Cockrell Hard Ciders – Devil ‘N Cider

Also featuring my hard-won Geeks Who Drink prize glass.

Also featuring my hard-won Geeks Who Drink prize glass.

I picked up a bottle of Devil ‘N Cider from Cockrell Hard Ciders from a recent trip to Schilling Cider house. I’ve never seen anything from this company on shelves before, and the idea of raspberry habanero cider sounded pretty interesting. To sum things up: there is literally nothing about this cider that is subtle or mild.

Let’s start with the aroma: it’s a faceful of aggressive floral fruity raspberry. It hit me from feet away. If I concentrate, I can pick up a little of the habanero, but the fruit is more or less completely dominant. It’s also a dramatic-looking reddish-orange, very clear and very still.

The flavor is equally powerful, on the other side of the flavor see-saw: it burns. It burns in my mouth and it burns down my throat and I can even feel it burning in my stomach. I get nothing but the burn, too — if there are cider notes or even raspberry to be found in the flavor, I don’t get them.

So, clearly this cider is not my cup of tea (both literally and figuratively). That said, I look forward to trying other offerings from Cockrell. They’re a local outfit, right down in Puyallup, so at some point I hope to swing by their tasting room which just opened up in December. If you’re in the area, you can also visit, or find them at a few stores in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

Aaron Burr Cidery – Hemlock Apple



There are three fundamental truths you need to know about Aaron Burr Cidery’s 2013 Hemlock Apple:

Number one — Only 60 cases of this cider were made, back in 2013. There’s not much of it left on shelves, and for what’s left you’ll pay a pretty penny.

Number two — It pours a cloudy amber and the aroma that wafts up from it is green and medicinal. Keep chilled, but let it warm up a little from the refrigerator to unfurl its flavors.

Number three — It’s dry, with a sharpness and bitterness from the hemlock & spruce needles used in its making. There’s both a woody aspect to the flavor and a hint of evergreen, sharp and biting, and the medicinal smell carries through to the flavor as well. There’s maple syrup in it, supposedly, but I can’t pick it out.

I don’t doubt this could be paired well with specific meals, but it could also turn out to be a truly unfortunate accompaniment for others. It’s distinctive, and the profile would be jarring combined with a meal that had, for example, too many sweet notes.

Of course I picked up this cider because of the recent popularity of the musical Hamilton. I saw it on the shelf and had to try it. It wasn’t until I looked up the Aaron Burr Cidery for this review that I found out it actually puts out a variety of small batches of cider and perry every year. A lot of them look interesting, so I’m hoping Schilling Cider House, where I picked up this bottle, will get stock from them regularly.

I encourage you to pick up cider from the Aaron Burr Cidery if you come across it — I hope you’ll be satisfied.