Gumption Cider Co. Citrus Freak

Review of Citrus Freak from Gumption Cider Co. (part of Vermont Cider Co., which also includes Woodchuck).  This is the second year-round offering from the series, along with the original Gumption (which I reviewed here).  Gumption started in 2015 under the Woodchuck brand, but it branched out as its own brand in 2016.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by the Vermont Cider Co.  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:  Citrus Freak
Cidery:  Gumption Cider Co. (part of the Vermont Cider Co.)
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples, with citrus and Cascade hops

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Availability:  Year-round, wide release

Cider Description:  Part prankster, part gangster, Gumption’s right-hand man is the Citrus Freak.  A perfect pairing of eating apples, grapefruit, and Cascade hops, this semi-dry cider delivers an all-day enjoyable citrus experience.

Gumption Description:  The Circus of Ciders.  Originally launched under the Woodchuck brand in 2015, Gumption® is a bold and audacious brand which has been wildly successful with consumers. In December 2016, Gumption spun off from Woodchuck® as its own brand with line extensions including the rotational Late Show series and Citrus Freak.

Vermont Cider Co. 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 their namesake brand, the original American hard cider, Woodchuck, the northeast premium hard cider brand, Vermont Cider Co., 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 $8.99-$10.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Very pale straw yellow.  Nearly still.  Smells mildly of sweet citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of grapefruit, lemon, orange, and a hint of citrus-forward hops.  Moderate length finish.  High sessionability.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked the start of this cider, but after a few sips the citrus got a bit fake, almost air freshener ish, more of grapefruit extract than grapefruit juice.  I was surprised the hops were almost imperceptible, but I imagine some folks will like that.  I liked that they went drier on this one too.

Most Similar to:  Schilling Grapefruit & Chill and Somersby Citrus Fruit (or for a more real-tasting grapefruit cider, Elemental Hydrogen)

Closing Notes:  I’d love to see this go more natural tasting, then I’d be a fan, as I like the idea of it.

Have you tried Gumption Citrus Freak?  What did you think?

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Woodchuck Summer Time Pear Ginger

Review of Woodchuck’s Pear Ginger, a new variety of Summer Time (which has previously only referred to their blueberry cider, which won’t be released this year at least).  I’ve tried most of their lineup; see here.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle 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:  Summer Time Pear Ginger
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American commercial cider with ginger and pear flavors

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Availability:  wide release, seasonal, starting in March

Description:  Summer is here, bringing warm, carefree days and fun, festive nights.  Woodchuck Summer Time delivers a crisp pear cider bursting with fresh ginger for a taste that refreshes like a cool jump in your favorite swimming hole.

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, but my husband really liked this cider.  I could see it being a big seller.

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

Closing Notes:  Interesting that they decided to also name this Summer Time…it may get confused with the blueberry version.  I liked the flavor of the blueberry Summer Time, although it was rather sweet.  The Woodchuck variety I really miss however is their Spring seasonal which had maple syrup; oddly enough they are currently skipping over Spring, and only doing Summer, Fall, and Winter seasonals.

Have you tried Woodchuck Summer Time Pear Ginger?  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?

Woodchuck Out on a Limb Ginger Lovin’

Review of Woodchuck’s latest Out on a Limb series variety, Ginger Lovin’.  I’ve previously tried nearly their entire line-up; see here.

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Cider:  Ginger Lovin’
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider with ginger

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Availability:  semi wide release, for the next few months until a new Out on a Limb release comes out

Cider Description:  Sugar and spice and everything…well, lots of spice. Like our favorite redheads, ginger adds a feisty bite to this cider. With zesty citrus undertones, the root and apple pair to Ginger Lovin’ perfection. Enjoy the brand that started the American cider revolution.

Ingredients:  Hard cider.  Less than 1% of: natural flavor and sulfites.

Cidery Description:  Here at the Woodchuck Cidery in Vermont, we handcraft every batch of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Our Cider Makers utilize the highest quality ingredients and meticulously oversee each small batch from start to finish. We reinvigorated American cider in 1991 and continue to lead the category through our commitment to craft innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (runs about $10 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Very light straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation.  Smells of candied ginger and spices.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied. Low tartness.  Low acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of very mild ginger (mostly in the finish, but not spicy) with some pie spices and a hint of lemon.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I’m not at all a ginger fan, so I was surprised that I didn’t mind this.  The ginger remains very mild, unlike every other ginger cider I’ve had where it was overpowering.

Most Similar to:  I found the ginger in this less intense than ginger ciders from Argus, Apple OutlawFinnriver, Locust, Schilling, and Strongbow.  It also didn’t have that after taste/bite like most ginger ciders.

Closing Notes:   If you like a hint of ginger but don’t want it to be overwhelming or too lingering, this is a good cider choice.

Have you tried Woodchuck Ginger Lovin’?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Semi-Dry

Review of Woodchuck’s Semi-Dry, their newest flagship cider.  I’ve previously tried nearly their entire line-up; see here.

semidry.jpg 2016-11-04-18-29-18

>>This is a review of a sample bottle 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:  Semi-Dry
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial semi-dry cider, including bittersweet apple juice

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  Ready for a cider session? You’re going to want a crushable cider. Crisp and refreshing, Semi-Dry uses bittersweet apples to deliver a cider that is not too sweet and leaves you thirsty for another. Enjoy the brand that started the American cider revolution.

Ingredients:  Hard cider, less than 1% 0f: natural apple flavor, sulfites

Cidery Description:  Here at the Woodchuck Cidery in Vermont, we handcraft every batch of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Our Cider Makers utilize the highest quality ingredients and meticulously oversee each small batch from start to finish. We reinvigorated American cider in 1991 and continue to lead the category through our commitment to craft innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (runs about $10 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Light orange amber.  Low carbonation.  Smells of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  One the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  The flavor is purely watered down apple juice with a hint of alcohol.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Low flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  The flavor wasn’t all that impressive, intense, or complex, but this is surely more sessionable than most sugar-laden commercial ciders.  I didn’t taste any rich bittersweet apple flavor.

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Day Chaser, which is also semi-dry, although that one had some honey and citrus notes and a hint of bittersweet.

Closing Notes:   The color of this cider is a bit interesting.  It doesn’t say it was added (which has been listed in the past), so maybe there is a higher bittersweet apple percentage than I tasted…

Have you tried Woodchuck Semi-Dry?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Out on a Limb June and Juice

Review of Woodchuck’s newest (8th) Out on a Limb release, June and Juice.  It is pegged as a Juniper hard cider.  It is infused with juniper berries (which are used in making gin), rose buds, and orange peel.  Here is the press release.  The ciders rotate every few months in the same six pack.  I’ve reviewed a number of their ciders here.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle 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:  June and Juice (Out on a Limb)
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles

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Availability:  Wide release, but only for the next couple months (Out on a Limb rotates varieties).

Cider Description:  True apothecary, thy cider art craft.  It was Out on a Limb of a juniper tree that we found this new concoction.  Like a classic gin, we steeped fresh juniper berries into our small batch hard cider.  With a fresh botanical aroma, enjoy a semi-sweet fresh apple taste with notes of juniper and citrus.  Gin & Juice?  Let’s try June & Juice.

Ingredients:  Hard cider, rose bud, orange peel, juniper berries, less than 1% of: natural flavor, citric acid (contains sulfites)

Cidery Description:  Here at the Woodchuck Cidery in Vermont, we handcraft every batch of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Our Cider Makers utilize the highest quality ingredients and meticulously oversee each small batch from start to finish. We reinvigorated American cider in 1991 and continue to lead the category through our commitment to craft innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (but it runs ~ $10.99 a six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  No carbonation upon pouring.  Smells of honey, floral, herbs, citrus, and vanilla.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Still.  Mild tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of floral (rose), orange, and honey, with hints of earthiness and maple.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor. Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high sessionability.

Opinion:  This is a unique but approachable cider, refreshing, and great for Spring.  I couldn’t detect any gin botanical like flavor from the juniper, which was fine by me as I’m not a fan of gin.  The flavor was primarily floral/rose.  I liked how it was flavorful but not overly sweet.  I think it was a good choice to not carbonate it, as that would have taken away from the flavor (although Woodchuck never seems to use much carbonation).  I wonder how well it will sell though, as the Juniper may be a turn-off to many people (I wasn’t expecting to like this one at all, and was pleasantly surprised)….I probably would have played up the rose more.

Most Similar to:  Other ciders infused with botanicals or rose petals.  Seattle Cider makes a Gin Botanical cider, but I don’t think I’ve tried it.  I’ve actually had a number of ciders infused with rose petals though–Elemental Lavender Rose, Elemental Pomegranate Rose, WildCraft Wild Rose, and Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip.

Closing Notes:   I’m impressed, especially coming from such a large commercial cidery (side note – I don’t get how they can call themselves craft and say they do small batches?).  This is probably my favorite Out on a Limb so far…many of them have been too out there for me.

Have you tried any Woodchuck Out on a Limb varieties?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Day Chaser Semi-Dry

Review of Woodchuck’s newest core cider, Day Chaser Semi-Dry, from Middlebury Vermont.  It will launch to the public in March, but I got a sneak preview.  This cider is a digression from their primarily sweeter lineup, likely in response to consumers requesting a drier cider.  Angry Orchard also responded to this call with Stone Dry last Fall (my review here).  I’ve tried a number of Woodchuck’s other ciders (see past reviews here).

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>This is a review of a sample bottle 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:  Day Chaser Semi-Dry
Cidery:  Woodchuck Cider
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles or 12oz cans (and draft)
Style:  American commercial semi-dry cider

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Availability:  Year round, nationwide, once it launches next month.

Cider Description:  Day Chaser celebrates those adventure seekers that never let a minute slip by. This sessionable cider combines bitter and sweet apples to deliver a semi-dry cider that is not too sweet and leaves you thirsty for another. Get the most out of every day and reward yourself as you welcome the night.

Cidery Description:  Here at the Woodchuck Cidery in Vermont, we handcraft every batch of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Our Cider Makers utilize the highest quality ingredients and meticulously oversee each small batch from start to finish. We reinvigorated American cider in 1991 and continue to lead the category through our commitment to craft innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (suggested retail price of $9.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I saw some other bloggers online post about it, then my sample bottle showed up in the mail.

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First Impression:  Honey straw yellow hue.  Very low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells mild, with hints of bittersweet apples, yeast, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Almost still (very low carbonation).  Mild tartness.  Mild to moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness.  Citrus, honey, and slight mineral notes.  Quick finish.  Mild to moderate apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Pretty good–sunshine in a glass!  Definitely very approachable too as a drier commercial cider.  It is also significantly lower calories than most commercial ciders (160), and is still 5.5% ABV.  Its interesting though that they dumbed the description down to say they used bitter and sweet apples, which I assume means both dessert (culinary/supermarket) and bittersweet (a type of cider apple) varieties…I tasted a hint of bittersweet, but definitely more dessert apples.  It also was fuller bodied than I was expecting for the level of sweetness, which folks used to sweet full bodied ciders will probably enjoy.  There was only the slightest fake commercial cider taste, less so than many of their past ciders.  I think a bit more carbonation would have been nice, but overall I don’t have any real complaints.

Most Similar to:  The honey and citrus notes remind me of a few ciders I’ve tried recently, such as Schilling Cider King’s Shilling (which is sweeter), Honey Moon CiderHead (which is drier), and Flatbed Cider Crisp Apple (which is quite similar although thinner bodied)

Closing Notes:   A solid cider, and definitely easy drinking.  I like this better than some of their sweeter varieties like Amber, but my current favorites are still Gumption, Private Reserve Barrel Aged Cherry, and Winter Chill.

Have you tried Woodchuck Day Chaser?  What did you think?