Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cider Review: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Afton Field and James Creek Ciderhouse Harvest Moon

This is my last post before the Summer Solstice, and I can barely make sense of that idea! The weather doesn’t feel summery, and I am not ready to be headed toward longer nights and shorter days. Enough of my fretting though, the seasons circle around and the weather does what it will do. What I can muster is appreciation the lovely long spring we’ve had, and enthusiastic participation in the warm weather fun that I know is coming.

I’ve reviewed quite a few 2 Towns Ciders, but the Ciderhouse’s offerings are so different, I want to showcase the variety. 

Most recently, La Mûre knocked my socks off: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/02/cider-review-albemarle-ciderworks.html

Fighting winter vibes is easy with the Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, a lemon and raspberry cider:

I loved The Cidre Bouche; it’s my favorite of anything they’ve made. It made my top 10 of 2017: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/11/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouses-cidre.html

During Very Perry May last year I tried the Pearadise:

I tried the Pineapple because I am enraptured by that fruit: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Speaking of enrapturing fruit, The rhubarb and hops of The Hop and Stalk was delicious: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-hop-and.html

I reviewed the Bright Cider as part of a travel roundup: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-roundup-common-cider-co.html

The  2 Towns Ciderhouse Website has tons more info about the company and all the ciders: https://2townsciderhouse.com/

Here’s 2 Towns Ciderhouse’s description for Afton Field.
AMERICAN FARMHOUSE CIDER~ Oregon grown crab and heirloom apples ~ ~ Fermented with wild yeast strains ~ ~ Aged in oak barrels ~  
Inspired by farmhouse ciders of the pioneer West, Afton Field is a testament to the tenacity of these settlers and their enduring orchards. Fresh-pressed, hand-picked Wickson crab, Newtown Pippin and other pioneer apple varieties are fermented, aged in oak barrels, and bottle conditioned with wild Brettanomyces yeast. Bone dry, unfiltered and uncompromising, this farmhouse cider is wild at heart and at home on the rustic table. 6.9% ABV

Appearance: Hazy, warm straw, no visible bubbles

This cider looks like a wild ferment! It’s cloudy, straw colored and shows no bubbles.

Aromas: Funky, barnyard, cheesy, musty, 

This wild cider is funky! I get mild hints of apple and citrus, but much more than that this cider smells of barnyard and farmhouse cheese. It’s a bit reductive and very tart smelling.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This cider certainly is dry! The crab apple tartness and Brettanoyces sourness amp up the perception of dryness.

Flavors and drinking experience: oaky, lemon, bready, tart and astringent

The Afton Field tastes much fruitier than it smelled. To taste it, I got waves of lemon, ripe apple, and sourdough yeastiness. It’s a zesty astringent cider with acid going sky high. It’s very true to a sour farmhouse style. I had this with colleagues and fun snacks; it worked that way. 

Now for the James Creek Cider House Harvest Moon!

I’ve not reviewed anything by James Creek before, but I had the pleasure of meeting folks from there at CiderCon 2018. From North Carolina, James Creek Ciderhouse makes ciders from local farms from 125 miles or fewer of the home base. James Creek put in an on site orchard in 2009 with over 65 different apple varieties. I was given a bottle of the James Creek Harvest Moon Dry Cider back in 2018, so this review is long overdue.

Visit this Ciderhouse’s website https://jamescreekciderhouse.com/

Appearance: marigold yellow, very bubbly,  brilliant

Gushingly bubbly, I can see explosive sparkle action once I pour this cider. I’ll call the color marigold yellow. 

Aromas: Apple skins, apple pastry, mouth watering

The Harvest Moon smells like apple skins and apple pastry. Ooh this lush aroma makes my mouth water. Yeast smells can very so much, so when I get one that hits fruity and fresh like this, I get excited.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This cider tastes dry as promised, but there’s a lot more going on there. 

Flavors and drinking experience: overripe apples, tangerine, tea, floral finish

I love how the Harvest Moon tastes likes overripe apples, tangerines, and tea. This cider brings lots of acid to the drinking experience. The Harvest Moon is refreshing and approachable with a  light body and plenty of fizz. I especially like the crab apple sharpness to the acid. The cider winds down gently with long floral finish.

I had this cider with a meal of chili lime sweet potato fries, brown bread topped with butter and radishes and some excellent Field Roast sausages. It was followed by game of Scrabble; sadly, I didn’t win. But the cider and the evening were both fantastic.