Monday, August 29, 2022

Cider Review: Peak Light Cider's Farm School

All I want is flowers. It's ridiculous. This craving feels like it belongs to springtime and just wandered into my brain by mistake. Nonetheless, what brings me joy right now is Cosmos, Zinnia, Spider Plant, Mums, Coneflowers, Mayweed, and Sunflowers.  Please just stick me in a garden with a plate of cheese and a cider; I’ll come back in a few weeks, I promise. 

For right now I want to share Peak Light Cider’s Farm School. I got to sip this cider with friends and brunch on the screen porch. What a lovely way to enjoy a cider.

Peak Light Cider comes to us from Sauvie Island in Oregon. The farm is biodynamic and organic. The cidery was founded by Jen and Travis Lovejoy. Here’s how Peak Light Cider introduces the cidery.

This isn’t just cider. This is a farm to bottle experience of organically grown apples hand-picked at peak ripeness. Where honeybees dance and gatherings are queen. Where days are spent outdoors, dirtying hands, laughing, swapping stories, and staying for supper. Because community is more than who you know, what we drink matters, and every glass feels like coming home.

Peak Light Cider has only had one previous review. I checked out the Field Run:

I recommend visiting Peak Light Cider’s website to learn more about the cider and its offerings:

Here’s the cider’s official description.

This cider is a creation of collaboration and partnership with Wombat Flats Farm on Kiger Island, Oregon. This limited release cider from the 2020 harvest blends traditional bittersweet and bittersharp apples, including Yarlington Mill, Brown Snout, Muscadet de Dieppe, Vilberie, and Porter’s Perfection. Aromas of molasses and tilled loam soil with notes of chestnut and buckwheat honey. This bitter cider pairs well with radicchio salad and fresh baked bread with herbed butter.

It honors an Autumn of social distancing from broader communities, while coliving with dear friends, homeschooling and working together on the family farm. How bittersweet it is! Enjoy. Preferably with friends or family and some afterglow.

Appearance: warm apricot, brilliant, bubbly

Farm School poured with a bit of mousse all the way through the bottle. There’s that much bubble to see! The color reminds me of mango, tea, or apricot with a medium intensity and a gentle warmth. The cider’s clarity is brilliant.

Aromas: Overripe mushy apple, caramel, spice. 

The farm school smells like fall to me. The predominant note is overripe soft apples. Secondarily I get hints of caramel that make me think of barrels and just a hint of oxidation. There’s also a little baking spice in the grace notes.

Dryness/Sweetness: Dry

This is a dry cider. If you want a great example of a cider that will help you differentiate between acidity and tannins, this is super clear example. Read on for more.

Flavors and drinking experience: very tannic, medium acidity, barrel quality, boozy
I love how the Farm School tastes. This is a mature cider that’s at ease with its dry, very tannic profile. It has medium acidity to my palate, but I’d be curious what folks who primarily drink west coast ciders would say. There are still caramel notes like were present in the aroma, but they rise and swell without sweetness. The cider’s fruity appley mid-palate folds into a slightly boozy barrelly finish. There’s just a bit of funk, but not much.

Overall the Farm school is a cider with big full flavors but with a gentle smooth transition through every moment of the tasting experience. It was a wonderful pairing with coconut spice muffins, late summer vegetable frittata, and vegetarian chorizo. What a treat!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Cider Review: Angry Orchard's Newtown Pippin Traditional Method

Last week I was able to take a few days for a cider trip down to the Hudson Valley. It was finally time for my sensory retake of the Certified Pommelier Exam. The timing worked out amazingly so I could also visit Treasury Cider ( for a meet up with New York Cider Association members and tour Angry Orchard’s Walden Orchard and research cidery ( What made it sweetest of all is that my darling partner (He’s called The Tall One here) passed his Cider Certified Professional Level One exam shortly before, so he got to take the Pommelier test as well.  

Here’s a link to learn more about the American Cider Association’s Certified Pommelier program:

That’s why I chose to review one of my special Walden Cidery offerings from Angry Orchard to review this week. I’m so happy to share my thoughts on Angry Orchard’s Newtown Pippin! Full disclosure, this cider was shared with me by some cider friends who work for Angry Orchard.

Here are a few of my earlier Angry Orchard reviews:


Understood in Motion 2:

Understood in Motion 3: this collaboration with Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider (this was my #6 cider of 2018):

Wooden Sleeper:

Spiced Apple:





You can learn more about what Angry Orchard is up to, including a new series of cider-based cocktails inspired by tall tales:

This cider is the Single Varietal Newtown Pippin Traditional Method. Here’s what Angry Orchard has to say about this particular cider.

Newtown Pippin 

Using only the Newtown Pippin apple this cider is tart and dry with notes of apple skins and wild honey. 6.8% ABV. 750 mL bottle.

Appearance: bubbly, ripe straw, transparent

This looks glowy and inviting with a color reminiscent of ripe straw. The Newtown Pippin pours with an aromatic mousse of bubbles.  

Aromas: Intense, breadcrumbs, champagne

I love how strong the Newtown Pippin’s aromas are. I could smell this cider as soon as I popped the cork. It’s bread crumbly, yeasty, and has a very champagne-like aroma. It reminds me of ripe grapefruit and white grapes.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a lovely dry cider. If you think Angry Orchard cannot make a dry cider, please try some of the special offerings from the Walden facility. This team can do it!

Flavors and drinking experience: intense sparkle, clean, pear, grapefruit, medium high acid

Nice! The Newtown Pippin is blowing me away. I’m such a fan of this. The first impression is how super bubbly it is. This cider brings a awesome intensity of sparkle from that second fermentation. The Newtown Pippin doesn’t really go for tannins but it offers medium high acidity and a beautiful fresh and clean fermentation. 

The flavors I notice early are pear, grapefruit and buttery breadcrumbs. The citrus that I noticed in the cider’s aroma remains. It’s all very golden, crisp, and polished. The body strikes me a lithe  but subtly rounded! The cider is so very pleasing.

I had this with a sweet corn ravioli in a blush tomato sauce with sauteed yellow squash, stripey tomatoes, and a red pepper. The pairing was delightful. The Newtown Pippin’s bubbles had a zesty cleaning effect between creamy pasta bites. 

The Pommelier test was challenging, and I won’t know how we did for a few weeks yet, so I’ll just share a few tour pictures in the meantime. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Cider Review: Eden Cider's Cobble Knoll Petillant Natural 2021 and GLINTCAP Results

We’ve entered the tumultuous end of summer and back-to-school gauntlet. I see spiderwebs each morning, and leaves are showing the darkest opaque green, even showing some veins of red or gold in places. Fall is coming, so it doesn’t feel like it was only a month ago when I last reviewed an Eden cider. Then days were sweltering in the 90s, and now I’m reaching for a lap blanket and hot coffee for my mornings. I love this shift. It fills me with energy and reminds me of the magic in nature.

This is what prompted me to reach for Eden Cider’s Cobble Knoll Petillant Natural 2021. I love Eden Ciders and Pet Nats, plus they are meant to be enjoyed promptly. If you’re not familiar with how a pet nat is made, here’s a link: Pet Nat is a cider for the moment; don’t ask the moment to last, just enjoy it when it comes.

Here are all of my previous reviews of Eden Ciders, including a super recent one from last month. If you’re looking for more background information on this cidery, many of these can tell you plenty about this apple-centered Vermont cidery.


Oliver’s Twist Foxwhelp Cider:

Brut Rose:


Deep Cut:

Peak Bloom:


Extra Sec:

Eden Heritage Cider:

Siren Song:

Brut Nature:

Imperial 11 Degree Rose:

Sparkling Dry:

The Sparkling Dry featured in Thanksgiving & Birthday celebrations in 2016:

You can visit Eden Cidery online to learn about the harvest ciders, aperitifs, and ice ciders that Eden Cider makes:

Here’s what Eden shares with us about this cider. 

Cobble Knoll Pet Nat 2021

Clean, crisp, and so refreshing! Cobble Knoll is a Petillant Naturel made from apples entirely from our newest orcharding partner of the same name. Cobble Knoll has a lively, fruity acidity imbued with flavors of white flowers, wet stone, and green mango.

Cider Character: Dry, Naturally Sparkling

Apple Varieties: Ellis Bitter, Dabinett, Brown Snout, Wickson, Newtown Pippin, St Edmonds Russet, Calville Blanc, Ashmead's Kernel, Pine Golden, and Sweet Coppin

Harvest Date: September 2021

Release Date: June 2022

Elevage: Native yeast fermented, bottled during primary fermentation for natural carbonation. Nothing added.

Tasting Notes: Green mango, white flowers, wet stone. Drink 2022

7.5% ABV | 0g residual sugars | 750mL

Only 70 cases produced

Appearance: intense goldenrod yellow, brilliant, very bubbly

The cider’s petillance reveals itself with the plentiful cute tiny bubbles ascending in my glass. I appreciate the appealingly intense goldenrod color. 

Aromas: Peach, lemon, lemongrass, stones

Oh what smells! The Cobble Knoll reminds me of Peaches, lemons and lemongrass. I also get a strong mineral quality that reminds me of dry stones. I’m anticipating some very angular acid based on what notes are coming through.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

It's a dry cider. Pet Nat will be dry based on how it's made. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannin, very high acid, bubbly with mild funk

The Cobble Knoll starts with zingy high acid, high tannin, and a little funk. This cider is  everything but sweet. To the contrary it’s quite dry, but the peach notes carry a fruitiness to the fore. Some mild funk is present but under control, just barely. The bubbles just bring the Cobble Hill to life for me!

As I sip this cider bubble, tannin and farminess interaction dynamically, and the whole experience is carried by acids. The cider is bright and warm at once. In big sips there’s a slightly green buzzy, herbal finish. Some folks might find this one a challenge but ultimately it’s a delightful one.

And now for 2022 GLINTCAP results. We have full medal information for the world’s largest cider competition, and you can check them out at the link below.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Cider Review: Stormalong Cider's Pearmain Quince

When I last reviewed a Stormalong cider, I was celebrating the tiny victory of being able to enjoy a lunch break outside. Now, I’m hoping we’ll not see any more days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the rest of the year. For so long, I was unsure that Spring and Summer would actually arrive. The warm season did come through; now I’m surrounded by corn, tomatoes, and panting dogs (and people). And I’m happy to have the chance to try Stormalong Cider’s Pearmain Quince on a recent steamy evening. 

Stormalong Cider comes from Sherborn, Massachusetts. Shannon Edgar founded the company in 2014. You can find more background on this cidery in earlier posts about Stormalong Ciders. Many thanks for this review sample. 

Here’s a thorough rundown of my previous Stormalong reviews. 


White Mountain Magic:

Bittersweet Symphonie:

Wicked Little Wickson:


Happy Holidays:

Esopus Spitzenburg:

Ashmead’s Kernel:


Legendary Dry:

Kingston Black:

Light of the Sun:

Mass Appeal:

Boston Heirloom:

Visit Stormalong Cider online to see current releases and learn more about this Massachusetts cidery:

The Pearmain Quince is a new cider that’s part of the Rare Apple Series.Here’s how Stormalong describes the project. 

This 2nd edition Heirloom Variety Pack includes a mix of four distinct, dry ciders made with heirloom apples grown in New England. These apples are grown on small orchards and then carefully fermented, aged and blended into the small batches created for this sampler.

To us apples are to cider as grapes are to wine. As part of our Rare Apple Series, each of the four blends showcase the unique flavors that true cider apples can bring to the table. Enjoy like a fine wine or champagne.

And about the Pairmain Quince particularly. 


FLAVOR: Crisp, rich and full-bodied with notes of honeysuckle, pear and pineapple.

APPLES: Made with Quince and a blend of Blue Pearmain, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Esopus Spitzenburg, Calville Blanc, and Franklin cider apples.

FOOD PAIRING: Pairs well with richer meats like barbecue pulled pork, pork belly, and roast chicken.

Appearance: Unknown. But bubbly.

Confession time: I drank this straight from the can. In my defense, it was more than 92 degrees outside.

Aromas: overripe apple, melon, yeast, 

Enticing! The Pearmain Quince smells Instantly fruity but not too sweet. Specifically I get lots of overipe apple and melon notes. I’m betting this will be a cider with zesty fruity acids. There was also some mellowness and yeast in the aromas that I associate with certain heritage apple varieties; it's certainly enough to pique my curiosity even higher!

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This is a semi-dry cider with some awesome honeyed fruit sweetness. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Savory, Dark, Bitter, Apricot, Acid 

The Pearmain Quince taste bitter, dark, and honeyed without being very sweet. The flavor profile strikes me as mature, mellow, and savory. Two of the most notable flavore are melon and tomato. I’m drinking this cider a little warmer than I usually enjoy ciders, but it still tastes utterly fantastic like this. I love it’s tiny element of mushroom funk in the overall fruity palette. It strikes me as a cider that connotes all things ripe, growing, and vibrant. It’s almost sweaty, but cleanly so. My co-taster described it as pleasantly dangerous. 

The cider is petillant with medium levels of tannins and fruity acidity. These things are opened up with low but not absent levels of sweetness. After a few more sips, I get an apricot mid-palate and an aftertaste of lemon and salt. The mouthfeel is very juicy and aquatic. What a fun cider!

The Rare Apple series has never disappointed me and this new iteration is no exception!

Monday, August 1, 2022

Cider Review: 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Two Berry Dream

Summer can be a time of simple pleasures: fireflies, popsicles, and movies with big explosions. This weekend my highlights included reading a good book, naps, and a picnic on a beautiful day. And when offered the chance to try a berry and lime cider from 2 Town Ciderhouse, it was a simple decision for me to say yes!

Many thanks to 2 Towns for sharing samples of the Two Berry Dream cider with me for review. The towns referred to in this cidery’s name are Portland and Corvallis, Oregon. The cidery started out with two locations early on, hence the name. You can find more background info on this quintessentially Pacific Northwest Cidery in some of my previous 2 Towns reviews.  

Here are all of my earlier 2 Towns reviews. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to try anything by them; there’s just not quite the access to far-distant cider these days. 

10th Anniversary Cider Pacific Northwest Heirloom Blend:

Good Limes Roll:

Cosmic Currant:

Hollow Jack’d:

Afton Field:

La Mûre:

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy:

Cidre Bouche:



Bright Cider:

Hop and Stalk:

You can visit 2 Towns Ciderhouse online here and find out about all of their ciders and events:

Here’s the official description for the Two Berry Dream, “Tangy & Fresh, we’re coming at you with the ultimate crushable-thirst-quenching cider.  Enter Two Berry Dream, a cider full of Northwest blueberries, currants, and tons of zesty key lime. Grab a can, sit in the sun, and let the daydreams begin. 5.3% ABV."

Appearance: brilliant, mulberry, no visible bubbles

I love the intense purple-pink color of this cider. I think it’s best described as mulberry, though it certainly connects to both blueberry and black currant juices without being as cloudy or dark as they can be. It's a transparent or brilliant cider with virtually no visible bubbles. 

Aromas: cranberry, black currants, blackberries, apple

This cider reminds me of a dark berry punch. It smells like cranberry, black currants, blackberries, and apple, but no lime. The aroma makes my mouth water. I love berries.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This cider is both sweet and tart! 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acidity, black currant, apple, lime, cranberry

What a fun treat! I enjoy the Two Berry Dream easily and immediately. It’s super sessionable! This cider has low-but-present tannins probably from the black currant. I think the acidity is high with non-apple acid, but interestingly my co-taster didn’t perceive the acidity as nearly as vibrantly present as I did. 

I can taste both blackcurrant and lime, but I don’t detect a lot of blueberry flavor. The lime comes out  particularly in the finish. The apple is present but it remains in the background. Other flavor notes include cranberry, flowers, and minerals. 

What I appreciate most about it has to do with its balance of bright yet dark flavors. I like it very much and would buy this regularly if I could. The cider is excellently well-balanced and integrated. The Two Berry Dream has a relatively low level of sparkle for those who are sensitive to too many bubbles.  

I enjoyed this cider with the simple pleasure of corn on the cob, and it was utterly delightful.