Gitche Gumee Ciderworks Entropy

Review of Gitche Gumee Ciderworks’ debut release, Entropy.  It is my first time trying any of their cider.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Gitche Gumee.  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:  Entropy (2015 vintage)
Cidery:  Gitche Gumee
Cidery Location:  Hancock Michigan
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft “feral” cider from local wild apples, spontaneously (wild yeast) fermented, barrel aged, bottle conditioned

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Availability:  limited to Northwest Michigan, released August 2017

Cider Description:  We hand press wild, feral apples grown in the stunning Copper Country of Upper Michigan.  Long winters, fresh air, and beautiful summer days conspire to grow large crops of wild apples.  No shortcuts!  These small tart apples are hand-picked by our community, providing opportunities for local groups to forage our forests.  The juice is spontaneously fermented using the wild yeast naturally present on the apple.  No added yeast, water, sugar, sulfites, preservatives, or flavorings.  After a cold fermentation, it is cellar-aged 9 months in small French white oak barrels. The outcome is a delicious, dry, funky and naturally gluten free cider done in a time-honored tradition.  We’re making cider the hard way!

Cidery Description:  Hancock Michigan’s first Hard Cidery. We pride ourselves on producing quality products.

Price:  n/a (retails for $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidermaker contacted me (Phillip Kelm)

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of funk, sourness, citrus, and must.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  Moderate funk.  Low sourness.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, must, oak, honey, herbs, and vinegar.  Moderate length sharp finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity, complexity, and sourness.  Low barrel influence.

My Opinion:  Regular readers of my blog will know this isn’t my favorite type of cider.  Everyone doesn’t like every cider.  However, I can say that this is well-made, and an excellent value.  I’d recommend this for fans of dry farmhouse-style ciders.  It is less acidic & sour than some similar ciders I’ve tried, which is likely more friendly to folks not familiar with this style.  There was some nice complexity and flavor.

Most Similar to:  Alpenfire Pirate’s PlankBrooklyn Cider House Half SourNumber 12 Sparkling DryRuncible Cider Light of the MoonAngry Orchard Walden Hollow, and Sietsema Traditional Dry

Side Note:  Something was off with the cork.  I am used to the button top ones with champagne bottles, and this one seemed like a straight cork which was pushed in too far.  Just one of those first release hiccups.  It was all good though, as my husband got it open with a corkscrew and some muscle, and didn’t even get any chunks of cork in the cider!

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try this cider (and was actually among the first, as it is a brand new release).  It’ll be fun to see what they come up with next.

Have you tried Gitchee Gumee cider?  What did you think?

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Eden Specialty Ciders & Tilted Shed Collaboration, Two Ellies

Review of Two Ellies: An East Meets West American Cider Story, a collaboration between Eleanor Leger of Eden Specialty Ciders in Vermont and Ellen Cavalli of Tilted Shed Ciderworks in California.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Tilted Shed’s Lost OrchardBarred Rock, & Smoked, and Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s Pearls, & Windfall Orchard Ice Cider.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Specialty Ciders (the cidermaker Eleanor brought it to me in her suitcase!).  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:  Two Ellies: An East Meets West American Cider Story
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders & Tilted Shed Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Newport VT & Windsor CA (bottle says made at Eden in Vermont)
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from Gravenstein apples from Tilted Shed in California and Esopus Spitzenburg apples from Eden in Vermont (both heirloom varieties), naturally sparkling, dry

 

Availability:  Very limited (likely only in parts of CA & VT), released September 2017

Cider Description:  This special cider is a cross-country collaboration between the two Ellies of American fine cider – Eleanor Leger of Vermont’s Eden Specialty Ciders and Ellen Cavalli of Sonoma Country’s Tilted Shed Ciderworks – who each contributed an hierloom apple variety particular to their terroir to showcase their mutual passion for traditional cidermaking.

A bit on terroir:  The term is most commonly used in the wine world, and describes the impact of the region (soil, topography, climate, etc) on a product.  Even ciders made from the same type of apples & yeast using the methods can vary widely region-to-region as the apples are different due to the environmental variance.  For example, the same variety of apple from the NE will commonly be significantly higher in acid than those from the NW.

Price:  n/a (and unknown)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  High carbonation (natural, from secondary fermentation in the bottle).  Smells of funk, acidity, must, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of sourness.  Low funk.  Notes of lemon, yeast, funk, wood, honey, and must.  Long acidic fizzy tannic finish.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate complexity and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked but didn’t love this, but that was anticipated, as my personal preference isn’t typically for dry acidic ciders.  However, it was expertly crafted.  I enjoyed this cider more at close to room temperature, as that cut the sharp acidity and let the fizz settle down.  My husband was a huge fan, as expected, as dry sparkling cider is his favorite.  It had a surprising amount of tannins for being made with heirloom (not cider) apple varieties, which I enjoyed.  I’d recommend Two Ellies for lovers of dry, acidic, highly carbonated ciders.

Most Similar to:  This reminded me of Tilted Shed Lost Orchard & Understood in Motion 02 (but both of those were nearly still), and Eve’s Beckhorn Hollow (except that had some different flavor notes).

Closing Notes:  Even though this isn’t a personal favorite, I’m glad I got the opportunity to try it and share about it.

Side Note:  Eden has previously collaborated with Angry Orchard (see my review of Understood in Motion 01), and also recently released a budget-friendly cider made with Québec dessert apple varieties, called Border Buster (see this article).  Tilted Shed has also been staying busy, with multiple new releases, as announced on their Facebook page.

Have you tried any ciders from Eden or Tilted Shed?  What did you think?

2 Towns Hollow Jack

Review of 2 Towns’ Hollow Jack, a seasonal cider with pumpkin, sweet potato, and pie spices.  I sampled this last year (see here), and I’ve tried most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by 2 Towns.  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:  Hollow Jack
Cidery:  2 Towns
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  6.4%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles, kegs
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, unfiltered, with caramelized heirloom pumpkin, sweet potato, honey, and pie spices (allspice, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon)

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Availability:  Seasonably (September to November), primarily CA, OR, & WA, although in general their ciders are available in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL (Chicago), MN, NV, OR, and WA.  See their Cider Finder.

Cider Description:  Mischievous & spiced, Hollow Jack is far from empty. A brew of fresh-pressed apples, caramelized pumpkin and sweet potatoes is finished with a dash of honey and spices to carve out this special Fall cider.

Cidery Description:  At 2 Towns Ciderhouse we believe that the long history of cidermaking demands respect and deserves to be done right. Starting with the highest quality whole ingredients from local farms, we take no shortcuts in crafting our ciders. We never add any sugar, concentrates or artificial flavors, and instead use slow, cold fermentation methods to allow the fruit to speak for itself. As a family-owned company, we are committed to the growth of our team and enrichment of our communities. We take pride in producing true Northwest craft cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $6.99 / 500ml
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried it at Cider Summit Seattle 2016, but this time it just showed up

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First Impression:  Hazy straw yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells vegetal and of pie spices.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of baked apple, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato / yam, caramel, and pie spices.  Quick to moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  Low to moderate pumpkin & sweet potato flavor.  Very low spice.

My Opinion:  Although I’m not a huge pumpkin / spiced cider fan, I liked this one, and it is my favorite of the five I’ve tried.

Most Similar to:  Doc’s Draft Pumpkin cider (although that was a full sweet) and Tieton’s Smoked Pumpkin cider (although that was quite intensely flavored compared to this).  I’ve also tried pumpkin ciders from Ace and Woodchuck.

Closing Notes:  Unlike many pumpkin ciders (and beers), this one is actually made with pumpkin.  Many just add the pie spices but still call it a pumpkin cider (or beer).  Also, it is well balanced, with both the pumpkin and spices remaining light.

Have you tried 2 Towns Hollow Jack?  What did you think?

Cider Summit Seattle 2017 Post 2/2 – Tasting Notes

This is post 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2017, with tasting notes on 21 ciders.  Post 1/2 covered the event (see here).

The Tasting Notes

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Alpenfire (Port Townsend WA) – Although I had previously tried the three ciders they were pouring (see my previous reviews here), I’m including Alpenfire here as they were debuting their new branding and future new cider releases.  They have a new logo, bottle labels, and website.  The future new cider releases include a rosé Pommeau, “Tempest” New England style, 3 Pommes (apple/pear/quince), a new release of Smoke (my all time favorite cider, which hasn’t been out for a couple years), a Foxwhelp apple single varietal, and even a Pommeau with an apple grown in the bottle (which will only be for the initial members of their new cider club).  Sounds like they have been busy!

Alpenfire did however have a cask-aged version of their Pirate’s Plank which I had a sip of.  It seemed a tad sweeter (dry not bone dry) and a bit more oaky than I remembered previously.

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Alter Ego (Portland OR) The Brute (6.5% ABV) – This was their first time at Cider Summit, although they were founded in 2014.  The Brute is one of their two flagship ciders; the other is The Guardian Angel, a blueberry-pomegranate cider (see my tasting notes here).  Semi-dry, slightly apple-forward, tart, crisp, and easy to drink, but overall a bit boring as the flavor intensity was low, as is common with a drier cider from dessert apple varieties (which is why most ciders from dessert apples are sweeter and/or flavored).

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Anthem (Salem OR) Rye Barrel Aged Cider (8.5% ABV) – Anthem is part of Wandering Aengus.  This is a draft-only release, aged in Rye whiskey barrels.  Semi-dry to dry and sharp, with moderate whiskey flavor and a hint of oak.

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Bad Granny (Chelan WA) Rainier Cherry – They launched a little over a year ago and are new to Cider Summit.  Rainier Cherry is a draft-only release using local Rainier cherries, although they sell their Original green apple cider in cans.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry (I was told 9 grams sugar / 12oz), fuller bodied, moderate intensity real cherry flavor.

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Cider Riot (Portland OR) Everyday Semi-Dry (6.0% ABV) – I believe this was their first time at Cider Summit Seattle.  This cider is also available in cans.  Semi-dry to dry, with a hint of sourness, but very low flavor intensity and fairly blah.

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d’s Wicked (Kennewick WA) Bare Naked (6.7% ABV) – This is a new release, and currently draft-only.  It is a less sweet and non-spiced version of their flagship Baked Apple cider.  Semi-dry and flavorful, with unfiltered apple juice notes and a hint of honey flavor.

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Eden Specialty Ciders (Newport VT) Heirloom Blend Ice Cider (10.0% ABV) – I have tried this special treat previously, but my husband ended up getting a couple pours, burning the rest of his tickets, as it is amazing and a great value to get pours of at an event.  Ice cider is made using juice which has been frozen, concentrating the natural sugars and flavors, resulting in a sweet full-bodied intensely flavorful dessert cider.  See my previous review here, and my review of the brandy barrel-aged version of this cider here (which is my all time favorite ice cider).

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French Cider Inc. – I tried three French ciders imported by French Cider Inc. / Beauchamp Imports Inc.  They are Seattle based and fairly new to the market (I hadn’t even heard of them before I was looking over the Cider Summit list!), and thus this was their first time at Cider Summit.  French Cider’s focus is on importing French cidre (apple cider), poire (French perry, which is made from pears, not apples), and Calvados (French apple brandy).  The owner Joan Harkins (who I chatted with) speaks French and lives French culture.  She has hand-selected each variety in their collection after meeting with the cidermakers.  I hadn’t previously been aware of any of their selection being available in the U.S.  I found all three selections to likely be friendly to an unfamiliar palette, as they were all clean or fairly clean (no to low funk) and no sourness, lining up more with the style of the Brittany France ciders I’ve had more than the Normany France ciders I’ve had (although it appears all three were made in or near Normandy).  French Cider’s primary focus is on supplying shops and restaurants, but they also offer local pickup (appointment only) in Seattle, and soon, will ship.  Their website is amazingly informative, and they had a helpful handout for each of the three ciders (see below).  They are posting a photo blog featuring the French apple harvest season, which is currently underway (see their Facebook page).  Also, here is a recent article on the company from Seattle Dining.

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La Chouette (Mont-Saint-Michel Bay France) Cidre Demi-Sec (4.5% ABV) – This cider was produced in an area in between the Normandy and Brittany regions in France, from cider apples.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Lower carbonation and tannins than the other two I tried.  Clean (no funk).  Retails for $5-6 / 330ml bottle.

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Lefevre (Berville Normandy France) Cidre Brut (5.9% ABV) – This cider was produced just outside of Paris, by a 5th generation cidermaker, with cider apples.  The scent was the most complex of the three I tried.  Semi-dry.  Citrus in addition to apple notes, and more.  A hint of funk.  Low to moderate tannins.  French Cider’s website has an interview with the cidermaker, Eric Lefevre.  Retails for $5-6 / 330ml bottle.

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Pierre Huet (Cambremer Normandy France) Cidre Bouche Brut (4.5% ABV) – This cider underwent secondary fermentation in the bottle and was made with 7 or 8 varieties of cider apples by a 5th generation cidermaker.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Clean (no funk).  Low tannins.  Flavorful, apple forward, and easy to drink.  French Cider’s website has an article on their visit to Pierre Huet as well as an interview with the cidermaker, François-Xavier Huet.  Retails for $13-18 / 750ml bottle.

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Liberty Cider (Spokane WA) Spokane Scrumpy (6.4% ABV) – This cider was released in the Spring, and made with community harvested apples (of mostly unknown types, from dessert apples to crab apples) and wild yeast fermented.  $1 of each bottle sale goes to the Spokane Second Harvest food bank.  See this article.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry (probably their sweetest cider), buttery, and complex.  I couldn’t really put my finger on the flavor profile with the sample size and time frame, so I’d be interested in giving a full bottle a try.

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Louis Raison (Le Theil-sur-Huisne France) Organic Dry (4.5% ABV) – This cidery is brand new to the U.S., and first launched here in Seattle.  They will have this cider on draft to start in Washington and Oregon, and eventually increase up to three bottled varieties in 2018 (adding Rouge Delice – made from red fleshed apples, and Original Crisp).  See here for more info on their launch.  Organic Dry is made in France from certified Organic bittersweet cider apples grown on co-op farms.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Apple and yeast forward and easy to drink.  I look forward to this being available in bottles as it sounds like it’ll be fairly affordable to keep around as an everyday cider.

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Mission Trail (Bradley CA) Plum Jerkum (6.5% ABV) – They have been around since 2014, but are new to the Seattle market and Cider Summit.  Although Mission Trail makes ciders and perries, they are best known for their other fruit wines, and specifically, jerkum (which is fermented stone fruit juice; the term originated just for plums, but has more recently been used to encompass all stone fruits).  They were actually only pouring jerkums at this cider event.  In this case it was 100% plum juice from 14 red-fleshed varieties.  The Plum Jerkum was semi-sweet to semi-dry, tart, with a moderately intense fruity berry flavor (I didn’t really pick up the prune/plum).

Mission Trail (Bradley CA) Goldmine Nectarine (6.0% ABV) – This is another jerkum, with 100% nectarine juice, barrel aged.  Semi-dry, quite tart, with pure nectarine flavor.  I didn’t pick up any barrel influence, but often it isn’t obvious.  I also recently tried their Peach Coast (see here), a peach wine / jerkum, which was my favorite of the three.

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Montana Ciderworks (Darby MT) Small Batch Dolgo (5.5% ABV) – This is a single varietal from the Dolgo crabapple, oak aged, part of their Small Batch series.  Semi-sweet, tangy, fruity, and apple-forward.

Random note:  I got some insight into labeling special releases.  In this case, “Dolgo” was stamped on, making it look handwritten with less effort.  Very cool.  However, many small batch special releases do have actual handwritten labels, like this one.  Getting a label approved by the TTB is a time consuming process, so often cideries have a general label they use for multiple small batches.

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Ole Swede (Tonasket WA) Mulberry & Friends – It was the cidery’s first time at Cider Summit, and they were founded last year.  This is a new cider release made with eight different types of berries and currants (mulberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, blueberry, gooseberry, black currant, and golden currant).  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, smooth, low tartness & acidity, with a light real berry flavor.

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One Tree (Spokane WA) Pina Colada – This is a new draft-only release, part of the fruit cider challenge (and it turned out to be the winner – 2nd year in a row for One Tree – congrats!).  Sweet, very full flavored, with a bit more coconut than pineapple.  I loved the flavor of this (it reminded me a bit of Pear Up’s Pearjito Colada with the coconut, which hasn’t been used much in cider), but it would be a bit sweet to have much of.

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Pear Up (Wenatchee  WA) Pineapple Pear – This was their fruit cider challenge entry, a one-off draft only release.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, low flavor intensity, with the flavor balanced between pear & pineapple.  They weren’t serving it through the pineapple, but it was a cool photo op nonetheless.

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Seattle Cider (Seattle WA) New England Style (9.5% ABV) – This is a seasonal release which appears to have not been released for a few years, possibly draft-only.  It was made in the New England style, typically characterized as a high ABV cider with brown sugar and raisins added.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry, sharp & acidic, with caramel notes and a boozy finish.

Seattle Cider (Seattle WA) 2015 Washington Heirloom (7.0% ABV) – This is part of their Harvest series, made with heirloom apple varieties, and also available in bottles.  Semi-dry, herbal scent, sharp, with citrus, floral, and herbal notes.

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Swift (Portland OR) Pineapple Hop (6.7% ABV) – They have been around since 2014, but it was their first time at Cider Summit Seattle.  Semi-dry, balanced flavor between the pineapple & hops with only hints of bitterness, but overall the flavor intensity was low.

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Washington Gold (Chelan WA) Northwest Raspberry (5.5% ABV) – This is a brand new small batch canned release.  Semi-sweet to sweet, with intense real raspberry flavor.

It was impossible to taste all the ciders at the event (or even one from each producer), so I’d also like to share previous tasting notes and reviews on some of the producers I didn’t get to highlight:  101 Cider House, 2 TownsAspall, Atlas, Bull Run, Chatter Creek, Double Mountain, Dragon’s Head, Dunkertons, Eaglemount, E.Z. Orchards, Finnriver, Greenwood, Hi-Wheel, Incline, Jester & Judge, J. Seeds, Le Brun, Locust, Maeloc, Manoir du Parc, Methow Valley, Moonlight Meadery, New West, North IdahoNumber 6 Cider, Reverend Nat’s, Portland, Rambling Route, Samuel Smiths, Schilling, Sea Cider, Snowdrift, Sonoma, Spire Mountain, Steelhead, Summit, Tieton, Ulee’s, Wandering Aengus, WildCraft, and Worley’s

In Summary

My Favorite Ciders – Of the ones I tasted at the event, my favorites were the 4 French ciders, some of the sweeter ciders that were very flavorful (such as One Tree’s Pina Colada and WA Gold Cider’s Raspberry), Montana Cider’s Dolgo, and Liberty’s Spokane Scrumpy.

Other Interesting Selections – There were also some interesting beverages I didn’t try, such as Schilling’s guava barrel-aged sour, a cocktail from Incline with gin and their Compass Rose cider, apple whiskey from J. Seeds, a Cider Summit themed cider from Finnriver which has been available at all four Cider Summit events this year (see here), 101 Ciderhouse’s Black Dog with activated charcoal (see here), and Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry with ghost peppers (see here).

EZ Orchards Roman Beauty

Review of EZ Orchards’ Roman Beauty cider.  I tried this before (see here), but didn’t do a full review.  I’ve also tried their Semi DryHawk HausPoire, and Williamette Valley 2011 Cidre.

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Cider:  Roman Beauty
Cidery:  EZ Orchards Cidre
Cidery Location:  Rickreal Oregon
ABV:  4.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and draft)
Style:  American artisan cider, predominantly made from Roman Beauty heirloom apples

Availability:  Likely only in California, Oregon, and Washington

Cider Description:  Roman Beauty Cider is named for the heirloom apple that provides the predominant juice pressed for this blend.  We have been growing this apple variety at E.Z. Orchards since 1929.  Fermented cold and slow to retain a ripe apple aroma, Roman Beauty is a semi-dry cider with mild acidity.

Cidery Description:  We have been orchardists since the 1920s when we began to grow Roman Beauty apples on the farm. When we began specifically producing cidre apples in 2000, the entire orchard was transformed around that intent and slowly took shape. Surrounding the orchards, the larger farm produces a wide variety of fruits that diversify the land and aid in the pollination process, including peaches, pears, and hazelnuts.  Today, we grow a wide variety of heirloom cidre apples including French and English bittersweets, and American semi-sharps. In the Willamette Valley of Oregon where we farm, the ground is an ancient seabed full of rich and nutritious soil. With so much nutrition available to the trees, we have to suppress their vigor through pruning and selection to ensure that each apple receives the most intense nurturing for flavor and aromatics.  We grow our apples with specific cidre blends in mind. As you walk the grounds, it becomes clear that it’s organized around specific cultivation and harvesting techniques, enabling us to manage a precise maturation on the tree that we improve with every year’s lessons. 

Price:  $9.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this when some friends bought a bottle at the cider house and shared some with me.

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First Impression:  Light gold yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild and funky.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Moderate funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of partially baked apples, honey, lemon, and a hint of spice.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I really like this cider.  However, this batch was quite different than what I tried a couple years ago; that time it was completely clean, and this time it was significantly funky.  However, batch variability and funkiness are to be expected when using unpredictable spontaneous (wild yeast) fermentation.

Most Similar to:  It reminds me some of Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented (but Roman Beauty is more flavorful, sweeter, and easier to drink) and Eden Guineveres Pearls (but Roman Beauty is drier, less acidic, and less flavorful).

Closing Notes:  I hope to be able to try more ciders from EZ Orchards.  However, they seem to be getting more difficult to find in the Seattle area.

Have you tried cider from EZ Orchards?  What did you think?

North Idaho Cider Wild Cherry

Review of North Idaho Cider’s Wild Cherry.  It is my first time trying this one, but I’ve had their Logger cider.

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Cider:  Wild Cherry Dry Hard Cider
Cidery:  North Idaho Cider
Cidery Location: Coeur d’Alene ID
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples with cherries

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Availability:  At least in Idaho and Washington, plus they have an online store

Cider Description:  The 1st fruit of summer. Deep in color, rich in flavor; this hard cider displays how satisfying a freshly picked cherry can be less the pit! A subtle fruity sweetness is balanced with a tart and refreshing finish–the perfect pairing for all that North Idaho has to offer this time of year.

Cidery Description:  Inspired by the adventurous lifestyle and heritage that sets our region apart, North Idaho Cider crafts cider to be dry, crisp and refreshing. Using Northwest grown ingredients–no artificial sulfites or preservatives. It’s hard. It’s real. It’s natural–like North Idaho, there’s nothing else like it! 

They started in 2014, and have a tasting room in Hayden Idaho.

Price:  $7.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was my first time seeing their cider in a store.

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy pink-red hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells very mildly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of cranberry, grapefruit, pomegranate, cherry, and lemon.  Moderate to long slightly bitter finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this.  However, the flavor was a bit weird; I tasted more cranberry & grapefruit than cherry flavor.  The flavor intensity was higher than average for a semi-dry cider, and it had a bit more complexity, both of which were nice.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve tried.  Most similar fruity ciders are sweeter too.

Closing Notes:  I’m interested in trying some of their other ciders.

Have you tried North Idaho Cider?  What did you think?

Understood in Motion 02 (Angry Orchard & EZ Orchards Collaboration)

Review of Understood in Motion 02, Angry Orchard’s second release in the collaboration series, this time with EZ Orchards.  The first was with Eden Specialty Ciders and released nearly a year ago (see my review of Understood in Motion 01 here).

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Angry Orchard.  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.<<

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Cider:  Understood in Motion 02
Cidery:  Angry Orchard & EZ Orchards
Cidery Location:  Walden NY & Salem OR
ABV:  7.2%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft cider from bittersweet & heirloom apple varieties, wild yeast fermented, partially Cognac barrel aged, dry & still

 

Availability:  Angry Orchard’s facility in Walden NY and at select locations in Oregon, released August 2017

Cider Description:  The east meets west coast with Understood in Motion 02, a collaboration between Angry Orchard Hard Cider and E.Z. Orchards Cidre.  The cider is a homage to style, tradition, and a shared respect for the integrity of the fruit.  Apples used are Bittersweet Muscadet de Lense and Marie Menard from Oregon, and heirloom, acid-forward Gold Rush and Northern Spy from New York.  The fruit was naturally fermented in a process that requires very little intervention but lots of careful attention.

Angry Orchard’s Ryan Burk and EZ Orchards’ Kevin Zielinski worked together on this cider over the last year.  This article has more information.

Price:  n/a (retails for $25)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about it online.

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First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Light pumpkin yellow hue.  Smells mild, of citrus and must.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness, sourness, and funk.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, straw, cork, honey, must, and wood.  Moderate length warming finish, which is when a slight Congac flavor shines through.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high complexity.  Low to moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Low barrel influence.  Low to moderate spirit influence.

My Opinion:  I liked it, but didn’t love it.  I was hoping for more bittersweet apple flavor.  Although this definitely wasn’t a fully heirloom apple cider (as the acidity was muted), the bittersweets didn’t get to shine through, as it was lacking their richness.  The flavor notes I got from this were really interesting and unique.

Suggestions:  I liked this cider best in between fridge and room temperature, as the complexity increased as it warmed up.  I think it would taste good with something creamy, like cheese or a cream-based soup.

Most Similar to:  A mild farmhouse-style cider, such as releases from Wrangletown, Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented, and Angry Orchard Walden Hollow.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to try these special releases not available locally – I’m spoiled with these samples!

Have you tried any of the Angry Orchard special releases?  What did you think?