Malus zine

I recently received the first issue of Malus, a new cider zine.

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The first issue included:
– editor’s notes by Ellen Cavalli (of Tilted Shed)
– poetry by Bill Lyon (of Cider View Orchard)
The Trouble With Craft – It’s Not What You Think, by Mike Reis (of Redfield Cider Bar & Bottle Shop and more)
Don’t Be Angry – Give Ryan Burk a Break, by Darlene Hayes (of All Into Cider and Cider Cocktails: Another Bite of the Apple)
Cider Cons – Considering the Triple Entendre, by Andy Brennan (of Aaron Burr)
Made in America – The Case for the Seedling, by Kim Hamblin (of Art+Science)

I really enjoyed it.  None of these articles would have been published in any mainstream way – they were unique, thought-provoking, and relevant.  I’d highly recommend this for any cider enthusiast.

You can subscribe on their website, for $25 per year (4 issues).  Without advertising (at least at this point), I doubt that covers much more than printing and postage.

Has anyone else read the first issue of Malus yet?

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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?

Tilted Shed Smoked

Review of Tilted Shed’s Smoked cider.  It is my first time trying it, although I’ve had their Lost Orchard and Barred Rock.  This cider is made with some smoked apples.

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Cider:  Smoked
Cidery:  Tilted Shed
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol  CA
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from heirloom & cider apple varieties, some of which were smoked

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Availability:  Released March 2015.  Tilted Shed ciders are sold primarily in California, but also in New York, New Jersey, and Portland Oregon (see here).

Cider Description:  An unorthodox cider blend that marries the natural complements of apples and wood smoking. Blend of six varieties of fresh-pressed Sonoma County organic heirloom and tannic cider apples from the 2014 harvest. Fermented to dryness in small batches, then blended with a batch of cider infused with wood-smoked apples. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, minimal sulfites. Straw gold, dry, aromatic, tannic, tart, and bright, with a light effervescence and mellow smoky finish. Like drinking a brut champagne near a bonfire. Pair with aged and funky washed-rind cheeses, pork, charcuterie, grilled meats, and seafood. Use care in serving with any smoked foods, as that can diminsh the smokiness of the cider. Serve in a white wine glass at 55°F to heighten the aromatics.

Cidery Description:  We started Tilted Shed Ciderworks in 2011 out of an obsessive love for apples and cider. All of our apples are organically grown within 35 miles of our cidery, primarily in west Sonoma County. At our Sebastopol farm, we have planted 100 varieties of traditional cider apples and perry pears—a pomological research station on the edge of the Pacific. As cider evangelists, we are devoted to making ciders of individuality, integrity, artistry, and elegance. It’s thrilling to explore our unique terroir and the transformative powers of fermentation, and experience how our ciders shapeshift over time. We hope you’ll find our ciders to be a beautiful revelation of what the apple can do.

Price:  $15
Where Bought:  ordered online
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had read great things about their ciders and wanted to try them, but they aren’t available locally yet.

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First Impression:  Low carbonation.  Dark straw yellow hue.  Smells acidic & tannic, with hints of smoke & oak.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of smoke, oak, honey, lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and green apple..  Moderate apple flavor,  flavor intensity, and complexity.  Low sessionability.  Low smoke.  Moderate oak.

My Opinion:  I liked this, although I had been expecting something more in your face (like Alpenfire’s Smoke, which drinks more like a port than a cider with its 16% ABV and intense flavor).  I think I would have enjoyed it even more if it had more tannins & less acidity (such as using more cider than heirloom varieties), and even more smoke & oak.  Oddly enough I perceived more oak than smoke.  This is a well made and balanced cider, but more nuanced than I prefer.  I agree to drink this one above fridge temperature, as the flavors become more intense.

Most Similar to:  Many dry barrel aged ciders.  I found it very similar to Tilted Shed’s Barred Rock, although with smoke instead of whiskey notes with the oak.

Closing Notes:  This concludes the reviews of the three bottles I ordered from Tilted Shed (I also tried Lost Orchard and Barred Rock).  I think I liked their Lost Orchard best of the three (which is odd as I’m a bigger fan of barrel aged oaky & smokey ciders than funky ciders, although they are growing on me).  However, honestly I don’t think Tilted Shed’s cider style matches my taste preferences…they are more wine like and high acid.  They are however selling some awesome ciders at awesome prices, and I’m more than willing to try the rest of their lineup.

Have you tried Tilted Shed Smoked?  What did you think?

Tilted Shed Barred Rock

Review of Tilted Shed’s Barred Rock.  Its my first time trying this one, but I previously had their Lost Orchard.  See here for a writeup from Cidercraft on Tilted Shed.  I ordered three bottles to be shipped, as their ciders aren’t yet available in Washington.

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Cider:  Barred Rock
Cidery:  Tilted Shed
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol  CA
ABV:  9.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from heirloom apple varieties, whiskey barrel aged

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Availability:  24 barrels released in November 2015.  Tilted Shed ciders are sold primarily in California, but also in New York, New Jersey, and Portland Oregon (see here).

Cider Description:  Blend of fresh-pressed, late-season Sonoma County organic heirloom apples from the 2014 harvest. Fermented to dryness in the New England style, with organic raisins, molasses, and brown sugar, then aged in Heaven Hill Kentucky rye whiskey barrels for four months. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, minimal sulfites. A rich, spiritous, bold, dry cider with excellent aging potential as it shapeshifts over time. Clear, light golden hue; moderate effervescence. Aroma of vanilla bean and light smoke. Bright acidic backbone. Mouth-filling notes of creme brûlée and caramel apple. This cider should mellow as it ages over the next two years, developing a creamier mouthfeel with lingering vanilla finish. Serve at 60°F in a white wine glass. The warmer, the richer. Pair with rich creamy cheeses and fruit-based desserts, such as apple crisp or baked pears.

Cidery Description:  We started Tilted Shed Ciderworks in 2011 out of an obsessive love for apples and cider. All of our apples are organically grown within 35 miles of our cidery, primarily in west Sonoma County. At our Sebastopol farm, we have planted 100 varieties of traditional cider apples and perry pears—a pomological research station on the edge of the Pacific. As cider evangelists, we are devoted to making ciders of individuality, integrity, artistry, and elegance. It’s thrilling to explore our unique terroir and the transformative powers of fermentation, and experience how our ciders shapeshift over time. We hope you’ll find our ciders to be a beautiful revelation of what the apple can do.

Price:  $16
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had read so many good things about their ciders online, and was glad to hear they can ship to Washington.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  Still.  Smells of whiskey, oak, and rich bittersweet apples.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of whiskey, oak, smoke, honey, citrus, and leather.  Long warming spirituous finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Low oak flavor.  High whiskey flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  It won’t be for everyone though, as it has an intense whiskey flavor and 9% ABV.  I actually think I liked it better the day after I opened it, as the flavor smoothed out / acidity decreased some.  I had a bit left on a third day though, but I have to say it peaked on day 2.  If I had any criticism, I’d say I’d want a bit more oak flavor (for example, I love the oak in Sheppy’s Oak Matured), a bit less whiskey flavor, and more cider apple than heirloom apple flavor.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Ciderworks Stonewall, and to a lesser extent, Stem Whiskey Barrel Aged Apricot & Carlton Cyderworks SlakeFinnriver Oak&Apple.  However, this is by far the most intense whiskey flavor I’ve tasted in a cider.  Most cidermakers err on the side of caution and keep the barrel and/or spirit flavor on the mild side.

Closing Notes:  This cider is an amazing value!  I have one bottle left – Smoked.

Have you tried Tilted Shed cider?  What did you think?

Tilted Shed Lost Orchard

Review of Tilted Shed’s Lost Orchard.  It is my first time trying this cider, and my first time trying any of Tilted Shed’s cider.  See here for a writeup on their cidery.  I ordered three bottles to be shipped, as their ciders aren’t yet available in Washington.

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Cider:  Lost Orchard, 2014 vintage
Cidery:  Tilted Shed
Cidery Location:  Sebastopol  CA
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from Organic cider apple varieties

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Availability:  40 cases released November 2016.  Tilted Shed ciders are sold primarily in California, but also in New York, New Jersey, and Portland Oregon (see here).

Cider Description:  Blend of very rare, feral English, French, and Old American traditional cider apples gleaned from lost cider orchards in Sonoma County. Varieties include Nehou, Muscat de Bernay, Porter’s Perfection, Yarlington Mill, Foxwhelp, Tremlett’s Bitter, and Roxbury Russet. Organically grown, from the 2013 harvest. Fermented to dryness in small batches by variety, then blended, aged, and bottle conditioned using organic cane sugar as dosage. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, minimal sulfites. A bone-dry, earthy, dense, savory, contemplative cider more reminiscent of orchard floor than of apples. Hazy, golden hue. Leesy, earthy aroma. Pours with a fine, lingering mousse that heightens the astringency. Notes of leather, cedar, lemon thyme, damp earth, cooked apple. Elegant tannic structure. Chill well prior to opening. Contains sediment. Pour carefully off the lees. Serve at 55° to 60°F in a white wine glass. Pair with well-aged cheese, pork, Dungeness crab, lamb, roasts, hearty seasonal fare.

Cidery Description:  We started Tilted Shed Ciderworks in 2011 out of an obsessive love for apples and cider. All of our apples are organically grown within 35 miles of our cidery, primarily in west Sonoma County. At our Sebastopol farm, we have planted 100 varieties of traditional cider apples and perry pears—a pomological research station on the edge of the Pacific. As cider evangelists, we are devoted to making ciders of individuality, integrity, artistry, and elegance. It’s thrilling to explore our unique terroir and the transformative powers of fermentation, and experience how our ciders shapeshift over time. We hope you’ll find our ciders to be a beautiful revelation of what the apple can do.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had read so many good things about their ciders online, and was glad to hear they can ship to Washington.

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First Impression:  Light pumpkin amber hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells of rich earthy cider apples, funk, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Moderate funk.  Hints of sourness.  Low to moderate tannins.  Notes of baked apples, earth, honey, grapefruit, orange, hay, yeast, and leather.  Long funky slightly sour finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  High complexity.  Low to moderate sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  However, this funky earthy complex cider won’t be for everyone.  My husband for example wasn’t a fan as he doesn’t like funk (but he likes sourness and I don’t).

Most Similar to:  Lost Orchard tends towards a farmhouse style or a wild fermented cider, although it is more funky than sour.  Very few ciders are made entirely from cider apple varieties, but the most similar I’ve tried is probably something from Farnum Hill, or Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented or Alpenfire Pirate’s Plank.

Closing Notes:  This is an incredible value for a cider made entirely from cider apple varieties which has been bottle conditioned for so long.  Stay tuned for reviews of their Barred Rock and Smoked ciders.

Have you tried Tilted Shed Lost Orchard?  What did you think?