Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cider Review: Greenwood Cider's Lingonberry and West County Cider's Singing Dog Orchard

The strange difficult times seem to be getting harder. I think we still need to take our joys from the small sources we can find. That and work to make the world better. For me, I enjoyed picking home grown green beans three times in the past week, eating berries, and talking with family and friends whom I love. I listened to an utterly perfect audio-book of The Wind in the Willows, and I got to pet many cats. And I shared ciders with loved ones too. 

Two of those ciders were those I’m reviewing here. Let’s start with Greenwood Cider's Lingonberry.

Here’s a quote from the Greenwood Cider’s website of how the folks behind the cider describe the cidery.
We source apples from unique, wild, and abandoned orchards, and wild-harvest seasonal ingredients including Cascade huckleberries and cedar tips from the bountiful forests of the Pacific Northwest. Our ciders are aged as long as necessary to produce the finest flavor possible. The result is a line of delicious dry ciders brimming with authentic taste and regional character.
I was able to try this cider when I purchased a curated case from Press then Press. I have loved everything I’ve tried from that case so far. I highly recommend checking them out.

I've reviewed one beverage by Greenwood before, the Black Currant Asian Pear:

You can also visit Greenwood Cider online:

Here’s the official description of the Lingonberry, “A Scandanavian staple, the lingonberry can also be found in parts of the Pacific Northwest in wild and domesticated forms. A relative to blueberries and cranberries, these bright-red berries add tartness and a little color to our semi-dry Washington apple base. Skal!” 7.8% ABV

Appearance: hazy, strawberry red, few bubbles 

Greenwood’s Lingonberry is far from transparent. As the picture shows, you can scarcely see dramatic color changes behind it. The color reminds me of other red fruits like strawberry and watermelon. There aren’t many visible bubbles in the Lingonberry either.  

Aromas: berry, grape, cantaloupe

This cider brings plenty of berry aromas, grapes, blackberries and strawberries. I also get hints of ripe cantaloupe melon. There is a background of apple, but the other notes are more pronounced in their summer fruity mix.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This semi-sweet cider tastes totally natural. The sweetness reminds me much more of apples and summer fruits rather than any kind of processed sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: tannins, medium acidity, astringent, fruity, bitter

The Lingonberry offers up medium acid, high tannins and deep low astringence. It’s easy to drink and well balanced. I could use just a bit more strength to the sparkle, but this level of petillance will be pleasing to many drinkers. I love the fruity yet bitter finish.

Next up is West County Cider’s Singing Dog Orchard.

Many american cider lovers know and appreciate West County Cider as the oldest currently-running cider in the United States. This is the Maloney Family Cidery, operating since 1984. I love this quote about the process, “Our neighbors had been fermenting for generations, using their own apples and those they gleaned from nearby favorite trees. We started doing the same, but applied California winemaking techniques to this seasonal Yankee tradition.”

You can visit West County online here:

Here’s how West County Cider describes the Singing Dog Orchard cider.

“Up in the high hills of Halifax, VT is Sining Dog Orchard, this former apple farm is now an equine ranch-- but the trees remain hidden away, they have produced fruit for over 50 years. We are lucky to be able to collect Mac and Cortland apples from those trees, and then combine them here in this balanced and endlessly drinkable cider.” 5.6%ABV

I have a few previous reviews of West County Ciders.

Cider Maker’s Favorite (my #3 of 2014):

Reine de Pomme (my #3 of 2013):

Appearance: Brilliant, deep autumnal yellow, bubbly

This lovely cider sings with deep autumnal yellow color. The cider is totally brilliant, showing off quite the collection of tiny bubbles.

Aromas- concentrated apple, syrup, breakfast pastry

The Singing Dog Orchard smells so luscious and intense! Rather than smelling like ripe apples, this smells more concentrated almost like a homemade cider syrup. It also has cleanly yeasty and bready notes along with some sweetness. All of that combines to remind me of a breakfast apple pastry like a Danish. 

Sweetness/Dryness: Semi sweet

This is another semi-sweet cider. The sweetness is just so richly appley. 

Flavors and drinking experience: rich, sweet, thick mouthfeel, gently petillant

The Singing Dog Orchard just underlines its commitment to rich sweet appleness in every sip. The mouthfeel, subtle petillance, and vibrant apple notes coordinate beautifully. There’s not an off note in the whole experience. 

This cider tastes shockingly  like rich sweet fresh cider. I love the thick mouthfeel, and the reliance on very few bubbles supports a smooth and gentle experience. This cider’s rich taste might be a great way for a sweeter drinker and a heirloom cider nerd (who often but not always prefer dry or semi-dry) to find something to please them both. 

I had mine with zucchini pie and fresh homegrown tomatoes. A finer combination couldn’t be desired.