Tieton Cider Works – Spice Route

Tieton Cider Works' Spice Route

Check out that classy label design. Looks great, right?

Though I haven’t made anything close to an exhaustive effort trying out seasonal ciders this fall and winter, I did pick up this one from Tieton, partly because it’s been a long time (almost a year!) since I’ve reviewed one of theirs and I felt bad.

To be honest, it really helps that they revamped their packaging and have great all-new bottle art now. Any cider is more appealing when it doesn’t look like the label’s been designed in PowerPoint. (Also, the Spice Route label in particular reminds me of the Allspice tree from Glitch, which is a pleasant, if nostalgic, association.)

Spice Route is clear and golden, with a light aroma that’s part clove and allspice, part dry, funky apples, and clocks in at 6.9% ABV.

It was apparently launched as a seasonal offering but has been so popular Tieton moved it into their regular lineup — upon drinking it, I can understand both halves of that statement. During a time of year when everyone and their dog is releasing some variant on pumpkin spice (with or without the actual pumpkin), Tieton did a decent job of evoking similarities without keeping theirs from blending in too much.

It could be the allspice, which I think doesn’t actually make it into a fair number of pumpkin/holiday spice blends. Whatever it is, Spice Route comes out with character but without smashing an overpowering mess of spices into the drinker’s face. It’s the kind of thing that would go well with holiday meals.

If you’d like to try Spice Route, you can find Tieton in a number of US states, as well as British Columbia, or you can give them a call during normal business hours.

Tieton Cider Works – Apricot Semi-Dry

Tieton Cider Works Apricot Semi-Dry

Tieton Cider Works Apricot Semi-Dry

When last we met Tieton Cider Works, it was for their Smoked Pumpkin Cider back in October, so I figured it was high time I picked up something else from them for the pages of Bad Rider.

Tieton’s apricot cider is a medium amber, 6.9% ABV. The idea of an apricot cider being semi-dry is strange to me — but then, I freely admit I have unsophisticated opinions about fruit. Apricot? Not sweet? How odd. But sure enough: apricot, not sweet.

Dusty apricots distinctly dominate the aroma with more of a sharp, dried-fruit sort of smell, but then in the flavor the apricots come through fresh and tangy.

Tieton stays well clear of the “hint of [flavor]” approach that cider makers sometimes take with fruit blends. Of course the taste isn’t pure apricot like it might be if you were drinking straight juice, but the apples withdraw quite dramatically and really leave the apricot to shine.

You can locate yourself some Tieton via their website, and there are also some pairing suggestions here (those black bean burgers sound really good right now, actually).


Tieton Cider Works – Smoked Pumpkin Cider

Tieton Smoked Pumpkin Cider

Tieton Smoked Pumpkin Cider

For those of you overwhelmed by pumpkin spice everything, you may be in luck on the cider front, as I’ve only been able to get my hands on three pumpkin/pumpkin spice ciders so far. Even at only one per week, I might be done with pumpkin ciders by Halloween.

Tieton’s Smoked Pumpkin cider smells kind of funky, like the jack-o-lantern you left out on your porch for a few days too long.

I do get some squash flavor in this one, unlike Seattle Cider’s spice domination; overall it has a dark, somewhat funky taste. It’s similar to, but distinct from, other bittersweet craft ciders I’ve had.

Tieton’s bottle copy talks about it starting with smoke, following with pumpkin, and finishing with apple — I don’t agree that it’s as neat a progression as they’re claiming, and the smoke doesn’t identify itself particularly strongly, but in general they’re not wrong about the profile.

It’s very still, a cloudy amber-gold, and 6.9% ABV. Founded in 2008, Tieton has been around a while in comparison to much of the recent cider boom — their locator page shows a presence in 13 states as well as British Columbia.