I currently work for a craft hard cider company in West Michigan. The founders are big explorers, outdoor enthusiasts, love buying local and, of course, supporting small and genuine businesses.
So when they came back from a trip to visit family in Seattle, Washington and brought back locally crafted goodies, I knew they had to be good. Well, that, and we all drink a lot of cider, so if something gets the rec from our founders, it’s probably something special.
Incline Cider from Auburn, Washington currently carries three types of canned ciders: the two I tried here, The Explorer and The Scout, and a seasonal release, The Legend. Each cider sits at 6.5 ABV, are all gluten free, non GMO, and made with close-to-home ingredients. If you meander over to Incline’s website, you’ll see they even have an “adventure pairing” for their ciders-
“Camping, hiking, picnics, boating, golfing, beaching, birding, brewing, reading, doing chores, mowing the lawn, dog walking, dog running, kayaking, rafting, bonfire burning, safaris, mushroom hunting, canoeing…if you’re still reading all were trying to say is that this cider is ready for any of your adventures (when enjoyed responsibly of course). Cheers!”
I tried to find ways to creatively photograph Incline’s modern looking cans, and I don’t know if I did them justice. My 7-month old kitten Uma decided she would help me with this by getting in most of my shots.
Lets start with The Explorer: Hopped Cider.
I’m not one for hopped ciders myself-I’m biased and really enjoy my company’s hopped cider, but most others I’ve tried end up being either far too hoppy, too dry, or bitter. I would say The Explorer is perfect for people looking to try hopped for the first time.
The Explorer is super pleasant-it’s extremely drinkable, and that’s coming from someone who just can’t seem to get on the IPA bandwagon (YES I’VE HAD FOUNDER’S ALL DAY IPA. Leaveee meee aloneeee). There is a beautiful balance in this cider between light and refreshing, citrus-y hops, and crisp and sweet apples. The hops are almost a breezy after thought, making subtle appearances with a vinegary apple flavor, and a light and citrus-y aroma. It sits more toward the dry end, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could seriously picture myself drinking this on a hot summer’s day!
If you’re a hop head and for you more is better, you may not appreciate the subtlety of the flavors here, but I sure did. Why oh why must Auburn, Washington, be so far away…
Up next, The Scout: Hopped Marionberry Cider.
I can’t say anything about the flavor before I talk about the absolutely beautiful color of this cider. I was surprised to see a deep purple-y red pour from the can, similar to a dark red wine. The head was a unique milky pink.
This cider packs a real punch not only with aesthetic appeal but also with intense, fresh flavors. Floral and deep blueberry/blackberry tones are the base of this cider, chased by an immediately hopped finish. Similar to The Explorer, The Scout is juicy and a little citrusy from the fresh hops. Again, this cider is really well balanced. While The Explorer was light and crisp, this drink lies on the heavier and more flavorful side, with a little extra subtle sweetness.
Overall, I was extremely impressed by Incline’s ciders. I can’t wait for the day they’re carried in Michigan. If you get the chance to, give them a try. Try new things and support small biz!