Atlas Session Cider

Review of Atlas Cider Company’s Session Cider.  I’ve tried most of their lineup (see here).  This is their newest release, their first canned cider, and their first available in a multipack.

Cider:  Session Cider
Cidery:  Atlas Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Bend Oregon
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft sessionable cider made from dessert apples

2016-03-31 17.29.35 2016-03-31 17.29.44 2016-03-31 17.29.51

Availability:  Year round in ID, OR, NV, and WA.

Cider Description:  During WW1 British legislation limited drinking to 2 sessions, lunch from 11am-3pm and evening from 7pm -11pm. During these 4 hour sessions workers wanted a highly drinkable beer with a lower abv, around 4-5%, so they could return to work without being drunk and disorderly. Some workers are said to have up to 8 pints per session. A true session drink also does not necessarily mean it will have less flavor like a light beer. We are aware that our session cider does contain 5.5% abv; this is above the threshold of a session beer, but being a cider it is still significantly lighter, just as flavorful, and more drinkable than other craft ciders with higher ABV’s. Thus we thought our apple in 6 pack-cans was the perfect “session cider” Enjoy.

Cidery Description:  ATLAS Cider Co. produces authentic hard cider fermented from 100% fresh pressed fruit from our region. Partnering with Northwest farmers to source our fruit has been a priority of ours from the beginning. Our ciders start with a base of NW fruit that are pressed to achieve a balance of sweetness, tartness, and dryness. We forge our ciders in the heart of the NW in Bend, OR.

Price:  <$2 / single can (retails for $10.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had read about its release through Atlas Cider Co.’s Facebook page, but this was the first time I saw single cans available, so I picked one up.

2016-03-31 17.29.21.jpg

First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  Low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells like crisp apples, citrus, honey, and apricots.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Nearly still.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of honey, citrus, tropical fruit, green apple, and muscat grapes.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Very high sessionability.  Best enjoyed very cold.

My Opinion:  One of my favorite sessionable/canned ciders so far.  It is more flavorful than many are, probably as it is a bit on the sweeter side, and was back sweetened (but avoids the overly apple juice flavor which I’ve often found).  For being medium bodied, it still tasted very light (probably due to its crispness and light flavors).  It also had some nice complexity and flavor notes, which surprised me.  I also found it lacked the watered down type flavor which I often taste with similar ciders.

Most Similar to:  Other slightly sweeter flagship/sessionable ciders, such as Atlas Hard Apple Cider (in 22oz bottles, and slightly different than this one…sweeter, less complex, and higher carbonation, Crispin Original, Flatbed Cider Crisp Apple, and Henry Hotspur’s Hard Pressed for Cider.

Closing Notes:   I wouldn’t mind keeping this cider in the fridge.  Session Cider is a probably a close second to their Apricot as far as my favorite Atlas cider.  The only thing I would change is to increase the carbonation.

Have you tried Atlas Session Cider?  What did you think?

Jester & Judge American Apple

Review of Jester & Judge’s American Apple.  They just launched in September, and also offer Sharp Cherry and Columbia Belle (peach) varieties.  Here is an article on their launch and here is an article about their founder (who recently sold the Fox Barrel and Crispin cider companies to MillerCoors).  I tried their Sharp Cherry awhile back (tasting notes here).

2015-11-10 16.10.23

Cider:  American Apple
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.8%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles

2015-11-10 16.10.29 2015-11-10 16.10.35 2015-11-10 16.10.41
<The front logo is pretty cool looking, but the white font on the back is nearly impossible to read>

Availability:  likely only WA & OR

Cider Description:  We embrace the challenge of making an apple cider that is both sessionable and subtly complex.  Our American Apple cider is strong, clean, and sublimely balanced. Equally at home, at the beach, or at the bistro.  100% Natural, 100% Pacific Northwest.

Cidery Description:  We’ll bring the Jester and you be the Judge.  At Jester & Judge we believe that balance is important in life and in cider.  It’s the foundation of our seriously whimsical attitude.  Serious about the quality of the ciders we make.  No concentrates, sorbates, artificial flavorings, colorings, or other shortcuts.  Whimsical because we have fun making the best ciders we can featuring local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, which sometimes means snubbing our nose a little at traditional cider.

Price:  ~$2.50 for a single bottle (runs $8-9 for a four pack)
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

2015-11-10 16.11.55

First Impression:  Light amber with a touch of orange.  No carbonation or foam upon pouring.  Smells like apple juice.

Opinion:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Tastes like apple juice which has been slightly watered down with a touch of honey.  The alcohol is well-hidden.  No noticeable carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Low acidity.  Only the very slightest tartness.  No sourness, bitterness, or funk.  Quick finish.  This is a very simple and apple-forward cider, definitely sessionable (easy to drink multiple bottles in a sitting).  I was surprised this was 5.8% ABV, as I would have guessed much lower.  I suspect they fermented this cider dry to quite a high ABV and significantly back-sweetened it with juice (plus honey).

Most Similar to:  Many plain flagship ciders which are on the milder and drier side.  Ace Apple comes to mind.

Closing Notes:   I found this cider rather average and on the boring side.  I think some carbonation would have gone a long way. It is rare to find a cider like this which doesn’t use sorbates, which can be difficult for cideries to pull off, so for some folks who aim to avoid them, this cider may specifically interest them.  I like that this cider is so low in calories (135 in 12oz).  So far, from trying their American Apple and Sharp Cherry varieties, Jester & Judge appears to make rather mildly flavored ciders, which likely appeals to session drinkers.  Personally, I crave flavor and richness from a cider more than sessionability.  However, there is a reason they make so many ciders…something for everyone.

Have you tried Jester & Judge ciders?  What did you think?