Portland Cider Company Strawperry

Review of Portland Cider Company’s Strawperry, a perry (made from 100% pears, no apples) with strawberries.  This is a summer seasonal for them (2nd year).  I’ve previously tried a number of their ciders; see here.


>>This is a review of a sample provided to Cider Says by the Portland Cider Company.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Strawperry
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Portland OR
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  draft only
Style:  American craft perry (made from 100% pears) with fresh strawberries

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Availability:  Summer seasonal, limited release, draft only.  In general, their ciders are available in Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado (see here), but this draft-only cider likely has less availability then their bottled varieties.

I have been able to determine it is currently on tap at least at the following places:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA, Portland Cider House (Hawthorne Portland OR), Portland Cider Company Taproom (Clackamas Portland OR),  Liberty Tapworks (Dalles OR), Oly Taproom (Olympia WA), and The Growlerie (Beaverton OR).

Cider Description:  With a base of our award-winning 100% pear juice Perry, we have blended NW strawberries to create a delicate, delightful cider for the summer.

Cidery Description:  Drink it, it’s good!  Portland Cider Company was started in the fall of 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing handcrafted cider in the English tradition to the northwest. We don’t use concentrates, flavorings, colorings, or anything you wouldn’t want in your cider.  We just use the finest Northwest grown fruit. Always gluten free.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light pink-orange hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, fruity and tart.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, kiwi, and honey.  Quick finish.  Low pear flavor.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This is a great summer cider…fruity and sessionable (low ABV and easy to drink).

Most Similar to:  I’ve had two strawberry ciders, from Bull Run (Strawberry Fields) and Cider Brothers (William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry).  I find this similar to the Bull Run Strawberry Fields, except Strawberry Fields had a more intense flavor, and Strawperry is more complex.  I also find Strawperry similar to Atlas Dragonfruit, which also had strawberry & kiwi notes (but also a weird bitterness).

Random Side Note:  This cider holds the record as my most unique sample so far…I received it in a recycled swing-top bottle (its draft only so they didn’t have a typical capped & labeled bottle) and picked it up locally.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try Strawperry–its a unique summer sipper.  I think this is one of my favorite Portland Cider Company ciders so far, along with their London Dry Gin.

Have you tried Portland Cider Strawperry?  What did you think?

Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry

Review of Cider Brothers’ William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry.  This is one of the ciders in Cider Brothers’ new line of flavored canned William Tell ciders.  They started with only William Tell Dry Hard Apple with Pinot Grigio and Pacific Coast Cider Hard Apple Cider.  Now the William Tell line also includes this one, Apple Mango Muscat, and Cherry.

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Cider Brothers.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Strawberry
Cidery:  Cider Brothers
Cidery Location:  Lodi CA
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  four pack of 16oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider made from dessert apples, with strawberry concentrate

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Availability:  National distribution (although the bottled William Tell Dry Hard Apple with Pinot Grigio and Pacific Coast Cider Hard Apple Cider are probably more commonly seen).  We get both of those in the Seattle area, but I haven’t seen these canned William Tell ciders yet.

Apple Varieties:  Granny smith, golden russet, gala, fuji, and red delicious (sourced from Washington).

Cider Description:  Resembles a crisp Rose wine in color and taste. Fruity aromas of fresh strawberries, vanilla cream and honey lead to sweet citrus, melon and mineral flavors. Medium bodied and very well balanced. Starts slightly sweet but finishes dry, soft and lingering.  Pairings: Fresh Fruit, Goats Milk Cheeses, Spicy Latin and Asian Appetizers.

Cidery Description:  From early morning through late afternoon, we bring a winemaker’s approach to producing small batches of handcrafted hard apple ciders. It starts with cold fermenting small lots of fresh apple juice to capture the delicate flavors and complex balance that makes this Mother Nature’s most refreshing adult beverage. The result is our refreshing, lightly carbonated artisan cider, produced at our Lodi winery.

The cider brothers are Michael and Paul Scotto.  The Scotto family has been in the wine industry for five generations, and Scotto Cellars is among the 30 largest wineries in California.  They used their wine background when starting to make cider, and by mistake developed a method they call “frost fermentation”.  They put the fresh apple juice into the refrigerated fermenter, as they would do for Chardonnay.  They next morning there was a layer of ice on the inside edges and top of the tank.  They remove the ice (water) and the result was a sweeter cider with more concentrated and rich flavor.  This is more labor and time intensive, but they feel the result is worth it.  (it reminds me of the process for ice cider)

Price:  n/a (runs ~$3 / can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light red hue.  Very low carbonation with foam upon pouring.  Smells of candied strawberry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Still.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Moderately flavored, primarily strawberry with some cherry, watermelon, and hints of green apple.  Quick finish.  Low apple influence.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I found this plenty drinkable, but the flavor didn’t excite me, and it was a bit candied tasting (although not overly sweet).  Higher carbonation probably would have helped.  I didn’t pick up all the flavor notes mentioned in the description (vanilla cream, honey, citrus, melon, mineral).

Most Similar to:  The only other strawberry cider I’ve had is Bull Run Strawberry Fields.  I prefer the flavor on that one.  Both are semi-dry to semi-sweet and quite similar, but the Bull Run cider flavor seems more “real”.

Closing Notes:   So far of the William Tell line I prefer the Apple Mango Muscat, although I have three more to try.

Have you tried William Tell cider?  What did you think?

Strongbow Gold Apple, Red Berries, and Ginger

Three for one!  Review of Strongbow’s Gold Apple, Red Berries, and Ginger varieties.  These were freebies from a friend, along with a can of original recipe Strongbow, the kind they no longer sell in the U.S. (which will be a future review).  These are relatively new cider varieties from Strongbow, supposedly made for the American palate.  It looks like the can of Gold Apple is from Canada by the way (which is where my friend got the original recipe Strongbow), although I’ve had it here.

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Cider:  Gold Apple, Red Berries, Ginger
Cidery:  Strongbow (Bulmer’s, Heineken)
Cidery Location:  Edinburgh UK, Aubel Belgium, Aubel Belgium
ABV:  4.5%, 4.5%, 4.5%
How Supplied:  15oz can, 11.2oz bottle, 11.2oz bottle (Gold Apple also comes in 11.2oz bottles).  The Gold Apple comes in 4 packs of 15oz cans, 6 packs of 11.2oz bottles, or as part of a multipack of 12 bottles.  The Red Berries and Ginger varieties appear to only be sold as part of a multipack of 12 bottles.

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Availability:  wide release, year round

Gold Apple Description:  Sweet and golden with a crisp kick, a hint of green apple and a long, bittersweet finish.
Red Berries Description:  Hard cider with Strawberry and Elderberry flavors, a hint of lemon notes, and an apple finish.
Ginger Description:  Hard cider with just the right hint of Ginger, floral aroma, and light muscato notes, and an apple finish.

Cidery Description:  From the orchard to the glass, we are inspired by the power of nature to deliver the golden, crisp refreshment in every drop of Strongbow Hard Apple Cider. And like our namesake, Richard “Strongbow” de Clare, who was legendary for his skill with the bow and arrow, we’re setting our sights and making our mark. Our cider’s crisp, refreshing taste sets the tone for the rest of the night. We’re the go-getters. The makers and doers. To us, every hour is golden.

After the ripest apples are harvested, they arrive at the mill where they’re washed and crushed. This pulp is pressed to extract pure juice, which is then concentrated and stored (with the apples’ natural sugars acting as a preservative). The concentrated apple juice is then fermented and left to mature, allowing smoother flavors to develop.

Our apples are grown to produce crisp and refreshing cider, and nothing else.  We have over 125 years of expertise in extracting their natural flavors.

Price:  n/a (but it runs $7 for a 4 or 6 pack and $14 for a 12 pack in my area)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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<I didn’t bother with photos of the ones in the clear glass bottles, plus I only had one sip of each of those>

Gold Apple:  The most drinkable of the three, but still definitely among my least favorite ciders.  It starts with a sweet strong fake apple scent.  The fakeness continues with the flavor, which is overly apply, syrupy, and sweet.  I didn’t even pick up any noticeable acidity or tartness.  Only the lightest carbonation level.  It goes down easily though.  I’ve had this one before at events that had free drinks and this was the only cider, but I won’t pay for it.

Red Berries:  Tastes like what I would imagine a strawberry wine cooler tastes like, although admittedly I’ve never had one.  Way artificial tasting.  However, it wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting (although definitely sweet), and it wasn’t overly syrupy.  No complexity though.  One sip was plenty.

Ginger:   The ginger remains mild, more like an aftertaste, but is still ginger.  However, I’m just not a ginger fan, so one sip was plenty.  This one like the Gold Apple was a bit syrupy, and like both, was fake tasting, but a bit less so.

I wouldn’t recommend any of these at all.  They give cider a bad name.  These are aimed at folks who like their alcohol well-hidden and sweet.  Even as an introduction to cider / inexpensive option / easily available option, I think Angry Orchard, Woodchuck, Crispin, etc, are better.  Apparently some folks like them, but there is a lot of talk online of folks being disappointed they can no longer get the original drier Strongbow here in the U.S.  Its pretty bad they import cider this bad.

Have you tried any Strongbow cider varieties?  What did you think?