2 Towns Ciders: Hop & Stalk and La Mûre

I’ve been remiss in mentioning that it is currently Oregon Cider Week, the fifth annual one in fact, so I decided to write up my reviews of the two ciders sent to me recently by 2 Towns Ciderhouse of Corvallis. Without getting spoilery of the reviews themselves I will say that 2 Towns has really been impressing me lately with their interesting, complex cider offerings. Seek these two out.

Imperial Hop & Stalk

2 Towns Imperial Hop & Stalk ciderThis “imperial” cider is made with Citra hops and Crimson Red rhubarb, not a combination you would expect to see, well, in most alcoholic beverages. But it works. They write:

Hop & Stalk features an outrageous amount of Citra hops, locally grown Crimson Red rhubarb, and fresh-pressed Northwest apples. With 8% ABV and fragrant floral passionfruit notes this cider stands up to bold Indian curry, fiery Mexican dishes, and even complements a subtle home-churned vanilla ice cream.

Hop & Stalk will be available to distributors from May through August in 500 ml bottles and ⅙ BBL and ½ BBL kegs.

Appearance: Pale straw yellow, amazing clarity, no head but a sparkling effervescence in the body.

Smell: Clean apple cider (green apple and white wine) with a kiss of citrus hops and a tart, earthy rhubarb fruitiness.

Taste: Flavor is very reminiscent of a fresh stalk of rhubarb (yes, I know exactly what this tastes like, growing up with rhubarb in the garden), though it’s not as sour—it’s earthy with a hint of bitterness and an acid level tempered by the sweet apple character. Some of that earthiness might be from the hops, otherwise I can’t really taste them.

Mouthfeel: Light, crisp, tart, and refreshing, with a good spritzy finish.

Overall: This is a tasty cider with a terrific rhubarb character.

La Mûre Lambic-style Blackberry Cider

2 Towns La Mûre Lambic-style Blackberry CiderThis is part of their “Cellar Series” of specialty ciders released in 750ml bottles and generally only available from their tasting room in Corvallis. Definitely interesting; they say:

This Cellar Series cider will be available in a limited quantity (70 cases) only through the tap room and to select accounts.

Inspired by the flemish beers of Belgium, La Mûre is 6.9% ABV, bone dry, and holds complex fruit character. La Mûre is aged in local Pinot Noir barrels with lactobacillus for over a year, resulting in a strong backbone, light oak flavors and a wild lactic tang.

Appearance: Purple color, reminiscent of blackberry, with a fizzy ring of head around the inside of the glass. Held to the light, it’s nicely clear and a deep red color.

Smell: Tart, vinegary aroma punctuated by not-quite-ripe berries. Balsamic like. A bit of horse blanket funk (classic barnyard character).

Taste: Very tart and acidic at first, with a vinegar-barnyard-funky character that turns jammy with tangy berries. Nicely dry without any residual sweetness but the acidic blackberry essence is captured well. It does remind me quite a bit of a lambic-styled beer.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, puckeringly tart with a nice wine-dry finish.

Overall: I really quite like this, it’s complex and balsamic vinegar-like in an appetizing way and does a great job capturing “blackberry” when drinking it.