Drink Review: Sea Cider

March 29, 2012

I first heard of Sea Cider when I attended the WSU Mt. Vernon week long cider class in the summer of 2010. In fact, we got to tour the facility located in Saanichton on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada as part of the class. Apparently, they are now expanding, because they are now available in my local bottle shop here in Vancouver, WA. To promote this, they held a cider tasting.

The first cider we tasted was Pippins. It was a straw colored cider that was clear. It was a little sharp, and it hit the back top of the palette, but had a good mouth feel on it. Sea Cider describes Pippins as being made from Newton Pippin apples and is a crisp and dry sparkling cider that is 9.5% ABV. Now, with that high of an ABV, I am suspicious that sugar was added to get the ABV up, as I believe it is hard to find apples with enough natural sugar in them to get much higher than an 8% AVB.  The distributor there to answer questions said no. I’m still not completely trusting of that, as I don’t expect every distributor to know every process of every beverage they sell. He also admitted that cider was new to him, and his comfort zone is with beer.

The next cider we had was called Kings & Spies, so called because it is made with King and Northern Spy apples. It was a milder and smoother cider than Pippin, but it had more tannin, and almost a touch sour. It was at 8.5% AVB, which is more believable for me to be natural.

Next came Wild English, a cider made from English cider apples with wild yeasts. They let it sit in an open container for 48 hours to get the wild yeast out of the air, so they are pretty sure there was some Brettanomyces in it. Brett is actually more like a bacteria that is used to create sour beer, which my husband loves to drink. I think it was a dry yet very balanced cider. Like, even though there wasn’t a sweetness to it, the acid and alcohol did not dominate. This was a 7.2% ABV drink, which is also natural.

Last of all, we had Rumrunner. That was actually what we bought from them back in 2010, only it came in a brown bottle then. Now it is a clear bottle, and here in Washington, they call it Prohibition. What they do it take some barrels and spin some rum into them, and then put the heritage based apple cider in it. The wood and the rum then add flavors to the cider, and more. This was 12% ABV, perhaps though the addition of brown sugar, molasses, or the rum. It was a dark color as if brown sugar or molasses had been used, and it smelled sweet and tasted a little of molasses. Thing is, even though rum is made from molasses, all distilled spirits are clear until they are colored and/or aged in barrels, so Sea Cider probably did add a little bit of sweetener to gain that color and that taste.

I am glad Sea Cider is able to expand and sell down here. I find their products to be quality.


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