Eden Extra Sec

Review of Eden’s Extra Sec, their dry sparkling methode champenoise cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and New Hampshire.  It is my first time trying this, although I have had their Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies, FalstaffHeritage 2018Siren SongEzekiel Kingston Black, and Harvest 2019.

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Cider:  Extra Sec
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  375ml & 750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from heirloom & cider apples, methode champenoise, dry

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Availability:  limited, although they have online sales

Cider Description:  Champagne-method cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and at Poverty Lane Orchards in New Hampshire. It is naturally sparkling and clean – we hand-disgorge the yeast from every bottle! Beautifully balanced between fruit, acid, and tannin. The barely perceptible dosage serves to bring forth the fruit character of the cider. Perfect with roast pork, turkey and vegetable gratin dishes.

Cidery Description:  Our specialty ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. We make ciders that are unique and innovative, but that also respect the rare and expensive apples we use, and refrain from aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques.

Price:  ~ $15
Where Bought:  their website
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, of dry acidic heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of complex tart heirloom apples, lemon, wood/earth, and pineapple.  Long tart finish.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, especially as it isn’t fully dry, and has some complexity, but this isn’t my favorite style of cider.  My husband was predictably even a big fan, as its a favorite style of his.  I recommend this to fans of complex dry tart sparkling ciders; its very well made and an excellent value.

Most Similar to:  Eden Harvest cider, but sparkling, a touch drier, and more complex

Closing Notes:  Awhile back Eden replaced their flagship ‘Dry’ and ‘Semi-Dry’ ciders with ‘Brut Nature’ and ‘Extra Sec’, all of which are sparkling, with the former at 0% residual sugar and the later (reviewed here) at 0.9% residual sugar.  I think I preferred the ‘Semi-Dry’ a bit over Extra Sec, as it was a touch sweeter and richer, but anything from Eden is a good choice.

Have you tried Eden Extra Sec?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Tank Series Belgian White

Review of Woodchuck Tank Series Belgian White.  They made this years ago, it went on hiatus, then they re-released it recently for a limited run.  I previously tried this pre-blog, plus I’ve had most of Woodchuck’s line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  Tank Series, Belgian White
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with Belgian beer yeast

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  Crafted with a classic Belgian beer yeast, cloudy with a rich, golden huge, it presents a delicate aroma and taste, with coriander and orange notes.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders fora variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders. 

Price:  n/a (retails for $8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Feb 15, 6 35 24 PM

First Impression:  Smells of orange with a hint of apple.  Hazy light orange brown hue.  Still (no carbonation).

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of apple juice, orange, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I really enjoyed it.  It actually tastes different than their other ciders, which all seem kinda similar to me.

Most Similar to:  It almost reminded me of a still French cider with orange.

Closing Notes:  This is one of my favorite Woodchuck special releases.

Have you tried Woodchuck Belgian White?  What did you think?

Eden Cellar Series #9 Siren Song

Review of Eden Cellar Series #9, Siren Song.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had many varieties from Eden – Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel AgedGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice CiderTwo Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), The Falstaff, and Heritage (canned).

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Cider:  Cellar Series #9, Siren Song
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport, VT
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage cider

Photo Dec 07, 7 01 44 PM - Copy Photo Dec 07, 7 02 24 PM

Availability:  probably just online, although their regular ciders are sold in stores

Cider Description:  In Greek mythology the songs of the Sirens were enough to entice a Mariner to jump off his trireme, only to meet his end in the depths of the Adriatic Sea. This cider will beguile you with fruit, spice and smoke, cradled in an illusion of residual sweetness. As you follow it down to the depths of your glass, the tannins reveal themselves in astringency rather than bitterness. The complexity derives from a mix of over 20 apple varieties, harvest-pressed and fermented slow and cold as are all our heritage ciders. The curvaceous balance derives from skillful blending by our enraptured Cider team. Another glassful calls.

Limited run: Only 80 cases produced.  Winner 2018 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) Gold: Heritage Dry Cider.  2017 Harvest.  20 variety blend of tannic cider apples, including Kerr and Dolgo crabs, Russets and high acid heirlooms.  Filtered and carbonated.  7.5% ABV, 1.2% residual sweetness.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a Tasting Bar in Newport VT, and a Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar in Winooski VT.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  their online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, as I wanted to check if they had any new varieties since I last looked, and they did, so I ordered some, then they e-mailed to say they were offering free shipping! (through Dec 20 2018, on 3 or more bottles)

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart tannic rich apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, caramel, lemon, mineral, earth, and butterscotch.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate flavor intensity, sessionability, and apple flavor.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Nice complexity with a unique flavor profile, a little of everything.  I definitely picked up more influence from crab and heirloom apples than bittersweet apples though.  I had this after dinner, but I think it would be even better suited to pair with a meal, nearly anything.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Ciderworks Hewe’s Crab SV

Closing Notes:  I also purchased Eden’s newish Extra Sec and Cellar Series Ezekiel (Kingston Black SV), both of which I’ll review soon, and another bottle of Guinevere’s Pearls, which I have to say I prefer over Siren Song.

Have you tried Eden Siren Song?  What did you think?

Woodchuck 802 Collection Lil’ Dry

Review of Woodchuck 802 Lil’ Dry.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  802 Collection Lil’ Dry
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.1%
How Supplied:  four pack of 16oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from fresh-pressed Vermont apples

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Availability:  only in Vermont to start, then limited in Maine and New Hampshire

Cider Description:  A traditional cider made with only fresh pressed Vermont juice from our orchard partners. Enjoy this semi-dry cider with good friends and good company.

See this article for detailed info.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders for a variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of sweet green apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, honey, and tropical fruit.  Moderate tart finish.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it.  Never would have guessed it was Woodchuck actually, as it lacks the characteristics that I associate with every Woodchuck cider, as to me they all have a bit of the same baseline flavor (likely the same apple blend), and a fuller body than expected for the level of sweetness.  This tastes like it was made with a different blend of apples, maybe some heirloom ones thrown in with the dessert ones.  The quality was characteristic of their ‘Vermont Cider Company‘ line (released in 2016 and 2017).

Most Similar to:  Vermont Cider Co, Addison, although this was a touch drier, lighter bodied, and more craft tasting

Side Note:  They previously had a cider called ‘802’, a caramelized brown sugar type cider, but that was discontinued a few years back.  They also did this previously, re-using the name Summer Time, but having it be a different cider, ginger pear instead of blueberry.  As cool as using the ‘802’ area code is, I could see it being confusing.

Closing Notes:  Too bad it doesn’t sound like this will make it out to the PNW (or at least not soon).

Have you tried Woodchuck 802 Lil’ Dry?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Rosé

Review of Woodchuck Rosé.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  Bubbly Rosé
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.1%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples with “red” (red-fleshed?) apple juice, and purple carrot for color

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Availability:  wide release

Cider Description:  A bubbly, fruit-forward blush cider made with a blend of red apples delivering a crisp mouth feel.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders for a variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (retails for $9.99-10.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Pink hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of strawberry with a hint of floral.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Fruity and easy to drink.  However, I’m curious if I really tasted fruitiness from red-fleshed apples (looks like their unfermented juice was used to back-sweeten a drier cider), or my brain saw the pink hue and assumed it would be fruity.

Most Similar to:  Angry Orchard Rosé

Closing Notes:  This is yet another rosé cider release – it looks like every commercial cider brand has now jumped on the trend.

Have you tried Woodchuck Rosé?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Pearsecco

Review of Woodchuck Pearsecco.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  Bubbly Pearsecco
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.1%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples with pear

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Availability:  wide release

Cider Description:  Inspired by sparkling wines, this dry pear cider is full of bubbles with a clean, crisp finish.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders for a variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (retails for $9.99-10.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of yeast brought to the surface by carbonation.

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

My Opinion:  I liked it.  This is probably the driest cider I’ve had from Woodchuck, but it still wasn’t completely dry (not that I really expected that from a commercial cidery).  Fuller bodied than I expected for the dryness, but all of Woodchuck’s ciders seem to end up that way.  Nice light flavor, easy to drink, and higher carbonation.

Most Similar to:  A drier and more bubbly version of Crispin Pear or Angry Orchard Pear.  Its actually pretty rare to have a drier pear cider – looking at my list the only one I can think of is Neigel Vintners (now Pear UP) Half Past Prudent, which is no longer made.

Closing Notes:  Next up will be a review of their Rosé, released at the same time – both are said to be inspired by wine and have higher carbonation.

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Have you tried Woodchuck Pearsecco?  What did you think?

Eden Heritage Cider

Review of Eden Heritage Cider, their first canned product.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), and The Falstaff.

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

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Cider:  Heritage Cider
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned heritage cider

Availability:  VT, MA, ME, NJ, NY, CO, NC, SC, and soon in NH, VA, MD, D.C., and IL, released June 2018

Cider Description:  More flavor.  Less sweet.  Harvest Pressed.  Cold fermented.  Nothing but apples.  Made like wine.  Canned for convenience.

Made from Vermont-grown heirloom & cider apples, fermented dry, aged 5 months, then blended with a touch of ice cider to 1.2% residual sugar.  It won silver in the Heritage Dry category at GLINTCAP 2018.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (runs $16 / four pack, which sounds like a lot, but is an awesome deal at just over $8 / 750ml instead of ~ $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidermaker Eleanor Leger contacted me

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of acidic citrus-forward heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of heirloom apple, lemon, mineral, white grape, green apple, and floral.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Lots of flavor without being sweet.  Complex.  More of the flavor profile was from the heirloom apples (acidic, citrus, floral, fruity) than the cider apples (rich, caramel); I’ve found this to be the case when both types are listed in a blend.

Most Similar to:  A mix between Eden’s Dry and Semi-Dry ciders, although slightly less complex and more sessionable.

Closing Notes:  This is a great option which would work just as well when spending time outside on a hot day as it would with a fancy dinner.

Have you tried any canned heritage ciders?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Tank Series Pear Ginger

Review of Woodchuck’s Pear Ginger, the first release in their new “Tank Series”, about which they said “Woodchuck has always been synonymous with innovation and our cider makers honor this pioneering spirit with the Tank Series.”  I’ve tried most of their lineup; see here.

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  Pear Ginger
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American commercial cider with ginger and pear flavors

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Availability:  wide release for 3-4 months, then replaced by the next Tank Series

Cider Description:  A crisp ripe pear cider bursting with ginger for a taste that is light and refreshing.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders for a variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (retails for ~ $8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells of sweet pear juice with spicy ginger.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of syrupy pear, pineapple, spicy ginger, and a hint of citrus.  Moderate finish with lingering ginger.  Low apple flavor.  Mild to moderate ginger flavor (more spicy than burning).  Moderate pear flavor, sessionability, and flavor intensity.  Mild complexity.

My Opinion:  I’m not a ginger fan, so I was a bit ambivalent, but my husband really liked it.  Light and refreshing, with the mild ginger made even milder with the sweet pear.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Out On a Limb Ginger Lovin’, except with more ginger and the added pear.

Closing Notes:  This was originally released in summer 2017, as a new version of their Summer Time (which was previously blueberry).  They also plan to have two more Tank Series releases this year.

Have you tried Woodchuck Pear Ginger?  What did you think?

Citizen Cider Tulsi

Review of Citizen Cider’s Tulsi, a holy basil infused cider.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve previously had their Wit’s UpMr. Burlington, and Ms. Burlington.

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

Cider:  Tulsi
Cidery:  Citizen Cider
Cidery Location:  Burlington VT
ABV:  5.4%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from Vermont dessert apples, with holy basil (tulsi)

Photo Jan 28, 10 34 54 AM Photo Jan 28, 10 35 03 AM Photo Jan 28, 10 35 14 AM

Availability:  limited, but in general their ciders are sold in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Metro Philadelphia (see their cider locator)

Cider Description:  Tulsi, more commonly known as Holy Basil an aromatic perennial. Harvested in the summer of 2017 right here in Burlington at Hallow Herb Farm. We add this local herb to our off-dry cider blend and let it steep letting the aromatic basil complement the fresh apple cider. Once a house favorite only shared locally, now a cider to share with the Citizens.

Cidery Description:  Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson founded Citizen Cider in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work. Kris was working as a wine salesmen, Bryan as a chemist and Justin as a small farmer. All discontent for one reason or another, they started pressing sweet cider in Kris’s barn and fermenting test batches of hard cider in Bryan’s basement. As it happens, they discovered that their ideas about hard cider translated into some pretty unique and interesting finished products.

See more about their story here.  Citizen Cider has a tasting room in Burlington Vermont.

Price:  n/a (but retails for ~ $9.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

Photo Jan 28, 4 51 48 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly herbal.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Herbal (basil and botanical) notes with lime, lemon, and green apple.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  This was a very mildly flavored cider, but the herbal citrus mix was nice.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had two ciders with basil (Seattle Cider Basil Mint and One Tree Lemon Basil), but neither was similar to this.  It was however similar to Citizen’s Ms. Burlington.

Closing Notes:  I preferred this to their other releases I’ve tried.  However, so far my husband is a bigger fan of their ciders than I am (as he enjoys mild dry ciders more than I do).

Have you tried Citizen Cider Tulsi?  What did you think?

Citizen Cider Mr. & Ms. Burlington

Review of Citizen Cider’s Mr. Burlington and Ms. Burlington, two new limited release ciders from local apples, part of their ‘Origin’ series.  Mr. Burlington is a barrel aged cider with orange peel (and fennel seed and dandelion leaf).  Ms. Burlington is a gin-botanical inspired cider.  Due to the similarities and them showing up together, I thought I’d group them.  It is my first time trying these, but I’ve previously had their Wit’s Up.

<This is a review of sample cans provided to Cider Says by Citizen Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

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Cider:  Mr. & Ms. Burlington
Cidery:  Citizen Cider
Cidery Location:  Burlington Vermont
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  6 pack of 12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cider from Vermont grown dessert apples, where Mr. is Old Fashioned Inspired (barrel aged with orange peel) and Ms. is Gin inspired (with botanicals)

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Photo Dec 01, 7 27 37 PM Photo Dec 01, 7 28 02 PM

Availability:  limited, but in general their ciders are sold in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Metro Philadelphia (see their cider locator)

Mr. B Cider Description:  Since moving to Burlington, Citizen Cider has heard rumors that there may in fact be a character known on the streets as Mr. Burlington. Citizen Cider would like to shed some light on the matter once and for all. So we made a cider in the spirit of a Manhattan, a true gentleman’s drink. in hopes of luring Mr. Burlington out of the shadows and into the light.

Ms. B Cider Description:  We needed a cider that was hard-hitting, chic and full of class. So, we sat down and we drank cider, all 14 of us and we collectively agreed on a cider that embodies a true ‘cider lady’. Ms. Burlington is a collaboration of all things delightful, especially in a cocktail. A bit of bitterness, a snippet of floral notes and a whole lot of gin-style herbaceous notes make up this fantastic cider. And this year in a fancy 12oz can….

Cidery Description:  Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson founded Citizen Cider in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work. Kris was working as a wine salesmen, Bryan as a chemist and Justin as a small farmer. All discontent for one reason or another, they started pressing sweet cider in Kris’s barn and fermenting test batches of hard cider in Bryan’s basement. As it happens, they discovered that their ideas about hard cider translated into some pretty unique and interesting finished products.

See more about their story here.  Citizen Cider has a tasting room in Burlington Vermont.

Price:  unknown
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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Tasting Notes on Mr. B:  Very light straw yellow hue.  Still.  Smells herbal.  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of lemon, herbs, and a hint of oak.  Moderate length finish.  Low barrel influence.  Moderate complexity and sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and apple flavor.

Tasting Notes on Ms. B:  Very light straw yellow hue.  Still.  Smells of botanicals.  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of lemon, herbs, and botanicals (especially on the moderate length finish).  Moderate sessionability and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and apple flavor.

My Opinion:  I liked Mr. B much more than Ms. B, but neither was really to my personal tastes, with the flavors and dryness.  However, my husband was a big fan of both, especially the Ms. B (we tend to have an opposite taste in ciders).  If you like dry ish ciders from dessert apples with some unique cocktail-inspired flavors, these may be for you.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve tried, as these were different than the other cocktail-inspired ciders I’ve tried, such as Angry Orchard’s Orchard Edge The Old Fashioned, Reverend Nat’s Tent Show Deliverance Gin & Tonic, Woodchuck Out on a Limb June & Juice, multiple ciders from WildCraft, and multiple from Finnriver.

Closing Notes:  These were some fun creations.

Have you tried Citizen Cider Mr. or Ms. Burlington?  What did you think?

Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series #2 The Falstaff

Review of Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series #2, The Falstaff, a seven-year barrel-aged ice cider!  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, and Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed).

Photo Nov 13, 6 09 19 PM

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden.  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:  Cellar Series #2, The Falstaff
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport Vermont
ABV:  10%
Residual Sugar: 15%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles
Style:  American artisan ice cider from Vermont apples, aged for 7 years in a single oak barrel

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Availability:  Now sold out.  This was an early batch of their ice cider, aged in a single oak barrel from 2008-2015, put into 600 bottles, and sold to their cider club members in 2015 & 2016.

However, in general, their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Rare single-barrel ice cider aged for 7 years in used French oak. It is elegantly oxidized and sweet, like a rich oloroso without fortification. Dark and warm, it still has beautiful acidity, along with notes of golden raisin, caramelized sugar, apricot and fig.

won Chairman’s Award / Best Wood-Aged Cider: Dan Berger Cider Competition 2016

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (retails for $50)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this online, but it was cider club only, then sold out.  I got lucky and a rep from Eden saw it on my Wish List and contacted me.

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First Impression:  Deep caramel amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells amazing and enticing – very rich, sweet, and boozy, of concentrated apple juice, molasses, and so much more.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Full bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Notes of molasses, caramel, raisin, ripe baked apple, tart raw green apple, lemon, brown sugar, caramelized sugar, pie spices, and even more!  Long finish length.  High apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Very high complexity.  Very low sessionability.  More aged than oaky.

My Opinion:  Amazing!!  Probably tied with Alpenfire Smoke for most complex cider I’ve ever drank.  The tartness and acidity was higher than their other ice ciders, but that helped balance the sweetness, and added to the flavor complexity.  It was a unique mix of rich, sweet, tart, savory, and more.  I recommend serving this an ounce or two at a time, very cold, and to slowly savor in tiny sips.

Most Similar to:  This is a more complex, tart & acidic, and aged version of their other ice ciders, probably closest to Eden’s Brandy Barrel Aged Heirloom ice cider (which was my favorite ice cider until I tried this one).

Closing Notes:  I’m so lucky to have been able to try this!  I look forward to enjoying the rest of this bottle over the next couple weeks, including on Thanksgiving.  Hopefully I won’t have to share it with anyone.

Have you tried any ice cider from Eden?  What did you think?

Windfall Orchard Ice Cider

Review of Windfall Orchard Ice Cider, made by Eden Specialty Ciders.  Ice cider is made by using apple juice which has been naturally concentrated by cold, creating a very high sugar fuller bodied juice syrup which is then fermented.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve tried most everything else Eden has made – Sparkling DryCellar Series Cinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 Rosé, and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider.

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Cider:  Ice Cider
Cidery:  Windfall Orchard (made by Eden Specialty Ciders)
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  9.0%
How Supplied:  187 & 375 ml bottles
Style:  American craft ice cider from heirloom apples from Cornwall VT

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Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia Canada, although this one likely has less distribution.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Ice cider made from a blend of apples grown at Windfall Orchard in Cornwall, Vermont.  This small-batch ice cider is made from apples grown by Chef Brad Koehler on the farm he shares with his wife Amy Trubek, UVM Professor and author of “The Taste of Place”. There are about 200 trees in Brad’s orchard, and among them he has over 80 varieties. Over thirty of them are used to make this light, smooth and extremely elegant ice cider.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.

Price:  $17 / 187ml or $27 / 375ml
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing; it was the only ice cider variety from Eden I hadn’t tried

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First Impression:  Dark amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of caramelized apple syrup.

Tasting Notes:  Very sweet.  Full bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Low tannins.  Concentrated notes of rich ripe baked apple, caramelized sugar, honey, stone fruit, and floral.  Moderate length finish.  High apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it; Eden has never disappointed.  This was a bit more fruity than rich, and slightly less complex than some of their others.  A lovely sipping beverage to have with dessert.

Most Similar to:  All of Eden’s other ice ciders.  It also reminded me a bit of Tieton Frost.

Closing Notes:  My favorite Eden ice cider remains their Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider, but they are all awesome.

Have you tried ice cider?  What did you think?

Wyder’s Pear Cider

Review of Wyder’s Pear cider (previously “Dry Pear”).  I’ve tried this before, but pre-blog.  I’ve also had their Reposado Pear, Raspberry, and Prickly Pineapple ciders.  They sent me a nice sampler of three ciders (plus a cool tote bag!), featuring new labels/packaging.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wyder’s.  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:  Pear
Cidery:  Wyder’s Cider (part of Vermont Cider Co.)
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT (at the Woodchuck cidery)
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and 22oz bottles)
Style:  American commercial apple cider with pear juice

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Availability:  wide release (in 40 states), year round (they have a locator here)

Cider Description:  This light, crisp cider presents a tangy aroma while offering a distinct pear taste, and ends with a lively mouth feel that tickles the tongue.

Cidery Description:  We have specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. It’s a pretty hyper-connected world out there, grab a Wyder’s when you’re ready to unplug. Wyder’s wants to be a part of you finding the good in life and your Happy Place. We hope you enjoy, and bring us along!

Price:  n/a (although it runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Initially, browsing, although this time it just showed up.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells mild, of candied pear and pineapple.

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

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, and can definitely see why it is popular.  Its easy to drink and refreshing.  This would be a nice summer BBQ type cider.  It doesn’t really have any complexity though, and is slightly commercial tasting.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Pear, Crispin Pacific Pear, Spire Mountain Sparkling Pear, Fox Barrel Pacific Pear, Pear UP Pear Essentials, Rambling Route PearScandi Cider Pear, Flatbed Cider Pear, and Finnriver Pear, and Steelhead Peargatory.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad to see they dropped the “Dry”, as it isn’t.  I think my favorite Wyder’s cider is the Reposado Pear (tequila barrel aged), which is one of the few ciders that pairs well with Mexican food.  Hopefully they continue making that one (it wasn’t included in this sample box).

Have you tried Wyder’s cider?  What did you think?

Wyder’s Raspberry

Review of Wyder’s Raspberry cider (previously “Dry Raspberry”).  I’ve tried this before (see here).  I’ve also had their Reposado PearPrickly Pineapple, and Pear ciders.  They sent me a nice sampler of three ciders (plus a cool tote bag!), featuring new labels/packaging.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wyder’s.  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:  Raspberry
Cidery:  Wyder’s Cider (Vermont Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT (at the Woodchuck cidery)
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and 22oz bottles)
Style:  American commercial cider with raspberries

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Availability:  wide release (in 40 states), year round (they have a locator here)

Cider Description:  This cider is light in body and features mouthwatering raspberry notes. It retains a dry and sparkling finish.

Cidery Description:  We have specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. It’s a pretty hyper-connected world out there, grab a Wyder’s when you’re ready to unplug. Wyder’s wants to be a part of you finding the good in life and your Happy Place. We hope you enjoy, and bring us along!

Price:  n/a (although it runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Initially, browsing, although this time it just showed up.

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First Impression:  Light pink hue.  Nearly still.  Smells of mild slightly-candied raspberry.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor notes are just raspberry, maybe with hints of lemon & floral.  Quick finish.  Low complexity, flavor intensity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability (as expected at only 4% ABV).

My Opinion:  I thought it was pretty average, definitely commercial tasting.  The flavor was very light and it seemed a bit watered down tasting.  I liked that it wasn’t syrupy sweet though.  It was refreshing and easy to drink.  I almost thought this was a perry wih the flavor profile (especially as Wyder’s makes a couple pear ciders), but the ingredient list said “hard cider”, so I assume it is from apples.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck’s Raspberry cider, which is also only 4% ABV, although slightly sweeter.

Closing Notes:  My favorite raspberry ciders remain Schilling Raspberry Smoothie and One Tree Raspberry.  Both were very full-bodied, literally smoothie thickness, and quite sweet, but very very flavorful.  I also really enjoy Pear UP’s Raspberry Perry (from pears not apples).

Have you tried Wyder’s cider?  What did you think?

Wyder’s Prickly Pineapple

Review of Wyder’s Prickly Pineapple, with pineapple and prickly pear juices.  I’ve tried this previously (see here).  I’ve also had their Reposado Pear, Raspberry, and Pear ciders.  They sent me a nice sampler of three ciders (plus a cool tote bag!), featuring new labels/packaging.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Wyder’s.  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:  Prickly Pineapple
Cidery:  Wyder’s (Vermont Cider Co.)
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT (at the Woodchuck facility)
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with pineapple and prickly pear juices

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Availability:  wide release (in 40 states), year round (they have a locator here)

Cider Description:  An exotic duet, this cider combines the juices from both prickly pear cacti and pineapples. Tickling the tongue, each sip brings forward a light and sweet taste like a refreshing pina colada. Satisfy those fruit forward senses with Wyder’s® Prickly Pineapple.

Cidery Description:  We have specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. It’s a pretty hyper-connected world out there, grab a Wyder’s when you’re ready to unplug. Wyder’s wants to be a part of you finding the good in life and your Happy Place. We hope you enjoy, and bring us along!

Price:  n/a (although it runs $9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Initially, I looked for it after reading about it on Facebook.  This time it just showed up.

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow with a hint of green.  Low carbonation.  Smells of pineapple candy.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium to full bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of pineapple, green apple, and a little something unique which I assume is the prickly pear juice (kinda like passion fruit?).  Quick finish.  High sessionabiliy.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it, as its a bit unique, and nice and flavorful.  Definitely on the sweeter and commercial tasting end though.

Most Similar to:  Other sweeter pineapple flavored ciders, such as Schilling Trouble in Paradise (which has passion fruit), Ace Pineapple, and Jester & Judge Pineapple Express.

Random Thought:  Has anyone made a cider with coconut?  I bet pineapple coconut would be fun.

Have you tried Wyder’s Cider?  What did you think?

Eden Cellar Series Guinevere’s Pearls

Review of Eden’s Guinevere’s Pearls, part of their Cellar Series (#4), only available to club members.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I have previously sampled their Sparkling Dry, Cellar Series Cinderella’s Slipper, Heirloom Blend Ice CiderSparkling Semi-Dry, Northern Spy (Barrel Aged) Ice Cider, Honeycrisp Ice Cider, Imperial 11 Rosé, and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider.

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Cider:  Guinevere’s Pearls
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American Artisan Imperial-style semi-sweet Northern Spy apple single varietal

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Availability:  Eden’s online store, for cider club members, 50 cases of 12 bottles.  However, in general, their ciders are available in CA, CO, CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, SC, VT, WA, WA D.C., and Alberta B.C. Canada.

Cider Description:  In deepest winter’s ice and snow, four containers of fresh apple juice began their journey.  We pressed this juice at Eden Orchards from Northern Spy apples conscientiously grown in Vermont by Ezekiel Goodband and Jessika Yates.  As the cold set in, the water in the juice began to freeze, intensifying the sugars and flavors in the remaining unfrozen residual apple sweetness to balance this regal apple’s notable acidity.  Like Guinevere’s pearls, which she gave to King Arthur as a talisman for his knightly pursuits, the precious drops of sweetness in this unique cider may inspire you to accomplish heroic deeds and win your Queen or King…or just encourage you to sip a little slower to enjoy the beauty they add to your drinking experience.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.

Price:  $20
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Light golden amber.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of cider apples and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied with a frothy mouthfeel.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate bitterness.  Low to moderate tannins.  Moderate funk.  No sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, yeast, must, stone fruit, honey, and brown sugar.  Long warming finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I loved the uniqueness, with the combination of high acidity, richness, sweetness, high ABV, and carbonation.  The only thing I would change would be to have less bitterness.

Most Similar to:  I don’t think I’ve had anything similar.  It reminded me a bit of a French cider as it is apple and yeast forward and is fizzy.  However, it is more acidic and fruity and has a higher ABV.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I got a chance to try this.  Its an excellent value too.  I also picked up some Sparkling Semi-Dry and Heirloom Blend Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Ice Cider at the same time which I have to look forward to.

Have you tried Eden Guinevere’s Pearls?  What did you think?

Wyder’s Dry Raspberry

Review of Wyder’s Raspberry cider.  I don’t remember having tried this before (or at least I haven’t reviewed it), although I’ve had their Dry Pear, Reposado Pear, and Prickly Pineapple ciders.

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Cider:  Dry Raspberry
Cidery:  Wyder’s Cider
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT (at the Woodchuck cidery)
ABV:  4.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and 22oz bottles)
Style:  American commercial cider with raspberries

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Availability:  wide release, year round

Cider Description:  This cider is light in body and features mouthwatering raspberry notes. It retains a dry and sparkling finish.

Cidery Description:  We have specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. It’s a pretty hyper-connected world out there, grab a Wyder’s when you’re ready to unplug. Wyder’s wants to be a part of you finding the good in life and your Happy Place. We hope you enjoy, and bring us along!

Price:  ~$2 / single bottle (runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine?
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I couldn’t remember having tried it.

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First Impression:  Light pink hue.  Nearly still.  Smells of mild slightly-candied raspberry.

Tasting Notes: Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor notes are just raspberry, maybe with hints of lemon & floral.  Quick finish.  Low complexity, flavor intensity, and apple flavor.  High sessionability (as expected at only 4% ABV).

My Opinion:  I thought it was pretty average, definitely commercial tasting.  The flavor was very light and it seemed a bit watered down tasting.  I liked that it wasn’t syrupy sweet though.  It was refreshing and easy to drink.  I almost thought this was a perry wih the flavor profile (especially as Wyder’s makes a couple pear ciders), but the ingredient list said “hard cider”, so I assume it is from apples.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck’s Raspberry cider, which is also only 4% ABV, although slightly sweeter.

Random Note:  This is yet another mis-named cider…at 12 grams of sugar per 12oz, it is far from “dry”.  It is not the most egregious mis-use of the “dry” label though.

Closing Notes:  My favorite raspberry ciders remain Schilling Raspberry Smoothie and One Tree Raspberry.  Both were very full-bodied, literally smoothie thickness, and quite sweet, but very very flavorful.  I also really enjoy Pear UP’s Raspberry Perry (from pears not apples).

Have you tried Wyder’s cider?  What did you think?

Citizen Cider Wit’s Up

Review of Citizen Cider’s Wit’s Up, a “cider maker’s cider”, fermented with Belgian Wit beer yeast.  It is my first time trying any cider from this cidery.

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reflective cans look cool, but don’t photograph very well…

>>This is a review of a sample provided to Cider Says by Citizen Cider.  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:  Wit’s Up
Cidery:  Citizen Cider
Cidery Location:  Burlington VT
ABV:  5.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 16oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  dry American craft beer-style cider from VT apples (sulfite & sorbate free)

Availability:  year-round (this is one of their core ciders) in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont (see here)

Apples:  from Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury VT

Cider Description:  There are ciders for the people, and there are ciders for the people who make the cider for the people. Wit’s Up is a classic cider maker’s cider. Drawing on the old and new traditions of cider making, it starts like an ale and finishes like the dry, sessionable craft cider that it is. It’s cider for today, it’s cider for what we believe the future of cider to be. Come, enjoy the future with us and drink Wit’s Up.

Starts like an ale and finishes like a cider: that, my friend, is Wit’s Up. This cider is fermented with a Belgian Wit yeast and malolactic cultures. No sugar is added, no sulfites are used, and it’s made with fresh sweet cider pressed at Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury, Vermont. Wit’s Up is clean and easy-drinking. Welcome to the future of cider

Cidery Description:  Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson founded Citizen Cider in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work. Kris was working as a wine salesmen, Bryan as a chemist and Justin as a small farmer. All discontent for one reason or another, they started pressing sweet cider in Kris’s barn and fermenting test batches of hard cider in Bryan’s basement. As it happens, they discovered that their ideas about hard cider translated into some pretty unique and interesting finished products.

See more about their story here.  Citizen Cider has a tasting room in Burlington Vermont.

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidery contacted me

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First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Yellow hue.  Smells of citrus, funk, and yeast.

Tasting Notes:  Fully dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low funk, bitterness, and tannins.  Hints of sourness.  Notes of yeast, grapefruit, lemon, hops?, herbal/botanical, and wood/earth.  Long warming finish, yeasty and funky.  Low to moderate apple flavor and flavor intensity.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  Wow, this was really unique.  I couldn’t fully describe some of the flavor notes that this yeast brought out.  It had more complexity than I was expecting too.  I could see this appealing to beer drinkers, as well as those who like a dry sessionable cider and don’t mind a bit of funk and sourness (like those who like rustic Farmhouse-style cider and Spanish Sidra).  It is very food-friendly and great for Spring & Summer.  However, at the end of the day, I wasn’t too big of a fan (although my husband really enjoyed it).  We ended up trading as he opened a cider which wasn’t what he was expecting.

Most Similar to:  Not much.  As far as it being a truly dry sessionable canned cider, maybe Original Sin Extra Dry.  I’ve had a few other ciders fermented with beer yeast, including Grizzly Ciderworks Woodlander WitSquare Mile Original, and Crispin The Saint.

Closing Notes:  I’m glad I finally got to try a cider from Citizen cider, and look forward to sampling more, especially bRosé (with blueberries) and Mr. Burlington (with orange peel and bitters, Bourbon barrel aged).

Have you tried Citizen Cider?  What did you think?

Vermont Cider Company Addison

Review of Vermont Cider Company’s Addison.  This and Wassail are their first two releases, described as “ultra-premium”.  Vermont Cider Company is part of Vermont Hard Cider (along with Woodchuck, Magner’s, Wyder’s, Hornsby’s, and Blackthorn).

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

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Cider:  Addison
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped) or four pack of 16oz cans
Style:  commercial cider from American dessert apples

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Availability:  Year round, only available in the Northeastern U.S., released December 2016 in bottles, and March 2017 in cans

Cider Description:  Named for Addison County, where it is produced, Addison is crafted from 100 percent fresh pressed juice sourced only from Vermont and Northeastern orchards.  “Addison is a semi-dry cider, but it is so much more,” said Bridget Blacklock, Vermont Cider Co. Director of Marketing. “It’s where we are from. Addison is Vermont. It’s where we craft what we believe is the finest cider in the world.”  “For this flagship cider, we used premium yeasts and longer, cooler fermentations to capture and promote the delicate fresh apple flavors, with no added sugar,” said Ben E. Calvi, Director of Cider Making. “Addison is the ideal cider for consumers seeking drier options with strong, authentic roots.”

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99 / six pack of bottles or four pack of cans)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about it online and requested samples.

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First Impression:  Still.  Medium straw yellow hue.  Smells syrupy, of apple, fruity, and a hint of vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, slightly candied / syruppy.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of green apple, pineapple, white grape, and honey.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  It is a seriously solid flagship cider selection.  Definitely more on the commercial end, but Addison is also at the same price point as their more commercial Woodchuck ciders.  I enjoyed the body and flavor of this, without too much acidity or sweetness.  More often I’ve seen flavor notes like these in a drier and more acidic cider.  It definitely has a flavor I have come to associate with Woodchuck cider though, more than the Wassail.

Most Similar to:  Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider, which had a similar level of sweetness, body / syrupiness, and flavor notes.

Closing Notes:  For the same price, I’d definitely drink this over many of the Woodchuck ciders.  Its tasty and easy to drink.

Have you tried Vermont Cider Company’s Addison?  What did you think?

Vermont Cider Company Wassail

Review of Vermont Cider Company’s Wassail.  This and Addison are their first two releases, described as “ultra-premium”.  Vermont Cider Company is part of Vermont Hard Cider (along with Woodchuck, Magner’s, Wyder’s, Hornsby’s, and Blackthorn).

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

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Cider:  Wassail
Cidery:  Vermont Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz bottles (thick champagne glass, but capped)
Style:  commercial cider from American dessert apples with mulling spices, rum barrel aged (note that I personally classify this as commercial not craft as it is made by a large company, the first ingredient is “hard cider” not apple juice, and they added apple extract for color)

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Availability:  This is a limited edition cider, only available in the Northeastern U.S., released December 2016

Cider Description:  Wassail is inspired by the age-old tradition of celebrating with the orchards to ensure a good crop. Wassail begins with small batch hard cider infused with traditional mulling spices, including vanilla bean, ginger and cinnamon. The cider is then aged in rum barrels to produce a unique, rich cider that is ideal for the holidays. Like Addison, Wassail is made only from 100 percent fresh pressed Vermont and Northeastern apples.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the circus of ciders, Gumption®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, Vermont Cider Co. leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders made from the finest ingredients. Under the watchful eyes of two award winning cider makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes from Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their consumers, their creativity, and their heritage within the green mountains.

Price:  n/a (retails for $10.99 / four pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about it online and requested samples.

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<No, this color isn’t only from the barrel aging – they added “apple extract” for coloring.>

First Impression:  Still (no carbonation).  Caramel amber hue.  Smells of sugar, spices, rum, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of brown sugar, burnt caramel, cinnamon, allspice, clove, ginger, and vanilla.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate spice.  Moderate rum flavor.  Low oak flavor.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate sessionability.  Mild complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  My favorite component was the rum flavor.  I’m usually not too into spiced ciders, but I don’t dislike them.  I could have done without the ginger here (I really dislike the stuff, although here it was very very mild) and had the mulling spices toned down a bit (although I wouldn’t say it was overpowering).  One of the spice additions was Cardamon, but I picked it up as allspice and cloves, which are more recognizable.  Overall it still tasted a bit commercial though, more like something Crispin would make as a special release, but its a good value for the price point (ie. I wasn’t expecting a cider on par one to I would pay $20 / 750ml for).  I think the mulling spices and rum barrel aging paired well together.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had a number of spiced ciders (such as Sea Cider Wassail, 2 Towns Nice & Naughty, Elemental Seasonal Spiced AppleTieton Spice Route, Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spice, AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, and Carlton Cyderworks Sugar & Spice) and some rum barrel aged ciders (Crispin 15 Men, Sea Cider Prohibition, and Alpenfire Calypso), but not combined.

Closing Notes:  Next up, a review of Vermont Cider Company’s Addison.

Have you tried Vermont Cider Company’s Wassail?  What did you think?