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.

Omen Raspberry Stout – Elysian Brewing (Seattle, WA, USA) 

Omen Belgian-Style Raspberry Stout 2015 (aka 12 Beers of Apocalypse #10 – Omen Belgian Raspberry Stout) – Elysian Brewing (AB-InBev), 7.9% ABV, 1 pint 6 fl.oz., (Seattle, Washington, USA)

printed on the front-right:

“Omen’s heavy body flutters at the window, combining the dark richness of stout, the brightness and tang of Washington raspberries and the heady flavors and aromas of a classic Belgian yeast.”


  • Style: (flavoured – Raspberry) Sweet Stout
  • Taste: Bittersweet raspberry roasted barley malt cocoa
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Burnaby
  • How much: $16.20 (after 10% off), February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes!
  • What made an impression: interesting combo raspberry-cocoa

Visual: (cellared for almost 2 years). Pours dark coffee brown with a dissipating 1cm head, sticky lacing, fine ringed retention with a large island, lots of micro streams near the surface.

Nose: woody barley malt, big raspberry overtones (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, subdued light sour

Mid-palate: almost creamy, clean juicy raspberry, deep roasted barley malt, (lvl-4-sweetness), cocoa

Finish: brown sugar-molasses, mild bittersweet vanilla, mild tartness

Summary: Clean entry and great balance from start to finish. The raspberry flavour comes through 100% and is integrated well with the bittersweet malt. Extremely sippable and interesting, though I wished for a bit more creaminess and body in the mids as well as a touch more vanilla and coffee. ABV well-hidden.


Wild Washington Apple Cider – Tieton Cider Works (Tieton, WA, USA)

Wild Washington Apple Cider Semi-dry, 7.0% ABV, 500ml, (Tieton, Washington, USA)

on the front-right label:

“Washington State grows remarkable apples and this sophisticated cider is a tribute to its origins. It’s sharp with a pronounced mineral quality that satisfies the most refined cider palates, but it also carries enough green apple and preserved lemon flavors to appeal to a more universal audience.

Pair with all meat dishes from Hamburgers to Marinated and Grilled Meats, poultry stews like Coq au Vin, Pastas with spicy sauces and Gnocchi in Sage Butter.

Our fresh pressed juice comes from apples grown in the Pacific Northwest. We blend American, English, and French cider varieties essential for the complexity you will find in our ciders. Enjoy well chilled.”


  • Style: (semi-dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Plain flat CO2 woody red-green apple juice tart
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $18.60 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Pours translucent unfiltered apple juice light orange with a shade of red, absolutely no head,  a few tight clusters of micro activity.

Nose: unfiltered woody apple juice, rather clean. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: tangy juicy flat CO2

Mid-palate: light sour acidity, (lvl-2-sweetness), apple wine, red apple juice

Finish: woody green apple peel exhale, tart sticky gums

Summary: Pretty straightforward soft woody red-green apple blend, moreso on the red side. I’m not liking the lack of carbonation which dulls the drinking experience and accentuates the tartness. Also hte body is a tad thin. Just average.

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.

Men’s Room Original Red – Elysian Brewing (Seattle, WA, USA)

Men’s Room Original Red – Elysian Brewing (AB-InBev), 5.6% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Seattle, Washington, USA)

on the front-right label:

“Brewed for The Mens Room radio show on 99.9 KISW The Rock of Seattle, Mens Room Red is amber in color with a light hop aroma and toasty finish.”


  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • Taste: Crisp resiny hopped bitter metallic toasted barley malt
  • Where I got it : Traded with my brother
  • How much: priceless, sometime in 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nope

Visual: Pours clear brown-amber without much of a head, a thin layer of retention, clusters of steady streams.

Nose: sweet light toasted barley malt (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: quenching crisp bite

Mid-palate: immediate resiny bitter hops, smooth tingly CO2, (lvl-3-sweetness), bittersweet metallic toasted barley malt

Finish: hints of grassiness, residual grainy dry malt

Summary: Rather simple, short length and quenching mouthfeel – not terribly interesting. A bit above average but not worth seeking out.


Chaider Spiced Chai – Schilling Hard Cider (Auburn, WA, USA)

Chaider Spiced Chai – Schilling Company, 6.2% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (Auburn, Washington, USA)

Ingredients: Fresh pressed apple juice, custom organic Dragonfly Chai Mix (Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Black Pepper, Ginger, Proprietary Spice Blend), Yeast.

  • Style: (spiced – chai spices) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Easy-going pronounced cinnamon-clove juicy apple-pear
  • Where I got it : Uwajimaya / Seattle
  • How much: $7.88 USD = $10.18 CAD – 22 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: 50/50, it worked for me

Visual: Pours clean apple juice yellow with shade of brown, ringed retention no major head, clusters of slow steady streams.

Nose: huge cinnamon-nutmeg-cardamom-clove spice blend, brown sugar-honey (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: mild crisp, fruity sweet

Mid-palate: mildly cloying (lvl-7-sweetness), clove, subtle ginger, apple-pear juice, medium tangy-light acidic, light caramelized brown sugar

Finish: soft tart palate roughness, lingering apple juice sugars, light honey, cinnamon bark exhale

Summary: Aromatically gorgeous. Very flavourfully spiced, me being a big fan of masala chai. There’s a bit of dullness in the apple but the spices keep it lively. It goes down very easily.

Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter – Redhook Brewery (Woodinville, WA, USA)

Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter (, 9.3% ABV, 22 oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)

on the front label:

“A dark ale brewed with pumpkin, spices and maple syrup

  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices, maple syrup) Porter
  • Taste: Sweet cinnamon/nutmeg/clove spiced maple syrup roasted barley malt
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $1.47 USD / $1.90 CAD – 12 oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: quite good

Visual: Pours jet black with minimal head, dissipating ringed retention, singular stream surfacing.

Nose: caramelized roasted barley, cinnamon (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming sweetness

Mid-palate: light tingly, brown sugar roasted barley malt, (lvl-6-sweetness), prominent cinnamon/nutmeg

Finish: maple syrup, roasted malt exhale, very subtle ginger

Summary: Good body with plenty of roast and well-displayed spices, including the nice addition of maple syrup. It’s just a tad thin from the mids onward, but otherwise solid and enjoyable.