Schilling Excelsior

Review of Schilling Excelsior.  I first tried this on draft (see here), but I wanted to do a full review of a bottle.  I’ve also tried Schilling’s Oak Aged, Gold, Grapefruit, ChaiderGingerHoppedSriracha LimeBarrel #1Barrel #2Mischief Maker Pom-CranGrumpy Bear Coffee NitroPineapple PassionLumberJack (Rhubarb)Blackberry PearDryKing’s ShillingVanilla CloveRaspberry SmoothiePeach Grapefruit HabaneroBailoutTrouble in ParadiseBlueberry CobblerFrench BittersweetPippinAfterglowRoad Trip (Peach Citra)Grapefruit & ChillBoysenberry PommeauCampfire, and Watermelon Mint,

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Cider:  Excelsior
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn (Seattle) WA
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (plus draft, and soon, six packs of 12oz cans)
Style:  American craft imperial-style cider from dessert & bittersweet cider apples

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Availability:  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this July 2018 release may have more limited distribution.  Also, it is unclear whether this is a limited release, seasonal release, or new year-round offering.

Cider Description:  Dear Earthlings, Schilling Cider has been on a lifelong quest to create a revolutionary cider.  We have dreamt of a world that offers an imperial canned cider that stays true to its roots, without any added nonsense.  Today, we introduce you to Excelsior, an Imperial Apple Cider that combined old world cider techniques with new world innovation.  We start with fresh-pressed Washington-grown apples, add heirloom cider fruit, then ferment with a hand-selected yeast strain.  This unique process highlights the apples’ aroma and tannin structure.  The addition of traditional cider apples builds complexity, adds depth, and creates a sessionable imperial cider.  Grab a bottle and get ready to blast off!

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.  Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried it on draft that day

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First Impression:  Medium golden hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells mild, apple-forward, with a hint of richness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of apple pomace (skin), caramel, orange, leather, lemon, and brown sugar.  Long tart tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  This has some great flavor.  The level of sweetness is perfect, as it helps cut the acidity and bitterness, and hides the higher ABV.

Most Similar to:  a cross between English, American heritage, and American modern ciders

Closing Notes:  Its really neat to see a very large craft cidery do a large release of a cider made even partially from cider apples.  Although others have done this, it wasn’t on as large of a scale.  Also, even though the cider apples were used in a blend, unlike most others I’ve tried, the bittersweet characteristics were still quite evident.  A big benefit of this being a large release and the cider apples being only part of the blend is the lower price, which at under $7 is in-line with most other ciders in 500ml bottles.

Have you tried any ciders made from bittersweet cider apples?  What did you think?

Schilling Road Trip (Peach Citra)

Review of Schilling Cider’s Road Trip (Peach Citra), a cider with peach and Citra hops.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve previously sampled their Gold, Grapefruit, Oak AgedChaiderGingerHoppedSriracha LimeBarrel #1Barrel #2Mischief Maker Pom-CranGrumpy Bear Coffee NitroPineapple PassionLumberJack (Rhubarb)Blackberry PearDryKing’s ShillingVanilla CloveRaspberry SmoothiePeach Grapefruit HabaneroBailoutTrouble in ParadiseBlueberry CobblerFrench BittersweetPippin, and Afterglow ciders.

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Cider:  Road Trip (Peach Citra)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  6.6%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with peach and CItra hops

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Availability:  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a summer seasonal release (July-September) and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  Sweet and juicy peach and farm fresh citra hops.

Cidery Description:  We capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating hard ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold, and flavor forward. 

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.

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First Impression:  Light peach amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly hopped and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of peach, tropical fruit, hops, and citrus.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low hops influence.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Refreshing, with peach and citrus.  Nice level of sweetness and balanced flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other cider which were both fruity and hopped, such as 2 Towns Hop & Stalk, Incline Lemongrass LureReverend Nat’s Hallelujah Hopricot, and Ratel Cider Dry Hopped

Closing Notes:  Schilling has really stepped up their game since they started out.  My favorite cider from them however remains King’s Shilling, a brandy barrel aged cider which is also an excellent value (as low as $4.50 / 22oz).

Have you tried Schilling Road Trip?  What did you think?

Schilling Trouble in Paradise (Passionfruit Pineapple)

Review of Schilling Cider’s Trouble in Paradise, a passionfruit pineapple cider.  I’ve tried a lot of their ciders before (see here).

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Cider:  Trouble in Paradise (Passionfruit Pineapple)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with pineapple and passionfruit juices

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Availability:  June-September.  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a seasonal release and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  YOU ASKED, WE ANSWERED! Introducing our unscheduled surprise seasonal, Trouble in Paradise! This pineapple passionfruit hard cider is a tropical paradise and a bit of trouble in a bottle!

Cidery Description:  We capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating hard ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold, and flavor forward. 

Price:  $7
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried in on tap awhile back and thought it would be a nice summer cider to get a bottle of.

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First Impression:  Hazy yellow orange hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of pineapple juice with a hint of passionfruit.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of pineapple, orange, passionfruit, and peach.  Moderate length tart finish.  No apple flavor.  Low complexity.  Moderate to strong flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  A tropical vacation in a glass.  However, this is very juice-like, and I couldn’t really taste any alcohol (or apple influence).  It was more like juice with vodka or something neutral.  I imagine it would make an awesome slushee.  It had more orange flavor, was slightly sweeter, and more juice-like than I remembered it having on tap.  Its curious they didn’t carbonate it.

Most Similar to:  Other tropical/pineapple ciders, such as Ace Pineapple, Jester & Judge Pineapple Express, and Portland Cider Pineapple.

Closing Notes:   I’ve been enjoying Schilling’s seasonal and special release ciders (especially King’s Shilling), although I don’t find their regular line of ciders too interesting (albeit better than they used to be).

Have you tried Schilling Trouble in Paradise?  What did you think?

Schilling Bailout (Lemongrass Agave)

Review of Schilling’s new seasonal release, Bailout, made with lemongrass and agave nectar.  I’ve tried a number of their ciders; see here.

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Cider:  Bailout
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn (Seattle) WA
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  22oz clear glass bottles and kegs
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples, with lemongrass and agave nectar

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Availability:  May-August (seasonal, although this is the first year).  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a special release and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  Sometimes you just need to Bail Out! This summer chiller is highly refreshing and perfectly balanced with subtle herbal notes and a kiss of agave nectar.

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  $6
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Fremont (Seattle) WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Almost no carbonation upon pouring.  Smells mild, of apple, citrus, and what I assume is agave nectar (a tart sweetness).

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Still.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of lemon, agave nectar, pineapple, and a bit of herbalness.  Quick finish.  Low flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this cider, but didn’t love it.  I prefer a bit more intense of a flavor.  Also not sure if I liked the slight herbal flavor.

Most Similar to:  Light spring/summer type ciders with citrus notes.  I looked it up online and see that Two Rivers also offers an agave cider.

Closing Notes:   I imagine this will sell well, but I prefer their Pineapple Passion / Trouble in Paradise (which is coming out in bottles very soon).

Have you tried any ciders from Schilling?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider King’s Shilling

Review of Schilling Cider’s King’s Shilling, an apple brandy barrel aged & fortified cider.  This was released at the very end of January, and will be a February-April seasonal for them.

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Cider:  King’s Shilling
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA (Seattle area)
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American apple brandy barrel aged & fortified craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  February-April (seasonal, although this is the first year).  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a special release and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  King’s Shilling is a special collaboration with Mischief Distilling, using apple brandy they made from our cider, and then aged in their Mischief Bourbon barrels. Fortified to perfection, in this cider, you will find barrel notes of smoke, cinnamon, and vanilla, along with the slight sweetness of apple brandy. 

THE STORY OF KING’S SHILLING: When drinking with scallywags, check your glass before you bottoms up. Finding a shilling in your glass means you are under contract to crew a pirate’s ship? You may unwittingly find yourself swabbing the decks… Never to return. 

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  $6.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  They posted about it on their Facebook page, and it sounded awesome, so I bought a bottle at my next visit.

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First Impression:  Lemon-Honey straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with a few medium sized bubbles.  Smells of must, sourness, oak, honey, spice, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Between semi-dry and semi-sweet.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low tartness.  Hints of sourness and bitterness.  Medium bodied.  Nearly still (low carbonation).  Notes of honey and citrus, with hints of maple syrup, oak, and spice.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Low barrel influence.  Low spirit influence.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty!  I think this was a great value too…typically craft cider and especially craft barrel aged cider is more expensive than $6.00 / 22oz.  The musty scent was off-putting at first, but I got past it once I tasted the cider.  I was surprised how citrus-forward it was, but I like citrus notes in a cider.  I was also surprised with the description that said its brandy fortified; if so, its not much, as the ABV remains fairly average at 6.5%.

Most Similar to:  The honey notes remind me of Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples, Crispin 15 Men, 2 Towns The Bad Apple, and Finnriver Honey Meadow.

Closing Notes:   This is my favorite cider from Schilling so far (my others are Pineapple Passion and Barrel #2, which is more of a spirit than a cider).  So far I think their new cider lineup is better than it previously was.

Have you tried King’s Shilling?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 11 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my eleventh visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts here.  I was there mostly as I wanted to pick up a couple bottles (Schilling’s new seasonal King’s Shilling brandy barrel aged & fortified cider and this year’s version of Two Towns’ Pommeau), but this isn’t exactly the kind of place where I can stop in without having some cider!

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I got there after work, around 4pm, and started with a flight of five ciders (I had tried everything else so skipped out on #6).  I brought some take out food I picked up from PCC (the Caprese sandwich went well with 101 Cider House Piña Mint).

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<left to right:  Schilling Blackberry Pear, Schilling London Dry, Sonoma Cider Dry Fuji, Original Sin Northern Spy, and 101 Cider House Piña Menta>

Schilling Blackberry Pear (Auburn WA), 5.5%:  This is a new draft-only release.  I believe it is apple cider with blackberry and pear juice infused after fermentation (vs. being a blackberry flavored perry).  Semi-sweet.  Full flavored with blackberry and a hint of pear.  Fruity, refreshing, and flavorful without being over the top sweet.  The apple remains pretty well hidden.  Medium bodied.  This was pretty good (and I’m usually not a big berry cider fan), although maybe I was just underwhelmed with most of the rest of the flight.  It reminded me of Atlas Blackberry (although less tart) and Crispin Blackberry Pear (although sweeter).

Schilling London Dry (Auburn WA), 6.5%:  Described as an English pub style cider, sold in four packs of 16oz cans and kegs.  Somehow I had never tried this one even though its been out awhile.  Dry.  High acidity.  Moderarate tartness.  Light bodied.  It was lacking the richness of English cider, likely as I doubt they used high tannin cider apples.  I thought this was a pretty average cider, but many people ordered pints of it while I was there (although maybe because it was the most inexpensive drier cider by far?).

Sonoma Cider Dry Fuji (Healdsburg CA), 6.5%:  This is a reserve series release from Sonoma Cider, an organic Fuji apple single varietal, oak barrel aged, sold in 22oz paper wrapped bottles and kegs.  Nearly clear hue.  Completely Dry (0 residual sugar).  High acidity.  Moderate sourness.  Mild tartness.  Light bodied.  Kinda Sidra-like due to the sourness, although it also reminded me of white grape wine.  Mildly flavored.  I wasn’t a fan at all, mostly due to the sourness.

Original Sin Northern Spy (York NY), 6.9%:  This Northern Spy single varietal is part of Original Sin’s Heirloom series.  This appears to be tap-only at this time (although they had similar heirloom series releases in 750ml bottles, like Newtown Pippin).  Semi-dry.  Low acidity.  Low tartness.  A hint of sourness.  Citrus notes.  Light bodied.  Overall mildly flavored.  Average.

101 Cider House Piña Menta (Los Angeles CA), 6.9%:  This is a new 101 Cider House release, a pineapple mint cider.  Smells of citrus and mint.  On the sweeter side of Dry.  A hint of sourness.  Citrus and mint notes.  I didn’t really pick up pineapple?  Moderately flavored.  Light bodied.  Unique with the mint flavor, but overall I thought it was average.

They also put Honey Moon CiderHead Quince on tap while I was there.

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Honey Moon CiderHead Quince (Bellingham WA), 8.3%:  This is described as their Quince mead with cider, so that would make it a cyser.  Semi-dry.  Mild tannins, tartness, and acidity.  Mildly fruity.  Light and refreshing.  Mild to moderate flavored.  Tropical notes, passion fruit and pineapple.  This was good, but I prefer Eaglemount Quince, which was more complex and flavorful.

I wanted a little something else, but didn’t feel the need for another pint, so I bought a bottle of Celt for $3 and drank it there.  The Cider House is pretty awesome as they don’t charge extra to drink their bottled cider there (vs. taking it home).  An awesome cider for an awesome price!  Its the only French cider I’ve seen that comes in a multipack (4 bottles).  Check out my previous review here.  I had forgotten how I much I enjoy this cider, and picked up a couple more bottles to take home.

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I’m excited to compare the last two years of Two Towns’ Pommeau in a vertical pour, now that I have a bottle of each.  I highly recommend it by the way, and if anyone is in the Seattle area, at $25 for an amazing 375ml bottle of 19% ABV Pommeau at the Schilling Cider House, its also a good buy.  I also spotted it at The Cave in Kirkland.

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

Schilling Cider LumberJack (Rhubarb)

Review of Schilling Cider LumberJack, their Rhubarb variety, from Seattle Washington.

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Cider:  LumberJack (Rhubarb)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn Washington (Seattle area)
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  boxed six pack of 12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft fruit-infused canned cider
Ingredients:  fresh pressed apple juice, pear, rhubarb, yeast

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Availability:  At least AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA.

Cider Description:  This axe-swinging Lumberjack will make you want to get lost in the woods! He’s earthy, rugged, and just the right amount of dry. But, underneath all of that rough and tough, he’s as sweet as an early autumn pear.

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  I’ve seen it sold anywhere from $10.99 to $13.50 / six pack
Where Bought:  n/a (a fellow customer at the cider house shared a can with me from the six pack he bought – thanks John!).
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Light pink-peach hue.  Low carbonation (large bubbles) and foam.  Smells lightly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry (2 Brix).  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or tannins.  Notes of rhubarb, pear, tropical fruit, peach, and honey.  Light bodied with a smooth buttery texture.  A bit champagne-like although not nearly as bubbly (only low carbonation).  Moderate finish length.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty and refreshing.  I think this one would be a great summer cider.  However, its a tad on the tart side for my liking, and overall fruity ciders aren’t my favorite.  I also don’t know if I would have been able to specifically identify rhubarb as the flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other semi-dry fruity ciders.  The only other rhubarb cider I’ve had is 2 Towns Rhubarbarian, and I’d say Schilling’s LumberJack is more flavorful.

Closing Notes:   This is part of Schilling Cider’s re-launch.  I’m curious to see what else they will come up with.  They discontinued their Hopped and Oak Aged ciders, and have had a number of new releases in their cider lineup lately.

Have you tried Schilling LumberJack (Rhubarb)?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 10 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my tenth visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts here.  I was there for another 2 Towns tap takeover event (reminiscent of the previous one I attended during WA Cider Week), although this one was specifically to release Riverwood Brut (this year’s version of the cider, switching from their Traditions to 2 Towns label) and The Dark Currant (their new oak barrel aged black currant cider).

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They also now have three non-alcoholic taps, which that day had coldbrew coffee on Nitro, Schilling non-alcoholic cider, and ginger beer.  I was surprised the prices were still $4 or $7 a pint though (not that much less then the alcohol), although they can also be included in a flat price flight of six tasters.  I’m curious to see how well they sell.  As a casual observer I don’t see much need, except maybe for a designated driver (and even then, why not stock some sodas?  I guess it is Fremont…), as its 21+.  If anything I wish they sold some snacks there, but I imagine even to sell chips or something they would have to change their license.  There is plenty of take out in the area to bring with though.

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The following 2 Towns ciders were on tap:  Riverwood Brut, Serious Scrump, The Dark Currant, Made Marion, Ginja Ninja, Bad Apple, and Rhubarbarian

They passed out samples of at least these ciders:  The BrightCider, Out Cider, Ginja Ninja, Bad Apple, Serious Scrump, Made Marion, and Pommeau (which has got to be a record number!)

I got there after work, around 4pm, well before the event started at 6pm, and started with a flight of six ciders (pretty much all those on tap I hadn’t had before).

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<left to right: 2 Towns Riverwood Brut, 2 Towns Serious Scrump, Seattle Cider Gose, Locust Cider Thai Ginger, 2 Towns Rhubarbarian, and Bull Run Bramble Berry>

2 Towns Riverwood Brut, 6.9% ABV, Corvallis OR:  I liked this better than I remembered liking last year’s version (it seems more flavorful this time around vs. at Cider Summit).  I’m curious now that its under their 2 Towns label what the bottle size and pricing will be, as previously it ran $19 for 750ml, which seems a bit steep for what it is (but it doesn’t appear like its out in bottles yet).  Its inspired by Brut champagne and made from Jonagold apples.  Semi-dry.  Low acidity, tartness, and tannins.  Floral qualities with hints of herbs and honey, but overall rather simple in flavor.  I noticed more apple flavor than is typical for a drier cider.  Light bodied.  I think if bottled it would have been more sparkling than it ended up being on tap (I noticed only very light carbonation).  Longer warming finish.

2 Towns Serious Scrump, 11.0%, Corvallis OR:  This is described as a dry English Imperial ice cider (which is rare as ice ciders are typically very sweet), a high ABV cider made using juice which has been frozen & thawed (increasing residual sugar and flavor).  I had this one before and remembered not really caring for it.  However, I’m a huge imperial cider fan (such as their Bad Apple), so I wanted to give it another go.  Also available in bottles.  Semi-dry.  Low to moderate bitterness.  Slight barrel influence (woody).  Well-hidden ABV.  Moderate acidity and tartness.  Medium bodied.  Moderate finish length.  I’m still not a fan, mostly due to the bitterness.

Seattle Cider Gose (pronounced goes-a), 6.5%, Seattle WA:  This is styled after a unique type of beer which has herbal, tart, and salty characteristics.  I previously had Seattle Cider’s Plum Gose, which was this same cider but with plums (and was therefore more fruity), which they made in response to folks mixing Gose with PNW Berry at their tap house.  Seattle Cider used sea salt, coriander, and Chardonnay yeast in this tap-only release.  Dry.  High acidity.  Salty flavor with slight vinegar and citrus notes.  Light bodied.  Overall not bad, but not something I cared for.  Nathan from Cider Chronicles thought it was pretty gross lol.

Locust Cider Thai Ginger, 6.0% ABV, Woodinville WA:  Made from Granny Smith and Gala apples with real Galangal Thai ginger root.  Also available in bottles.  Ginger-spice scent.  Sweet.  Ginger was only present in the finish, at the back of the throat, and remained on the mild side (more present in the scent than flavor).  Medium bodied.  I’m not a ginger fan, but as the ginger was kept mild and it was sweet, I didn’t mind it.

2 Towns Rhubarbarian, 5.0% ABV, Corvallis OR:  This is described as a dry English-style cider with fresh-pressed Northwest rhubarb (also available in bottles).  Semi-dry.  I didn’t pick up any rhubarb flavor with this, only the slightest tart fruitiness, and overall thought it was bland.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.

Bull Run Bramble Berry, 6.7% ABV, Forest Grove OR:  Described as a dry cider with marionberries, blackberries, and boysenberries.  Also available in bottles.  Cranberry hue.  Dry.  Low tartness.  Low acidity.  I also found the flavor bland with this one.  Light bodied.  Quick finish.

I also had a small sample of Finnriver Solstice Saffron (6.5% ABV, Port Townsend WA), which they put on tap while I was there.  This is part of their Seasonal Botanical line, made with saffron, anise, and fennel seeds.  Also sold in bottles.  Smelled herbal (I don’t think I would have been able to pick those out in particular).  Semi-dry.  Moderate acidity and tartness.  Weird herbal type flavor.  It was ok…I just didn’t appreciate the flavor profile (like Seattle Cider Gose).  The folks sitting around me were fans though.

Of those, my favorite was the 2 Towns Riverwood Brut, but I didn’t even find that too impressive.  It seemed to be a big hit among the other customers though.  While I was there, a large group even ordered a flight of all 32 ciders–how fun!

While I was finishing the flight, they started in on the 2 Towns samples.  They served them in clear plastic shot glasses which were pretty cute.

I’ve had Bad Apple and Made Marion before and reviewed Serious Scrump above.  I had sampled The BrightCider and OutCider before, but pre blog.

The BrightCider, 6.0% ABV:  This is their flagship cider (which replaced InCider awhile back), made from apples including Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauty.  Also available in bottles and cans.  I found it to be on the drier side of semi-dry (although its marketed as semi-sweet).  Pretty average and low on flavor.  Definitely sessionable.

OutCider, 5.0% ABV:  This is an ulfiltered cider.  Also available in bottles and cans.  Semi-sweet.  I found this to have more flavor than BrightCider, and I liked it better than I remembered.  It still though doesn’t have as much unfiltered apple juice taste as for example Downeast, but for canned sessionable craft cider, this is a pretty good choice.

Ginja Ninja, 6.0% ABV:  Their ginger cider.  Also available in bottles and cans.  Semi-dry.  I found it to have a moderate amount of ginger.  I’m still not a ginger fan, but I’d no longer say I hate it (ie. its growing on me a bit).

Pommeau, 19% ABV:  What a surprise!  Who would have thought they would be pouring some of their Pommeau?  Their Pommeau is cider with apple brandy, barrel aged.  This was the first year it was released under their 2 Towns instead of Traditions brand, and was from the 2013 harvest.  Here is a nice writeup from New School Beer on the release.  Rich apple, vanilla, and caramel scent.  Semi-sweet.  Still.  Low acidity, tartness, and tannins.  Very oakey, which I love.  Complex, as it also had apricot, smoke, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and honey notes.  Full bodied.  Long boozy warming finish.

I had recently bought a bottle of last year’s Traditions Pommeau at Full Throttle Bottles, after striking out on finding this year’s version.  Now I’m looking forward to trying it even more so I can compare.  Schilling hadn’t planned on carrying it as apparently high end ice ciders and Pommeau and such don’t sell as well, but I think Sarah (the cider house manager and Cider Log writer) fell in love with it, as now they are.  So, I may have to get a bottle of this year’s version.  By the way, I think 2 Towns’ Pommeau is a great value–last year’s was under $30 for 375ml.  This initially seems expensive, but its 19% ABV, made from cider apples, and barrel aged for 2 years.  Additionally, due to the style and high ABV, it can likely remain open for weeks or months without significant flavor changes, like brandy.  A cider friend had a bottle of Finnriver Pommeau open for a year or so that still tasted great.

Sarah shared samples of two bottles of cider she opened.  I only got a photo of one though.

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Viuda de Angelon Sidra de Pera, 5.2% ABV, Asturias Spain:  This is a new addition for the cider house, a Spanish pear Sidra which retails for $4 for a 12oz bottle, which is a great entry level price and bottle size.  However, even though everyone described this more as pear cider and not being very Sidra-like (typically known to be sour and astringent), I still picked up a mild sourness.  It was sweeter that I was expecting, semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Mild tartness and sourness.  Moderate acidity.  Fruity with pear and tropical notes.  Medium bodied.  Moderate carbonation (more than most ciders).  It was ok for me, but everyone else loved it.

Etienne Dupont Cidre Triple, (I didn’t see the bottle, but ABV listed online is anywhere between 8.5% and 11%), Victot-Pontfol France:  Apparently this cider gets its name from triple fermentation (from natural sugar, then from added sugar, then in the bottle to create a mousse-like fexture).  I was curious if I’d like this any more than the Cidre Bouche I sampled awhile back.  Nope!  This style just isn’t my thing, but I’ll try anything once.  The Triple was even more funky (moderate to severe) but less sour (mild) than the Bouche.  I’m sure there were tannins and bitterness, but the funk was overpowering for my palate.  Very dry.  Earthy with citrus notes.  Medium boded.  Long finish.

The 2 Towns Pommeau was definitely the winner of the evening, followed by their Riverwood Brut.

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

Schilling Cider House Visit 7 Tasting Notes

Yes, I made yet another trip to the Schilling Cider House!  Check out my past posts here.  This time it was for a monthly potluck, with a “Thanksgiving Recipe Trial Run” theme.  I actually opted out of the potluck as I’m not a big Thanksgiving type food fan (and it ended up having a low turnout anyways), but there were plenty of folks at the cider house.

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I started with a flight of six ciders.

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<from left to right: 2 Towns Nice & Naughty, Atlas Cinnamon Pear, Portland London Dry Gin, Julian Apple Pie, Attila Rapture, Schilling Grumpy Bear>

2 Towns Ciderhouse Nice & Naughty, 10.5% ABV:  I started off not really liking this one much at all, but it became one of my favorites of the night once it warmed up to closer to room temperature.  This one had less spice scent than the other two spiced ciders I had in this flight.  Semi-dry.  The spice hit more at the back of the palate, and wasn’t so much cinnamon as it was clove and nutmeg.  I bet this would be amazing served warm.  The alcohol remained pretty well-hidden, and it reminded me of Imperial-style cider.

Atlas Hard Cider Company Cinnamon Pear, 8.5% ABV:  Very mild cinnamon scent, and I don’t detect any pear scent.  This one is an apple-based cider with some pear juice (not perry).  Semi-sweet.  A bit boozy (alcohol-forward).  Only a hint of pear flavor.  The cinnamon came across more in the finish.  This one remained rather mild flavored.

Portland Cider Company London Dry Gin, 6.8% ABV:  Dry.  Smells like tannins, spice, herb, and dry cider.  Quick finish.  Acidic with some bitterness.  Higher tannins but light bodied, which is an interesting and rare combination.  Quite herbal.  This one grew on me a bit and I ended up liking it.  It reminds me of Liberty Ciderworks Abbess, which used gin botanicals.

Julian Hard Cider Apple Pie, 6.9% ABV:  Very strong cinnamon scent, but less so in the flavor.  Semi-sweet.  I was surprised with the moderate tartness.  I’m not a huge spiced cider fan to begin with, but this was my least favorite of the three spiced ciders I tried in this flight.  Its fairly popular though.

Attila Hard Apple Cider Rapture (Concord Grape), 6.5% ABV:  Deep berry color with foam from the Nitro process.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  I pick up grape, with hints of pomegranate, cranberry, and huckleberry.   Juice-like and the apple is well-hidden, but it was tasty and full flavored.

Schilling Cider Company Grumpy Bear Cold Brew Coffee Nitro, 5.0% ABV:  Another very unique cider.  Deep hazy amber with froth from the Nitro process.  Semi-sweet.  Smells mildly of coffee grounds, and I don’t pick up any apple.  Moderate to full bodied.  Some spice and herbal qualities.  The coffee comes across more in the scent than the flavor, but still, the apple remains hidden.  Its a bit like an iced coffee drink with some alcohol.  This one became a bit more bitter as it warmed up.  Its not really my thing, but not as bad as I was expecting.

I got handed a sample of Greenwood Sweet Orange Cinnamon.  This batch ended up having the carbonation really mellow out the flavor (per the cidermaker), so it mostly had a hint of spice in the scent and that was it.  They put together a Randall while I was there to add additional orange and cinnamon flavor, using ingredients from the cidery.

Next I got tastes from some sample bottles.

I had a few sips of Locust Washington Dessert Apple Aged Hard Cider.  I had this one a few months ago (review here), but this batch definitely was a bit wonky, as it continued to aggressively bottle condition.  Like my bottle, it was very fizzy, even after being open for awhile.  However, the additional time in the bottle had made it significantly drier than mine.

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William’s Excalibur:  This one tastes like a typical sweet commercial cider (and has an ingredient list to confirm this).  It had the slightest bittersweet flavor, but was otherwise quite disappointing.  I can’t believe they import this type of cider!

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William’s Sir Perry:  A bit more drinkable than Excalibur, but its still a sweet commercial cider.  I don’t pick up much pear flavor at all.  Slightly less sweet than Excalibur.

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Locust Bittersweet Reserve:  This is a special release cider for them which benefits Hydrocephalus (which the owner’s daughter and 1/1,000 babies has).  Only 1,000 bottles and some kegs were released Nov/20/2015.  Made from French and English bittersweet apple varieties.  Bittersweet apple scent with hints of orange and spice.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Rich, smooth, and luscious!  Caramel notes, full flavored, and medium bodied.  Lovely mild to moderate tannins.  This reminds me of English-style cider, but its a bit more approachable than some, and the hints of orange and spice are nice (even though I usually don’t like those sorts of flavors).  No bitterness, which can be difficult to pull off.  This was definitely my favorite cider of the evening!  I’m happy I was able to pick up a bottle (so look for a future full review of it here).  $18 for 750ml, likely only found in the Seattle WA area.  Oddly enough I was told it must stay refrigerated (although it didn’t say that on the bottle)?

I definitely tried a lot of cider and had a blast, as always.  Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Schilling Cider House Visit 6 Tasting Notes

Yes, I made yet another trip to the Schilling Cider House!  Check out my past posts here.  This time it was for a Sidra event, but that is one type of cider I’m just not into, so I sampled some non-Sidra selections from of the tap list (and some bottles).  The Cider Log crew was there, and brought an awesome spread of Spanish treats–thanks for sharing!

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I started with a flight of six, as usual.

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<from left to right: Tieton Cranberry, Doc’s Pumpkin, Rev Nat’s Ciderkin,
Liberty Gravenstein, Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip, & Apple Outlaw Blackberry>

Tieton Cider Works Cranberry, 6.9% ABV:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Very tart!  Lots of cranberry flavor.  More tart than the Finnriver cranberry cider I tried at the same time (see below).  A bit astringent.  I’m a bit over cranberry (I used to like it more), so I prefer most of Tieton’s other ciders to this one.  This is a new release for them, and its also available bottled.

Doc’s Draft Pumpkin, 5.0% ABV:  Sweet.  Lots of pumpkin pie spices with a bit of earthiness & pumpkin flavor.  Full bodied.  Unlike many pumpkin ciders & beers, this one uses actual pumpkin.  I’m not a pumpkin or spice fan, so needless to say I didn’t really enjoy this cider (I tried it more out of curiosity).  The folks who blind tasted it for this article were much bigger fans though, giving it the highest score of 23 pumpkin ciders & beers!  This is a yearly seasonal release for Doc’s, and also available bottled.  This was my second time trying Doc’s, but neither were flavors I’m a fan of…hopefully I get a chance to try something I have a better shot of actually enjoying soon (I’ve been eyeing their Sour Cherry, but alas it isn’t sold in the Seattle area, so I may need to make a trip down to Portland OR or order online).

Reverend Nat’s (and Cider Riot!) Ciderkin, 3.2% ABV:  Dry.  Ginger!  Moderate tartness, astringency, and acidity.  Slightly funky.  Ciderkin is a lower alcohol content cider traditionally made from the pommace (apple skin and pulp leftover after pressing apples into juice).  This one however is quite different than the version of ciderkin I had awhile back from Argus (tasting notes here).  The ginger (although admittedly mild) was overwhelming for my palate as I’m just not a fan of it.  My favorite cider from Rev Nat’s so far is their Revival.  They’ve released this Ciderkin cider a few times, but it doesn’t appear to be available bottled.

Liberty Ciderworks Gravenstein, 8.0% ABV:  Dry.  Moderate sourness, tartness, astringency, tannins, and acidity.  Almost no carbonation.  Very mild on the nose.  Although this was a Gravenstein single varietal, I picked up a lot of crabapple notes…it reminds me of their Crabenstein, which used Gravenstein and Crabapples, although not quite as harsh.  So far I prefer their Manchurian Crabapple, English Style, and Stonewall to this one.  This cider is also available bottled.

Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip, 6.5% ABV:  Semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness.  Lots of cranberry flavor.  I didn’t really pick up any herbal (rosehip) flavor, but I imagine it mellowed the cranberry a bit, especially drinking it side by side to the Tieton variety.  I liked this one better than the Tieton Cranberry, probably as it isn’t as tart.  However, my favorite “cranberry” cider so far is probably a tie for this and Schilling’s Mischief Maker (cranberry-pomegranate).  Cranberry Rosehip is part of Finnriver’s Elijah Swan Seasonal Botanical line, which is also available bottled, and includes some of my favorites such as Honey Meadow and Lavender Black Currant.

Apple Outlaw Blackberry Bounty, 5.5% ABV:  Semi-dry.  Very mild berry flavor.  Mild tartness.  This seems to be another one of the drier and milder flavored berry ciders coming out.  This one was pretty average in my book.  It is also available bottled.  This was my first time trying their regular line of ciders (although I tried their Oaked Sweet Dark Cherry at Cider Summit Seattle 2015, which appeared to be a special draft release).

I also had a sip of Whitewood Red Cap.  It was a bit weird…dry and almost Sidra-ish with some sourness and quite mild flavored.  They describe it as a Session cider, which usually indicates a low ABV and easy to drink cider, but its 6.2% ABV.  Also available bottled.  It reminded me some of their Summer Switchel, but without the salty & ginger notes.  Both are quite different from their Kingston Black Whiskey Barrel Aged cider, which is amazing!

I mostly wanted to sample what Schilling had on tap that I hadn’t tried, despite not being too excited about the varieties.  Therefore there were a few I didn’t really enjoy, so I ended up not finishing a lot of the flight.  Thankfully that freed up some ability to try more ciders!  Next up we sampled a couple bottles (which I don’t believe they sell at the Cider House).

Ace Space (blood orange) was another weird one.  Odd hazy orange hue.  Semi-dry.  The nose and some of the flavor was almost medicinal/artificial (like Tang or a Vitamin C supplement), but there is definitely some blood orange flavor too.  Mild tartness and sourness.  I wasn’t really a fan…not sure what they were thinking with this one?  This is Ace’s newest cider, a special release.  I kinda had the same opinion on their last special release, Blackjack 21, which tasted like Chardonnay to me (although admittedly it was aged in Chardonnay barrels, so maybe they were going for that).  Apparently I’m in the minority though as it sold well so they are releasing it again this year.

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Carlton Cyderworks Sugar and Spice.  Semi-sweet.  I was surprised I liked this, as I usually don’t tend towards spiced cider.  However, the spice was quite mild and balanced.  It also wasn’t overly sweet.  This is a seasonal bottled release for them, new for this year.

I also had a pint of Snowdrift Red–yum!  One of my favorites.  However, this batch seemed a bit more tart than previous, and with a bit less fruitiness.  There can definitely be variability from batch to batch in a craft product.  I like when cideries such as Snowdrift batch label their ciders, so you know whether what you buying may be slightly different.  Anthem is another example of a cidery which does this, but they actually go so far as to use different apple varieties in different batches of their flagship cider (and you can look up what was used by the batch number on the bottle).

Oddly enough the Carlton Sugar and Spice was the winner of the afternoon as far as a new cider I enjoyed the most!  I think it would taste really good warm (which is how I like mead, but I haven’t tried that for cider as I usually avoid spiced cider).

I definitely tried a lot of cider and had a blast, as always.  Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Schilling Cider House Visit 5 Tasting Notes

This time an event brought me to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA, a great excuse to drink cider on a weeknight if you ask me.  It was their monthly potluck, which this month had a “sweet” theme, for both cider and food.  There were still plenty of drier cider options on tap too (and with 32 tap selections and hundreds of bottles, there is something for everyone).  I even found out there is one hush-hush bottled beer selection at Schilling.

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I started with a flight of six.  However, I ended up staying there for over 4 hours, so it definitely wasn’t the only thing I drank!  I picked up a nice weird dinner at PCC of some coleslaw, cheese, and pretzel bread (which is one of my favorite things to have with cider, unsalted though).

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<left to right: Fox Tail Sweet Tooth, Carlton Black Currant Scrumpy, Cragie’s Ballyhook Flyer, Bull Run Strawberry Fields, Finnriver Pear, and Elemental Atomic Root Beer>

Fox Tail Sweet Tooth, 5.0% ABV:  This is the second cider I’ve had from this Hood River OR cidery (the first was Fuzzy Haven, tasting notes here).  This was an interesting selection as they called it sweet, but it was more semi-dry?  Probably more that it was sweet for their cidery.  Straw yellow hue, no haziness.  Rather plain and on the mild & boring side, but I don’t have any complaints.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Nicely balanced.

Carlton Black Currant Scrumpy, 4.4% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve had from this McMinnville OR cidery, although I have a bottle of their Slake at home to try.  Rich black currant scent and a lovely deep berry hue.  Semi-dry.  Sour!  Definitely wasn’t expecting that.  Unfortunately I’m not a fan of sour cider so I didn’t have more than a couple sips.

Cragie’s Ballyhook Flier, 5.8% ABV:  This is an Irish cider which I’ve seen in bottles and have wanted to try, so here was my chance.  Hazy yellow-orange hue.  Dry cider apple and yeast scent.  Dry.  Moderate bitterness.  Mild sourness, funkiness, tartness, and astringency.  Moderate tannins.  Complex and unique.  However, it was too bitter for my liking.  I think some additional sweetness to balance it would have been nice.  I’ve had some ciders made from higher tannin cider apples which weren’t bitter, but it appears to be difficult to pull off.

Bull Run Strawberry Fields, 6.5% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve had from this Forest Grove OR cidery, although I’ve been meaning to try their ciders for awhile (way too much good stuff available around here).  Light cherry color.  Lovely real sweet strawberry scent.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Moderate strawberry flavor.  I imagine it was difficult to develop this cider, to get a true strawberry flavor without seeming fake or being too sweet.  I have found very few fruity ciders that were full flavored without being very sweet or overpowering the apple (Snowdrift Red and Eaglemount Quince are two I love, but they are on the more spendy side).  I’m a fan!

Finnriver Pear, 6.5% ABV:  I’ve had a number of Finnriver selections, but hadn’t had this one before (Chimacum WA).  This is a cider (apple juice) with pear juice added (ie. its not perry, which are made only using pear juice).  Straw yellow, no haze.  Light clean pear scent.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Plain, but it had a nice real pear flavor.  Quite good, but not my favorite from them (I’d recommend Lavender Black Currant, Honey Meadow, and Fire Barrel).

Elemental Atomic Root Beer, 6.5% ABV:  I’ve tried a couple of their ciders, but I was curious about this new one (Woodinville WA).  Its a hard root beer, but in contrast to other products (such as Not Your Father’s Root Beer), it is cider instead of malt based!  Nice caramely root beer hue.  Smells of root beer with a hint of baked apple.  Tastes like a nice mild root beer with a hint of baked apple at the core.  Only semi-sweet, which I appreciated.  It could have used some additional carbonation, but I say that about most ciders.  Tasty!  I can see why this one has been a huge hit for them.

I then realized I had finished my first flight and the actual event hadn’t started yet, as I got there so early (due to my work schedule).  So, I ordered a half flight.  Without realizing it I got three berry ciders (they were about the only ones left on the board I hadn’t tried, besides ginger & hops & such that I don’t care for).

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<left to right: Atlas Pom-Cherry, Cider Riot Never Give An Inch Oregon Blackberry, and Elemental Oxygen (Pomegranate)>

Atlas Pom-Cherry, 5.8% ABV:  I’ve had the Apple and Blackberry selections (reviews here and here) from this Bend OR cidery.  I also have their Apricot variety at home to try.  Tart cherry scent.  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Lots of pomegranate flavor.  Only mild tartness and the slightest hint of sour.  Thin bodied.  Bold flavored.  It was my favorite of these three, but I still think I like their plain apple best of the three varieties I’ve tried from them so far, and overall its not a favorite of mine or anything.

Cider Riot Never Give An Inch Oregon Blackberry, 6.9% ABV:  This is the first cider I’ve had from this Portland OR cidery, although I have a bottle of their 1763 at home to try.  Dry.  Very tart.  Only mild berry flavor.  I found it kinda unremarkable, and my least favorite of these three.  It was too tart for my liking and I don’t think I finished it.  Tart fans who like berry ciders but find them all too sweet may want to give this one a try though.

Elemental Oxygen (Pomegranate), 6.5% ABV:  I’ve had a number of ciders from this Woodinville WA cidery.  Poured very foamy.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Tart.  Thin bodied.  Rather mild flavor, which appears typical for them.  Their Atomic Root Beer is definitely my favorite from them so far.

During this time the actual potluck started (5pm), and it got busy (for awhile I was the only customer!).  I got to see Mick from Click Distributing again, meet two guys from D’s Wicked Cider (Kennewick WA), meet Sarah’s mom, and see Merce from Cider Log again.  Plus I nimbled on some tasty treats.

I sampled D’s Wicked Baked Apple, their new 6.9% instead of 8.5% ABV variety.  Apparently most folks won’t be able to taste the difference.  One of the reasons they did this was because there is an apparent WA state rule against doing growler fills above 7% ABV.  This is the first cider I’ve tried from them.  I had avoided buying a bottle of this one as I assumed it would be too spiced for my liking (not a spiced cider fan, or any spices in general…not even pepper on food).  However, the cinnamon was quite mild (at least when the keg wasn’t fully cold yet), and it had more baked apple flavor.  Quite tasty actually.  They said the cinnamon showed up more when it was fully cold though.  Nice and frothy and on the unfiltered side.  Semi-sweet.  Medium to heavy bodied.  Its not something I’d buy, but I was pleasantly surprised, and definitely see why they are so popular.

Also, Sarah remembered about a bottle of Eric Bordelet Poire Authentique in the cool room (I think this was a sample or something, as its not one of the Bordelet varieties they carry).  It was definitely flat after being open about a week (apparently its typically quite sparkling), but we all found it tasty (there was enough for a couple sips each).  At only 3.5% ABV, this French perry is easy drinking at its finest.  I have only heard rave reviews about Bordelet and they’ve been on my want to try list.  Bold flavor, but clean, unlike some perries.  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Rich flavor and very balanced.  I really enjoyed this one, but I’m not sure I could bring myself to pay $15-20 for a 750ml bottle of a sub 4% ABV cider.  This reminded me of the bottle pour of another Poire I had here, Domaine Pacory Poire Domfront (tasting notes here).

They also had a Randall going that night where they infused Schilling Gold cider with oranges, coconut, and Chai tea.  An interesting combination, as always!  It was pretty tasty, although I would have preferred no tea and lots more coconut.  The tea seemed to make the cider seem drier than I remembered Gold tasting (which is one of Schilling’s sweeter varieties, and their only plain cider I believe).  Sarah said this was her favorite Randall so far.

Mick also decided to pick up a bottle of Millstone Farmgate Dry and share it with us.  I had this one at Cider Summit Seattle 2015 (tasting notes here), in an attempt to see if there was any variety from Millstone I’d enjoy (as I definitely didn’t like their Cobbler).  This variety is definitely sour & funky, but less harsh than Cobbler by a few times probably.  I’m always surprised to see Cobbler make cider lists without any notes of its sour flavor, but apparently a lot of folks like that sort of thing (like sour beer I guess).  Its a good thing they make so many ciders, so there is something for everyone.

I definitely tried a lot of cider and had a blast, as always.  Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Washington Cider Week Events Surrounding Cider Summit Seattle

For my Seattle peeps…what Washington Cider Week events are you going to?  I’m thinking of the following:

East Meets West: An Evening with Eden and Alpenfire Ciders (Thurs Sept 10, 5-9pm, Burgundian Bar)

Tasting and book signing with Bill Bradshaw (Tues Sept 15, 6-8pm, Capitol Cider, $30)

One or more events at the Schilling Cider House, such as the wood aged, Finnriver, Portland Cider Co, 2 Towns, and/or Schilling nights (they have something every night 09/10-09/18, then 09/20, each from 6-9pm).

There is also a cool sounding one the day after Cider Summit, Cider Fete (Sun Sept 13, 3-7pm, Bottlehouse), but I’m guessing my liver may need a break by then…

Keep an eye on the calendar at, although some of these aren’t even on there yet.

cider week

Schilling Oak Aged

Review of Schilling Oak Aged.  This is my favorite Schilling Cider out of the seven I’ve tried.  Interestingly enough this cider is not oak barrel aged, but instead uses American oak chips in the fermentation and racking process to impart the oak flavor.  I’ve seen this done with other alcoholic beverages (such as whiskey) to be able to more quickly release a product, as barrel aging can be time consuming.  Chips can also cost significantly less.  Some traditionalists may call this “cheating” though.  Here is a cool barrels vs. chips blog post from ALEHEADS from the beer world.

IMG_0228 IMG_0229

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(and yes of course the can I chose to drink/photograph out of the four has the dent…)

Cider:  Oak Aged
Cidery: Schilling Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA (with Cider House in Fremont area of Seattle WA, and a brand new tasting room which opened July 31 2015 at the cidery in Auburn WA)
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied: 12oz can
Availability:  Year round, semi-wide release (probably more so in the PNW)

Cider Description:  Pours a hazy straw gold color with aromas of apples, cinnamon, vanilla, and oak with some smokiness. Flavors of apple, cinnamon, vanilla and oak with a nice spice finish. Fermented and finished on 100% NW oak this cider has a scotch taste complemented by a very smooth and lingering finish.

Cidery Description:  Craft cider company founded in 2012 in Seattle WA.  They use only local apples.  Their current line up includes Hopped, Ginger, & Oak Aged in four packs of 12oz cans, Gold & Dry in four packs of 16 oz cans, and Spiced, Chai, Chaider, & Grapefruit special releases in 22oz bottles (Grapefruit is also now in four packs of 16 oz cans).  Their Cider House also has a large number of cider offerings only available there, such as Berry & Sriracha Lime.  Note that they cite product protection, convenience, and environmental reasons for using cans for their regular lineup.

Price:  $6.50 / 4 cans
Where Bought: Total Wine (I’ve also seen it at Fred Meyer, Whole Foods, Full Throttle Bottles, Special Brews, Schilling Cider House, etc)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing awhile back.  I’ve had this cider a few times.


First Impression: Pale champagne hue.  Very light carbonation.  Mild apple, oak, smoke, & vanilla scents.

Opinion:  Semi dry.  This is a nice mild oaked cider.  I can’t really tell that it is with wood chips and not barrel aged, but I don’t have too refined of a palate.  Oddly enough I pick up very little spice in this (which is good as its not something I enjoy), in contrast to most folks who notice cinnamon & cloves.  I do however pick up the vanilla and some mild smokiness.  Like most ciders, it starts sweeter and finishes a bit drier.  It is a quick finishing cider, and I pick up a bit of acidity at the end.  The flavor really reminds me of champagne / sparkling cider, but less bubbly of course.  I think more carbonation and oakiness would be nice in this cider, as its on the mellow side.  However, it makes for easy drinking.

Most Similar to: Finnriver Oak & Apple, which I tried at the Schilling Cider House after being surprised they didn’t have their own Shilling Oak Aged on tap.  I give a slight edge to Finnriver over Schilling after tasting Schilling again (in my Schilling Cider House tasting notes I had thought the opposite).  There is however quite a cost difference between the two cider brands, with the Finnriver typically costing much more (although it appears Finnriver Oak & Apple isn’t currently available in bottles?).  Interestingly enough the Finnriver Oak & Apple is barrel aged.  I can’t however pinpoint why I have this preference without tasting them side by side.

Interesting Fact:  Founder Colin Schilling is the great-great grandson of August Schilling, founder of Schilling Spice Company (now McCormick).  (Source)

Closing Notes:  This is a solid and enjoyable cider.  The affordability is a nice bonus.

Have you tried Schilling Oak Aged?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House – Cider Tasting Notes

This is Part 2 of a trip report on the Schilling Cider House, covering the 18 ciders I tasted (of the 32 on tap).  Pretty impressive, right?  See Part 1 here, which covered the Cider House itself.  I tried to take a photo of each cider, but some of them didn’t turn out, so I’ve only included photos of some of the ciders with interesting hues.  Thankfully though, I took notes!  I had two flights of six ciders (3oz) each, and six tastes from our bartender.

Schilling’s Ciders

Chaider, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Sweet:
This is one of their most popular ciders, and is available bottled (22oz) in the winter.  It smelled of cinnamon and definitely had a Chai tea-like taste.  Definitely not my thing, but it was my husband’s favorite taste of the day.

Chaider (Nitro), 6.5% ABV, Semi-Sweet:
This is the same cider as above except on Nitro, which added some additional smoothness.  It was quite foamy from the tap from the nitrogenation, and needed a couple minutes to calm down.

Ginger, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Dry (noted Semi-Sweet):
I’m not a ginger fan, but this was handed to me, so I tried it!  It had a much milder initial ginger taste than smell, but had more of a ginger aftertaste.  I think Ginger fans would really like this one.  Its not too overwhelming with Ginger.

Hopped, 6.5% ABV, Semi-Dry:
Hopped ciders aren’t my thing, but my husband wanted this, and thought it was pretty decent.  I had one sip and it is definitely hoppy, but way less than Reverend Nat’s Envy / Hopland #5.  Otherwise I can’t really comment on it.

Sriracha Lime, 6.7% ABV, Semi-Dry (noted Dry):
This cider seemed intriguing, I like Sriracha & Lime, and there was some chatter online of folks liking it, so why not?  It definitely smelled of Sriracha & Lime, but all I picked up in the taste was the Sriracha (no Lime).  Definitely spicy!  I don’t think I like spicy ciders.  I can tolerate spicy food, but the spiciness seemed to overwhelm the cider here.  I think this would have been better to do with a sweet citrus/lime cider with only a hint of Sriracha.

(I’ve also previously tried Schilling Oak Aged, Gold, & Grapefruit)

Other Ciders

101 Ciderhouse Cactus Red, 6.5% ABV, Los Angeles CA, Dry:
I tried this on a whim as it sounded unique/odd.  I picked up a citrus scent and it had a lovely pink color, similar to grapefruit juice.  It was definitely dry, and very very tart!  I unfortunately couldn’t take more than two sips of this one.

Elemental Cherry, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA, Semi-Dry:
Pretty rosé color.  Smelled like cherries.  However, I barely picked up any cherry flavor when tasting it.  Folks who like drier ciders but want a fruity cider may like this, as many fruit infused ciders tend to be sweeter.

Finnriver Habenero, 6.9% ABV, Chimacum WA, Semi-Sweet:
Another cider handed to me from the bartender, who was trying it for the first time as they just tapped it.  It didn’t smell spicy, but it was!  The bite hit my sinuses about 10 seconds after drinking it.  Again, the spice was overwhelming.  I wasn’t a fan, but my husband didn’t mind it.

Finnriver Lavender Black Currant (Nitro), 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA, Sweet:
Very dark & vibrant hue.  Extra smooth taste (from the nitrogenation).  I’ve tried their Black Currant flavor, and I honestly couldn’t pick up the added Lavender in this one.  However, my husband did.  In addition to the black current, I picked up some cherry notes.  This was much better than the bottled Black Currant I had of their’s (which was also quite good).  I imagine tap + Nitro did it.  Excellent!

Finnriver Oak & Apple, 6.5% ABV, Chimacum WA, Semi-Dry:
The bartender said this was very similar to Schilling’s Oak Aged (which was surprisingly absent from the tap list).  I’m a huge fan of barrel aged ciders, so I was anxious to try it.  This is a milder barrel aged cider, and quite tasty.  I think I give the slight edge to Schilling’s Oak Aged though.  And, overall, my favorite barrel aged ciders so far are Woodchuck Winter Chill (which also has some vanilla flavor) and Thistly Cross Whisky Cask (very smooth), both of which are significantly sweeter than Schilling’s & Finnriver’s oak aged selections, but I do enjoy Schilling Oak Aged.  Yum!

Locust Sweet & Dark Cherry, 6.5% ABV, Woodinville WA, Semi-Sweet:
For a cherry cider, I was expecting more flavor, but it was quite mild, and there was little cherry scent or flavor.  This has a sweeter start and more tart finish.  This was pretty similar to the Elemental Cherry (which also had a mild cherry flavor), except a bit sweeter.

Moonlight Meadery How do you Like them Little Apples?, 6.0% ABV, Londonderry NH, Sweet:
Hard cider blended with honey & brown sugar, fermented, then barrel aged (draft only release).  Honey smell (duh).  Quite sweet.  Very smooth.  Tastes like it would be a higher ABV than it is (but I wouldn’t call the taste boozy).  I wouldn’t have guessed it was barrel aged.  Awesome!

Portland Cider Passion Fruit, 6.5% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Sweet:
I was excited to try this one.  The passion fruit smell was amazing!  However, the passion fruit taste was quite mild, and it had a bit of a tart & bitter finish, which I wasn’t expecting.  It is however a refreshing and easy-drinking cider.

Portland Cider Pearfect Perry, 6.5% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Dry (noted Semi-Sweet):
This was a very mild Perry; I could barely pick up any pear flavor.  It was however pretty tasty and smooth.

Reverend Nat’s Newtown Pippin, 6.9% ABV, Portland OR, Semi-Dry:
One of Rev Nat’s regular release ciders.  This was a mild & crisp cider which I found to have a fairly bitter finish.  Pretty boring for my tastes.

Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut, 6.5% ABV, Spain, Dry:
A refreshing & smooth Spanish cider.  I can’t really put the flavor into words, but it is one of those ciders which has a flavor profile which seems sweeter than it really is.  It was Schilling’s most expensive offering by the way, at $11/pint, but only $2 for a 3oz taste.  This makes me want to try more Spanish ciders!

Wandering Aengus Wanderlust, 6.5%, Salem OR, Dry (noted Semi-Dry):
Fairly plain, and I found it tart & bitter.  Taste profile was in-line with the two Wandering Aengus and two Anthem (also made by them) ciders I’ve tried.  Also fairly boring for my tastes.

Whitewood Summer Switchel, 4.6% ABV, Olympia WA, Semi-Sweet:
This is a mild & refreshing cider with a hint of ginger.  The bartender said he picks up almost a salty flavor, which after hearing that, I agreed somewhat.


101 Ciderhouse Cactus Red

elemental cherry
Elemental Cherry

Finnriver Lavendar Black Currant
Finnriver Lavender Black Currant

Locust cherry
Locust Cherry

Moonlight Meadery How do you like them Little Apples

Closing Notes

My favorites from this tasting were the Moonlight Meadery “How do you Like them Little Apples?”, Finnriver Oak & Apple, Finnriver Lavender Black Currant, and Viuda de Angelon Sidra Brut.  Quite an interesting combination, right?

I also learned that in addition to hopped, ginger, and overly dry ciders, I definitely don’t like spicy ciders!

I look forward to returning to the Schilling Cider House to try more ciders, as their selections change all the time.  Stay tuned for reviews of the five ciders I picked up from their bottle shop (shown in Part 1).

Schilling Cider House Trip Report

The Schilling Cider House in Fremont (Seattle).  In one word, awesome!  A cider enthusiast’s paradise.  32 ciders on tap and a huge unique selection of bottled ciders.  Only craft cider to be found here, no commercial stuff.  They opened September 2014.  Two of the taps are Nitro (nitrogenated, which adds some additional smoothness) and they also have a Randall setup (although it didn’t appear they were infusing anything that day, as no offerings were mentioned when we asked to have our suspicions confirmed).  This will be a two part review, with this part covering the cider house, and a second part with tasting notes on the 18! ciders I tried.  Considering I had either already tried or wasn’t interested in the remaining ciders, I think that is mildly impressive.

Aaron Schilling photo

Thankfully I didn’t have to get too inebriated when trying the 18 ciders, as I had 12 3oz+ samplers and 6 small tastes over a couple hours, and my husband helped sip on them a bit too (although he was gracious enough to be my DD).

I apologize in advance on the quality of the photos; I am a horrible photographer and clearly need to work on that for cider blog purposes!  Click to biggify the photos by the way.


They have cider available in:
– 3oz sampler for $2 each (which most folks get in a flight/tray of six)
– pint (priced individually by the cider, $5-$11 when I was there)
– growler (also priced individually by cider, and they can only do this for ciders under 7% by law, which is the vast majority of them)

Therefore the sampler size can be a good deal for some of their more expensive ciders which cost double the price of something else.



My husband and I checked out the Schilling Cider House on a Saturday, early afternoon.  My husband was even nice enough to grab us some take out from a Thai place down the street (Zap Verr) during our visit.  It wasn’t anything special, but highly convenient, as Schilling does not offer any food (but do allow folks to bring food in or have it delivered).  I think they would do well to sell some snacks, even some chips or something easy to stock, as its hard to stay too long at a place that has alcohol but no food, even with their open food policy.

The Schilling Cider House is a great hang out spot.  They even have a stack of games available.  There are about six stools at the bar and the remainder are at four long tables.  The decor is all cider and all Schilling.  The empty kegs they keep around add a nice touch.  Empty kegs were even to be found in the restroom!  I was the cider geek who had to come right back to the restroom after I grabbed my phone, so I could take photos…




I was bummed to see that I missed Reverend Nat’s The Passion, as I’ve been wanting to try that.

Rev Nats Passion keg

I also missed Schilling’s own Berry cider, only available at their cider house.  Although I’ll get more into the actual ciders in the second installment, I can say that I was surprised Schilling didn’t offer all their ciders on tap at their own cider house!  There were eight Schilling ciders though, and a handful were ciderhouse-only (or out of season).  They were at least missing their Berry, Spiced, and Oak Aged (a cider I really like and my favorite cider of their’s).  Serving ciders other than their own is quite unique for a ciderhouse, but a really great idea.

However, there were definitely many cider options, from dry to sweet, for any taste.  Their chalk board menu is color-coded by sweetness (dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet), and for the most part I agreed with their classifications.  The taps are numbered, and you can take a business card size card and write down your selections.  They definitely change often, as they switched out two taps during our visit!  Their Facebook page can give you an idea of what is available, but I found it wasn’t quite up to date.

coaster front coaster back

Their bottle shop is extensive (250+ selections), chock full of both local craft ciders and interesting imports.  They also allow folks to buy & open a bottle there to drink, no corkage fee, although I’m not sure why you would with 32 ciders on tap!  I’m surprised they didn’t have some bottled beer & soda selections, but maybe I missed them (I did however see a cold canned coffee selection).  All bottles are chilled, in three triple door glass-front fridges (a very smart move on their part).  There were many selections I hadn’t seen anywhere else.


I picked up five varieties (reviews forthcoming of course!).  Left to right in photo below:  MillStone Cellars Cobbler (Monkton MD), Aspall English Imperial Cider (Suffolk England), Attila Scourge of God (Ellensburg WA), Freyeisen Apfelwein (Frankfurt Germany), and Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented Cider (Vashon Island WA).

5 bottles

I could have spent an hour just reading all the bottle labels and Googling them and such, but my husband was patient enough, so I made some semi-quick (for me) selections of ciders I hadn’t seen before.  They also offer some merchandise, such as t-shirts, and of course, growlers ($5 + cider fill cost).


However, of course, the main attraction is the cider itself.  From what I overheard there seemed to be a mix of new & old cider lovers.  We sat next to a young woman who was a tourist from New York who found them just walking by.  And there was an older lady buying growlers of cider for a get together.  I was surprised how busy it got as the afternoon went on (we were there about 1:30 to 3:30 pm), as I had expected it to be rather dead until the evening, but it was a weekend.  Luckily we got there not too long after they opened (at noon) and were able to get two seats at the bar.

seattle cider sign

They have some great bartenders, and ours was very helpful!  He kept passing us tastes of ciders, asking us what we thought.  Some of them were things I wouldn’t have otherwise even ordered a taster of.  I never turn down cider!  I did unfortunately pushed some away we found weren’t to our taste though.  They have several of what could be referred to as “novelty” ciders.  Fun for a taste but I’d be shocked if someone ordered a pint.

[Yes, this is almost the entire place!  And yes, this is a horrible photo.  But I guess I don’t have to worry about people’s privacy since I’m showing their faces lol.]

Due to the time of our visit, I can’t comment on the nighttime scene here, how busy they get in the evening, etc.  I imagine the place fills up though, as it is pretty small tasting room (it seats around 50 people).  The bartender commented they are plenty busy on weekdays too.  If you want to chat up the bartender, secure a seat at the bar, and increase your chances of getting passed tasters of stuff the bartender likes, I’d recommend getting here when they open (I imagine mentioning I’m a blogger could have helped too).  If you want a more vibrant atmosphere, then later in the day may be a better idea.

In case you are curious, I much preferred Schilling to Capitol Cider, which just wasn’t my scene.  Capitol Cider does however get a nod to having a full (gluten free) kitchen.

We spotted some cool swag (coasters & stickers) below the bar as we were being rung up, and ask and thou shall receive!

Thistly coasters rev nats stickers
[Maybe they had a Thistly Cross tasting at some point?  It also looks like Thistly Cross has three varieties I haven’t found here: Elderflower, Strawberry, & Original.  I’ve had the Whisky Cask (one of my favorites) and Traditional (very similar to Whisky Cask), and am not a fan of ginger so I haven’t tried that one.]

The Schilling Cider House is open noon-11pm seven days a week.  21+ only, but they do appear to be dog friendly (a patron next to us had a cute & well behaved pitt bull).  I highly recommend it and look forward to returning!

Stay tuned for Schilling Cider House review Part 2, with tasting notes on all 18 ciders I tried!
Update:  Part 2 covering the 18 ciders I tasted is now available!

Have you been to the Schilling Cider House, or any other cider bar?  What did you think?

Cider Says Weekly Preview

What posts to expect in the upcoming week at Cider Says:

  • Schilling Cider House Trip Report
  • Schilling Cider House – Cider Tasting Notes
  • Spotlight on Washington Cideries
  • Eaglemount Quince cider review
  • added: Do You Know How Many Cider Bars there are in the U.S.?
  • added: Countdown to Cider Summit Seattle!
  • added: Sea Cider Prohibition / Rumrunner review

Stay tuned, and remember to follow us on Facebook or e-mail (sidebar on right, or at bottom of page on mobile devices) or follow on WordPress (top left bar) to be notified of new posts here at Cider Says.  Have a great week!

Schilling Cider House Cider Education Video Series

Here is an awesome series of five short cider education videos by the Schilling Cider House, in Fremont (Seattle) WA.  As an added bonus, they discuss a number of local craft cider selections.

Schilling Cider Episode 1 – Intro to Cider Tasting 101
Discusses appearance, aroma, cider flavors, etc.

Schilling Cider Episode 2 – Brix & Acidity
Discusses how sweetness (Brix = sugar content in liquid…one degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution) and acidity affect the taste of a cider.

Schilling Cider Episode 3 – Testing Brix & Acidity
Discusses how Brix & acidity are measured, and their purpose of balancing taste in cider.

Schilling Cider Episode 4 – Tannins
Discusses what tannins are and their purpose of balancing taste in cider.

Schilling Cider Episode 5 – Cider Innovation
Discusses innovations in the craft cider world, such as Nitro taps, the Randall, and infusing flavors.

This is a great series of topics applicable to tasting cider, and explains some of the technical aspects of the taste of a cider.  As a side note, I would love to see more cideries put the Brix of their cider on the package as it would give the educated consumer a much better idea of whether the cider’s sweetness will be to their liking.  I’ve not found the wine descriptors of dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet, etc, to be all too accurate or consistent.

So, what did you think?