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The Five Pack - Apple Ciders of Tieton Cider Works, Tieton, Washington

Cider from Eastern Washington, land of apples and sunshine. 

You may equate Washington with handcrafted wine and micro breweries, but it is rapidly becoming the land of fresh pressed apple cider. Hard apple cider, you know, with alcohol. Last month I was in Seattle for Taste Washington, where I not only enjoyed wondrous wine but several Washington hard ciders. Some of the tastiest ciders were made by farmer Craig Campbell of Tieton Cider Works. His ciders are made from a blend of American, English and French cider varietals, grown on his organically farmed ranch, Harmony Orchards in Tieton, Washington. Tieton Cider Works first commercial release was in 2009.

Why are these ciders so interesting? Many varietal reasons.

There's a long history of making cider in America, it was once more popular than beer, wine or whiskey. Yes, that's what Johnny Appleseed was planting, seeds for apple cider trees. Apple cider, by many accounts, was first made by the Celts and Normans because apples were easier to grow than grapes in the northern parts of Europe. The English colonists found it easy to grow apples in the new world. For many reasons, including Prohibition, cider making almost disappeared. Today, the resurgence of ciders popularity is linked to the popularity of micro brewing. Once again artisanal cider makers, like Craig Campbell, are reviving the art of cider making in America.

The fruit used in Tieton Cider Works Cider comes from Craig and Sharon Campbell’s Harmony Orchards. Harmony Orchards is located 2000 feet above the confluence of the Tieton and Naches rivers in central Washington.  They began an organic farming program twenty five years ago.  Now they grow over forty varieties of cider apples on 11 acres of their 350 acre orchard. They also have ten varieties of Heirloom apples used for cider and gift boxes. The more complex the blend, the more interesting the cider. And these my friends, are interesting ciders.

Some of the varietals they grow and use in their ciders include: Golden russet, Dabinett, Harry Masters jersey, Kingston Black, Harrison, Stoke Red, Yarlington Mill, Roxbury Russett, Liberty Cox, Orange Pippin, Corville Blanc, Wickson Crab, Brown Snout, Chisel Jersey, Northern Spy Baldwin, Browns Apple, Muscadet de Dieppe, Tremletts Bitter, Vilberie, Spartan, Ellis Bitter, Sommerset Redstreak, Ashmeads Kernal, Newtown Pippin, Gravenstein, Spitzenburg, and... Jonagold, Pinov and the Winter Banana. Some of these trees are young my friends, I have expectations that the complexity and quality of their ciders will only improve. Big smile on my face.

The best cider apples are not pretty, and they are not edible, too bitter. However, they are much easier to harvest than edible apples, since you don't have to be gentle when picking and a few bruises and blemishes don't matter when you are making juice, and such tasty juice. Lower in alcohol than wine, and gluten free, hard cider is possibly one of the most refreshing beverages to enjoy this summer. I can drink to that.

Serve Well Chilled

Last month, I received the Tieton “Five Pack” a sample pack consisting of five 500ml bottles of different Tieton ciders. Tieton Cider Works can ship to many states, see below. The "Five Pack" is a great introduction to the quality of Tieton Cider Works hard ciders.

Dry cider, so it is not sweet.
Tieton Blend Cider, Dry – This is a bone dry cider, as in not sweet, but clean and austere. This would be fabulous with ahi tuna, sushi, oysters on the half shell and ceviche. This was the driest cider I have tasted. Recommended.
ABV 6.6%, 500ml, retail price: $13.99

This bottle emptied quickly.
Wild Washington Apple, Semi-Dry: When I think apple cider, this is the style of cider I think of. Crisp, balanced, with good mouth feel, nice bubbles and tastes delicious. This was my wife’s favorite Tieton cider. Fantastic with fried chicken. Recommended.
ABV 6.9%, 500ml, retail price: $12.99

A sensory treat.
Cherry Cider – Apple cider blended with Tieton cherry juice. I just love the color and enjoyed the flavor. The cherry did not dominate this cider, it complimented. It was crisp and refreshing with a pleasant apple-cherry finish. I wanted more after finishing this bottle. It paired well with grilled pork chops, but would be great with almost anything off of the grill. Love the color, which should make any occasion festive. Very food friendly. Recommended.
ABV 6.4%, 500ml, retail price: $12.99

Sweet, but not too sweet. 
Blossom Nectar Cider – Not too sweet, not cloying either. If this were Facebook, I'd click on the "Like" button. This is a fun cider, perfect before dinner and I'd also suggest pairing it with Thai food and spicy Mexican meals. Try something different. Recommended
ABV 6.5%, 500ml retail price: $13.99

One of my favorites.
Apricot Cider – Apple cider infused with the proper amount of apricot. With light apricot aromatics, it had gentle apricot flavor in the front palate. Golden brown color. Not too sweet, good mouth feel, apple tart, with a dried apricot finish. If you like apricots, you will like this cider. It paired very well with fried pork chops. Should be good with poultry and game birds. Recommended.
ABV 6.9%, 500ml.

Samples provided by Tieton Cider Works.

Tieton Cider Works
321 Humphrey Road
Tieton, WA 98947

Cidery is open by appointment, to schedule a visit call: (509) 673-2880


twitter: @tietonciderwork

Tieton Cider Works ships to: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, ND, NH, NM, NV, NY, NC, OH, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.

Related Post: Washington Cideries Gain Prominence

Washington State hard cider is on my menu for this summer. I enjoyed all of the Tieton Cider Works ciders and hope to taste their Precipice Perry Cider too - that's Pear Cider friends.


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