BX Press The Bandit cider with cherry

Review of The BX Press’ The Bandit, cider with cherry.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  The Bandit, cider with cherry
Cidery:  The BX Press
Cidery Location:  Vernon B.C. Canada
ABV:  7.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider from a variety of apples, with cherry

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Availability:  probably only in B.C. Canada (see here), plus direct sales in Canada

Cider Description:  This unique cider with cherry is fermented from over 12 varieties of apples and has natural BC cherry added to it just before bottling. Due to the added cherry, this cider is slightly sweeter than our others, but balanced with the crisp acidity of the apples, and underlying complexity from the cherry.  See here for more info.

Cidery Description:  We are 3rd-Generation Apple Growers trying something new.  Or depending how you look at it – something old.  Real Cider – made from apples, has been around for centuries – yet in North America the word cider has been so obscured that most no longer know what to expect.  We invite you to try real cider, made from apples. Not watered down, not artificially flavoured. Not sugary sweet or cloying.  Our ciders are natural, refreshing, and a true expression of the apples they are made from. They are unpretentious, yet have enough character to be served alongside the finest meal. Did we mention we grow all the apples we use in our ciders – nearly 30 varieties – right on the same orchard the cidery is located?  We hope you will come visit our tasting room and experience real cider.

Price:  ~ $10 CAN ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  on a cruise port stop (side note – I picked up about 2 cases of cider on that trip in Sept, and I only have 1 or 2 left now)

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First Impression:  Deep purple hue, reminiscent of red grape wine.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, dry, of cherry.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of cherry with hints of tart green apple and lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  A tad dry for my tastes, and drier than most other cherry ciders I’ve had, but very fruity, and not too tart.

Most Similar to:  although I’ve tried over 30 cherry ciders (see here), this one was unique, as it was drier than average, yet had more cherry flavor than average, a rarely seen combination

Closing Notes:  This was one of my favorite B.C. ciders so far, as so many I’ve tried were super dry, tart, and bland.  My absolute favorite however is probably Central City Limited Edition Imperial though.

Have you tried BX Press Bandit?  What did you think?

Windfall Jackpot

Review of Windfall Cider’s Jackpot.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Jackpot
Cidery:  Windfall Cider
Cidery Location:  British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  7.0%
How Supplied:  473ml cans
Style:  Canadian craft cider from dessert apples, dry

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Availability:  probably only in B.C. Canada, primarily in Vancouver (see here)

Cidery Description:  Windfall is an urban cidery based in Vancouver. We believe in making your own luck, and we’re here to turn the world of cider on its head. We find the best BC apples, the purest juice, and experiment with old-world techniques to create a one-of-a-kind cider like you’ve probably never tasted before. Like a little sip of good fortune in every can.

Cider Description:  You’ve hit the big one with this dry cider, balanced and crisp with a bit of sweetness, Jackpot is made from a premium blend of BC dessert apples with a hint of tropical fruit on the palate.  Like a a little sip of good fortune in every can.

Price:  ~ $4 CAN / 1 can ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, while on a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Very light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells very mild, of dry tart apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple and lemon with a hint of pineapple.  Moderate tart finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was average.  Nothing wrong with average though, as everybody doesn’t like every cider.  Plenty drinkable, but a bit bland, as expected for a dry cider made from dessert apples.

Most Similar to:  Seattle Cider Dry, or a drier version of Far West Orchard Blend 1

Closing Notes:  This is their flagship cider, and possibly the only one currently available, per their website.

Have you tried Windfall Jackpot?  What did you think?

Vizo Green Apple

Review of Vizo’s Organic Apple Cider Green Apple.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Green Apple
Cidery:  Vizo Organic Apple Cider
Cidery Location:  Denmark
ABV:  4.8%
How Supplied:  11.2oz bottles
Style:  organic craft cider from Denmark, from unknown apple varieties, with green apple extract

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Availability:  limited, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Take the classic cider and now imagine a zest of aroma and flavor of green apple with a clean finish, Vizo’s Green Apple is that cider. Beneficial to both health and well-being, the taste and freshness of the traditional and the well-known fruit is outstanding.

Cidery Description:  The aroma of our cider is intense, fresh and with a slightly floral background. Vizo Organic Hard Cider perfectly combines sweet and tart apples in order to enrich the flavor, leaving a pleasant, fruity and  refreshing aftertaste. Made from Danish organic apples with just the right touch of elder-flower, forest fruits or green apple flavor. It is a seamless amalgam of flavors, with no sugar or additives, resulting in a 100% natural drink a craft cider like no other.

Price:  ~ $4.50 / 1 bottle
Where Bought:  a natural grocery store in Northern California
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light caramel hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of sweet apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of rich sweet apple juice and caramel.  Quick finish.  High apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it, although it was a bit too sweet for my liking.  The color confused me, as from that I had assumed it was made from cider apples, but the flavor didn’t support that theory, as it tasted like typical cider from dessert/supermarket apples, although richer.  I’m also surprised they called this ‘Green Apple’, as it didn’t have that flavor, only a bit of tartness with the rich profile.  It doesn’t list color as being added though, so maybe they just use a different process which retains more color than a typical clarified American apple juice or hard cider.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Barrel Select but without the barrel & bourbon flavor, Locust New England Amber but sweeter and less complex, Locust Sweet Aged Apple with more caramel than honey & brown sugar, or Spire Dark & Dry but more caramel then molasses and no malt

Closing Notes:  I also picked up Vizo’s ‘Forest Fruits’ and ‘Elderflower’ varieties.

Have you tried Vizo cider?  What did you think?

Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider

Review of Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had their Texas Honey.

Cider:  Pineapple Cider
Cidery:  Austin Eastciders
Cidery Location:  Austin TX
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from dessert & cider apples with pineapple concentrate

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Availability:  Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of the Northeast (see their cider locator here)

Cider Description:  For an exotic twist, we have blended heirloom bittersweet and culinary apples with a taste of the tropics. Golden, ripe, and delicious pineapples have been married into our dry cider to give you a refreshing pineapple experience!

Cidery Description:  Could we move to an apple producing region, grow our own apples and make cider? Sure, but it wouldn’t be the delicious and complex cider we make today in good ol’ Texas. The most important thing to us is sourcing the best cider apples and using only high-quality natural ingredients.

See here for more info.  They have a taproom in Austin Texas.

Price:  ~$2 / 1 can ? (runs $8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  my husband picked this up for me while in Texas for business

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First Impression:  Light yellow hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells mild, of pineapple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, funk, or sourness.  Notes of pineapple, green apple, and lemon.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  Nice pineapple flavor, easy to drink, and mid-level sweetness.

Most Similar to:  2 Towns Pineapple (which is drier) and Jester & Judge Pineapple Express and Reverend Nat’s Viva La Pineapple (which are sweeter and have some lime)

Closing Notes:  I’m curious what percentage of cider to dessert apples they use, as cider apple influence is not apparent in the flavor, and I’d expect this cider to be priced higher if any significant percentage of cider apples was used.  In fact, their ciders are already priced much lower than I’m used to in Western Washington.

Have you tried Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider?  What did you think?

Fraser Valley Honey

Review of Fraser Valley Cider Co’s Honey.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Honey
Cidery:  Fraser Valley Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Langley, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider with honey

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Availability:  probably only in British Columbia (see here)

Cider Description:  Our honey cider balances fruity apple aromas with the slightly spicy notes of wildflower honey from our farm hives. Our bees have done the hard work so you don’t have to – relax and enjoy.

Cidery Description:  After a 20 year career in engineering I was looking for a new challenge.   While mulling over a few ideas I took a course on cider making to improve my home cider skills and thought ….hey wait a minute!  And so a project was born.  We found our 12 acre farm in January 2014, picked out the site of our future cidery and made an offer.  In 2015 we built the cidery and with the help of friends we planted an orchard of 1800 trees.  With over 25 different varieties of english and french cider apples our aim is to grow the types of apples that make the highest quality cider.  Now we’re in our third season of operation and what a journey!  We’ve poured a lot of cider, had some fabulous parties in the tent and made lots of new friends along the way.  Each year we increase production (and still can’t keep up!) and this year we pressed the first fruit from our own orchard for a special estate blend cider.  The days are long but we’re living our dream and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

Price:  ~ $16 CAN
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  during a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Hazy yellow hue.  Smells mild, of honey.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of honey, sweet lemonade, and green apple.  Moderate finish length with a hint of sourness.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  Nice flavor and mid-level sweetness.  So many of the other B.C. ciders I’ve tried have been rather dry, tart, and bland.

Most Similar to:  Sea Cider Birds & Bees, except lower ABV

Closing Notes:  I hope to find more ciders from this cidery next time I’m in B.C.

Have you tried Fraser Valley Honey?  What did you think?

Far West Orchard Blend No. 1

Review of Far West Cider’s Orchard Blend No. 1.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their San Joaquin Sparkler.

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Cider:  Orchard Blend No. 1
Cidery:  Far West Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Richmond CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  mostly only in Northern California (see here), plus online sales

Cider Description:  This cider uses a combination of GoldRush, Cripps Pink and Granny Smith apples grown on Chinchiolo Family Farms. It is fermented with Champagne yeast at very low temperatures and aged to develop more complexity than your typical cider. Fruit-forward, sparkling, and just barely semi-sweet with great acid balance, this cider pairs nicely with warm patios, fancy brunches, funky tunes and pork.

Cidery Description:  Californian ciders from a 4th generation family farm in San Joaquin County.

They have a taproom in Richmond CA.

Price:  $11.99 (although its $11 at their online store)
Where Bought:  Village Market in the ferry building in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  on a cruise port stop

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, tart.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, citrus, and pineapple.  Long tart finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor, complexity, and overall flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Tasty and easy to drink.  Overall this would probably have wide appeal.

Most Similar to:  Seattle Cider Semi-Sweet and Scandinavian Green Apple Craft Cider

Closing Notes:  I thought it was a bit spendy for being a typical craft cider from dessert apples, like you’d often find in a 4 or 6 pack for this price.

Have you tried Far West Cider Orchard Blend No. 1?  What did you think?

Kite & String Honeoye

Review of Kite & String’s Honeoye.  It is my first time trying this cider, although I’ve had their Baldwin.

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Cider:  Honeoye
Cidery:  Kite & String
Cidery Location:  Interlaken, New York
ABV:  6.3%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider, semi-sweet to sweet (5.1% RS), sparkling, from Newtown Pippin, Baldwin, McIntosh, & Liberty apples

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Availability:  probably only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  A tribute to the sweetness of a fall apple harvest. Sharp and heirloom apples fermented to dryness, balanced with a sweet reserve of high Brix fresh juice, cold concentrated on the farm to 29 Brix through cryo-extraction.  Semi-sweet. Sparkling. Aromatics of fresh baked apple and summer honey. Boldly fruit forward yet balanced with bright acidity and a rich juicy finish.

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun. ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York. Please come and visit us in the tasting room any time of the year.

Price:  $16
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard they were doing free shipping for the holidays, and I’ve always read good things about their ciders, so it was an easy choice to place an order.  Plus, they have a nice wide selection for all tastes.  I also picked up their Baldwin and Royal Cider.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Smells mild and sweet.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of honey, sweet apple, and tropical fruit.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high overall flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it – very honey-forward for not having honey added (which would be a cyser).  However, it was right on the edge of being too sweet for my liking.  For many it might be better as a dessert cider and/or something to share, but I drank it all myself.  Its a fairly simple cider as far as heritage ciders go, and with its qualities and sweetness, it would make a great introductory cider for folks new to heritage cider.

Most Similar to:  cyser, although most of those are much higher ABV, so I’d say Bertilinos and Austin Eastciders Texas Honey

Closing Notes:  I like seeing sweeter heritage cider options, as I prefer semi-dry to semi-sweet, and the majority seem to be dry.

Have you tried Kite & String Honeoye?  What did you think?