Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Cider Review: Eden Specialty Ciders' Deep Cut Harvest Cider

I was thrilled to get a surprise package from Eden Cider last week. Cider mail is my favorite mail, and the timing was perfect. I had hopes it would be the two new canned varieties Deep Cut and Peak Bloom. Lo and behold, it was! My dinner plans for the night were already set to be special, because it was release day for my co-taster’s new album! This cider arrival guaranteed a celebration!

Here’s a link to Seeming’s new album:

 I’ve reviewed many Eden ciders before. In several of those reviews, you can find more background information on this apple-centric northern Vermont cidery. This cidery is a favorite of mine.

Here are my previous reviews

Extra Sec:


Siren Song:

Imperial 11 Degree Rose (my number one cider of 2017):

Heritage canned cider:

Sparkling Dry:

2016 Sparkling Dry:

Brut Nature:

You can learn about all of Eden’s ciders on the website:

I’ll share the full profile, as the Eden website gives lots of info on these ciders.

PROFILE: Dry, hazy, full-bodied

APPLE VARIETIES: Golden Russet • Somerset Redstreak • Dabinett • Yarlington Mill • McIntosh • Empire


GROWN BY: Eden Orchards, Poverty Lane Orchards, Scott Farm, Sunrise Orchards, Windfall Orchard

METHOD: Slow cold fermentation, unfiltered, carbonated and pasteurized.

TASTING NOTES: peach, black tea, citrus

PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: fried chicken, tacos, grilled anything

6.2% ABV | 0g/L residual sugar 12oz | 244/case

Serving Size: 1 can | Calories per serving: 120 | Carbs: 0g = 0CARB Gluten free, vegan friendly

Great Lakes International Cider Competition Gold Medal Winner 2019

Appearance: opaque, creamed honey, warm straw

I was so surprised to see a cloudy cider when I poured the Deep Cut, because I associate Eden with brilliant ciders with champagne-like bubbles, but then I realized how much sense it makes for a canned cider to be hazy or cloudy. It is cloudy—totally opaque, like creamed honey or peach nectar

This is a harvest cider made with less intervention and presented in a casual way. The color reminds me of creamed honey or applesauce. You could call it warm straw. 

Aromas: bread, oranges, live cider fermentation

The Deep Cut smells like bread, oranges, and actively fermenting cider still in the tank. These aromas are very appley. I get other notes too, like  light white flowers. My overall impression is springy, clean, and fresh. All of the notes are smooth and rounded. Nothing is harsh or spiky, but still I get a salivary reaction.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry but fruity

As all of the descriptions of the Deep Cut promised, this is a dry yet fruity cider. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acidity, medium high tannins, very fruity, complex and balanced

The Deep Cut is not a cider with just one taste. This cider brings high acid, well structured medium tannins, and pleasant sparkle.It’s dry, but so fruity; I keep tasting green apple and pineapple. This cider comes across in three phases of flavor, I get a zesty tropical first taste, citrus on the middle palate, and a floral finish with a little honey. This cider is complex.

Sweetness is suggested throughout but never voiced. It’s freaking wonderful.

I’m always looking for ciders that bring both tannins and acidity, but it’s really something beyond my expectations when I get those things with interest and grit but no harshness. This cider drinks like a dream.

Eden’s pairing suggestions were not really in line with our plans, but this was a delightful cider with a summer vegetable galette. We loaded the crust with cheddar and filled the pie with zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. The cider’s acidity and substance lifted all the layers of the meal beautifully. What a treat! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Cider Review: UWE Sunny Summer and Stoked Cider Company Blue Palm

I got caught in a thunderstorm yesterday evening while walking home from a local ice-cream spot. My ice cream was long gone, and it had been a hot day; I welcomed the thunderstorm.  I doubt that I’m the only one who considers getting caught out in a cool rain a must-do summer activity. We’ve reached the point in the season that it’s time to reach for the Summer pleasures with both hands. 

Make your tomato pies; grill those peaches; go wading in the creek. All too soon, we’ll be trading in these brilliant long evenings for crisp views of the harvest moon. On the one hand, I’m ready for fall, but until it actually arrives, I’ll be filling my evenings with as many special summer treats as I can.

This logic led me to this week’s ciders: UWE Sunny Summer and Stoked Cider Company Blue Palm.

Let’s start with a cider that Alex brought back from his trip to the Netherlands last fall, UWE Sunny Summer.

You can visit the company online and learn about the ciders in Dutch or English:

Here's how the cidery describes it, “Sunny Summer is a summery apple cider made from English cider apple varieties supplemented with Dutch apple varieties such as Elstar. A smooth thirst quencher that you can drink with ice. 5% ABV”

I know cider with ice is more accepted in Europe, but I am choosing no ice.

Appearance: ginger orange, brilliant, bubbly

This looks more like a UK cider than most american ciders. The color reminds me of orange and ginger. It’s brilliant with a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. 

Aromas: sweet, peachy, slightly metallic

My first impression of the Sunny Summer is that it smells like sweet acidity. It’s reasonable to ask how something can smell like acidity. In this case, the cider has the barest hint of volatile acidity, but it’s mild enough such that it smells like warm and tangy peaches.  The aroma starts to shade into something a bit metallic or a bit twangy,  but it’s still mostly fruity. 

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

This tastes very sweet and fruity. The sweetness specifically reminds me of french ciders, but I’m confident that this isn’t a keeved cider. I think the similarity has other sources, which I’ll explain in the next section.

Flavors and drinking experience: low acid, soft fruit, sweet, short finish

Different indeed! The Sunny Summer’s first impression is one of soft, cooked fruit. The low acidity always comes as a surprise to me because most of the ciders I taste have very high acidity. This is also quite a tannic cider. That combination of sweetness, high tannins, and low acid create a French cider inspired vibe. 

While this cider would be very surprising to many American cider drinkers because its style is so different, it’s totally drinkable. The apple flavors are rich and nice. I’ll call the level of sparkle medium. The finish is quick and clean.

I had mine with a remarkably good pesto bean salad. It was a lovely pairing.

Next up, Stoked Cider Company’s Blue Palm.

I don’t know a lot about Stoked Cider, but I get the impression that the company s invested in associating the cider with California, outdoor activities, health and the beach. I had to do a little searching to find out who founded Stoked Cider, but Cider Scene came through for me! The cider was founded by Mark McTavish. 

You can see for yourself at:

Here’s how Stoked Cider describes the Blue Palm. 

Hop on this cider whale and cruise your way to flavor island. This is a juicy hop monster, refreshingly dry with a burst of tropical fruit and fragrant west coast hops. We crafted this cider for bikini babes, big wave surfers, and hop heads who enjoy a healthier buzz. Dry hopped with Mosaic hops, then blended with fresh blueberries and pineapples. Dive right in and get your hair wet, then stick your feet in the sand and sip till you sway like a lazy palm bending with the sea breeze. 6.9% ABV

While I am not one of those categories of folks for whom this cider was created, I’m excited to taste it.

Appearance: hazy, no visible bubbles, cerise

The color reminds me of cerise or cherry. It’s just on that luscious line between pink and red. The cider looks hazy, and I don’t see any bubbles.

Aromas: blueberry, stones, peaches, minerals

The Blue Palm smells stony and like blueberries to me. There’s some apple but there’s more minerality and other fruit, mostly blueberries and peaches. I don’t get much in the way of hops but the cider has a pleasantly boozy smell.
Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry
This is a fruity semi-dry cider.
Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, hoppy, citrus, pineapple
The Blue Palm is tasty and easy. This high acid cider zings with citrus, and hop notes. I can taste the hops more than I could smell them. There’s not as much blueberry and apple as I expected from this cider’s aromas, but some pineapple speaks up in the fruity blend. The Blue Palm offers nice medium strength bubbles and a pleasingly full body.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Cider Review Raven's Moon Craft Cider's Hopped Apple Plum Cider and Stormalong Cider's Esopus Spitzenburg

We’ll reach the Autumnal Equinox in a little more than a month. Tiny spider webs appear daily all over the grasses and hedges. As my mom would say, the green on the trees has become darker or more opaque. Apples are ripening, and next year’s cider will start fermenting soon! Time to reach into my cellar for one extra summery cider and one more can that I want to drink while it’s super fresh.

I want to start with Raven's Moon Hopped Apple Plum Cider. 

This canadian cidery/winery was founded in 2004 in British Columbia, and the farm produces wine, cider, and distilled fruit spirits. George and Quinn make 15 different varieties, all with local fruit. I was able to snag my bottle of Hopped Apple Plum Cider after a cider competition last year. This will be my first review of anything they’ve made.

You can read more about the cidery and winery online:

Here’s how Raven’s Moon describes the Hopped Apple Plum Cider.

A complete and unique cider created by the mad scientist that is George crafted by a blend of 3 different estate grown Japanese plums and BC cider apples, then dry hopped with a blend of BC grown cascade, centennial, and Chinook hops. George has created a great complex cider with wonderful floral notes and citrus aromas. The subtle hops flavours merge seamlessly with the lush plum profile making this cider completely interesting and a delightful flavour experience. 500ml 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: bubbly, bright goldenrod, brilliant

The Hopped Apple Plum cider foams and bubbles like a magical potion! The color reminds me of Goldenrod. It’s totally brilliant, which just shows off the sparkle even more.  

Aromas: cranberry, hops, apple, plum, and soap

This cider smells like it’s going to have high acidity. The initial impression is one of cranberry, but with a roundness comprising both the hops and the plum. I find the smell very appealing: sweet and luscious. There’s an element in the hops that does remind me a bit of clean soap.

Sweetness/dryness: dry!

I’m shocked! I thought that the Hopped Apple Plum Cider would have some sweetness based on its aroma notes, but it tastes much drier than anticipated.This is a dry cider!

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, hoppy, super bubbly, grapefruit zest

Whoa acidity! Even before I fully know how this cider tastes, the acid is obvious. The Hopped Apple Plum cider has extremely high acid. The hops, plum, and apple elements are all pronounced and distinct.  I taste the hops as herbal, almost chewy. I love how amazingly bubbly this cider is—it pours with a tall and persistent head.  I get notes of pine needles from the hops as well.  This cider offers up a nice big mouthfeel.  I appreciate the gently lingering bitterness—grapefruit zest, with a suggestion of sweetness—but not the presence of sweetness.  The plum hints are lovely and subtle with a slightly blueberry-ish flavor.

I picked this cider to go with my summer corn chowder because I knew it would be seasonally appropriate, and it was perfect! And thank you again for making this cider such a sparkler! I love strong bubbles.

Next up, Stormalong Cider’s Esopus Spitzenburg.

This is another in the rare apple series and part of the Heirloom variety pack. I’ve been mowing through the selection just because I want to nerd out about special apple varieties. None of these are single varietal ciders, but the blends highlight the named apple. This whole pack was shared with me for review, and I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve tried thus far.  

You can visit Stormalong online:

I’ve reviewed a growing number of Stormalong’s ciders. Here’s the list.

Ashmead’s Kernel:


Legendary Dry:

Kingston Black:

Light of the Sun:

Mass Appeal:

Boston Heirloom:

Here’s the official description from Stormalong: 


FLAVOR: Bright acidity with a smooth tannic finish

APPLES: Made with a blend of Esopus Spitzenburg, Calville Blanc d'hiver, Chisel Jersey, Ribston Pippin, Dabinett, and Golden Russet apple varieties 7.4% ABV

Appearance: brilliant, deep squash blossom yellow, almost no visible bubbles

Aromas: applesauce, golden raisins, hint of tartness

The Esopus Spitzenburg smells delicious! There’s a mellow overripe apple character that reminds me of home-cooked applesauce. The cider is rich and concentrated like golden raisins. I think it might end up being a bit tart based on the aromas as well. 

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

Another fabulous dry cider, thank you Stormalong!

Flavors and drinking experience: tannins, acidity, balanced, rich, overripe apples

I’ve enjoyed each of these ciders, but this has to be my favorite thus far. The Esopus Spitzenburg brings beautiful tannins and exciting acidity to the table.  I love how dry and drinkable this is! This cider cider comes across as richly appley and balanced. Totally clean fermentation. It’s medium sparkling and pleasantly aromatic. This is a cider that’s sophisticated and grown up, but very friendly and approachable. 

I had this cider with a zucchini and yellow squash pesto pasta and fresh mozzarella. The freshness of the summer produce was a wonderful contrast for the ripe and luscious fruit character of this cider. I’d happily have that pairing again and again; it was such a delight!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Cider Review: Mountain West Cider's Sweet Alice and Black Diamond Cider's Shin-Hollow Sparkling Cider

I’m ready for Fall. That might sound crazy, especially to all of those who love Summer and sunshine. It’s just been dry and hot here for long enough that I crave something different. More than anything, I crave circumstances that would allow for seeing friends and enjoying life like we did before the pandemic. That’s not happening anytime soon, so I’ll crave the crisp nights of late summer and early fall. I’ll think about harvests, especially the upcoming apple harvest.

I’m starting today with a cider that combines elements that I associate with both Summer and Fall. I was able to make a cider trade and get Mountain West Cider’s Sweet Alice (Sweet Peach and Turmeric).

Mountain West Cider comes from Utah. The cidery is owned by Jennifer and Jeff Carleton, and the cider maker is the both wine and cider experienced Jeff Goodwillie. I have just a couple earlier reviews of Mountain West Ciders:

Here’s where to find Mountain West online:   

Mountain West Cider’s official description really makes their goal for this cider clear,
If you're looking for a hard cider that’s as sophisticated as our other ciders but just a little sweeter, this is it. We took our sweet time experimenting to create what we think is the perfect blend of apples, peaches, and a hint of turmeric - which is what’s made Sweet Alice the unapologetic sweet and spicy lady she is. Pairs well with upscale parties, laid-back gatherings, outdoor adventures, and everything in between. 6.9% ABV
Very helpful! I only wish it said more about the apple varieties included.

Appearance: nectarine color, brilliant, few bubbles

This vivid cider is totally brilliant with color that reminds me of ripe nectarine flesh. It does look almost peachy, which makes a great deal of sense for a peach blended cider. There are just a few visible bubbles but not a dramatic show of them.

Aromas: vivid aroma, peach, apple, banana, spice and tea

Yum! What a range of intense and enticing smells I get lots of aromas from this cider the moment I crack the can. Drifts of peach notes reach out! They are more like like fizzy peach cocktail or a dessert that uses peaches rather than orchard fresh fruit. I also get plenty of apple, banana, tea and spice notes. It’a a very clean and fruity medley.

Sweetness/Dryness: Semi-sweet

This was my moment of surprise with this cider. From both the description and the aromas I was expecting something pronouncedly sweet. It actually is not that way at all. Yes, it’s sweet but not too much at all. Everything is in balance, but not necessarily in the direction I expected.

Flavors and drinking experience: tea, tannins, high acid, peachy, spicy

The Sweet Alice tastes more of turmeric than I thought it would. The spice contributes some tea notes and flattens the acidity.  The cider tastes sweet, but not troublingly so. I’m surprised and pleased by the high tannins and medium-high acid—like a rich fermented peach. Something about the acidity communicates as a dark rich flavor not like citric or malic acid. 

This cider brings tots of fruit flavor too: thick with peach nectar. The whole drinking experience is pleasantly substantial. I appreciate how the apple and peach notes are always accompanied by  cinnamon, turmeric, and spicy notes. I think the cider tastes best from the can.  

The whole experience is lovely.

And now for Black Diamond’s Shin-Hollow!

I am so sorry for sharing notes on a cider that can no longer be purchased! I bought mine a long while ago and saved it for a couple of years before finally cracking it open. What I will say though is that everything that Black Diamond produces is interesting. If this whets your appetite, order one of their current dry sparklers. 

At Black Diamond, Ian Merwin and Chris Negronida make the ciders. I encourage you to read back into my earliest reviews of the cidery for more background information.

Here is the rundown of all earlier reviews for Black Diamond!



Here’s how Black Diamond’s Shin-Hollow is described by the makers.

Shin Hollow Cider is a naturally effervescent blend of our last picked tree-ripened apples each year. Its made from Porters Perfection - an old English bittersweet apple cherished for its velvety tannins -, Albemarle Pippin, Winesap, Arkansas Black, GoldRush, Golden Russet and Ashmeads Kernel. It is off-dry, with aromas of russet apples, vanilla and other spices. Since this cider is bottle conditioned, some yeast lees sediment is expected. Decanting the chilled cider will keep those lees undisturbed while serving. ABV 7.5%

Reading online also clued me in to the fact that Shin-Hollow was made with apples harvested in 2015. 

Appearance: hazy, bubbly warm straw

This cider looks utterly beguiling with it’s soft haze and plethora of bubbles. The color reminds me of sun-bleached grasses at the end of summer.

Aromas: overripe apples, warm, mellow, hay

I am simply gobsmacked by these aromas. Black Diamond knows how to bring rich, mellow, overripe apple smells to the forefront! Oh this is luscious! It’s fermented but not funky, mellow, and reminds me just a bit of warm hay.

Dryness/Sweetness: Dry!

As promised, this is a dry cider, just like I prefer.

Flavors and drinking experience:  bubbly, tannic, super high acid, grassy 

The Shin-Hollow is zingy, sappy, and super high acid. I love how pointed the acid tastes. It drives the flavor along with the generous tannins and concentrated golden fruit notes with floral, herbal, and grassy hints all playing around the edges.

This naturally sparkling cider has super strong bubbles. I love that. I’ll call it clean but complex. Shin-hollow has great mouthfeel with both bubbly lightness and cider intensity. The whole experience is beautifully balanced with a lingering finish that gives me hints of all sorts of autumnal smells to come.