Forest Ginger Cider – Finnriver Cidery (Chimacum, WA, USA)

TL:DR – “well-integrated mild ginger-fir into the solid apple cider base, cloying after a glass”

Forest Ginger – Elijah K. Swan’s Infused Botanical Hard Cider – Finnriver Cidery, 6.5% ABV, 500 ml., (Chimacum, Washington, USA)

on the front-right label:

“Made from a blend of fermented Washington organic and heirloom apples, infused with fresh ginger and the green tips of local fir trees, and organic sugar.”

  • Style: (flavoured – ginger, fir tips) Apple Cider
  • Taste: fruity tangy tart apple light ginger subtle fir slight cloying tart sugars
  • Where I got it : Imperial Bottle Shop / Portland
  • How much: $9 USD – 12 fl.oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: cohesive apple-ginger-fir flavour

Visual: (cellared for 3.5 years). Pours almost clear light orange-yellow with no head, micro bubbles along the perimeter, a few micro bubbles surfacing here and there – not much.

Nose: ginger-fir-dense apple blend, very aromatic. (lvl-10)-pungency.

Attack: soft crisp, medium tart

Mid-palate: fir tips exhale, clean light ginger w/o heat, fruity tart red-green apple hybrid juicy, (lvl-3-sweetness), background tangy acidity

Finish: fruity apple juice exhale, mild residual cloying tartness

Summary: A big dense apple fruity profile with a cohesive addition of ginger and fir that help elevate the cider to the next level. The fruitiness and tartness become cloying after a glass but that is easily remedied by a few salty bites. Great with a meal.

Razz Cider – Scenic Road Cider Co. (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

TL:DR – “just sweet, not complex enough flavour”

Razz Cider (apple cider with raspberries) – Scenic Road Cider Co., 6.9% ABV, 500 ml., (Kelowna, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

on the front-right label:

“This cider is made exclusively with local dessert apples and raspberries including apples grown by us. Our craft ciders are hand blended in small batches. Authentic, artisanal, always. From our backyards to your bottle.”

  • Style: (flavoured – raspberry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Cloying authentic basic raspberry-apple light sour acidic
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.40 (after 20% off) – 500 ml., October 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: hidden ABV, but basic boring flavour

Visual: Pours rosé pinkish-orange, clear as water, no head or retention, several steady slow micro streams, micro bubbles along the perimeter.

Nose: very clean raspberry, red apple backdrop, bright fruity acidity. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp-tart, light CO2

Mid-palate: sustained tartness, (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy medium-sour raspberry, background basic apple juice

Finish: residual apple acidity, compounding cloying sugars, red apple exhale

Summary: Its sweetness and one-note, low-depth raspberry-apple flavour profile make this one drink more like a cooler than hardcore craft cider. It comes across as basic yet drinkable, hence forgettable. Too bad since the nose was rather appealing. Well-hidden ABV at least.

Hopped Apricot – Salt Spring Wild Cider House (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)

Hopped Apricot – Salt Spring Wild Cider House, 6.8% ABV, 750 ml., (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada) (*local BC cider*)

-The 2nd Salt Spring Wild bottled tasting, 1st being their Plum Cider [C].

on the front-left label and a pic of an Italian prune plum:

“We’ve blended cascade hops, apricots, and organic apples together to create an aromatic cider that challenges conceptions of what cider can be. Both cider lovers and beer lovers will find a perfect union in this flavourful hefeweizen-esque all season cider.”


  • Style: (flavoured – apricot, cascade hops) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Crisp tangy tart dry apple grapefruit hopped subtle apricot
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $16.15 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Bailer-top resealable cap. Pours clear apple juice yellow, no head, very slow and steady countable spread out micro streams.

Nose: muscat, filtered apple juice, slight perfumey apricot. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: firm crisp, bright fruity impression

Mid-palate: micro-tingly, (lvl-2-sweetness), background tangy-soft tart, dry apple juice, juicy grapefruit hopped exhale

Finish: lingering apricot, residual fruity dry apple

Summary: I really appreciate that you can ACTUALLY taste hops and apricots. Good integration and balance of flavours, very nice transitions. Solid stuff, and better than their plum cider.

Wolf in the Woods – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Kings & Spies – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 9.9% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

from the website:

Botanically infused with hops and grand fir needles, Wolf in the Woods is a hard apple cider with a timberland twist. This unique union creates a dry cider that leads with grapefruit aromas and finishes with hopped herbal notes. As part of our Canadian Invasion Series, Wolf in the Woods draws attention to invasive species and their threat to farms and natural areas alike. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to the rainforest!

The Story:
As part of the Canadian Invasion Series, Wolf in the Woods was created to continue our awareness campaign around invasive species and their implications in farming and the natural world. A few years back, Sea Cider owner Kristen Needham, planted some hops on the perimeter of the Sea Cider forest to be used in our first hopped cider, Tillicum. Little did we know at the time, hops have many invasive qualities – spreading by underground rhizomes that can quickly get out of control. Wolf in the Woods was born as a juxtaposition of the agricultural landscape and the natural world. By combining grand fir needles that we’ve collected from the forest on Sea Cider Farm and Pacific Northwest grown hops, we’ve created a unique union of farmed and wild. Wolf in the Woods is here to tingle your senses with botanical delight!

Tasting Notes:
Appearance: Clear, bright, light verdé
Aromas, flavours: Grapefruit, pine, rainforest and hopped notes
Acid/sweetness: Off-dry, good acid balance
Mouthfeel: Soft astringency, gently effervescent

Suggested Food Pairings:
The balanced botanicals of Wolf in the Woods pair well with salty and fried foods – try french fries and jalapeño poppers. We’d even tackle the spiciest Indian and Mexican dishes with this rainforest wonder!

  • Style: (flavoured – grand fir, hopped) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Short-bodied off-dry crisp fizzy red apple yellow grapefruit sour light fir
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $16.65 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: nah, too plain

Visual: Bailer top re-sealable bottle. Pours clear light apple juice yellow with no head, soda-like big CO2 activity, big bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: faint apple juice, restrained fir aroma (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp, fizzy-tart

Mid-palate: off-dry (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity red apple, muddled yellow grapefruit, medium sour-puckery

Finish: fleeting fir exhale, residual tart sticky gum acidity

Summary: The crisp, fizzy, dryish mouthfeel are pleasant but there isn’t a whole lot of lengthy or bold flavours. The apple is neither woody or fleshy; the grand fir is only slightly noticeable at the finish; overall the taste experience is rather tart and thin, not leaving much of an impact.

Habanero Hard Cider – Finnriver Cidery (Chimacum, WA, USA)

Habanero Hard Cider – Finnriver Cidery, 6.5% ABV, 16.9 oz., (Chimacum, Washington, USA)

On the front-right label:

“Finnriver’s Habanero Cider release was inspired by the quest for something strange and a hankering for heat. In the winter of 2013, cold days on the farm coincided with the annual Strange Brew Festival in Port Townsend, WA. This gave our crew the inspiration to take the hottest thing we could get our hands on and blend it into our hard cider. The combination of chili heat and tart apple, mellowed by a dash of sweet, makes for a memorable fermented adventure. Enjoy in any latitude with rice and beans, fish tacos, burritos of all kinds, or just a crackling bowl of chips & salsa.”


  • Style: (flavoured – habanero) Apple Cider
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge / Burnaby
  • How much: $17.40 CAD (after 10% off) – 16.9 oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Batch #115B, hand numbered. Pours slightly hazy light orange-yellow with no head, some bubbles clinging to the mid-section of the glass, very active tight micro clusters.

Nose: sweet apple juice, nasal-tingly/cough-inducing habanero spicy. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: tart dry crisp juicy apple

Mid-palate: habanero med-high spicy heat, (lvl-2-sweetness), habanero flesh, thinnish green apple juice

Finish: lingering habanero biting heat, residual fleshy apple

Summary: Certainly drinks like an aggressively experimental brew. Not quite full-feeling enough in the mids to balance out the heat. And a fair warning: don’t inhale while drinking.

Crispin Artisanal Reserve The Saint – Crispin Cider Co. (Colfax, CA, USA)

Crispin Artisanal Reserve The Saint – Crispin Cider Company, 6.9% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (Colfax, California, USA)

on the front-left:

“Naturally fermented with Belgian Trappist beer yeast using a premium blend of unpasteurized fresh-pressed apple juice, not from concentrate, with no added malt, spirit or grape alcohols.

Experience a sweetly floral to herbal aromatic bouquet and an elegant yeasty flavor with a sustained mouth-feel that develops a subtle spicy complexity.

The Saint’s Artisanal Reserve, Unfiltered Hard Cider uses racked apple-wine smoothed with pure organic maple syrup, a kiss of apple juice, with no added sugar, colorants, sorbate or benzoate preservatives. Best served cool in a tulip glass for bold, crisp refreshment. ”


  • Style: (flavoured – maple syrup, Belgian yeast) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Fruity bright tangy light sour apple juicy yeasty hints of maple syrup
  • Where I got it : Uwajimaya / Seattle
  • How much: $7.11 USD = $9.18 CAD, October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: a good balance

Visual: Pours slightly hazy yellow with large bubbles clinging to the side of the glass, no head, the same bubbles sporadically surfacing.

Nose: tangy apple juice. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp-dense juicy, slightly tart

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), sour-tangy acidity, bright apple juice, rounded body, yeasty mild palate rough, subtle non-descript spices

Finish: maple syrup undertones, apple juice exhale

Summary: An inviting big fruity apple flavour with a good amount of tangy-sour acidity and a hint of spice and maple syrup to round it out. Not exceptionally complex but enjoyable nonetheless. Solid.

Serenity Cidre Blanco – Howling Moon Craft Cider (Oliver, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B-]

Serenity Cidre Blanco – Howling Moon Craft Cider, 9.5% ABV, 750ml, (Oliver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

the description from their website:

“Made with a blend of 50% Swiss sharp cider apples and 50% late-harvest old-growth Pinot Blanc grapes, this lightly effervescent sparkling cider exhibits notes of melon and apricot. With a beautiful bouquet and a long lasting finish, this well balanced sparkling cider, goes great with shellfish, other seafoods as well as other light salads and main courses.”

  • Style: (flavoured – pinot blanc) Apple Cider
  • Taste: White wine acidic crisp tart sour green apple off dry hint melon stealth alcholic
  • Where I got it : Libations / Vancouver
  • How much: $21.85 CAD (after 5% off) – 750ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes, an interesting hybrid

Visual: Quality hefty bottle. Pours clear very pale light sunshine yellow with some fizzy activity, no head.

Nose: white wine musky, light red apple juice. (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: bright white wine richness

Mid-palate: tingly CO2, green apple, background sour, tart crisp-airy acidic, (lvl-2-sweetness), alcoholic bitter

Finish: light notes of melon, residual white wine acidity

Summary: Lots of big textural mouthfeel in this one – crisp/sour/tart/acidic/alcoholic, coupled with a structured body – this one drinks fuller than your typical ‘made with apples only’ cider. The acidity compounds with each sip so this is better with a meal. Super stealth alcohol hit as well, be careful.