Goose Ridge Orchards, Woodinville, WA

In Woodinville, in the same room as the canned wine, there are also hard ciders. Goose Ridge Winery is very much expanding! These are their Goose Ridge Orchards. And, since I love hard cider, when I have the opportunity to try a new cidery’s ‘apple juice’ I can’t turn it down.

gooseridgecider

The background of this cidery —

“The Monson family has been growing apples in the Yakima Valley since the 1950s. They are well-regarded for their modern growing techniques and high quality fruit. Careful attention to natural resources and the seasonal growing conditions (much in the same way grapes are treated) allows for maximum production of exceptional fruit every year.”

Their ciders are bottled in champagne bottles with the same great corks. This is done because of the champagne yeast they use in production.  Not something I’ve seen before, so interesting to see something different, and find out why it’s done.

The tasting was $8 and included the four ciders they produce:

Perry Pear – 6% ABV, $12/bottle

Our Perry Pear cider, light in color with subtle flavors of fresh cut pears and hints of citrus. Whispers of tannins are followed by a slight sweetness for a cider that is artfully balanced.

-Dry. Not much taste, but very refreshing.

Dry Apple – 6% ABV, not available in bottles, only Growler fills ($18)

Made in a refreshing, balance style this versatile cider is bubble and effervescent with flavors of fresh pineapple and citrus notes with a crisp finish.

-Not as dry as expected, and had some sweetness

Passionfruit – 6% ABV, $12/bottle

Absolutely explodes out of the glass with aromas of bright tangerines and passionfruit, followed by tropical fruit flavors and a dry snappy finish. The perfect welcome to spring!

-Sweet, but not too syrupy. Had a good fruit taste.

Berry – 6% ABV, $12/bottle

Tart and juicy aromas of blueberry, raspberry and blackberry, finishing with the slightest hint of sweetness. An incredible compliment to grilled pork chops with a cherry demi-glace.

-Yea, berries were totally there. Didn’t taste like cider at all. Pretty dry, too.

Rankings-wise for my preference I would go:

  1. Passionfruit
  2. Perry Pear
  3. Dry Apple
  4. Berry

Love seeing that more and more cideries are coming about. Will be interesting to see what their seasonal ones are and/or what others they produce for their regular menu.

Cheers.

Big B’s

Awhile back when I was in Steamboat (Springs), CO, I checked out one of the local liquor stores and came across a hard cider I had never seen or heard of before — Big B’s. They are located in Hotchkiss, CO and have a variety of apple-related products.

The cider I found is the Harvest Apple from their Orchard Series. This one is “created by using a perfect blend of fresh pressed apples. This is a semi-sweet hard cider and has a bold and refreshing apple taste.”

It was great because it hit semi-sweet perfectly. Nice and crisp, giving a bit of dryness, but not too much based on its category, and also no overkill on sugar. Comes in convenient cans, too.

I’ve only found it in one place in the Ft. Collins area, so far, which is Supermarket Liquors, so glad that’s easy accessible.

Cheers!

img_1891

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.

img_1358-2.jpg

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.

img_1360-1

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!

Breweries, Wineries and Cideries (?)

Have been checking out some local places of imbibement lately and have had much fun.  What else is there to do after hiking and running vs. supporting the locals while refueling?

#1 Forge Brew Works, Lorton, VA

Visited this one after hiking in Prince William State Park in VA.  The hike also turned into 15 vs 9 miles.  Great signage in that park, let me tell you.  In the brewery’s tasting room, they have well over a dozen options on tap, from traditional to seasonal brews and you can get 4oz samplers at a great price to get a feel for the menu.  My friend and I each got a spread of the 4oz pours so we could tackle the taps effectively.  Some were very creative, some not up my alley, but awesome to check out.  Dog friendly place (which is why we went — they have tons of water and treats for them) and you bring your own food if you want to munch on anything.

IMG_3861

IMG_3857IMG_3858

IMG_3860(Jet was passed out on the floor while we were sipping, eating and watching football)

#2 Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Jefferson, MD

I keep calling this a cidery because it goes with the flow of the sentence with winery, brewery…  Ok, so it’s a distillery.  They distill (hard) cider.  Anyway, on we go.  I mapped this out to visit after completing a half marathon as part of refueling.  As a map point, it’s about 30 minutes from Harper’s Ferry and maybe an hour+ from DC.  They have a big range of hard cider, from bubbly stuff, to ones with some additional flavor influence (fruit, sweet), to dry & sweet, to barrel-aged stuff.  I never knew there was so much to this.  When you buy your tasting, you get to pick whatever you’d like to taste — $5 for 4 pours, and the souvenir glass.  And when you go with somebody else…sip & share, share & sip.

The whiskey-barrel influence stuff–nice!  The cherry and maple (independent) fused stuff, yeah, not so much.  The bubbly — where’s my champagne flute?  They also have that regular apple cider that you don’t need an ID to buy and those healthy apple things that you buy to just add at this cool place.

IMG_3903IMG_3900IMG_3896IMG_3902IMG_3901

IMG_3906

IMG_3907

#3 Big Cork Vineyards, Rohrersville, MD

IMG_3916

IMG_3913(cork stool, oh yes)

IMG_3915It’s 5-10 minutes from the cidery, darn, I meant distillery.  Isn’t cidery just a natural name?  That’s why we visited it next.  I’d tasted their wine a couple times at local farmer’s markets.  But, they just opened they gorgeous tasting room this year.  My friend and I decided to split a tasting so we splurge and went for the big one — 7 wines — watch out!  It was $14 for this ‘more’ tasting.

Some were ok, nothing to write home about.  There is still just something missing in MD wines.  VA is gaining power and MD is next door so I don’t know why they can’t do it (at least for me, though I know I’m not alone in that comment).

#4 Right Proper Brewing Company, Washington, DC

Was simply googling breweries in DC and this one came up.  Had never heard of it so had to investigate.  It’s in the Shaw-Howard area of DC.  So much on tap, innovative options, what do I pick?  You can get half pours (no flight options).  My friend and I opted to play with the wolves and ordered some Wild Wolves and Raised by the Wolves.  We had some sips to ‘sample’ before ordering our half pour of choice too.  I stopped here before a big dinner so didn’t get to do enough investigation but definitely plan to go back to do a deeper search.

IMG_3936IMG_3938

IMG_3939#5 Boxwood Winery, Middleburg, VA

Located in a historic, very nice area 1-1.5 hours outside of DC, this winery is growing well.  They used to have a nice tasting room/wine bar in Friendship Heights which has unfortunately closed.  They still have one at National Harbor and in Reston.  These are definitely VA wines, unique tastes and good to keep an eye on.  I like a couple but I just can’t justify paying the price for some of them.  The price was $10/tasting, and we got to keep the glass (add to the collection).

IMG_3810

IMG_3812