Commercial ciders

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AzOr

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Name your favorite commercial ciders and why you like them......

I’d love to learn more about regional brands and the reasons you like them.

I’ll start....
When I’m not ordering beer at a restaurant, I’ll order an Avid (formerly Atlas) Organic Apple cider. Nice balance of acids and tannins. Also has this unique taste at the finish that’s hard to describe. I can’t tell if it’s apple or yeast character.

I also like Cider Riot- can’t remember which. They make mostly dry English types. I heard that they also occasionally make a single varietal Porters Perfection, but I haven’t tried it yet.
 

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Most of the big commercial ciders are kind of meh, so I like when I stumble upon something that stands out.

Last month we were in WA on vacation and I tried a Finn River pear cider at a restaurant. It was quite tasty. Unfortunately, the liquor stores I stopped at didn't have it in stock. And it's not available here in MN. :(
 
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AzOr

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Most of the big commercial ciders are kind of meh, so I like when I stumble upon something that stands out.

Last month we were in WA on vacation and I tried a Finn River pear cider at a restaurant. It was quite tasty. Unfortunately, the liquor stores I stopped at didn't have it in stock. And it's not available here in MN. :(
I’ve heard great things about them but have yet to try them. I’ll look out for them next time I’m at store.

I also like anything from Bull Run Cidery. Small craft cidery that really cares about quality. Hard to find though.
 

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Spire cider had a darker cider that was good for alcapop.
Crispin Honey crisp, the rest are meh.

Lassen Cider - I haven't had a bad one. Dry to off dry, at least the ones I've tried. They had some small batch single apple ciders, one was kind of one dimensional but otherwise not disappointdis.
 

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Bear Swamp, Brooklyn & South Hill.
IMG_2487.JPG
 

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Most of the local ciders I've tried have either been too sweet or loaded with yeast aroma/flavor. I haven't gone out and tried many local ciders lately because it seems most are just using commercial juice and adding hibiscus or hops and calling it something special.
Distillery lane cider in Maryland makes some good ones, and grows their own cider apples; sorry, can't remember specific styles or why I liked/didn't like, I'd say I liked about half of what they had in the tasting room.
I've had Poverty Lane ciders I like, but some are too "complex" to be really enjoyable.
Aspall from the UK is a commercial cider that's pretty good for my tastes. I sometimes buy Crispin Browns's Lane and mix it 50/50 with my home made cider to add a bittersweet flavor.
 

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In Michigan...both near Traverse City

Tandem & Suttons Bay -- both Excellent [emoji111]
 
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AzOr

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That’s why I started thread. I wanna hear about others. I live in Portland, which is supposedly the second biggest cider market behind Seattle, but it’s Not easy to find “craft” ciders. Most stores here always stock Two Towns- it’s ok but for my taste, they add way too much malic acid to all their ciders.
A lot of what I see lately is fruit flavored ciders. Some are decent, most are not. I think it’s a way for cider companies to hide cheap juice and quick turnaround times.

Hmm. Maybe we should start a cider exchange.
 

MarkKF

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Between the Berkshires (Mass.) and the Hudson Valley & Finger Lakes (NY) there are a lot of good and some really good cideries. But most sell large bottles at the farm or thru a few select wine stores.
 

theinterneti

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Like the OP, I am lucky enough to live in the PNW. So many great ciders here.

Some of my favorite commercial ciders have come from 2 towns ciderhouse in Corvallis. Their pacific pineapple is just unbelievable, off sweet, not overpowering pineapple flavor. Other flavors I've had were also super, Made Marion, ginja ninja and outcider (pure Jonagolds).

Other makers and flavors that I have really liked.
Rev. Nat's sour cherry - dry with a mild fruit flavor, shouldn't be missed
Bad grandma's granny smith - a little mainstream and sweet, but I'm crazy for granny smiths
Portland cider co. - sorta dry, pearfect, "perfect 10"
Beaumans - loganberry is all I've had so far and it is super good, on the look out for their dry cider now.
Ace - Pearry, pineapple, and dry are all pretty super.

More middling ciders
I've tried crispin's "The saint" and honeycrip and my take was that they were superb quality, but a bit sweet and just maybe, overwrought? I'm more of a basic cider guy and these were a little decadent for me.

Avid's ciders are good, but always seem too fruity/sweet for me. I found their watermelon was straight gross.

Sorry angry orchard guy. Come visit Portland some time and head to Portland Cider Company's 30 tap cider bar! A couple friends and I are going to head to Rev Nat's apple market on November 2nd and then head over to Portland cider co. for grub.

What a time for a cider lover to live near Portland!
 

MarkKF

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I like the various flavors many of you mentioned, in a flight. But when I’m drinking cider I prefer a dry or off-dry sparkling or still just apple cider. The various varietals and blends are why I really love the three I mentioned.
 
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AzOr

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I’m sure someone smarter and more organized than myself could figure out a trade system. Possibly based on region so we could try ciders that aren’t available to us locally.

Would anyone be interested? Maybe we could trade one or two commercial plus a homebrew.

Thoughts?
 
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AzOr

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Like the OP, I am lucky enough to live in the PNW. So many great ciders here.

Some of my favorite commercial ciders have come from 2 towns ciderhouse in Corvallis. Their pacific pineapple is just unbelievable, off sweet, not overpowering pineapple flavor. Other flavors I've had were also super, Made Marion, ginja ninja and outcider (pure Jonagolds).

Other makers and flavors that I have really liked.
Rev. Nat's sour cherry - dry with a mild fruit flavor, shouldn't be missed
Bad grandma's granny smith - a little mainstream and sweet, but I'm crazy for granny smiths
Portland cider co. - sorta dry, pearfect, "perfect 10"
Beaumans - loganberry is all I've had so far and it is super good, on the look out for their dry cider now.
Ace - Pearry, pineapple, and dry are all pretty super.

More middling ciders
I've tried crispin's "The saint" and honeycrip and my take was that they were superb quality, but a bit sweet and just maybe, overwrought? I'm more of a basic cider guy and these were a little decadent for me.

Avid's ciders are good, but always seem too fruity/sweet for me. I found their watermelon was straight gross.

Sorry angry orchard guy. Come visit Portland some time and head to Portland Cider Company's 30 tap cider bar! A couple friends and I are going to head to Rev Nat's apple market on November 2nd and then head over to Portland cider co. for grub.

What a time for a cider lover to live near Portland!
Ugh! I’m out of town that weekend but would love to go.
Have they done this before? Do they sell traditional cider apples?
With young kids at the house, we rarely travel. Just my luck.
 

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The vast majority of commercial ciders are too sweet for my taste. I've given up on them.

Shacksbury Dry (Vermont) is the closest commercial example of my ideal cider. They import bittersweet Dabinett apples from the UK to use in the blend. No added sugar. Great Brett character in the few cans I've tried.

Reverend Nat's (Portland, OR) ciders don't disappoint either. Revival is a good one.

Locally (Cleveland), BottleHouse Brew Co (which specializes in mixed fermentations and also does a lot of mead) had a cider on tap called Chorus that was a "wild heirloom cider aged in gin barrels" the gin was almost imperceptible and it was great overall.

I've tried over a hundred ciders according to my Untappd. The ciders I make are my favorite.
 

jcav

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My wife and I like "Ace" Perry Pear Cider. She also likes to add an ounce of "Ribena" black currant juice in her glass of apple cider. This makes for a very tasty drink.


John
 

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As often happens on this forum... another interesting thread.

You seem to have the same issues as we do here in Oz. Lots of good, small, craft cider makers whose goods aren't widely distributed. If you talk to them there seem to be two issues, firstly cider "weighs heavy" so freight cost can be a bit of a show stopper since most of them are in regional areas, and secondly the bigger liquor retail chains don't really want to deal with someone who can't supply in volume (and tasting the same every time).

I recently saw a tongue-in cheek" demonstration of how to make "commercial cider"... Get some AJ concentrate from somewhere like China, add lots of water and sugar, ferment, filter, add artificial sweetener and possibly flavour, force carbonate and bottle with a fancy label. Hey presto, instant alcopop cider as made by the big brewers!

At a recent nearby "ciderfest", there were something like twenty small scale craft cider makers, all different and showcasing their different high country and cold climate apple growing regions. You can pretty much draw a line on a map from Sydney to Adelaide and southeast of it encompass all of the cidermaking regions in Oz ( Bilpin Canberra, Batlow, Strathbogie, Tasmania, etc). It was great fun (an of course, educational too)!

Ciderfest.jpg
 

theinterneti

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Ugh! I’m out of town that weekend but would love to go.
Have they done this before? Do they sell traditional cider apples?
With young kids at the house, we rarely travel. Just my luck.

Every year.
No traditional cider apples as such. Jonagold (clearly a passable cider apple after tasting 2 Towns Outcider), granny smith, and braeburn were there last year if I remember correctly. Huge bushels out front we took a hamper full home.
Nat DOES sell his cider blend juice! I think they had that plus straight pear and straight Jonagold. They pump it straight into a carboy/bucket for you right out of the tank! Pretty incredible. I want to say it was $6/gallon. I'm going to bring two 6 gallon carboys!
 

bracconiere

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That’s why I started thread. I wanna hear about others. I live in Portland, which is supposedly the second biggest cider market behind Seattle, but it’s Not easy to find “craft” ciders.

Like the OP, I am lucky enough to live in the PNW. So many great ciders here.

you must be in seattle? lol

The vast majority of commercial ciders are too sweet for my taste. I've given up on them.

that's why i like Hard Core(Boston Beer), can't get it anywhere...but it's dry and just tastes like real apples....

Reverend Nat's (Portland, OR) ciders don't disappoint either. Revival is a good one.

glad that $5 i chipped in on his kickstarter is working out! ;)
 

Sequoiacider

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Gotta give a shout out to the two small craft commercial cideries in my area:
Humboldt Cider Company: Great selection of ciders that are constantly changing, though they also have a few staples that are always available (21 taps of their own cider at their taproom). Occasionally they have "Farmhouse Style" (Wild Fermented) ciders that are amazingly complex, dry, and delicious. The ciders in their regular rotation run the gamut from dry to sweet, some just apple, some with other additions, so they have something for every taste. They don't bottle, and they only distribute kegs locally, so they are basically impossible to find outside of Humboldt County, California.

Wrangletown Cider: Specializing in very dry, apple-only ciders. Distributed only in 750ml bottles. A bit high-priced, ($15-$20 per 750ml Bottle) but definitely worth a try if you can find it.

Outside of my area, Reverend Nat's in Portland Oregon deserves a mention, as does Avid(formerly Axis), in Bend Oregon.

In terms of Cider Taprooms that do not brew their own: Bittersweet Cider and Pie in Humboldt County California, Portland Cider House in Portland Oregon, and UpCider in San Francisco California are all worth dropping by for a nice large selection of ciders from many cideries.
 

MarkKF

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My son works in an orchard in upstate NY that makes their own cider. He sent me this last night, “Pressing a bunch of cider apples tomorrow. Dabinett, kingston black, somerset redstreak, chisel jersey, ashmeads kernal, yarlington's mill”
 
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AzOr

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My son works in an orchard in upstate NY that makes their own cider. He sent me this last night, “Pressing a bunch of cider apples tomorrow. Dabinett, kingston black, somerset redstreak, chisel jersey, ashmeads kernal, yarlington's mill”
That's an all star list of apples!
Of those listed I've pressed dabs, chisel jersey and yarlington mills. My fave would be the dabs.
 

MarkKF

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I have 1 bottle of their Dabinett single varietal in my fridge!
 
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AzOr

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Me too. I pressed about 3-4 gallons worth but wish I could have bought more. I’ll have to blend mine because I have lots more sharps than bitter/sharps.

Please report back when you open.
 
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AzOr

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I usually don’t reach for flavored ciders first, but I had the basil mint on tap before and it was really good. Balanced and refreshing. The flavors weren’t overpowering.
 

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theinterneti

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Failed to mention Cascadia Ciderworks. I really like their (sour!) granny smith, better than bad grandmas IMO. Their dry cider is super clean and easy drinking.

I'm more likely to go with flavored commercial ciders because I always have a dry, clean cider on tap. I've been exploring commercial ciders to find what kind of flavors I might be interested in experimenting with once I have the space.

Basil and mint sounds like it could make a very interesting cider indeed. Very complex flavors and must be very cautious with the mint.

I'm going to start a list of flavors to try on my own now...
 
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AzOr

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Seems like there are many cideries out there that are not widely distributed.

Anyone interested in a commercial cider exchange?

I’m not sure what the laws are around shipping booze. But I have a “friend” who has shipped homebrew through USPS without any problems.
 
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AzOr

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Failed to mention Cascadia Ciderworks. I really like their (sour!) granny smith, better than bad grandmas IMO. Their dry cider is super clean and easy drinking.

I'm more likely to go with flavored commercial ciders because I always have a dry, clean cider on tap. I've been exploring commercial ciders to find what kind of flavors I might be interested in experimenting with once I have the space.

Basil and mint sounds like it could make a very interesting cider indeed. Very complex flavors and must be very cautious with the mint.

I'm going to start a list of flavors to try on my own now...
I believe Cascadia ciderworks is Rev Nats cider company.
 

gratus fermentatio

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"Poor Farmer" - Western Cider, made right here in MT. It's my goto cider.
"Anthem" - Wandering Aengus, out of OR. It's my other goto cider.
"Wickson" - Wandering Aengus. My absolute Favorite, but a little pricey at $8 per 20 oz. bottle.
There are a lot of really great ciders out there, but most of them get only regional distribution at best.
Regards, GF.
 

wasully

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"Poor Farmer" - Western Cider, made right here in MT. It's my goto cider.
"Anthem" - Wandering Aengus, out of OR. It's my other goto cider.
"Wickson" - Wandering Aengus. My absolute Favorite, but a little pricey at $8 per 20 oz. bottle.
There are a lot of really great ciders out there, but most of them get only regional distribution at best.
Regards, GF.

That's pretty much how things are priced in the PNW. There are some more big-market, lower priced things. But for small, orchard based ciderys, that's mostly what they do-$6-$10 for a 500mL. Or 750mL for $15+.
 
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