”.  Its a seasonal New England Style spiced cider (marketed as apple wine as it is over 7% ABV).  This appears similar to Reverend Nat’s Providence, which is also a New England Style spiced cider, but has a lower ABV.  At first I thought they were the same, as the store actually stuck a barcode label on this one saying “Providence”, but it appears not.

By the way, New England Style cider is typically considered a barrel aged strong cider (8-12% ABV) which underwent a secondary fermentation with additional sugars and raisins.  So, Winter Abbey Spice meets that definition except its a tad low on the ABV.

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Cider:  Winter Abbey Spice
Cidery:  Reverend Nat’s
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  7.4%
How Supplied:  750ml flip top bottle
Style:  New England style American spiced cider

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Availability:  Winter time, where Reverend Nat’s cider is sold.  It appears this occurs in OR, WA, Southern CA, parts of ID, AK, British Columbia, Japan, & Singapore, and online at InsideTheCellar.com and ShipCider.com (although I didn’t see this variety on either website).

Cider Description:  Our good friends in the North counteract the bitter chill of winter with this traditional drink, but in flavor, bold in character, made with raisins, unrefined cane sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg and fermented to dryness with oak.  This tipple is sure to warm your bones.

The apples for this cider were from Kiyokawa Family Orchards.  It was aged in oak for 6 months.

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.

Nat West (who is actually an online ordained minister) has been making cider since 2004, started Reverend Nat’s in 2011, and opened a tap room with 12 taps in Portland in 2013 (which also includes bottles and selections from other cideries).

Price:  $12.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  This was recommended to me, so I was on the look out for it.  At first I thought it was the same as Providence as that is what the label from the store said and I remembered Providence being a New England Style spiced cider, but it appears the recipe and ABV is slightly different.  I had passed on Providence as the whole raisins and spices thing sounded weird.  However, I’m now more open to spiced ciders, and apparently raisins aren’t all that uncommon to add to ciders (New England Style is a thing and raisins were traditionally used as their wild yeast would ferment the cider, and they add some sweetness, alcohol content, flavor, color, and tannins).

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First Impression:  Rich caramel orange amber.  Low carbonation.  Smells rich, of caramel, butterscotch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Low acidity, tartness, and sourness.  A touch of bitterness and funk.  Mild to moderate spice (mostly cinnamon).  Lovely rich flavor with lots of burnt caramel and brown sugar notes.  The oak is barely noticeable.  I only picked up raisins in the scent, not the flavor.  Medium bodied.  Long finish.  Full flavored.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was pretty tasty, but the slightly sour thing was off putting to me.  The sourness wasn’t overt, and took me awhile to figure out what I was picking up.  However, reading online reviews, I can’t find anyone else noting it was sour, and I’m the first to admit I’m sensitive to it, so I imagine most folks wouldn’t notice at all.  My husband said this was in his top 5 favorite ciders at least (he samples everything I open).

Most Similar to:  Other high ABV spiced ciders (such as 2 Towns Nice & Naughty, although that is 10.5% ABV) and New England Style ciders.  I don’t think I’ve tried a New England Style cider before, but at least a few exist in the current craft cider market (such as from Blackbird and Headwater).  Apparently its fairly popular for home cidermakers too.

Closing Notes:   I can see why this cider is popular.  It wasn’t really my thing, but was nice to try.  I’m not opposed to trying another New England Style cider though.

Do you have a favorite spiced cider?

Cider at Seattle International Beerfest

I’m looking forward to attending the Seattle International Beerfest at Seattle Center, July 10-12 2015.  Hubby and I are even planning to take the day off work so we can get there right when they open at noon on Friday, to hopefully beat the crowds and ensure we get to taste everything we want.  This unfortunately isn’t an event which has representatives from the breweries & cideries (beer & cider is served by volunteers), but it is still a great opportunity to drink some cider (and beer).

Entry gets you a wristband, tasting glass, and a specific number of tickets.  Advance sales are $25 (10 tickets) or $45 (40 tickets).  At the door it is $30 cash (10 tickets).  Additional tickets are sold for $1 each.  Beer & cider tastes (4oz) cost between 1 and 7 tickets each depending on their cost, where most are 1-3 tickets.  There are also a few selections to get a full pint for only $3, including Crispin Blackberry (I assume they mean Blackberry Pear).  Note that not all selections are on tap (some are bottles).  There will be music and food trucks.  This event is appealing as it appears more spread out than many, which often crowd folks into a small location.  If you are going, I’d recommend planning ahead what you want to taste; this helpful map even includes their locations and the number of tickets each will cost.

Ciders they plan to have:

Ace Pinapple (draft, 5% ABV, from CA, 1 ticket) – a very sweet but tasty pineapple cider; I like this one

Aspall Dry Cider
(bottle, 6,8%, from England, 3 tickets) – dry English Draft style cider; I haven’t tried anything from them, so it’ll be on my list

Ace Blackjack 21
(bottle, 9%, from CA, 4 tickets) – a Chardonnay barrel cider which was a special release for their 21st birthday; this one was pretty good, but not worth the $15+ a bottle in my opinion

Crispin Blackberry (draft, 5%, from CA, only available as a pint for 3 tickets?) – I assume this is blackberry pear; I like this one – yummy and easy to drink, not too sweet

Crispin The Saint (bottle, 6.9%, from CA, 2 tickets) – part of their artisinal reserves, and has beer yeast & maple syrup; not a fan of this one as it tasted a bit like beer

Crispin Venus Reigns (bottle, 6.9%, from CA, 3 tickets) – wine barrel aged pear cider; I like this one, and surprisingly didn’t pick up much red wine taste, more berry/fruit – see my review

Rev Nat’s Hopland #5 / Envy (draft, 10.2%, from OR, 2 tickets) – a hopped cider in his 7 Deadly Sins collection; I haven’t tried it as I don’t like hopped ciders, but this would be a good time to have a taste as this stuff is pricey ($15), and for 2 tickets that is a good deal!

Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider (bottle, 5%, from England, 2 tickets) – apparently a plain cider which I haven’t gotten around to trying, so this will be on my list; my hubby likes their fruit ales

Wandering Angus Unspecified Variety (draft, TBD, from OR, TBD tickets) – no info given; a new release?; I’ll try it, although I haven’t liked two others from them (Wickson & Bloom, both too dry for my tastes, Wickson moreso)

Wyder’s Reposado Pear (draft, 6.9%, from VT, 1 ticket) – tequila barrel aged pear cider; I like this one – very smooth, and goes well with Mexican food, which can not often be said about cider!