smoked pumpkin cider copy

Today’s offering is nothing if not unique. It’s also a bit divisive across palates as well. Still,  for those with adventurous taste (and more than a little bit of a soft spot for bacon, and all things smoked), it’s hard to pass on this creative offering from Washington’s own Tieton Cider Works. And when you consider the third generation Yakima Valley / Washington State University Horticulturist credentials that come along with brewer’s Craig and Sharon Campbell share, it’s hard to suggest that they haven’t thought their creations thoroughly through.

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Name:  Smoked Pumpkin Cider

Place of Origin / Brewer: Tieton, Washington / Tieton Cider Works

Beer style / ABV%:  Smoked Cider / 6.9%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Made with organically grown dessert apples and American, English, and French cider varieties from Harmony Orchards, as well as  pumpkins from just up the road. The cider is then smoked over apple wood to add a unique quality of smoke and savory flavors. It is also naturally gluten-free.

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Packaging:

If Panera Bread or Whole Foods branded a cider, this is what it would look like.  As much as I’m not really of fan of that particular aesthetic, it’s a look that works.  I will say that I do enjoy the conversational description and food pairing suggestions.  – Brittney

Very classic in design. It isn’t the most exciting label, but it does the trick and right away I know this is a smoked pumpkin cider. – Rick

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Color:  6

Cloudy orange with darker rust hues as you look down the glass. It reminds me very much of a mimosa. So I think it’s pretty safe to say this is legit unfiltered pumpkin juice and apple cider, not from concentrate. – Mike

As it should, this looks like a glass full of fresh pressed cider in all of its unfiltered glory.  It is golden yellow-orange in color and pretty opaque and thick looking. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 3.5

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Aroma:  5

A sour blast of apple cider vinegar is my first thought. Carrots, blended pumpkin, and squash fill out the bouquet which is quite pleasant. There is just a slight hint of a smoky earth note on the nose. – Rick

I’m greeted with the surprisingly pungent aroma of smoke and tart fresh apples, however there is a significant note of pure alcohol that unfortunately reminds me of a bottle of isopropyl. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 5 / R- 2

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Mouth feel:  6

Creamy and nicely medium bodied. There is a good weight of fruit juice, but no syrupy bog to close your throat thanks to the acidic snap. – Mike

This is thick for cider as a beer style but not necessarily for apple cider, it may be the inclusion of pumpkin or just the way Tieton brews. I would love to be able to taste one of Tieton’s more classic options in order to compare how the inclusion of pumpkin has changed the body, if at all. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 6 / B- 5 / R- 4

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Tasting notes:  7

Porcine and spicy sweet. It kind of reminds me of eating all of my breakfast at once… Or Barbeque Pumpkin Pie. This one is in a category all of it’s own and it makes me crave country fixin’s in the Smoky Mountains. This is a nice treat for a nippy, post mealtime, dusk walk with a nice pipe of the legal variety. – Mike

This is a fantastically interesting beverage, it’s far removed from what I consider to be a hard cider, and more like a true fermented rustic apple cider.  The smoke from the apple wood, the tangy note from the tannins, and vegetal elements from the pumpkin blend in a way that I would expect if I picked this up in some Western Kentucky mountain town.  We talk a lot about “artisanal” products, but rarely do we discover one that truly feels hand made. – Tim

The combination of the pumpkin and apples isn’t really working for me.  The flavors are competing too intensely for either to become the dominant flavor. I will say the smoke isn’t entirely overwhelming but firmly present, which is difficult to accomplish, and admirable. Most options that tout themselves as smoked have very little room for any other flavors. – Brittney

It’s very juice like with a nice medium body and was sweeter than expected based on the vegetal qualities of the aroma. Beets, carrots, and apples round out the flavor with a body of pumpkin. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 5.5 / R- 5.5

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Finish:  6

It finishes pretty clean, with a few more alcohol trails than I would like.  A little pucker and a little smoke carries it for a few wispy seconds, then cleans your palate off like a fine wine.  It’s a very good finish for a cider, if they could keep the ABV in check a little bit more, I think that alcohol taste would disappear right into the background. – Tim

Surprisingly subtle. The success here is the simplicity. Smoke up front, pumpkin in the middle, and a crisp apple bite on the end. It’s a great contrast to an otherwise silky drink. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 7.5 / B- 5 / R- 5

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Flavor balance:  7

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7

The smoke is fairly traceable just on the finish and the nose, but I feel it could benefit from a little more. The pumpkin flavor is actually quite delicious once you get used to the vegetal nature of the flavor profile though. – Rick

From a cider standpoint, this bad boy is mostly apple.  But the pumpkin is in there and the smoke is deftly applied, allowing for the flavor components to dance with each other like witches around a solstice bonfire. – Tim

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 6 / R- 5.5

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7

A nice sweet body is complimented well by a dry finish. Not too clingy and nor does it parch my mouth. – Rick

The sweetness on the body is wonderfully curtailed on the finish, where the dryness cleans the palate in the same manner as a great wine.  I really couldn’t ask for a more skilled blend. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 9 / B- 5 / R- 6

         Multiple Drinkability?  7

I love the idea. It’s thinking outside of the box that is keeping craft beer alive and interesting. It’s a glass of apple cider next to the bonfire after Thanksgiving dinner, but all at once is a little overwhelming for me. – Brittney

This is a remarkable and idiosyncratic concoction that just begs the mentality “You’ve got to try this”. It appeals to so many niches and breaks so many rules. It’s smoked, but not dominantly so; definitively pumpkin – sans spice; and very much a cider, but with international sensibilities. It’s damn good, and the craft stands up nicely to it’s own novelty. I’d happily have a few of these, if I didn’t feel I was denying others of the experience. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 5 / R- 6

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Overall:  6.16

M- 8.00 / T- 7.08 / B- 5.50 / R- 4.33

 

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