Jester & Judge Pineapple Express

Review of Jester & Judge’s Pineapple Express cider.  I previously tried it on tap at the Schilling Cider House (see here).  I’ve also previously tried their Sharp Cherry, American Apple, and Columbia Belle.

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Cider:  Pineapple Express
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.2%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with pineapple juice concentrate

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Availability:  Likely only Oregon and Washington

Cider Description:  The spirit of the Gorge is independent and fun-loving.  This cider embraces our spirit and our love of little latitudes.  Pineapple Express takes us where the sun is always out, the rain is always warm, and the mood is always festive.  Handmade with all natural ingredients and an endless supply of Irie!

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 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it on tap at the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Hazy pineapple juice hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells strongly of fresh pineapple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple juice, pineapple, and a hint of lime.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor.  High flavor intensity.  Very high sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really like this one.  It tastes like alcoholic pineapple juice with a hint of fizz.  It is definitely on the juice-like and simple side though.

Most Similar to:  Ace PineappleSchilling Pineapple Passion, and Wyder’s Prickly Pineapple.  I’ve also had Portland Cider Co. Pineapple, but that one didn’t have nearly as much flavor as the others.

Closing Notes:  I’m a big fan of this easy to drink flavorful cider.

Have you tried Jester & Judge Pineapple Express?  What did you think?

Jester & Judge Columbia Belle

Review of Jester & Judge’s Columbia Belle, a peach & mint infused cider from Stevenson Washington.  I’ve also had their American Apple and Sharp Cherry varieties.

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Cider:  American Apple
Cidery:  Jester & Judge
Cidery Location:  Stevenson WA
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles and 22oz bottles
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples, infused with peach & mint

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Availability:  likely only WA & OR

Cider Description:  We wanted to bring a soft southern hospitality to Pacific Northwest fruit.  Columbia Belle is a refined peach and mint infused cider, soft, luscious and fruit forward.  Equally at home, at the beach or at the bistro.  100% natural, 100% Pacific Northwest and chock full of good manners.

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:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I had heard about this variety online

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First Impression:  The first half of the bottle poured a hazy orange-pink straw yellow (pictured above).  The second half of the bottle had a crazy amount of sediment and poured a murky brown hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells like peach, citrus, tropical fruit, mint, and a hint of apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  The flavor starts with a refreshing & fruity peach with hints of citrus, followed up by a cooling mint finish (the mint was less pronounced when there was more sediment).  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Medium bodied.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple influence.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this better than their American Apple and Sharp Cherry (it was more flavorful), but overall the flavor combination with the mint wasn’t really to my liking (plus generally I don’t go for fruity ciders).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a few peach ciders, such as from Blue Mountain, Finnriver, and Black Fin.  I’ve also had a few herb-infused ciders, such as Finnriver’s Lavender Black Currant, Honey Meadow, Cranberry Rosehip, & Solstice Saffron, One Tree Lemon Basil, and J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Summer.  I’ve even had Woodchuck’s Mint cider.  However, I haven’t seen this combination before.

Closing Notes:   Columbia Belle was very refreshing and would be nice on a summer afternoon.

Have you tried Jester & Judge Columbia Belle?  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).

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

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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

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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?