St. Vrain Cidery

Visited a friend in Longmont, CO not only to catch up with her, but so that we could check out St. Vrain Cidery.

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This place opened in 2014 by Dean and Ciny Landi with cidermaker Dan Daugherty.

Based on their site, ‘the St. Vrain Apple was last seen in 1891 by a farmer taking inventory of Colorado fruits. The name St. Vrain runs deep in the city of Longmont’s history, and our cidery’s name honors this regional apple and our city.’

They have a large variety of ciders on tap from the state, five of which are their own. While there enjoying the adult apple juice, you can order sampler flights, 4oz, 8oz or 12oz pours.

My friend and I each went with the samplers, which had four 4oz pours.

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I sampled these (ordered one more after the initial tasting, too):

St. Vrain Cidery Dry Apple (Longmont, CO) This refreshing cider starts with baked apple and a hint of tea on the nose. Fresh, dry apple flavors combine with white wine-like minerality from the Winesap apples in the blend. All followed by a clean, crisp finish. Dry. 6.6% ABV

  • Very dry, a bit too much for me. But they definitely didn’t add anything unnecessary to this cider. It’s all apple!

St.  Vrain Cidery Ironface Infusion (Longmont, CO) We infuse our Dry Apple cider with gin botanicals from Anvil Distillery’s Ironface Gin (Longmont), resulting in our first in a series of botanical ciders. Dry. 6.9% ABV

  • You definitely got that hint of gin/juniper. Subtle, unique, nice. Still very dry. I (personally) don’t like sweet cider, but I don’t like it beyond dry.

Summit Hard Cider Pineapple (Fort Collins, CO) Fresh pineapple flavors blend well with apple. Semi-Sweet. 5% ABV

  • Had to try this because I love pineapple and did have my doubts. This ranked #1 for me. I didn’t expect the semi-sweet. I was expecting it to be candy. Delicious!

C Squared Ciders Ella IPC (Denver, CO) India Pale Cider with dry hop aromas of tropical fruit. Melds into green apple flavors with clean, bitter finish. Off-Dry. 6.0% ABV

  • Just a nice basic off-dry cider. Mild on the hops but gave it a nice taste!

Wild Cider Bee Hoppy (Firestone, CO) Refreshing, crisp, dry hopped cider with citrus undertones. Finishes with a kiss of honey. Off-Dry. 5.0% ABV

  • This is the one I got after my initial tasting. Subtle citrus with very mild hop. Then the sweet at the end was awesome. Totally maintained the off-dry level though. Another one that I had my doubts about but it came in strong.

 

Was very glad that I got to check this place out. And, my friend and I happened to get there during happy hour and I think my bill was $8-$10 for all this, with tip. So, next time you’re in Longmont, check this out. Or, if you’re a cider fan, plan a trip there, you won’t be disappointed. Take your growler, too. You can get it filled with one of their five ciders.

Cheers!

Run for Beer

The title of the blog is pretty literal. Was visiting a friend in Seattle, who I happen to know via running. So I had to find a race for us to run so we could really catch up. Did some googling and found the Brewery Running Series. They do 5K at breweries around the city throughout the summer. You get a free beer with your registration fee and part of the proceeds go to benefit local non-profits. Not too bad.

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We took part in the first one of the season at Rooftop Brewing Company.

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It didn’t start until 11am, which was late for a race, but oh well. Was a perfect day for a 5K, then great reward — free beer! So I had to decide from quite the brew list.

I went for the Glorious Baser, their Hefe. Our Blood Orange Wheat Beer is built for Basking in the Seattle sunshine! Come enjoy this super refreshing adult beverage on our deck! 5% ABV. This was just perfect for a sunny spring day. Nice weight, nice citrus taste.

My friend I ran with doesn’t enjoy the enjoy this stuff as much as me so I was able to use her ticket for another great sample. For my second taste (these were pints — I couldn’t drink two full ones, we did run there, so had to run home), I opted for the No. 6 Pomegranate Cider.  6.5% ABV. Nice non-sugary cider. Could drink several of these problematically because you don’t realize they are alcoholic.

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Winery Stop 5, Montalto

Final stop of the day, Montalto.  This place opened in 1997.  They were very rushed and didn’t seem that eager to let/want you to enjoy their wine.  And honestly, most of it wasn’t all that great anyway.

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2015 Pennon Hill Sauvignon Blanc – very dry

2015 Pennon Hill Pinot Grigio – green apple at start, no finish

2015 Montalto Estate Pinot Gris – oak taste, more flavor

2015 Pennon Hill Pinot Noir – some sort of bite to it

2014 Pennon Hill Shiraz – light for a Shiraz

2015 Montalto Apple Cider – dry

That was the last one we visited.  Nice spread all around and great way to check out the area.

Beers from SA and nearby

Not only does South Africa have amazing wine to offer but they have quite a few brews for one to enjoy.  There were many opportunities to sample ales, lagers and more and add some names to my list.

My first, and ultimate favorite, was Carling Black Label.  A bit dark and smooth.  Apparently it’s the biggest selling and most awarded beer brand in SA.

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The most common beer seen and available was Castle Lager.  Light, crisp, refreshing.  After that, Windhoek came around a lot.  This one is from Namibia.  Another light beer.

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Beer has the same health notes as wine.

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On a sunset cruise (while watching rhinos yawn and elephants swim across the river), I tried the Bohlinger’s Lager, made with maize, malt, hops and water.  Pretty simple, just another light lager.  This one is from Zimbabwe, and I was enjoying while in its country, near Victoria Falls.

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The trip also brought a Golden Pilsener.  The label says it’s Zimbabwe’s premier Pils, but per the site it’s brewed in Czech.  It had a unique taste for a pils, just ‘off’ but still good.

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There was also a Zambezi Lager to be sampled.  Fairly traditional lager taste, but fairly light.

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And finally, a cider, the Savanna Cider.  Not super sweet, just dry, which was very nice!

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