Cider Review – Finnriver Habanero Cider

There are now over 160 Cideries in the U.S. and most of them are craft cider makers. The North West holds some of the best and most popular ciders.  When I first started following craft cider, Finnriver kept showing up. In media, Facebook, Twitter and online news. I just had to get my hands on them.  They rocked my cider collection by sending me three artisanal ciders.  One in particular cider that I just had to have was their Habanero cider. I am a chili head and this sounded like it would work well. Boy was I in for a treat.

According to their web site, this is their mission:

“At Finnriver Farm we are striving to create deep-rooted & fruitful connections…to the land we farm, to our wild and human neighbors, and to our community as a whole.

We are engaged in the earnest pursuit of wise land stewardship through the following commitments:

  • Practicing sustainable agriculture
  • Harnessing renewable energies
  • Contributing to vibrant local economy
  • Restoring riparian wildlife habitat
  • Reviving artisan traditions
  • Serving as an educational resource
  • Keeping a vibrant farm culture alive and well

Finnriver is 100% locally financed through a community network of visionary investors.

Thoreau wrote, “You must get your living by loving.” We love this farm and we welcome you come visit and become a part of our growing community.”

Well if that’s not enough to respect Finnriver as a community and agricultural conscious company, I don’t know what is.  They have invited me on occasions to visit them and stay at their farm. Oh yeah, I will be doing that.  Maybe next year if I can talk my wife into it.

The cidery sits on 33 acres of family farm-land along a restored salmon stream,  located off Center Road, in the rural Chimacum Valley, a traditionally agricultural region on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  They are just 12 miles from historic Port Townsend, which I believe is where Seattle Cider Summit will be taking place.  Wish I could be there.  Maybe I will post a Kickstarter campaign to fly and stay in the NW.  What do you think?

Besides berries and currants, which happen to find its way into their ciders and wine, they grow  squash, mixed vegetables and heirloom apples.  They also raise chickens, ducks, pigs and goats.

After viewing some beautiful pictures of the farm and land, I can picture myself camping there for a week and living off the land, even though I am a little bit of a city boy.

If you want to get a better sense  of the pride of the family and beauty of the farm,  watch this video. You will be inspired.

Finnriver Farm & Cidery: Taste Life on the Land from varda hardy on Vimeo.

Well here goes my unbiased review on Finnriver’s Habanero Cider

The habanero poured the color of fresh farmstand apple juice with no mousse.  The tiny bubbles were speedy and tight.  No problems so far.

Woooooooh, fresh habanero dominates the nose. No apologies here.  Then I am  immediately hit with a whaft of fresh sweet apple.  This reminds me of one of my favorite snacks, sliced jicama tossed with fresh lime  juice and sprinkled with chili powder.  this is one of the most exciting ciders I have smelled.

The flavor profile was just as exciting, a fresh burst of habanero, almost took my breath away. Nearly tongue numbing. Chile flavor dominates front end and heat finishes on back pallete. Habanero was medium bodied which made this semi sweet cider easy to quaff,  though the habanero says wait, easy there fella.

I can’t get over the combination of acidity, spice and fruit. Layers of depth.  If this were dry, the heat would not subside as quickly as it did. Sweetness is a counter-balance of spicy.  Acidity is brash and it should be that way. Take it from Mexican cuisine;  take the main item, a squeeze of fresh  lime and a sprinkle of chili. This would almost make a good base for ceviche.  I think I’ll try that.

I have had many craft beers with chili and some have been good, others have missed the punch line, but chile and cider…holy habanero! It doesn’t get better than this. The chile smells so fresh. I asked Crystie Kisler from Finnriver to share how they kept the flavors so vibrant. She told me that chopped habaneros were soaked in the cider after fermentation. Kind of like dry hopping.

I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I enjoyed this cider.


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