Last weekend we hit up the Gig Harbor Cider Swig. It was a bit of a drive but it was worth it for a charity event and cider tasting. We tasted quite a lot of cider, some were remarkable and some were not that special. We didn’t hit up the Finn River Tent at all because we have access to their wares year-round in the area both at Whole Foods and local farmers markets. Everything they make is great and I can’t recommend them enough. We had two favorites and a few honorable mentions to go over from the Cider Swig plus an additional review for an untasted but purchased bottle.
Hot Damn! This is one of the best ciders I’ve ever had! Both my husband and I were floored by how good it was. We both voted for it for the gold medal and it’s not a surprise that it won. This is fresh lemony goodness kissed with apple and basil. It’s not sweet and it pairs quite well with food. We paired it with chicken and sweet potato fries with spicy sriracha bbq sauce and it was even better than drinking it by itself as it brought out all the nuance of the apple. This is a winner and I can’t get enough! We give this a 93 point rating.
Everything from One Tree was great, their caramel cinnamon and ginger were also outstanding. The caramel cinnamon actually got the silver medal at the Cider Swig. Unfortunately, these ciders can only be found in Washington and Idaho. If you have the ability to buy them, stock up before leaving the area.
If you like whiskey, saddle up and drink. This is aged in whiskey barrels and it brings out all of the caramel, vanilla, and oak flavors. The apple flavors are rounded and nuanced with both sweet, tart, and savory apple flavors. This was unfortunately not for sale but if you are in Washington, seek it out! Both my husband and I loved this one. I’d drink it alone or with pear and gorgonzola pizza. We give this one 92 points. Their Old Fangled cider was also exceptional.
If you like sweet wine, here is a new experience for you. This Heirloom Ice Cider is sweet and apple filled with slight nuances of citrus and enough acidity to keep it from being syrup. This is an East Coast cidery but they will ship. I could easily drink this paired with blue cheese or taleggio cheese or maybe game like pheasant. It’s a little expensive but worth it for the experience. We give this one 90 points.
This cider is another outstanding option from the Portland-based cidery. This one features apricot juice, apples, Belgian Wit beer spices, and hops. It’s like a cider/Belgian White/IPA which is perfectly lovely and will match with a variety of foods. This cider had a great aroma and a very nuanced flavor. My husband wasn’t as keen on it as I was because he dislikes most IPA’s and apricots. I think it’s certainly a 90 point cider but he gave it an 86. Pair this with anything you’d pair a Belgian, IPA, or viognier wine with.
This was our least favorite of the day but it’s still an alright cider. This cider is a combination of marionberries and a variety of apples. It’s very tart with plenty of berry flavor. It paired well with our burrata, prosciutto, and arugula flatbread pizza. The only problem was the cider was a bit woody from the hulls and stems of the berries used. It’s not unpleasantly woody, but it did detract from the flavor for both of us slightly. This was also the most bubbly out of all the ciders we sampled. We gave it an 86 point score. This was our blind purchase. Luckily, they carry it at Whole Foods. If I’m ever making ribs or pulled pork, I’ll pick some of this up to serve with it.
Do you have a favorite cider? If so let us know!