10/14/20: 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Hollow Jack'd

2:02 PM

Do you remember back in January when I discussed a beer from Breakside Brewery? If so, you may recall that my buddy from Portland, OR brought it as well as another bottle. In the post, I mentioned that I'd save that second bottle for a time closer to Halloween since it was pumpkiny.

Well, I'm breaking into that second bottle now. All the way from Oregon, we have 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Hollow Jack'd. It's been aging in my cellar since January with a bottling date of "1910HWJ07" (which I'm choosing to interpret as October 7th, 2019). Let's see how the bottle's drinking a year and a week after being bottled.

2 Towns was started by Aaron Sarnoff-Wood and Lee Larsen a decade ago. According to official company lore (as found on their "Company History" page), Aaron and Lee were enjoying some craft beer on a night out when they had the idea to start a brewpub. That idea rapidly evolved into their founding a ciderhouse. Based in Corvallis, Oregon, 2 Towns sources locally-grown apples for use in their cider. 

Hollow Jack'd, an imperial pumpkin cider, clocks in at a healthy 8.4% ABV. It's brewed with freshly-pressed apples, heritage pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spices, and local honey. The result is what the ciderhouse, on the cider's official page, calls "extra mischievous." I'll note that the bottle I have here is a bomber.

The cider's bouquet is an absolute delight. I'm finding heaps of sticky-sweet honey aroma, earthy goud and yam from the pumpkin and sweet potatoes, a touch (but no more) of pumpkin spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon), and a hearty apple foundation. This smells like what I imagine it's like to walk into a farmhouse kitchen the day before Thanksgiving. Purrl gave my bottle seven whiffs. She could take it or leave it, but I'm here for this imperial pumpkin nose.


There's a fine mixture of sweetness and tartness in the cider, which is exactly what I expect from one. The honey amplifies the sweetness. What I'm perceiving as roasted gourd gives it an earthy, baked grounding. The spice here is light, mirroring its presence in the nose. The apples are delicious, and linger with the pumpkin at the end of each swing. There's also some caramel here--definitely fitting for the cider's aesthetic and flavor.

I'm surprised that I'm not finding any of that 8.4% ABV anywhere in the cider. Makes me a little nervous for when I'll go to stand up after finishing this bottle, you know?

Hollow Jack'd feels bright and bubbly. Like a tasty witch's brew your friend might throw together for a Halloween party (lemon-lime soda pop included). It's perfectly befitting the cider in everything but ABV (which I'm still not finding).

During the Halloween  of my sophomore year of college, some of my friends had sweet cider and vodka in their dorm room mini fridge. We decided to mix the two and imbibe before heading to uptown Athens, OH and joining the mass of becostumed college kids crowding the streets. Being college kids ourselves, we poured heavy on the vodka and light on the cider. I went as Leon S. Kennedy, from Resident Evil 4. I threw back a glass of the "cocktail" as my recently-hairsprayed emo bangs clung to my forehead. It was a half-forgotten unforgettable night, and exactly what Hollow Jack'd (pre-Thanksgiving kitchen pie-baking aromatics and all) is bringing to the front of my memory.

9.0/10. That's how 2 Towns' Hollow Jack'd stands up on the blog. It's good, sweet, sour, and seasonal. I think that that ABV's just about setting in, so I'll wrap this post up while I'm still coherent. Shoutout to Bryan and Mo for bringing this for Michelle (who said it's "not bad") and me to try!

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