Cider Review: Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip

While I’m on a roll with specialty, fruit-added ciders, I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you on Finnriver’s Cranberry Rosehip cider. The concept sounded intense, and this cider did not disappoint on that front…

The Concept

Another in Finnriver’s series of Seasonal Botanicals, Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip combines–wait for it–cranberry and (wild, foraged) rosehips. Here’s what Finnriver has to say about it:

Finnriver’s winter seasonal cider is a Cranberry Rosehip blend featuring a lively fermented apple base with tart, organic cranberries and wildcrafted rosehips from the Olympic Peninsula. Celebrate the season with the succulent herbal notes and crimson color of this semi-sweet craft cider.

“Elijah K. Swan” Ciders are named after the good folks who sold us the farm (Lige & Kay Christian) and who first planted apple trees here, as well as for the trumpeter swans that overwinter in the valley.  This cider is a tribute to them and to those big white birds who remind us that earth is still wild.

I’ve sampled Finnriver’s  ciders a number of times before–see my posts on the 2015 Lakewood Cider Days and Colorado Cider Circus events, for instance–and I’m a fan. Their flavors are generally exceptional, and they have a good sense of design when it comes to cider concepts, so while I’m generally hesitant to try new cranberry ciders or meads due to the fact that cranberry easily overwhelms subtle flavors, I felt it worth a try to pursue this one. I’m glad I took the risk.

The Pour

Lots of apple on the nose, accompanied by cranberry. Either the rosehips are too subtle in the aroma or I don’t know what to look for. It’s slightly floral, however, so that may be where they are represented. Deep red color, very attractive. Moderate carbonation.

The Flavor

The initial flavor experience is that of intense, sharp, tart cranberry, with complex apple on the back end. It’s bracing and refreshing with some sweetness that helps to offset the acidity and cranberry intensity.

I was sure when I picked this up that there would be very little perceptible apple in this, but I was pleasantly surprised–the apple definitely takes a back seat, but it’s not absent.

Overall Impression

Finnriver Cranberry Rosehip strikes me as a good choice to pair with creamy, rich dishes as each would counterbalance the other. I’d love to try this with a Korma or alongside a traditional thanksgiving dinner.

This cider strikes me as an adult alternative–or perhaps a supplement to–a cranberry sauce at a holiday dinner. On its own, it’s a bit intense and not what I would describe as sessionable–I couldn’t easily drink a 500 ml bottle on my own…unusual for me when it comes to ciders that I really like.

With the right accompaniment and on the right occasion, however, this cider can really shine.


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