It’s summertime, which means all manner of fruits and veggies and flowers and trinkets at the various farmer’s markets scattered throughout the Seattle area. In the past, I’ve been known to buy a truly outrageous amount of blackberries at the market near work on Thursdays, intending to use them in pies and cooking, but usually they end up unceremoniously dumped in a bowl and eaten as-is.
This summer brings us not one, but two berry-themed seasonal/limited-release ciders (actually, probably more than that, but these are the ones I’ve found so far) — Seattle Cider’s PNW Berry and 2 Towns’ Throne of Thorns. I’ve pitted them against each other for your (and my) enjoyment and edification.
Color: Seattle Cider gives us a lovely rosy peach color in the PNW Berry, while 2 Towns goes for a much more dramatic garnet.
Aroma: 2 Towns has a strong aroma, sweet-tart and fruity, while the PNW Berry has very little in the way of aroma at all, just a soft hint of sweetness.
ABV: PNW Berry clocks in at 6.9% to Throne of Thorns’ 6% even.
Flavor: These two ciders are a great illustration of how you can go very different places from a common start.
Despite the light, sweet aroma, Seattle Cider’s PNW Berry is quite dry, with some mild acidity and light fruit aspects coming through in the taste. It’s a fairly subtle interpretation of the “berry cider” concept (PNW Berry has a little blueberry in addition to the blackberry and raspberry).
On the other hand, Throne of Thorns is sweeter, stronger in flavor, more tart — it really centers the berries and lets them assert themselves. Throne of Thorns is a shout where PNW Berry is a murmured aside.
Overall: I wouldn’t say either one of these ciders is better than the other — they definitely both have their places. If there’s food involved, I would make sure to pair Throne of Thorns with something that’s going to stand up to its bold flavor, while PNW Berry could go with something that has lighter, more nuanced flavors.