Monday, March 27, 2023

Cider Review: Albemarle Ciderworks Brut d'Albermarle Harrison

Spring comes in fits and starts, but I’ve felt its approach even in the wet days of mud and breezes this past week. Today the sun shone as the wind blew the cobwebs from my mind. It was a perfect day to trek about in the woods, and I’m so grateful that I was able to make the most of it. Sometimes you just have to cancel all of your indoor plans and be outside. Though cider tastes divine in all sorts of weather, there’s nothing better than enjoying bliss and adding cider to the experience. 

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Albemarle Ciderworks Brut d'Albermarle Harrison.

I don’t have as many earlier reviews of Albemarle Ciders as I’d like, but here’s the list. 


Ragged Mountain:

Royal Pippin:

Pomme Mary:

Visit Albemarle online here to learn about the current line up:

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much additional information online about the Brut D'Albemarle Harrison. I was able to get some info from the bottle. 

Fermented in the Methode Traditionelle, this bottle conditioned Cidre Bouche is sparkling, spritely, and delightfully effervescent on the palate. It makes a celebratory toast entirely special. Dry and complex, it is an elegant accompaniment to most foods. Serve Chilled. Abv: 9.7%

 Appearance: shining, brilliant, bubbly, evening sun

The color reminds me of the warm evening sunlight, and the Brut D’Albemarle shines as well. The cider is alive with bubbles. It does look like champagne when poured. Lovely.

Aromas: intense, white grape, french bread and melon

What I noticed first and perhaps loved the most about the Brut D’Albemarle’s scents are how the 

aromas leapt from the bottle immediately when I opened it. The cider Looks and smells like a champagne—effervescent with white-grape and French bread smells. I loved the notes of green melon.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

As promised, the cider is dry! It’s not austere or astringent, but the dryness keeps things taut and crisp.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, buttery, tannins, nutty, white grapes, ripe apples

Heavenly. I cannot overstate how good the Brut D’Albemarle tastes. The cider is high-acid in the nicest ways. Of course, I love that the bubbles remind me of champagne with their number and size; they are the star of the show: perfectly plentiful, tiny, and excited. It offers up a complex, long and lovely finish, like a patisserie cream. The mouthfeel is creamy, full and rich. From the buttery first sip, this cider is a winner. 

The Brut D’Albemarle also shares some tannins—but nothing astringent. I found the flavors both nutty, and grapey, somehow like eating from deep in the fruit with gentle ripe apple notes. It’s all natural, exciting, surprising, and sophisticated but not austere.

My household enjoyed this cider with a lovely cheese plate, various dips, and lots of veggie crudité. What a way to celebrate the season! 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Cider Review: Two Town's Ciderhouse's The Baddie

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on 2 Towns Ciderhouse’s The Baddie. Things have gotten only marginally springier since last week, but according to the calendar it’s now Spring. I’ll believe it once I see my first daffodil. Since I’m waiting for Spring, I’m excited to enjoy the botanicals and florals that are the absolutely crucial to this newest release from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. 

I have 16(!)  previous reviews of ciders by 2 Towns Ciderhouse! I include more background in several earlier reviews, I recommend checking them out to find more about Oregon’s 2 Towns Cidery. Here’s the full list of reviews. Gosh, this makes me what to think back to which 2 Towns have been my favorites over the years!

Crimson Bliss:

Hollow Jack’d:

Two Berry Dream:

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:

2 Towns’ Ciderhouse has a website that’s a great place to learn about all the cidery’s releases and events:

There’s a whole page about The Baddie and how this cider came to be. I recommend reading the whole thing to learn about this awesome project from 2 Towns Ciderhouse benefiting the Pink Boots Society:

Here’s some info strictly about the cider. 

In order to make the cider pink and live up to its name, the R&D team added hibiscus among other floral botanicals that created an elevated cider with flair, depth, and sophistication.

I did a little inquiry to find out the full list of apples, florals and botanicals and here it is, “ Pink Lady® apples, hibiscus, rose, jasmine and chamomile.” Thanks so much for the info, Danelle!

Appearance: Coral pink, hazy, bubbly

2 Towns has created a lovely cider here. The color reminds me of spring sunrises with its coral pink hue. The cider has lots of tiny bubbles and a slight haze. 

Aromas: Sweet, grapefruit, cherry, rose, & hibiscus

Different elements of this bouquet of aromas stood out to different tasters. I noticed the rose and cherry notes along with ripe apple. My co-taster found that the grapefruit and hibiscus notes stood out more to them. Either way, it’s a smooth blend of flowers and fruit. We agreed though that there is plenty of sweetness in The Baddie’s scents.

Sweetness/Dryness: Sweet!

This is a sweet cider. It’s a fun one with plenty going on, but it’s definitely sweet.

Flavors and drinking experience:  Hibiscus, white grapes, grapefruit, hibiscus chamomile

With The Baddie, 2 Towns has created an inviting blend of sweet grapefruit, rose, hibiscus, white grapes, and chamomile. It’s easy to detect so much of what was present in the cider’s aromas in the flavors as well. I love how it’s herbal yet floral like chamomile white still also offering as much vibrant fruit flavor as one could ask for. 

I liked how the hibiscus brought some tannins and high acid to the cider. I just love the hibiscus here. What makes it really come together though is that in addition to being sweet, the Baddie is bubbly and full bodied. All in all, this cider is aiming to be fun and approachable yet with some real complexity, and it totally succeeds. We had ours with a homemade fisherman’s pie, and it was a delightful pairing. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Cider Review Greenwood Cider Co.'s Barrel-Aged Dry

Our gray and brown were temporarily replaced with a beautiful layer of snow, and as it's starting to melt snow is predicted to blanket the region again between Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ve not gotten many snows of substance this year, so I have to admit that part of me is rooting for a big enough snow to feel fully transformative to the landscape. It's always at least a little bit tense in the gray waiting hours for snowfall. More than that though, I want folks to be safe and warm. Snow may be fun for me, but it’s serious for plenty of other folks. In the meantime, I’m excited to share some notes on Greenwood Cider Co.’s Barrel-Aged Dry.

In my earlier reviews of Washington state’s Greenwood Cider Co., I’ve included a bit of additional background on the cidery. Here, I’ll quote Greenwood’s website to use their words of introduction. 

Unfiltered cider made the hard way. Founded in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle in 2015, we turn waste into resource[s] by making cider from forgotten and foraged fruits picked from around the city and deep within the Pacific Northwest forest. That approach continues today. In addition to the more standard Washington apples, we use apples from local farms, small homesteads, and abandoned orchards. We press and produce everything in the city, keeping our hands on the process from start to finish and the cider as local as possible. It's an uncompromising blend of modern tastes and traditional cidermaking.

I’ve reviewed a few Greenwood Cider Co. ciders before. Here’s the short list. 

Kingston Black:


Black Currant Asian Pear:

I recommend visiting Greenwood Cider on the web to learn about all that this company has going on:

Here’s how Greenwood Cider Co. describes the Barrel-Aged Dry.

Our signature Dry Cider blend aged for six months in bourbon barrels. Enticing aromas of green plums and vanilla are followed by bright apple acidity with a dry oak finish. 8.5% ABV. 

Appearance: brilliant, medium intensity warm straw, no visible bubbles

This mellow cider just looks tremendously inviting. I don’t see any bubbles, but I do see tremendous brilliance and a lovely warm straw color.

Aromas: barrel, hay, apple core, spicy peppers

This cider’s six months in bourbon barrels shows up emphatically in the cider’s aroma. The Barrel-Aged dry smells like butterscotch, cooked apples, apple core, and breadcrumbs. Secondarily, I notice notes of hay, hot peppers, rubber, and other elements that are either aquatic, or sharp and boozy. It’s a complex array of inviting and wild smells.

Dryness/sweetness: off dry/dry

Greenwood Cider Company has almost certainly released an actually dry cider, but barrel aging can introduce scents and flavors that can complicate the perception of sweetness. There’s enough atmosphere of butterscotch, maple and cooked fruit that it’s hard for me to fully appreciate the dryness of the cider.

Flavors and drinking experience: butterscotch, plum pudding, barrel, spicy, maple

The tall one said immediately that drinking this cider reminds him of plum pudding with raisins and hard sauce. That’s not an experience I’ve had, so I cannot speak to the association. To me, the Barrel-Aged Dry tastes like butterscotch. It’s so very barrel aged that it doesn’t taste fully dry. There are enough dessert notes that come from the apple and the barrel that don’t even rely on actual sweetness to connote butterscotch, applesauce, and maple syrup. 

That’s not all that I’m noticing though. The cider also tastes spicy with notes hot peppers like I detected in the aromas. The cider has high tannins and medium high acidity and a strong alcohol presence. The cider is warming with prickly bubbles. I love how this complex cider ends with a perfumed finish and a phenolic edge. It’s never just one thing!

Greenwood Cider Co. has created something both interesting and tasty with the Barrel-Aged Dry! I enjoyed mine with vegetarian borscht: a seasonal classic in my house.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Cider Review: Tandem Ciders' The Green Man

It’s a gray day here of the sort that makes me doubt Spring. We’re living in a gray-brown world of last year’s dead leaves, frozen mud, and dormant grass. Nonetheless, I’ve planted a few trays of seeds, and I’m watering them faithfully. Hopefully in the coming week or so, I’ll start to see fresh green seedlings. Until then, it's time to cook and nest and escape into movies. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Tandem Ciders’ the Green Man. Many thanks to my cider friends who got this to me to assuage my feelings of CiderConFOMO. ; ) You’re the best!

Tandem Ciders come to us from Sutton’s Bay, Michigan. There Dan Young and Nikki Rothwell founded Tandem Ciders in 2010 after their love of England and Cider combined with their love of Michigan orchard life. Find out more in my earlier Tandem reviews.

I’ve reviewed a few Tandem’s Ciders before. Here’s the list.


The Bee’s Dream:

The Smackintosh:

I recommend checking out Tandem Ciders on the web to learn about what this Michigan Cider is making and doing:

You can also read the story behind the cidery on the website here. It’s a sweet one:

Here’s what Tandem Ciders has to say about The Green Man. 

Inspired by the carvings of the Roman Baths in the heart of English cider country -- Bath, England -- this adventurous blend of Rhode Island Greenings creates a subtly sweet cider that'll leave you anything but stone-faced.

Appearance: brilliant, very few visible bubbles, low-intensity cool-toned straw

This cider is too beautiful to be sold in a can! The cool-toned pale gold and brilliance deserve to be seen! The color reminds me of straw in spring; it’s yellow and not green but only just by a hair. 

Aromas: green apple, pineapple, sweet candy dust

The Green Man certainly smells green! I get lots of malic acid green apple notes from the start. Secondarily, pineapple aromas abound; this has some tropical flair for sure! The last hints from this cider are harder to describe; it’s a sweet and dusty smell like a container that has held sugar candy enough to have its residue floating around ambiently. We’ll see how these scents translate to taste!

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This cider tastes semi-sweet in a fruity juicy way!

Flavors and drinking experience: Bubbly, fresh apple, full-bodied

The Green Man tastes so juicy, it reminds me of pear nectar. The cider tastes tropical with bright notes of sweet apple, pineapple, and pear. The cider shows off a clean fermentation with no funk, no bitterness or anything to interrupt the fresh and fruity celebration. The cider has plentiful bubbles and a full creamy mouthfeel. The cider has medium acidity: just enough to keep the sweetness in pleasant balance. It’s an easy-drinking cider and would be a lovely introduction to the semi-sweet range of the beverage.

We enjoyed this with a chopped Greek salad. The light medley of cucumbers, peppers, feta, tomatoes, and zingy creamy dressing were a lovely counterpoint to the bursting juicy sweetness of Tandem Ciders’ The Green Man.