Locust Washington Dessert Apple Aged Hard Cider

Review of Washington Dessert Apple Aged Hard Cider from Locust Cider.  This is their first limited release offering, and also the first to be packaged in a large bottle (instead of a multi pack of cans or bottles, or on tap only).

There is a bit of a funny story with this bottle of cider:  Upon arriving home from the bottle shop with this cider I found it on its side in my car in my bottle tote in a small puddle of cider.  Thank goodness for waterproof floor mats…  The bottle was hissing slightly.  I guess the cap hit something in my car when it rolled around a bit and the edge got lifted slightly.  It definitely could have been worse though.  After cleaning up the mess I decided I needed to finish opening the cap and put on the attached flip-top cap before putting it in the fridge.  I hadn’t been planning to drink it that night, and it wasn’t cold anyways.  The following night I opened the bottle and it proceeded to violently foam over!  So, I had cleaned up after this cider twice before even drinking any…  I definitely got a foamy bottle which went a bit overboard in bottle conditioning!  Thankfully only a few ounces of cider was lost in those messes.

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Cider:  Washington Dessert Apple Aged Hard Cider
Cidery:  Locust Cider
Cidery Location:  Woodinville WA (Northeast of Seattle)
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml clear flip-top bottle

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Availability:  Locust Cider is currently available in WA and ID.  This is a limited release however so it may not be available everywhere that Locust Cider is sold.

Thanks to Jason Spears, co-founder of Locust Cider, for extra info on this cider!

Cider Description:  Made from Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith dessert apples.  Fermented with wild yeast (the yeast on the fruit itself, in contrast to most ciders which add new yeast). The outcome of a wild yeast fermentation is more unpredictable, and Locust described losing several batches of cider that didn’t turn out well.  The cider is then tank aged for 6 months, where they allow a small amount of oxygen into the system to initiate malolactic fermentation.  This is from secondary bacteria, as opposed to yeast, and changes the cider, reducing acidity and adding body & mouthfeel.  This technique is not always desirable, but is what they were going for with this cider variety.  Then the fermented cider is blended with fresh pressed juice and bottled ulfiltered, to allow for bottle conditioning.

Cidery Description:  Real people making a cider for real people.  They aim to make extremely drinkable ciders, with balanced flavors, not overly sweet or sour.  All ciders are made from Pacific Northwest apples and fruit, with no artificial sweeteners, only apples and yeast.  Founded by two brothers, Jason & Patrick Spears, from Texas, in early 2015.  Their name is a reminder to embrace life without compromise, after Jason was calmed by a gentle orchestra of locusts in a field after a near death experience.

Their tap room is open Thursday thru Sunday in the Woodinville WA warehouse district.

Locust Cider currently offers Original Dry, Green Tea Infused, Sweet Dark Cherry (had been tap only but bottles are on their way to stores now), Summer Berry (tap only), Thai Ginger (tap room only), and Washington Dessert Apple Cider.

Price:  ~$10
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown area of Seattle WA, where they were having a tasting of Locust Cider (Original Dry and Green Tea Infused) and Argus Fermentables (Ciderkin and Ginger Perry).  Of those I only liked the Ciderkin, which I reviewed here previously.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I hadn’t heard of this one before.

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First Impression:  Foam!  Hazy/unfiltered honey hue.  Smells of sweet unfiltered cider, honey, and a slight earthiness.

Opinion:  Sweet but not very sweet.  Taste is similar to unfermented sweet cider, except with that hard cider kick.  High acidity.  Moderate carbonation, high foam/fizz, and a bit of tang.  No noticeable funk, but a bit of earthiness.  Moderate finish length.  No significant bitterness or astringency.  Mild tartness.  Medium bodied.  Notes of honey and cooked apples.  Moderate complexity.  This cider is slightly booze-forward, and I probably would have guessed it to have an even higher ABV.

Most Similar to:  Farmhouse style unfiltered ciders such as J.K.’s Scrumpy (from whom I’ve tried Orchard Gate and Northern Neighbor, which are a bit sweeter than this cider).

Closing Notes:   Overall this cider is a solid unique selection.  However, I’m curious how the taste was affected by the apparently aggressive bottle conditioning.  I opened this cider on a Wednesday, had a small glass Thursday, a small glass Friday, and the rest on a Saturday, and even on Saturday it had plenty of fizz left and tried to overflow the glass upon pouring!

I’ve tried most of Locust Cider’s other offerings:  their Sweet Dark Cherry on tap at Schilling Cider House and their Original Dry (canned) and Green Tea Infused (bottled) at the tasting at Full Throttle Bottles when I picked up this cider, all of which I found to be a bit lacking in flavor.  The Washington Dessert Apple however is much different and much more full-flavored than the other three.  I’ll definitely try any other limited release and/or full-flavored cider from Locust Cider, even though their current regular offerings don’t appeal to me.

Have you tried Locust Washington Dessert Apple Aged Hard Cider?  What did you think?