The biggest question in the hard cider world is: How does the Zehner family find time to make delicious cider? The social media accounts of Incline Cider Co. co-owners Jordan and Lesley Zehner are filled with mountain hikes and marathon trainings. Yet, with help from Jordan’s parents and co-owners, Chris and Teresa, Incline continues to make delicious cider, as well as fill their taproom with what seems like a party daily. Since 2015, the Zehner family has made delicious, crushable cider, many from a dry-hopped apple base to pull out citrus aromas. The Auburn-based cidery with a popular Tacoma taproom uses 100 percent fresh pressed apples, no added sugar, no carbonated water, and the result are ciders that are balanced, not too sweet and super flavorful. Stop by Peaks and Pints and grab Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Incline Cider.
Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Incline Cider
Incline Beare’s Original Haze
Incline Cider’s Beare’s Original Haze is “inspired by a family name that promotes quality, boldness, and originality in both the cider we craft and the people behind it.” It’s fermented with Pacific Northwest apples, showcasing the prized honeycrisp, for a light, hazy, refreshing, and full of flavor cider with notes of citrus and a subtle sweetness.
When poured in a glass, this cider looks like a serving of cranberry juice. And first taste certainly tricks you into thinking you’re drinking hard juice — of course, because that’s what cider is — but tartness doesn’t overwhelm the drink. This is a well-balanced cider made with 100 percent apple juice infused with real cranberry juice and a hint of key lime for a bright and slightly tart cider.
It’s a cross between the Chehalem and Olallie blackberries. It has a dark red to black color, has medium-sized seeds and weighs 5 grams on average. The flavor is richer than a regular blackberry, which is why the fruit has been dubbed “the cabernet of blackberries.” It’s the marionberry. Incline Cider’s most popular cider, Marionberry pours a dark purple with an inviting dark fruit nose. The fruit forward cider has a tart finish that keeps it balanced.
Incline Blood Orange
“If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a blood orange, I highly recommend it,” says Peaks and Pints bartender Nicole Allen. “As the name suggests, blood oranges are red in color, sometimes in splotches on the outside but definitely on the inside. The concentration of the red inside depends on the particular type of orange and growing conditions. Squeezing them is when you truly understand where the “blood” reference comes from: the juice resembles the ruby red of a cranberry as opposed to the yellowish tone of orange juice. I’m a fan of Incline Cider. Their Blood Orange cider tastes like juicy blood orange plus citrus notes with a touch of tart.”
Incline White Peach
From the outside, yellow, and white peaches are distinguished by their skin color — deep yellow with a red or pink blush for the former versus pale and pink for the latter. Inside, the golden flesh of the yellow peach is more acidic, with a tartness that mellows as the peach ripens and softens. White-fleshed peaches are lower in acid and taste sweet whether firm or soft. White peaches also more delicate and easily bruised, which kept them from being sold in most stores until the 1980s, when hardier varieties were developed. According to Russ Parsons in How to Pick a Peach, older varieties of white peaches (and nectarines) had a bit of tang to balance the sugar, but the ones sold today are more uniformly sweet. Incline’s White Peach is sweet, indeed, but not too sweet. Peach flavor does shines, though.
Incline Prickly Pear
Prickly pears are the fruit of the nopalito cactus, whose paddle-shaped stems are also eaten in the form of nopales. These cacti are found throughout the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. While they’re quite unpleasant to bare skin with their protective spines, this cactus fruit yields mild, sweet, and refreshing juice. Incline’s Prickly Pear offers tropical aromas and a vibrant fuchsia color accent the unique characteristics of the cactus fruit. It’s earthy, bright, and semi-dry.
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