Common Cider Company Hibiscus Saison

Review of Common Cider Company’s Hibiscus Saison cider.  My husband picked this up for me in Northern California, and its the first cider I’ve tried from them.


Cider:  Hibiscus Saison
Cidery:  Common Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Drytown CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of slim 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with hibiscus flower extract

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Availability:  Northern CA and Las Vegas NV, per their Locator page

Cider Description:  Hibiscus Saison pours a rosy red color with a bubbly head. The aroma is light & floral with hints of sweet apples and hibiscus.

It won Silver in the “Specialty Cider and Perry” category at GLINTCAP 2016.

Cidery Description:  We don’t brew ciders, we craft moments. If it has anything to do with bringing people together, sparking conversation, bolstering friendships, and creating memories, it has everything to do with our approach to cider.

Just ask Fran. As founder of Common Cider, Fran Toves was inspired into the cider realm by a simple desire: to utilize her foodies’ passion for flavor experimentation and her love of shared times to create something rare and delicious. Her dream was a portfolio of ciders painstakingly designed to pair beautifully with food while moving people to find common ground and celebrate the simple act of being human. In 2012, Fran shared her dream with the world at homebrew competition in Reno, NV. And the response, three ciders placing in the top 10, was all the validation she needed to go all in. Thus Common Cider was born.

In Fran’s world, flavor is everything. Surprising flavor, adventurous flavor, flavor as gift to one’s family and friends. And it’s in the “layering of flavors,” as Fran likes to call it, where her artistry fully expressed. Only the juiciest, fresh-pressed, locally sourced apples. Only the choicest, natural fruit extracts and botanicals – local and organic wherever possible. Flavor profiles that lean more towards wine than beer. Light, crisp, a sweetness hinted but never overstated.

These are ciders that taste like poems, enjoy them in the spirit of togetherness. Common ciders are naturally low in sugar, gluten-free, and feature slightly lower-than-typical alcohol levels (6.5%).

See this article for more information.

Price:  ~ $10 / 4 pack
Where Bought:  a grocery store outside of Sacramento CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I looked online for ciders available in Northern California and made my husband a list.

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First Impression:  Medium red orange hue.  Nearly still (no carbonation).  Smells mild – fruity, floral, and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Moderate length finish.  Notes of pomegranate, strawberry, floral, honey, cranberry, and cherry.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Nice.  However, it wasn’t what I expected…way more fruity than floral.  The cidermaker said the use of Belgian Saison yeast helps retain more flavor in the cider, and I agree–the flavor was more intense than typically found with a semi-dry cider.

Most Similar to:  Elemental  Oxygen (Pomegranate) cider, which was also fruity and tart. I’ve had a few floral infused ciders, but this cider didn’t really line up with those.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got to try it.  This is a nice summer cider.

Have you tried Common 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?