Tag Archives: American craft cider

IT’S CIDER WEEK IN NYC

Cider Week NYC Postcard 2014

Check the list of official events at www.ciderweeknyc.com and ask your favorite dining and imbibing spots and shops what they have planned for Cider Week NYC.

Get Social With Cider & Join The (hard) Cider Revival:

Facebook: Cider Week
Twitter: @ciderweekny
Instagram: @ciderweekny

#ciderweekny
#ciderweek
#ciderselfie
(clicking on the magic apple will whisk you directly to the EVENTS page)
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Cider Review: Eve’s Cidery BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER: Cider52

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Cider: BECKHORN HOLLOW DRY CIDER

Maker: Eve’s Cidery   Origin:  Van Etten, New York

website: www.evescidery.com

ABV: 8%   Bottle: 750 ml

Makers Style/Bottle Notes: “Naturally sparkling cider, fermented in this bottle”.

Fruit: Apple  Cider Maker:  Autumn Stoscheck

Our Tasting Notes: First glass, drinking at about 52 degrees.

In The Glass:  Clear, pale, white-gold with a small, steady bead that settles to no visible bubble. 

Aroma: Apple peel, marzipan, honey, raw apple, baked apple, grassy, powdered sugar, citrus peel and spice.

Taste: Tart, sweet, slightly spirituous and warming, with stone fruit, dried apricot, and anise & fennel.

Overall Impressions: Refreshing with pleasing tart acidity, balanced by sweet, sour, and subtle bitter notes. Intend to taste this cider again if we can find – it’s a special blend – we discovered ours at Eve’s Cidery’s New York GrowNYC Greenmarket stall at Union Square. This cider is currently not listed on Eve’s Cidery’s website.

BONUS MIXOLOGY TIP: Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow Dry Cider with a splash of Eden Ice Cider Orleans Bitter is delicious and tremendously refreshing. Makes an easy apéritif or the start of an interesting cocktail.

Watch an informative video about Eve’s Cidery’s orcharding practices: Orcharding with Autumn from Eve’s Cidery on Vimeo.

Eve’s Ciderywww.evescidery.com

Find Eve’s Cidery’s stall at the GrowNYC Union Square Greenmarket www.grownyc.org:  Friday MapSaturday Map.

Eden Ice Ciders: www.edenicecider.com

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Cider Mixology: The Whiskey Smash! Millstone Cellars Blossom Cider in A Woodberry Kitchen Cocktail

WK Wiskey Smash!

Cider Mixology: Whiskey Smash!  Millstone Cellars Blossom Cider at Woodberry Kitchen.

Wending our way back to New York from Virginia – with precious cider cargo in tow – we stopped for refreshment at Woodberry Kitchen, located in a refurbished 19th century mill complex outside of downtown Baltimore. 

Woodberry Kitchen bar artisans embrace the charms of cider, allowing us to start the evening properly with a cider cocktail, The Whisky Smash! 

Mixologist C. Connor Rasmussen, kindly shared the recipe.

The WHISKEY SMASH! How To:

A wonderful cocktail wherein we substitute the more traditional bubbly wine for the sparkling cider:
1.75 bourbon (above 90 proof)
.75 lemon (fresh squeezed)
.5 honey syrup (89% honey to water)
Shake everything up and pour over rocks with a dash of bitters and top with the sparkling cider!
Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.
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To Start: The Whiskey Smash! and yellow wax peppers on toasts charred in the wood-fired brick oven.
To Follow: An extremely delicious and seriously local meal.
Accompanied By: Regional ciders at every turn.
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Read a bit about Woodberry Kitchen (here).

For another cider cocktail from Woodberry Kitchen, with MIllstone Ciderberry Cider, see The Brewer & Keep Cocktail.

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Cider + Cheese and You. A Tasting with Tilted Shed Ciderworks and DeVoto Orchards Cider.

A Slow Food Russian River Cider + Cheese Tasting Scholarship Fund Benefit Event

When our resident Cheesemonger crafted a fantasy-cheese pairing featuring Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 GRAVIVA! Semidry Cider, our cider pen pals at Tilted Shed responded by hosting the First-Ever Sebastopol Cider and Cheese Challenge and invited Apple Sauced Cider to join in. You can read about their cider+cheese pairing adventures here.

Actual Cider + Cheese Pairings are definitely more fun.

Want to enjoy a guided cheese + cider pairing featuring Tilted Shed Ciderworks & Devoto Orchards Cider? You Can!

Sign up for the upcoming SLOW FOOD RUSSIAN RIVER Benefit Event.

Link: EVENT: CIDER & CHEESE PAIRING OCT. 27, 3-6PM, SEBASTOPOL

“Devoto Orchards and Tilted Shed Ciderworks, two Sebastopol-area farm-based cider producers, will join six local cheesemakers in showcasing craft cider’s amazing range and versatility.”

Yes. The cider artisans and orchardists behind Apple Sauced Cider and Devoto Gardens are launching a new brand,: Devoto Orchards Cider. This first seasons releases of farmstead ciders will include: Gravenstein, 1976, and Cidre Noir.

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Saving Apples by Making Cider. Drink a Gravenstein Today.

Gravenstein

Pomme Fruit: Gravenstein Apples In The Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California.

The Sebastopol Gravenstein, a vividly colored, aromatic, flavorful heirloom apple is historically important in the Russian River Valley. So dominant in the region, the ribbon of roadway running through the acres of orchards became known as The Gravenstein Highway – honoring the apples prolific presence. Declining prices for processing apples, the increasing popularity of other more ‘commercially viable’ apples, and a booming West Coast wine industry, all led to Gravenstein orchards being ripped out to make way for the extremely lucrative wine grapes that now populate the region.

David Karp, writing for the LA Times:

“Gravenstein is still a favorite in northern Europe and is cultivated from Nova Scotia to the Pacific Northwest, but it reaches its greatest perfection in the Sebastopol district of western Sonoma County, at the border of the maritime and inland climatic zones, where the morning fog gives way to a moderately hot afternoon sun. The area’s fine, sandy loam soil is well suited to apples. The huge trees, grafted on seedling rootstock, develop roots deep enough to survive the dry summers without irrigation.”

Concerned Sonoma County cider makers are working to revive interest in this heirloom apple by focusing on the Gravenstein’s many desirable cider worthy traits, crafting ‘Gravs’ into unique ciders that celebrate and express the heritage of the apple and the region.

Saving Apples by Making Cider. Drink a Gravenstein Today.

Find A Gravenstein Cider:

Tilted Shed Ciderworks: Graviva! Semi Dry Cider

Apple Sauced Cider: Save The Gravenstein! Cider

Devoto Orchards Cider: Gravenstein first release October 14, 2013

Gleanings (sources for further reading):

LATimes: The future of Gravenstein apples hangs on a thin stem by David Karp

NPR: Gravenstein Apples: The End Of Summer In A Fruit by Nicole SpIridakis

Zester Daily: The Fight To Save Sonoma’s Gravenstein Apple by Tina Caputo

Slow Food USA Ark of Taste: Sebastopol Gravenstein

Slow Food USA Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Presidia

Gravenstein apple image (detail) – credit: “U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705”

Link: The future of Gravenstein apples hangs on a thin stem. July 12, 2013 By David Karp. Special to the Los Angeles Times

 

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Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider DOORYARD STILL CIDER Batch 1214: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: FARNUM HILL CIDER DOORYARD STILL CIDER BATCH 1214 

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards   Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

ABV: 7.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, wine cork

Style Notes:  The Dooryard series are cider batches that departed from the flavor profiles of established Farnum Hill blends. Each keg or bottle of Dooryard Cider is marked with a batch number, allowing you to look up the details of your specific cider, giving you a glimpse into the cider making process at Farnum Hill.

Fruit: Apples. Golden Russet is a featured apple in this blend.

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

Makers Notes: Dooryard No. 1214 – Still, in Bottles:

Our first Still (no bubbles) Dooryard in a while, this opens with citrus and sweet florals. We used a high proportion of Golden Russet in this, and its fruity sweetness and full body comes through in the mouth, with pink grapefruit, sour cherry and quinine. The finish is long and fruity, with citrus and their peels carrying. (NL)

FH Dooryard Still

Our Tasting Notes:  

Farnum Hill Dooryard 1214 Still Cider pours a bright and shining rich roman gold, with gigantic bubbles that immediately fall dead still.

Slight smokey notes of tobacco leaf, whiskey, and oak meld with citrus peel, baked apple, roast honey, chalk and green pepper. A quick swirl offers up toasted hazelnuts, and a hint of pineapple.

The first taste is smooth, silky, pleasingly bitter, lightly tannic, a bit salty, with subterranean lingering apple tones.

Deliciously complex aromas confounded at first. On reading the cider makers tasting notes, the quinine with pink grapefruit peel became more clearly identifiable.

The floral aromas were more green than sweet reminiscent of lilies and tulips, herbaceous and slightly pungent.

Reading the cider maker’s tasting notes can be very helpful. Accurate, well written information from the cider maker can increase your cider knowledge, and enhance the cider drinking experience.

Overall Impressions: Extremely intriguing smokey and green floral aromas. Vinous and crisp, with refreshingly bitter flavors of quinine and grapefruit. An aromatic, complex and challenging cider. If you enjoy a brisk Gin & Tonic, and white wines with sharp minerality, this is a cider for you.

Taster’s Side Note: The fact that this is a very Golden Russet heavy cider, makes us want to explore other ciders that feature this apple.

Dooryard 1214 was featured as one of the The Ciders Of Summer. Our Favorite American Craft Ciders For Drinking Right Now, perfect for summer, but certainly a cider we would drink in these cooler months, if we could find a bottle.

 

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Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider FARMHOUSE CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: FARNUM HILL CIDER FARMHOUSE CIDER

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards  Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

ABV: 6.5%

Bottle: 750 ml, mushroom cork, wire hood

Fruit: Apples.

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

CiDER MAKERS NOTES: 

Our lightest, most casual cider, pale gold and bubbly, with a stroke of sweetness along with the tart, bitter, and fruity elements that good cider offers. Citrus, pineapple, bittersweet apple, and a trace of the barn. Farmhouse astringency is nowhere near the extreme, but shows a certain tannic edge. Agreeably versatile, sharing certain flavor elements with both beer and wine. A clean, appetizing finish makes it congenial with many kinds of food, from the snackiest to the whole-grainiest and back.

‘Farmhouse’ is more of a pub cider than our others. It varies a bit more from batch to batch, shows less complexity less alcohol than our others, and of course is less filling than beer. It and Semi-Dry are the most popular of our regular ciders. ‘Farmhouse’ is blended from a group of real cider apples that ripen earlier than most. So it’s a bit easier to make and less expensive to buy.

Visit the website to read more about  Farnum Hill ‘Farmhouse’

Farnum Hill Farmhouse Label

Our Tasting Notes: compiled over several tastings.

In The Glass: Clear, radiant shine. Glowing golden.

First Pour: Slight froth that immediately settles in to a light mousse ring with miniscule bubbles. Distinct legs.

Aroma: Green apple, warm sugar, apple peel, fresh green grass. Black pepper, grapefruit, rooty and a bit barky. Cidery, hint of quinine, ripe apple, powdered sugar, leather.

Swirl: Wood/oak – but not vanilla – slight tropical and dried fruit notes, pleasantly herbal, more quinine and grapefruit.

Taste: Fresh, bitter, tannic, and cidery. BSA. Extremely subtle sweetness. Rustic, nicely rough.

Finish: Long, slow, relatively gently tannins, soft powdery, slight citrus note. Bitter lingers, tapers off, and tannins slowly re-appear. Well balanced. Slightly drying and a bit warming.

2 tasters- (2) different Taste Ratings:

TASTE RATING SCALE: Our (2) tasters experience of the balance of bitter, sour, and umami was different:

Taster 1:  Bitter: 7  Astringency: 7   Sour: 6   Salty: 2   Sweet: 1   Umami: 3 

Taster 2:  Bitter: 3  Astringency: 7  Sour: 4    Salty: 2   Sweet: 1   Umami: 1

Our Pairing-The Tasting Lab:  None.

Overall Impressions: Farnum Hill Ciders DANCE. Visually, and in the mouth. Farmhouse Cider is no exception. The tannins and bitter notes tussle and tumble in this cider* and give you quite a flavor ride. Farmhouse is rustic yet focused, with bitter, sour, drying elements all jostling, and giving dimension to the cider. The aromas of this bumptious blend almost insists you drink it. For all its rough-hewn charm, this cider’s profile is very precise and finely honed. When drinking a Farnum Hill, you experience a well crafted, rounded, fully complete cider. There are no wrong notes, and much enjoyment to be had.

*This may be why our (2) tasters had different experiences of Bitter and Sour balance in this cider.

TERMS, DEFINITIONS & LINGO: 

BSA Bitter Sweet Apple: Referring to aroma and flavor characteristics of Bitter-Sweet Apple varieties used for cider. Bittersweet apples are low in acids and high in tannins. Tannin accounts for two palate sensations: astringency and bitterness.

From CIderUK.com:

Bittersweet apples impart the characteristic flavour of English ciders; as the name implies they are low in acid and high in tannin. The latter is responsible for two sensations on the palate – astringency and bitterness. In the bittersweet apple, there is a whole range of combinations of these two characteristics, varying from little astringency coupled with intense bitterness to very marked astringency coupled with mild bitterness. Typical bittersweets are Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Tremlett’s Bitter.

ADDITIONAL READING:  FH Cider Talk & Terms Farnum Hill explains their cider profiles and the philosophy behind the ciders they craft.

 

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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4 of The BEST Cider Serving Establishments in The United States Right Now:

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4 of The BEST Cider Serving Establishments in The United States Right Now:

This is a starter list – we know there are more. If we have overlooked your favorite cider serving establishment please let us know. We hope to see this list grow to double digits in 2013.

Our requirements to make The List of The BEST Cider Serving Establishments in The United States are actually quite simple:

ONE: The establishment must be located in the US of A.*

TWO: The establishment must serve cider.

THREE: The establishment must serve a variety of artisanal craft ciders, ideally – both local and imported.

The SEPTEMBER 2013 LIST OF The BEST Cider Serving Establishment in The United States:

The Queens Kickshaw Astoria, New York.

If you visit New York for any reason, and You Like Cider The Queens Kickshaw should be on your agenda. An ever-changing list of US and imported ciders, and always at least one cider on draft.  For a local treat ask for AGUA de ASTORIA  – a sparkling cider and fresh orange juice delight.  Sample menu here.

UpCider San Francisco, California.

This Left Coast cider gastro-pub features a dazzling array of cider. Cider lovers should plan a trip to San Francisco NOW. The well curated single page comestibles menu is dwarfed by the substantial cider (and beer and mead ) offerings. Sample menu here.

Bushwhacker Cider Pub Brooklyn, SE Portland, Oregon.

Bushwhacker Cider’s menu presents a head spinning array of bottled ciders – simply Wonka-esque with 200+ offerings. Currently the only purveyor on our list to make their own ciders, they kindly offer multitudes of other brands for you to taste and enjoy as well. Sample bottle list here.  Sample house cider list here.

Capitol Cider Seattle, Washington.

Capitol Cider, the Emerald City’s newly opened cider pub offers an extensive list of ciders and also sells cider to go. Visiting Seattle just became a cider-explorer priority. Sample bottle list here.  Sample tap list here.

* Not located in the US of A but serve A LOT of different ciders? We want to know about you! Please leave a comment or send a note.

Ed. Note: USofC has had the pleasure of enjoying cider at The Queen’s Kickshaw, the other 3 outstanding establishments are on OUR must visit list.

Links:

The Queens Kickshaw thequeenskickshaw.com

UpCider upcidersf.com

Bushwhacker Cider bushwhackercider.com

Capitol Cider seattleciderbar.com

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A Cider Is Announced: New US Cider Makers in 2013 – A Partial List

3g13962rJust a selection of the American cider companies announced and/or actively launched and producing cider so far in 2013:

One Tree Hard Cider WA

Seattle Cider Co. WA

Peoples Cider Co. MI

Blown Spoke Cider Co CO

Blue Bee Cider Co VA

Schilling WA

Twilight Cider WA

Commonweatlh Cider (Philadelphia Brewing Co.) PA

Atlas Cider OR

Cider Riot OR

Fox Tail Cider OR

Hood Valley Ciders OR

HR Ciderworks OR

Noble Cider  NC

Blake’s MI

Homestead Cider MA

Two Heroes Hard Cider NY

Compass Cider House CO

Bishop Cider Co TX

Downeast Cider Co. MA

This is a very informal list, if you are on it and were producing cider in 2012 – we’ll adjust the list. If you should be on the list – we’ll gladly add you.

Leave a comment or email corrections to unitedstatesofcider at gmail dot com.

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Ladies and Gentlemen A Cider Is Announced: WASHINGTON

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Ladies and Gentlemen A Cider Is Announced: WASHINGTON

In early 2013 we started keeping lists of cider makers by state.*

We posted our first A-Z List: WASHINGTON, on January 16, 2013. We recorded 14 Washington cider making entities.

Our updated revised A-Z List: WASHINGTON, dated September 17, 2013 has 22 Washington cidermakers listed.

Cider is indeed on the rise.

(We count wineries & brewers that also make cider or apple wine, and include makers that have announced but may not have a first release for sale yet)

If you have additions or corrections, please let us know.

A few useful resources for collecting US cider data:

United States Association of Cidermakers

Northwest Cider Association

Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association

Rocky Mountain Cider Association

Vermont Ice Cider Association

Cider Guide: The World Map of Cider

North American Cider Map Project

American Hard Cider Directory & Resource

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Ladies and Gentlemen: A Cider Is Announced! The Quaff of The Nation is on The Rise.

Ladies and Gentlemen: A Cider Is Announced! The Quaff of The Nation is on The Rise.

Cideries, Ciderworks, Cider Taprooms and More! Are Being Announced at an Alarming Rate.

Cider Coming Soon! appears on twitter profiles, websites, blogs, inter-webs, and various other modes of communication at a speed not recently seen in this Modern Age.

If we are not careful there will be cider purveyors on every street corner and our youth will spend their days dreaming of fermenting pome fruits into gold.

Anytown, USA – This Could Happen To You!

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Title: Interior of a cider mill at Rye
Creator(s): Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911, artist
Date Created/Published: [1879?]

LOC: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010714807/

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Exploring APPLES and Collecting Cider: Virginia

Apple Tasting at Albemarle CiderWorks

Exploring Apples.

Our recent Cider (and Apple) Road Trip to Virginia sparked the desire to more actively explore apple varieties.

Becoming familiar with the unique qualities of individual apple varieties – through study and sampling – enhances the experience of drinking craft cider, allowing you to understand and taste how the fruit itself contributes to shaping a craft ciders’ profile.

Apple-centric highlights of our Virginia cider tour included:

A guided apple tasting at Vintage Virginia Apples/Albemarle CiderWorks, followed by orchard exploring to view the raw materials of cider still on the tree. Apples sampled and spied included: Dolgo, Hewes Crab, Pitmaston Pineapple, Razor Russet and Arkansas Black.

Charlotte and Chuck Shelton of Albemarle CiderWorks’ Virginia Cider Making demonstration tasting at The Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. Fresh pressed ‘sweet’ cider from Vintage Virginia Apples extracted via an antique manual cider press, and enjoyed in the midst of Thomas Jefferson’s restored experimental vegetable garden.

Three lively and informative workshops: Heirloom Apples & Artisanal Cheese TastingApple Varieties for Organic Orchards, and Apple Varieties for Cider & Pie Making with ‘Professor Apple’, the esteemed orchard consultant, apple educator and advocate – Tom Burford.

And of course, securing copies of Tom Burford’s new book, Apples of North America: 192 Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks.

Follow the links below for additional information about the annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, and this years workshops. Plan a visit in 2014.

Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello

Virginia Cider Making
Chuck & Charlotte Shelton

Heirloom Apple & Artisanal Cheese Tasting
Tom Burford & Gail Hobbs-Page

Apple Varieties for Organic Orchards 
Tom Burford

Apple Varieties for Cider- & Pie-Making 
Tom Burford

 

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Exploring Apples and Collecting CIDER: Virginia

VA Ciders

Collecting Cider.

Our recent Cider (and Apple) Road Trip to Virginia involved rigorous cider tasting, and afforded the opportunity to collect an extensive array of some of the finest Virginia ciders currently available. These apple elixirs were carefully transported to United States of Cider HQ and await further study. Expect upcoming posts about our cider tasting experiences and detailed Virginia cider reviews.

Virginia ciders to be explored:

Albemarle CiderWorks

Castle Hill Cider

Blue Bee Cider

Foggy Ridge Cider

Potter’s Craft Cider

A few non-Virginia apple ferments were sampled and collected as well. These will also be thoroughly examined and the results reported.

Millstone Cellars Cider

Great Shoals Cider

*note: NY apples (above photo) with Virginia, and Maryland, ciders.

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The Ciders of Summer. Our Favorite American Craft Ciders for Drinking Right Now:

LOC apple image

A Few of Our Current Favorite Summer Ciders:

West County Cider Redfield. A beautiful, pink hued cider with clean, clear tannins and lively acidity. Goes anywhere a rosé can go, and then some.

Farnum Hill Summer Cider. Effervescent, crisp, clear and bright. Well structured with a tannic finish as long and warming as a summer’s day.

Farnum Hill Cider Dooryard series: Current favorite: Batch 1214. A still cider, full of tannins and bursting with notes of quinine and pink grapefruit. A cider that quenches like a crisp gin & tonic.

Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider. Lean and sophisticated, notes of spice, citrus, apricot, and fresh apple with irrepressible bubbles providing continual refreshment.

Tieton Cider Works Apricot. The perfect outdoor entertaining cider. A fruity floral foil to tangy barbecue sauces and grilling marinades. Perfect as a base for a cider sangria and enjoying with brunch on the patio.

Eden Ice Cider Orleans Bitter. Anytime, anywhere, all summer long. On ice, mixed, shaken, stirred, spritzed, or frozen. A lovely herbal bitterness that refreshes.

Note: We have only begun to taste the variety that is American craft cider. If you have favorites, especially for summer cider drinking, please leave a comment.

Order is not indicative of preference.

 

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Cider Review: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST

Maker: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

Origin: Salem, Oregon

website: www.wanderingaengus.com

ABV: 7.5 %   Bottle: Available in 16.9 oz crown cap bottles, and on draft.

Makers Style Notes: Semi-Dry and tart with a “warm ginger tone”.

Fruit: Apple. From orchards in Hood River & Culver, Oregon.

Makers Fruit Notes:

At Wandering Aengus Ciderworks we press and blend over 20 cider apple varietals to craft our ciders. Our cider specific apples originate from France, England, and pre-prohibition America, but are grown now in Oregon. These heirloom varieties are essential for the depth of flavor, excellent body, and delightful aromatics of our distinctive ciders.”

Tasting Notes: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: (2) separate tastings:

In The Glass: On First Pour: Color & Clarity: Radiant brass, bright, shining and clear with clusters of varied bubbles and slight tears.

Aroma: Intense upfront aromas of ‘real’ sugars, suggesting cloying sweetness, followed by cooked apple, maple, honey, toffee, black pepper and hints of orchard. Retro-nasally (aroma on exhale) there are floral-lily notes.

Taste: The fleeting sweetness of caramelized fruit and maple syrup is followed by crisp acidity, salt and a jolt of tannins. Woody and damp, the moderate tannins add complexity and balance, creating a honeyed-mead roundness reminiscent of fall. Like Anthem Cider, Wanderlust entices with sweet aromas, then surprises with a depth and structure beyond the initial sugary nose.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Gouda, black bean hummus, guava jam, and pickled jalapeño – a favorite grilled cheese from The Queens Kickshaw – this sweet spicy sandwich and cider combination is extremely complimentary. Mesclun greens tossed in jalapeño vinaigrette enhance the sois bois dampness in the cider, and the cider brightens the ‘greeness’ of the mixed lettuces.

Specific Qualities: This cider got us thinking about qualities of  ‘sous bois’, and orchard aromas.

“sous bois“- of the orchard or of the orchard undergrowth. A very particular range of aromas representing the many elements present in the orchard ecological system, from ripe to over ripe or even rotting fruit, fruit flesh and skins, fruit leaves, tree bark, orchard grasses, and soil. Overall very fragrant, pungent, sweet, earthy, and fecund. A unique aromal experience that simultaneously reminds one of both growth and decay.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks Wanderlust’s aromas and flavors are transporting, vividly expressing the experience of walking through an orchard, bringing the seasonal cycles keenly into consciousness. A quality we find highly desirable, especially in a well crafted cider. Wanderlust possesses a slightly ‘damp orchard’ aroma, a seemingly logical result for a cider coming from the moisture abundant temperate climate of the Willamette River Valley region of Oregon. Is this a distinctly Northwest ‘sous bois’ or a particular Wandering Aengus Cider and Anthem Cider trait? Will this trait emerge as a defining characteristic of Northwest ciders? We can’t wait to find out.

Overall Impressions: Wandering Aengus WANDERLUST is an accessible, intriguing cider, offering the simple seductive allure of sweetness followed by well structured complexity.

If you are interested in the Willamette River Valley regions climate and growing sites details, as they apply to wine grapes, you can read about the regions 7 unique AVAs here and here.

If you have tasting notes, please leave a comment.

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Tasting Lab: Recipe: FREEZE IT! Cider and Ice Cider Granitas.

The warming temperatures inspired some cider experimentation. We made quick no fuss granitas from several ciders and ice ciders. Here are our results, and a few ideas for other freeze-ology experiments:

Tieton Cider Works Cherry Cider: A very fruit-forward, apple cider blended with cherries from Harmony Orchards fruit grown in Eastern Washington State.

Frozen Result: Refreshing. Try with a slice of lime. Tieton Cider Works Cherry Cider is a terrific base for popsicles, slushies or a fresh fruit cider sangria.

Tieton Cider Works Frost Ice Cider: A light “autumn blend” ice cider made from Harmony Orchards’ Jonagold, Pinova and Winter Banana apples.

Frozen Result: A gently sweet apple ice that would be lovely infused with bits of lemon thyme, or tarragon prior to freezing. Serve with a serious citrus twist.

Tieton Cider Works Wind: A warming bourbon barrel aged ice cider.

Frozen Result: A whiskey-like equivalent of a frozen margarita. Add fresh mint + simple syrup for mint julep-style frozen treat.

E. Z. Orchards Cidre: A French-style cidre from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Frozen Result: An amazing tannic treat. Palate cleansing, unexpected and addicting.

Eden Ice Cider Orleans Bitter: A recent addition to Vermont based Eden Ice Cider’s line, Orleans Bitter is a bracingly bitter refreshment, and our current go-to summer apéritif and a favorite mixology component.

Frozen Result: A perfect apéritif or digestif in delightful frozen form. No add-ons, adjuncts required or desired. Just freeze it.

Try This At Home!

DIY-HOW TO: Freeze ciders in shallow container (ice cube trays will do in a pinch) covered to seal out unwanted freezer flavors. Once frozen, scrape into granita texture, or fork-chip into a pleasing cider ice flake. Serve immediately, a small scoop is all that’s needed as flavors are intensified.

Further experiments with cider pops, cider slushies, home infused cider ices, and ice ciders over shaved ice – cider sno-cones! –  coming soon.

Notes: We favor craft ciders that use real fruit for our mixology and freezing experiments, and suggest you do the same. Be aware of the ABV% of your frozen treat –  easy to enjoy – it’s easy to forget they still contain alcohol.

For a bit more Granita How To visit Serious Eats.

Links:

Tieton Cider Works

E. Z. Orchards Cidre

Eden Ice Cider Company 

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Cider Review: Farnum Hill DOORYARD Batch 1206: Tasting Journal: Cider52

FHillDooryard1202ACider: FARNUM HILL DOORYARD BLEND 1206

Thoughts On A Bottle: Tasting Journal:

Review Note: Solo tasting. No team tasting pending as this batch of Dooryard cider is no longer available.

Makers Style Notes:

What ARE Dooryard ciders? “Lovely cider batches” that departed too much from the flavor profiles of established Farnum Hill Cider blends. The ongoing Dooryard series: experimental ciders, ranging from bittersweet to superfruity, that sell out quickly, never to be made again.”

Visit the Farnum Hill website to get specific notes on your batch of Dooryard using this link.

One of the best parts of drinking Farnum Hill Dooryard Ciders is reading the cider makers notes:

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

Cider Makers Notes on FARNUM HILL DOORYARD BLEND 1206: 

This new Dooryard was blended from our new big batch base 1205, a tank-end of 1211, and a partial barrel of 1311, Wickson.

This cider doesn’t color too far out of our usual Farnum Hill Ciders lines, compared to some previous Dooryard batches.  The nose carries a fair bit of BSA, but has bright spots of sour cherry and pineapple. There is pear and a little whiskey* in the nose, too.  The taste starts with a burst of fruity sweetness, but the sweetness drops quickly behind the bright acid and the nice, woody, BSA bitter. Orange and tangerine join the fruits from the nose, with a tiny bit of red candy.  The fruits in this one jostle for prominence; they take turns popping.

The astringency is moderately low, the feel medium-full.  The finish carries all of the fruits from the nose and taste, as well as a nice broad but mild bitter.  The whiskey note remains. Dare I say this reminds me of a tropical drink made with whiskey? Cherry on top.

-Cheers, Nicole

* I know. There’s always a caveat with me, isn’t there? The whiskey thing can be attributed to the barrels we use, because whiskey is aged in barrels, blah blah blah. The thing is, the barrels we use are neutral. REALLY neutral. Sold to us nigh on 15 years ago because the winemaker on Long Island we got them from thought they were too neutral THEN.  So we actually think a lot of the “whiskey” notes we get are just as likely to come from the apples we use. In fact, it has shown up in cider that was fermented in stainless steel, with no oak contact. Totally weird, huh? That’s why we still think we are learning. And why this job stays so fascinating. Weird stuff. Mother Nature is cool. Cheers to her!

Tasting Notes: Thoughts On A Bottle: Tasting Journal: 

In The Glass: Bright, clear golden, hint of amber in the glass. Extremely clear, shines. Subtle bead, light mousse. Slight legs, gentle tears.

Aroma & Taste: Fresh apple, baked apple fruit, sugar, spice, caramel, tropical fruit, pineapple, sous bois, orchard, wet grass, confectionary, winey, bit of barnyard, green pepper, black pepper, ginger-spice, honey, toffee.

Overall Impressions: Another interesting Dooryard Cider experience. Soft tannins, “juicy” acidity, hints of sweetness, lightly effervescent. Drinks like a tannic white wine. Probably drinking too cold and not getting the full spectrum of flavors, missing some of the subtle whiskey and bitter notes.

Cider: FARNUM HILL DOORYARD BLEND 1206

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards   Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

Fruit: Apples.

ABV: 7.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Note: Tastings are generally team efforts. Occasionally we will post solo tasting notes. This is a solo tasting.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

 

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Cider Review: Aaron Burr BOURBON BARREL CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: Aaron Burr Cidery BOURBON BARREL CIDER Sparkling

Maker: Aaron Burr Cidery

Origin: Wurtsboro, New York

website: www.aaronburrcider.com

ABV: 7.6 % Bottle: 500 ml, mushroom cork, wire cage.

Style Notes: Sparkling cider. Aged 2 years. Home-tapped and boiled maple sap.

Fruit: Apple. Orange County, New York Apples: Spy, Idared, and Empire.

Cider Maker: Andy Brennan has some interesting thoughts on the American cider revival. See Cider 101:

“Unbeknownst to Americans born in the 20th century, cider is a world-class low-alcohol drink which expresses the character of the land. It also allows for stylistic variation from farmer to farmer. Some cider-makers strive toward refinement and complexity, cultivating for flavor nuances (i.e. tannin and sharpness), while others produce a rough and earthy drink popular in taverns. Think of them as culinary folk artists.”

Makers Notes: Dry and light bodied. Full M/L conversion: buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel. Drinks like a French-style white when still, less dry and w/ faint maple exhale when carbonated.

Our Tasting Notes: Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider: Reviews composed over (3) separate tastings.

In The Glass: First Impressions: Beautiful vintage inspired bottle and lovely graphic design with handmade letter-pressed labels. Almost as much fun to pour as to drink.

On First Pour: Prolific miniscule bead. Active, lively, spry bubbles create a pétillant fog in the glass.

Color & Clarity: White gold. Lightly opaque as a result of the exuberant effervescence.

Aroma: Delicate aromas of apple flesh, clean oak and vanilla. Hints of spice, black pepper and citrus.

Taste: Apple custard, cream, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and whiskey, followed by flavors of baked apple, and ‘sous bois’ orchard aromas. Warming medium-long finish, expressing subtle hints of spice, quinine, sulphur, resin, dried apricot and orange peel.

5 Tastes Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High:

Aaron Burr Cidery BOURBON BARREL CIDER scores: Bitter 4, Sour 3, Salty 3, Sweet 0, Umami not noted.

The Tasting Lab: We enjoyed Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider at The Queens Kickshaw, one of our favorite spots for imbibing, alongside a few of their menu items that practically begged to be paired with cider.

The spiciness of the blue mold in the Great Hill Blue grilled cheese sandwich (with prune jam and fresh pear salsa), comes alive when mingled with the varied whiskey flavors present in the cider.

Bread pudding with caramel sauce was caramel-apple whiskey perfection. A whipped cream smothered warm apple cobbler accentuated the ciders pure apple flavors, revealing tannins, and creating an explosion of flavor.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Pair this cider with aged cheeses: Goudas, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Catamount Hills, or Sartori Gold.

Overall Impressions: A unique example of the beneficial effects of barrel aging on cider. An extremely refined, lean, sophisticated cider, Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider pairs exceptionally well with sweets, complex cheeses, and has enough depth and substance to be enjoyed simply, by itself. The finesse and quality of Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider signals this is a cider maker to watch.

Makers Cider Stats:

Bourbon Barrel Cider (2010-2011) 31 cases made  

Specs: Dry and light bodied.  Full M/L conversion: buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel.

Source: Orange County (NY) Spy, Idared, Empire apples, home-tapped and boiled maple sap.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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Apple Sauced Cider’s Backyard Cider To Benefit Slow Food Russian River Apple Core Project

APPLE SAUCED LOGO

Date: March 19, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sebastopol Cider Makers Rescue Backyard Apples for Charity

Sebastopol, CA (March 19, 2013) – Apple Sauced Cider™, a Sebastopol-grown cidery, is seeking local residents to donate apples from their backyard for a community cider blend called “Backyard” cider. Apple Sauced Cider will donate 100% of the profits from this batch of cider to Slow Food Russian River and its Apple Core project, which is responsible for raising awareness of and preserving the county’s apple heritage through marketing the region.

About “Backyard” Cider

As members of Slow Food Russian River and apple growers themselves, Hunter and Jolie Wade of Sebastopol’s Apple Sauced Cider aim to engage community members and give back by producing a “backyard” cider, a true expression of Sebastopol’s unique flavors. The cidery is looking for Sebastopol residents’ backyard apples to be donated and blended into a community cider. In the middle of August, the cidery invites all those who can donate to drop off early-season apple varieties, including gravensteins and others, into large bins at Devoto Gardens and Orchards in Sebastopol (Date TBA). The apples will be washed, pressed, fermented, and bottled by Apple Sauced Cider™ . The cidery will then donate 100% of the profits from this batch.

Continue reading

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5Ws of Cider: Scott Heath and Ellen Cavalli. Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 Graviva! Semidry Cider

5Ws of Cider: Scott Heath and Ellen Cavalli & Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 Graviva! Cider.

grav big red
Ellen Cavalli of Tilted Shed Ciderworks in Sonoma County, California answers our 5Ws of Cider pairing questions:

WHO: Scott Heath, co-owner & cidermaker, and Ellen Cavalli, co-owner & sales and marketing director.

WHAT:  Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 Graviva! Semidry Cider

Graviva! is our homage to the beleaguered, beautiful Gravenstein, which was Sonoma County’s main agricultural crop until post-WWII, when imported apples and eventually the wine industry put the squeeze on growers. Now there are around 600 acres left in cultivation, down from a few thousand just a couple of decades ago. It’s a blend of 50% Gravs with 50% heirloom and cider apples, including Hubbardston Nonesuch (a low-tannin, low-acid sweet from 1830s Massachusetts) and Nehou (a high-tannin, low-acid bittersweet from 1920s France), all organically grown on Sonoma County farms. It’s a lightly effervescent, bright, crisp cider with refreshing acidity, slight floral aroma, and a touch of sweetness and tannin.

We hand-washed, sorted, ground, and pressed the apples from August to October 2012 at our small cidery in west Sonoma County. Then Scott sent the juice onto a cool, slow fermentation in small batches until late March 2012. Our process is more akin to white wine production; the long fermentation allows the cider to develop more nuance and aromatics, which may be lost in a fast, hot ferment. Then Scott blended it, aged it for a month, then began bottling by hand. We released Graviva! in early May, for a total of 400 gallons.

WHAT TO PAIR WITH : Graviva! is fantastic as an aperitif, with cheeses (especially the sheep and cow dairy cheeses by our friends at Weirauch Farm & Creamery) and charcuterie. Its balance of acidity, sweetness, and tannin also makes it a great accompaniment to pork tenderloin, salmon, oysters, and spicy foods (especially curry dishes). I most like to pair it with is a hammock on a sunny day, but our most memorable pairing was with local salmon.
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We serve it lightly chilled; 50 to 55 degrees is the sweet spot for releasing the aromatics.
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WHEN & WHERE: The most memorable pairing we had with Graviva! was in late July 2012 at our house. Scott had just turned the Big 40, and we were three weeks away from launching our very first batches of ciders at Sebastopol’s Gravenstein Apple Fair. Early in the morning, Scott drove out to nearby Bodega Bay, where he bought a whole salmon straight off the fisherman’s boat. He smoked it in our wood smoker, and also made focaccia from scratch. Meanwhile, I picked and prepared a bunch of vegetables from our garden: cucumbers, carrots, green beans, and Sungold tomatoes. Our good friends and their kids came over, one friend brought the yummiest carrot cupcakes, we busted out a few as-yet-unlabeled bottles of Graviva! (we were still waiting to get the labels from the printer!), feasted on the best salmon we’ve ever had, and had a fun, noisy dinner party on our deck.

WHY: There is something inherently celebratory about Graviva! Not only did it make for a convivial dinner, it’s been poured instead of Champagne at weddings, and we recently served it on Mother’s Day as a toast to my  mom.

Graviva! label5-13X

To find out more:
Note: The lovely chicken pictured is a Rhode Island Red, and her name is Big Red.

 

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5Ws of Cider: Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 Graviva! Semidry Cider

Graviva! label5-13X

The Second installment of The 5Ws of Cider:

The Featured Cider:

Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 Graviva! Semidry Cider

The Gravenstein sparkles in this bright, crisp cider. The refreshing acidity is balanced with a touch of sweetness. We sourced the Gravs and other heirloom cider apples for this blend from organic growers in the Sebastopol area. The Grav lends its lovely aromatics, while a mix of “bittersweet” apples—which were specially developed over the centuries for fermented cider—imparts lively tannins. This is Sonoma County heritage in a bottle. Viva la Grav!Great as an aperitif or celebratory bubbly, or pair with aged cheeses, spicy foods, and a hammock. Silver medal winner at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition.

2012 harvest

7% ABV

375 & 750 ml

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The 5Ws of Cider Pairing: Next Up: Tilted Shed Ciderworks of Sonoma County, California

LOC apple image

The 5Ws of Cider Pairing.

The 5Ws is a recently launched feature where we ask cider makers to share their favorite cider & pairing.

We give you the brand, the cider, and pairing from some of Americas most interesting craft cider makers.

We think makers who take the time to craft a well made cider, probably have some pretty interesting pairing suggestions.

Next up: Scott Heath & Ellen Cavalli and Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2012 Graviva! Semidry Cider

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Cider Review: ANTHEM CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: ANTHEM ORGANIC TRADITIONALLY FERMENTED CIDER

Maker: Anthem Cider

(Anthem is crafted by the makers of Wandering Aengus)

Origin: Salem, Oregon

website: anthemcider.com

ABV: 5.5 %  Bottle: 22 oz., crown cap

Makers Style Notes: Anthem Cider – offers the tart acidity of the apple’s natural malic acid with a clean fruit forward finish. Anthem Cider is the foundation for all the Anthems. Semi-Dry. Medium Tart. 5.0% to 6.5% ABV.

Fruit: Apple. Washington and Oregon.

Makers Fruit Notes: Anthem Traditionally Fermented Cider, is brewed with Honey Crisp, Gala, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. 90% Organic. Anthem uses only whole apples, pressed and fermented.

A Few Cider Makers Notes:

The first batch of Anthem Cider was kegged March 10, 2010 on the belief that we at Wandering Aengus Ciderworks can make a great draft cider without compromise.

So what is a great draft cider without compromise? Basically, it is a cider made the way people expect a cider to be made; starting with actual apples, pressing them, and fermenting the fresh juice only days after.

Since the character of apples vary widely between varieties, harvests, terroir, and keeping, our cidermaking is geared to accent those differences, not hide them. We hope you and your palate learn to appreciate and savor the diversity

Read more about Anthem’s goals here.

Our Tasting Notes: May 10, 2013.

In The Glass: Clear, light, bright, brassy gold. Itty-bitty bubbles.

Aroma & Taste: Dessert apples, cotton candy, licorice, apple peel tannins, damp bark and wet wood. A bit of vanilla,  particularly on last sip. Empty glass reverberates notes of sweet and wood. Light body, balanced leaning toward bitter/tannin axis, medium acidity, short to medium finish, no real aftertaste, slight warming effect on tip of tongue.

Taste Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High: ANTHEM Cider gets: Bitter 6,  Sour 4.5, Sweet 3, Salty 1, Umami 1.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Tried with chorizo sausage and garlicy kale. Nice and chewy with the fiery spice of the chorizo and the bite of the garlic and bitter greens. (As noted in several past reviews – we think cider is a great mate to bitter greens).

Overall Impressions: Very accessible complexity. Cleverly comes on tarted up like a mass market cider, then delivers something quite different. Instead of the saccharine flavors the initial aromas might suggest,  Anthem is surprisingly more complex, with incontestable tannins, distinct bitter notes, and only hints of sweet, sweet apple. Anthem is definitely a gateway cider.  

Reviewers NoteANTHEM Cider possesses a unique damp orchard  aroma. Hints of a distinctly Northwest sous bois or at least a Wandering Aengus/Anthem cidermakers sous bois’. More on this in our review of Wandering Aengus’ Wanderlust, coming up.

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Cider Review: Breezy Hill Orchard Barrel Tasting. Cider Salon: Six Samples and Ciders. Cider 52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: (6) Various ciders and barrel samples.

Maker: Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill

Origin: Staatsburg, New York

website: www.hudsonvalleycider.com

Fruit: Apple. Various orchards.

Cider Maker: Elizabeth Ryan


Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Stone Ridge Scrumpy

Maker’s Style Notes: It’s alive! Fresh apple flavors and the aromas of yeast, some residual sugar, and natural carbonation in the bottle bring you a drink for all seasons. No sulfur, very unfiltered.

Our Impressions: A full round mouthfeel, yeast and honey aromas, apple syrup sweetness, effervescent.


Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Farmhouse Cider

Maker’s Style Notes: American apple varieties grown in the Hudson Valley and a bit of sweetness make a refreshing beverage that can be sipped by itself or with a meal. No sulfur, not filtered.

Our Impressions: A favorite old friend that we always enjoy visiting. Zesty and alive, a refreshing anytime cider. Provokes rustic 18th century thoughts.

Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Apple Seed Cider

Maker’s Style Notes: A blend of American and European cider apples creates rich, more complex aromas. Strong acidly like crisp white wine means you can pair this cider with any meal. Barrel samples, unfiltered.

Our Impressions:  Winey. Reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and silky.

Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Lady Apple Cider

Maker’s Style Notes: A single varietal. Unfiltered. Made by the ancient Pomme d’api. Brought by the Romans to England.

Our Impressions: Easy drinking. Mellow apple flavor. More sweet than tart but balanced. A fine lady indeed.

Cider: Dabinett Blend -Barrel Samples

Maker’s Style Notes: A beloved French variety. Complex flavors and more tannins. Unfiltered.

Our Impressions:  Pleasing subtle structure with soft tannins and a smooth light sweetness.

Cider: Ellis Bitter Blend – Barrel Samples

Maker’s Style Notes: A unique blend of bitter and acidic apples. Unfiltered.

Our Impressions: Complex and intense. A diverse array of bitter flavor elements are present more so than we have ever experienced as most commercially available ciders tend to have one or two bitter notes if any at all. Symphonic with lots of tannins and acid that support and supply structure. Delectably illustrates the concept of blending for structure and balance and unique fruit expression. Makes us curious to find out more about the old English cider apple, Ellis Bitter, used in this blend.

Note: All of these ciders and barrel samples were tasted May 10, 2013 at the Cider Salon hosted by Jimmy’s No. 43 to benefit Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill and their campaign to raise funds to Rebuild Historic Cider House at Greenmarket Farm Breezy Hill. Find more about funding and rewards via Kickstarter.

Cider Knowledge: This type of tasting is a terrific way to get a glimpse into the growers and cidermakers process and learn a bit about how they approach fruit choices and utilize blending in the development of their fruit and cider portfolio.

Note on fruit sources: Elizabeth Ryan is the primary grower and principle cidermaker. Multiple orchards supply the fruit for these ciders.

 

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Great Cider Starts With Great Fruit.

We Like Cider.

And you can’t really like cider without being fairly keen on apples.

To quote the esteemed makers at Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards:

Anywhere, in any words, great cider starts with great fruit.”

We Like Apples.

Expect more about apples – orchards, pollinators, varietals, history, tastings, fruit expression.

We Are Apple Drinkers.*

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*A nice turn of phrase from the always interesting American Orchard.

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Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider DOORYARD Batch 1202A: Cider52

FHillDooryard1202ACider: FARNUM HILL CIDER DOORYARD BATCH 1202A

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards   Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

ABV: 7.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Makers Style Notes: What ARE Dooryard ciders?  “Lovely cider batches” that departed too much from the flavor profiles of established Farnum Hill Cider blends. The ongoing Dooryard series: experimental ciders, ranging from bittersweet to superfruity, that sell out quickly, never to be made again. “It’s a veritable feast of the weird and the wild,” according to Steve Wood, one of Farnum Hill Ciders founding makers.

Bonus Feature: Each keg or bottle of Dooryard Cider is marked with a batch number, allowing you to look up  the details of  your specific batches apples, blend, and tasting notes. It’s a glimpse behind the making process at Farnum Hill Cider, and a chance to read more about the people, processes, and  ideas involved in creating your batch of Dooryard Cider.

Fruit: Apples.

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

Makers Notes: Dooryard #1202A

Dooryard 12o2A jumps away from the ‘rowdier tannins’ that we forecast for the Dooryard tribe. The fruit notes cluster mostly in the peachy plummy stone-fruit family, but without sweetness. Prominent is a long smooth savory ‘umami’ woven throughout 1202A’s aromas and flavors, pleasurably escorting the many acid, bitter, fruity, and woodsy notes that carry into the finish. But tannic bite and astringent pucker? Not really. So much for generalizations”.

Our Tasting Notes: 

In The Glass: Dooryard 1202A is clear, bright, shining, pale gold, with a faint green tinge.

Aroma & Flavour:: Fresh dessert apple, green apple, tropical fruits, pineapple. Cider is full of “zing” with a tart crisp tannin balance.

-Ed. Note: When sampling, Farnum Hill Cider often gets short shrift as it is the cider we tend to chat over instead of review in a focused fashion. We decided that this indicates a very successful cider, as it inspires such conviviality.

Our Pairing-The Tasting Lab: We tried Farnum Hill Dooryard Batch 1202A with a variety of foods, including raw greens and brussel sprouts, a pairing that heightened the perceived experience of  the ciders ‘sweetness’ and highlighted its inherent complexity. The raw brussel sprouts also benefited from the pairing, exhibiting delightful flavor complexity previously unnoticed in the little brassicas.

For a handy reference (with recipes), and an aid to studying the vegetable kingdom and understanding the relationships within botanical families see: Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.

(See our The Farm on Adderley: Cider in Context review for our thoughts on the match of American craft cider with roots and earthy vegetables)

We like this cider very much with food or alone.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Cypress Grove Purple Haze- a fresh chèvre made with fennel pollen and lavender livens up the already bright flavors in the cider and rounds out the whole experience by providing a hint of sweetness.  Avoid Blues or other intense cheeses (aged Goudas, Cheddars, Parms) as they overpower the soft fruit flavors of 1202A.

Overall Impressions: We are always happy with a glass or bottle of Farnum Hill Cider. The Dooryard series, while divergent from the brands standard profiles, never disappoints. Consistent quality, finely crafted. Too good not to share.

Drinking the Farnum Hill DOORYARD series regularly can be a great cider education tool. Farnum Hill Cider’s decision to save cider blends that step outside of their established commercial brand profiles and sell  Dooryards as unique one of a kind batches is an interesting example of real, classic,  American style craft cider. Each batch reflecting variations in methodology, fruit available, and blending options. By posting tasting notes online for each specific Dooryard batch, Farnum Hill allows the cider explorer to understand how and why these  flavor profiles deviate from their “standard” blends (Extra Dry, Semi-Dry, Farmhouse) and furthers our comprehension of the standard blends themselves. What are the characteristics of a Farmhouse? What differentiates this from an Extra Dry or Semi-Dry? Enjoy Dooryards often to taste the answers to these questions and keep up with the happenings at Poverty Lane.

Further reading:  A Visit to Farnum Hill Ciders (NH): Watching Art Being Made from the blog East Coast Wineries.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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Cider Review: Crispin BARE NAKED: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: Crispin BARE NAKED 

Maker: Crispin Cider Company

Origin: Minneapolis, MN & Colfax, CA

website: www.crispincider.com

ABV: 6.0 % Bottle: 22 fl oz. 650 ml.

Fruit: Apple. Uses fresh juice and concentrate.

Cider Maker: Bruce Nissen, Head Cider-Maker, Crispin Cider Company.

Maker’s Style Notes: USDA Organic certified hard ciders. Double fermentation process. Natural fermentation without chaptalization. American organic apple juice and “Forbidden Fruit” wit yeast. Following full fermentation, a second fermentation is initiated with the addition of new raw organic juice and sparkling wine yeast.

Our Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Crispin BARE NAKED:

In The Glass: Unfiltered, slightly opaque, golden amber. Tiny bead/bubble.

Aroma: Very confectionary, “real” candy – not synthetic – sugar aromas.

Taste: Flavors of sweet and sugary dessert apples, warm spun sugars, with a soft mouthfeel. No real “crispness” or acidity. Slight bright, green and grassy notes. A light spice finish, soft on the palette, no astringency.

Final Glass: Estery, with aromas of bananas and spice, and noticeably more opaque, creamy, milky, than earlier pours, with some residual sediments.

Overall Impressions: Sweet apples and spun sugar, with hints of spice and a bit of green grass brightness.

Note: Drank up-chilled, not over ice as maker recommends. Will try again over ice as suggested to see how and if that alters the flavor profile and cider drinking experience.

And: This is another Crispin cider that is fermented using beer yeasts (AND wine yeasts). Beer yeasts and cider making will be discussed in an upcoming post.

Pairing Notes- The Tasting Lab: We tried with curry spiced pumpkin seeds. The cinnamon, clove, and peppery spices of the seeds matched well with the sugar apple sweetness of the cider. Crispin Bare Naked cider will pair smoothly with spicy Thai food, Swedish meatballs, and Indian vindaloos and curries, as the straight ahead sugars and hints of spice in this cider will accent and compliment the complex flavors in a variety of highly seasoned foods.

If you have tasting notes or pairing suggestion to add please leave a comment.

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Tasting Lab: Recipe: Fromage Fort with Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider

Fromage Fort, French “strong cheese” is usually made with bits of leftover cheese, the more variety the better, and moistened with dry white wine, chicken stock, or leek broth.

Tasting Lab: Our version of Fromage Fort is made with cider instead of dry white wine.

We selected Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider*, collected the assorted cheese scraps we had on hand, chopped them into a fairly fine mince, smashed 3 small garlic cloves, filled our jar with the garlic and cheese, splashed in about 2/3 cup of Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider, leaving more than enough cider enough to enjoy a glass or two. We skipped the salt and pepper as our blend contained many already flavorful cheeses, and figured we could add seasoning later if needed.

There are more detailed recipes, but this is not one of them.

Our Strong Cheese with Cider is “maturing” the refrigerator. You can eat this right away as a mild spread on toasted bread or crackers, and a few moments in the oven or under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese is often recommended. Contemporary recipes suggest a whirl in the food processor, but we went traditional and chopped with a knife – giving us a better sense of the types of rind bits we were incorporating.

Note: Remove cloth or wax rinds – we left all other rinds intact, because we like cider and we also like cheese, and rinds are very important part of the cheese flavor experience. You of course, are welcome to trim your rinds, if that is to your taste. (If your cheese has odd bits of uncharacteristic mold – you should trim those off).

Traditionally you age the Fromage Fort, and most modern recipes suggest the mixture can mature for a week or two (if it lasts that long).

For an interesting read see  Turning Leftover Cheese Into a Classic from The 1989 New York Times series, The Purposeful Cook, by Jacques Pepin. If you are interested in foodways, Jacques Pepin’s style of storytelling, sharing personal food history, and teaching culinary methods while explaining a recipe, is enlightening.

Purposeful indeed – with a happy frugality, appreciating that abundance is not to be squandered, scraps are to be saved, transformed and savored.

And for a complete different take on ‘Strong Cheese’ read Fromage Fort: The Cheese That Tried To Kill Me by Francis Lam at Salon.

* we topped our mix off with a bit of Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider.

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Cider Mixology: Brewer & Keep Cocktail with Millstone Ciderberry

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Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Maryland received two semi-finalist nominations from the James Beard Foundation this year for Outstanding Bar Program and Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic region.

Connor Rasmussen, mixologist at Woodberry Kitchen shares his recipe for the Brewer & Keep: “It’s a wonderfully balanced cocktail, and the cider is a crucial aspect (despite being the final ingredient)”.

Brewer & Keep –
.75oz raw honey gin (Barr Hill)
.75oz smokey whiskey (High West Campfire)
.75oz wort (a grain tea that is a part of the brewing process)
.25oz maple syrup
.25oz lemon juice

Shaken | double strained into a 4oz coupe glass | topped with the Millstone Ciderberry.

Millstone Ciderberry is crafted from local raspberries pressed straight from the farm and blended with Millstone oak aged cider.

Visit Millstone Cellars site to learn more about the Monkton, Maryland craft cidermaker: www.millstonecellars.com

For a bit more about Millstone’s cidermakers, read this April 10, 2013 article by Richard Gorelick in The Baltimore Sun.

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Cider Review: 1626 New Amsterdam Dinner at The Farm on Adderley: Cider In Context

New Amsterdam Dinner at The Farm on Adderley: Cider In Context

Before New York Was New York: A Culinary History of New Amsterdam, 1626

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Venue: The Farm on Adderley restaurant and event space.

What: Dinner – A curated and contextualized meal inspired by early Dutch settlers in Nieuwe Amsterdam and the Lefferts’ family cookbook. The Leffert’s were early Dutch settlers with a stronghold of land in the Flatbush (“Vlacke Bos”) area of Brooklyn.

Context Provided By: Historic Gastronomist, Sarah Lohman, founder and author of Four Pounds Flour Historic Gastronomy blog.

The Seasonal Menu: included: house-made bread & butter with dried fruit and cheese, kale & bread “sop”, salted beef, corn “panne­koeken”, a “koolsla” of cabbage, butter & vinegar, and for dessert – apple crullers and salted caraway “koeckjes” with quince preserves.

The Farm on Adderley’s well-curated drinks list features several cider and mead options which were the recommended pairings for the evening.

Ciders on offer included: Breezy Hill Farmhouse Cider, Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider, and Sylboro Old Sin.

Cider #1: A glass of Breezy Hill Farmhouse Cider – A fresh, unfiltered, alive and lively apéritif. The perfect breakfast cider, also well matched to the bloomy rind cheese, dried fruits, beer jelly, and creamy, homemade butter.

Cider #2: A bottle of Slyboro Old Sin – Enjoyed throughout the meal. Well paired with the cured and roasted meats and exceptional when paired with the various root vegetables and bitter winter greens.

An emerging idea, noted in several of our upcoming American cider reviews: American craft ciders express an extremely strong affinity with raw, cooked, and pickled, root and cruciferous vegetables, especially – but not exclusively – greens. Brussel sprouts, cabbages, kales – this is where American cider parings seem to really express terroir. The humble, practical and sustaining greens are elevated by the cider and the straightforward pleasures of a well made cider are intensified when consumed with roots and greens. American agrarian character as part of a distinct American terroir or taste of place, is clearly expressed through the apple, the vegetable, and the cider maker’s craft.

These American ciders paired with humble roots and hardy greens lead to a deeply satisfying sense of well-being. The transporting quality of these pairings remind us of the pleasures of enjoying the “fruits of one’s own labors” at the table, as discussed in David Buchanan’s book Taste, Memory.

Cider #3: A glass of Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider – with the koeckjes and crullers. A dry, crisp, compliment to the caraway, salt and spice of the sweets. Not an obvious choice as it deviates from the conventional sweet with sweet notion, but this mix of sweet, spice and ultra dry cider was, to our tastes, a very fine and refreshing ending to a most enjoyable meal.

Menu

This idea of a regional and historical meal in context is an interesting way to present ciders – and could easily inspire makers and purveyors to create their own locale and time specific cider dining or tasting event.

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Heroes of Cider: Pomologist William Coxe, Jr. Of Burlington, NJ (1762-1831)

Historical or Biographical Sketch:

William Coxe (1762-1831), a pomologist, was one of the foremost fruit growers in America who experimented with new varieties of fruits at his home in Burlington, New Jersey. He collected specimens from the United States and abroad. A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees in America is a classic of American pomological literature. It is considered by many specialists as the illustrative evidence of fruit culture during the colonial and revolutionary period of the new American nation.”

source: Special Collections, National Agricultural Library

The full title of his masterwork:

A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees, and the Management of Orchards and Cider: with accurate descriptions of the most estimable varieties of native and foreign apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries, cultivated in the middle states of America : illustrated by cuts of two hundred kinds of fruits of the natural size : intended to explain some of the errors which exist relative to the origin, popular names, and character of many of our fruits, to identify them by accurate descriptions of their properties and correct delineations of the full size and natural formation of each variety, and to exhibit a system of practice adapted to our climate, in the successive stages of a nursery, orchard, and cider establishment.

His book can be found and read online via google books and archive.org.

He was also a Statesmen. Entry for William Coxe Jr. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005:

“He was a Representative from New Jersey; born in Burlington, N.J., May 3, 1762; served as a member of the State general assembly 1796-1804, 1806-1809, and again in 1816 and 1817; served as speaker 1798-1800 and again in 1802; elected as a Federalist to the Thirteenth Congress (March 4, 1813-March 3, 1815); author; died in Burlington, Burlington County, N.J., on February 25, 1831; interment in St. Mary’s Churchyard.”

He also had a national reputation for his cider, at an age when it was a famous and characteristic beverage” this according to  Proceedings of the State Horticultural Society at Its Annual Session, Volume 42 , New Jersey State Horticultural Society, 1917.

No. 83

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On (hard) Cider

Cider – An alcoholic beverage traditionally made from fermented apple juice, currently experiencing a craft revival.

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We say cider. We mean a fermented (alcoholic) apple or other pome fruit beverage. We are following the world tradition (and until the early 20th century, the American tradition) of calling a fermented apple beverage cider, and referring to apple and other pome fruit juice, as juice or sweet cider. Part of OUR American Craft Cider Revival effort is helping to revive the use of the word cider as the description for fermented apple juice.

It’s cider, anything else is just juice.

Note: We are aware that the current legal definition in the United States is, in summary: hard cider: a still apple wine of 7% or less alcohol by volume. But things are changing.

For a detailed description of the current legal definitions in the United States see:

Hard Cider, Semi-Generic Wine Designations, and Wholesale Liquor Dealers’ Signs (97-2523) 2001

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Cider Review: West County REINE de POMME: Cider52

tumblr_mlmwdeuXBU1s240hto1_500Cider: WEST COUNTY REINE DE POMME

Maker: West County Cider Origin: Colrain, Massachusetts

website: www.westcountycider.com

ABV: 7.3% Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes: Small batch varietal hard cider. Primary apple is the Reine de Pomme, blended with Dabinett and Redfield.

Fruit: Apple.

Makers Fruit Notes: “Reine de Pomme is an archaic French Apple. We found it in the Geneva Reference Orchard. In 1987, in France, the only reference to it we found was a listing in a nursery catalog from the 1920’s at an apple museum in Normandy. No one seemed to know of it. But, forgotten or not, we were struck by the taste- tannins and iron- that made it inedible, but intriguing for a cider. As a cider it has a deep, dark-fruit, honeyed taste. We blended it with our Dabinet to round out the tannins, and Redfield to add bright fruit and to balance the bitter-sweets. Though blended, Reine de Pomme leads the taste, and the Dabinet and Redfield fall in nicely as supports. It is the fullest-bodied cider we have made. And the closest in taste to a French Cider”.

Bottle Notes: The Reine de Pomme – ‘Queen of Apples’ is a classic French ‘bittersweet’ apple. The strong tannins give complexity to this cider. This cider stands up well to robust tastes at the table. Dry.

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Pale, clear, and bright rose gold. Tiny surface beads. Some legs/tears. Sweet dessert apple, sous bois, malted sugar, vanilla, tropical fruit, pineapple, ‘bright’ green notes of pepper and grass. Some leather, hints of spice, white pepper, and wood. Iron. Long tannic finish with medium acidity. Winey with a light, silky, smooth mouth feel.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: This queen becomes humble when matched with food, elevating the flavors in the food to heights beyond her own. As a supporting player she does her best work with intense aromatics (garlic, lemon zest, oregano) but we found little that enhanced her own qualities or produced a completely new experience through pairing.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: We tasted this with St. Nectaire which brought out a caramel note that was undetected in the cider on its own or with our other flavor pairings. Other fairly mild washed rinds would probably produce the same delicious effect. Consider Hudson Red or Rougette.

Overall Impressions: Another beauty pageant contestant this pretty in golden pink cider boasts a powerfully sweet aroma that is perfectly balanced by complex tannins and bitter flavor elements. Pair with zesty Mediterranean dishes for a regal match or enjoy Reine de Pomme on its own to appreciate her unique variety of flavor notes.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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Inside Cider: Regarding Cider Apple Terminology

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More USEFUL TERMS regarding Cider Apples:

TANNINS: bitter, astringent substances found in some apples. They give bitterness & complex, earthly flavors, plus drying, tautening, & body in the “mouthfeel”.

ACIDS: sour-tasting, or ‘sharp’ substances found in apples. Acids give a refreshing sourness, bright flavor, & a keen, mouth-watering “feel’. To ferment cleanly, raw cider juice needs a strong acid content.

SUGARS: sweet-tasting substances found in apples. Yeast ferments natural fruit sugars into alcohol.

CIDER APPLES: apple varieties that produce superior juice for fermenting. Like wine grapes, cider apples often taste bad. They can be super-bitter, super-sour, sickly-sweet, dry soft or any combination of the above. When a good eating apple works well for cider, or vice-versa, it is prized by Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchard’s as a ‘cross over’.

BITTERSWEETS: a class of cider apple varieties valued for high tannin content & high sugar content.

SWEETS: apple varieties grown for high sugar alone.

BITTERSHARPS: a class of cider apple varieties valued for high tannin content & high acid content.

SHARPS: apple varieties grown for high acid alone.

Adapted from Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards booklet Inside Cider: Fast Facts for Wholesalers, Retailers, and Aficionados from Farnum Hill Cider © copyright Poverty Lane Orchards 2011. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

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Cider Review: Breezy Hill Orchard Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider: Cider52

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Cider: BREEZY HILL ORCHARD HUDSON VALLEY FARMHOUSE CIDER

Maker: Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill

Origin: Staatsburg, New York

website: www.hudsonvalleycider.com

ABV: 4.5% ABV Bottle: 2 litre growler, screw cap

Maker’s Style Notes: Produced by Elizabeth Ryan of Breezy Hill Orchard. Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider is fresh, unfiltered, unsulphited, authentic artisan farmhouse cider. It has a shelf life of 2-4 weeks and must be kept refrigerated. Slightly effervescent…a rare opportunity to enjoy a truly authentic beverage.

Fruit: Apples.

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Opaque golden amber. Effervescent with mostly tiny bubbles. The primary flavors are all fruit but of various types: Pear, Tropical Fruit, Banana, Citrus, Culinary Apple. Vegetal and floral notes. Grass and Vanilla. Medium body with a silky mouthfeel. Sweetness balanced by salinity. Acid and bitterness are present but in low levels.

Rustic and easy drinking like a Saison.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Drank solo (before breakfast!) – but mused on cured meats, bitter greens, fudgey blue cheeses and best pairing of all – Maple Bacon Donuts. This one makes us think of our colonial forebearers. Surely Ben (Franklin) quaffed a beverage like this before bustling off to invent something extremely useful.

Red Flannel Hash (hash with beets) just begs to be paired with breakfast cider – channel your inner lumberjack.

Overall Impressions: This IS Breakfast Cider. Of course discerning cider drinkers may certainly find other times of day to enjoy this most wholesome and refreshing drink.

Tasting was over a period of days and the cider is so fresh and alive that each day it offered a different profile and was SO lively. Sweet, silky, astringent, slightly effervescent, and bursting with all kinds of apple cider goodness. We love this cider. High marks for transporting qualities.

If we were having Breezy Hill Orchard’s Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider with donuts for breakfast we might try something like:

Dynamo Donut Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donuts – AND they make a Quince Crumb Donut.

EVERYDAY is Bacon Donut Day.

Donut Plant‘s Ginger Donut – Cake or Yeast.

For further reading while enjoying your Breakfast Cider:

Donut Planet: the History of the Donut by Michael Krondl at Savuer.com

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Cider Review: Cider52: Harvest Moon Cidery Heritage Hops Hard Cider with Hops

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Cider: HARVEST MOON CIDERY HERITAGE HOPS HARD CIDER with Hops

Maker: Harvest Moon Cidery

Origin: Critz Farms, Cazenovia, New York

website: harvestmooncidery.com

ABV: 6.75% Bottle: 22 oz bottle, crown cap

Style Notes: Hopped hard cider. Made from fresh sweet cider, with champagne yeasts, lightly carbonated.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Bottle Notes: “Our Heritage Hops Cider is a tribute to the early hop growing history of Madison County, dating back to the mid 1800’s. Using a strain of locally grown hops, propagated from those originally grown nearby, we “dry hop” the cider after fermentation. It is aged for several months, then lightly carbonated”.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Clear, bright, pale straw. Initially lots of large bubbles, some legs, settles into a tiny mousse ring. Piquant, slightly pungent, winey, Sauvignon Blanc, steel, hoppy, herbaceous, asparagus, green pepper. Tannic, slightly bitter bite from the hops, medium long finish, somewhat drying.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Liddabit Sweets Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Caramels. Cider enhances the caramel’s flavors and the caramels intensify the bitter crisp acidity of the hoppy cider.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Any bloomy rind goats milk (Humboldt Fog, Coupole, Valencay) will pair exceptionally well with the bright flavors in this cider. Spicy Blues such as Valdeon or Blaue Geiss would also be lively companions.

Overall Impressions Refreshing flavors of fresh cut grass, minerals, green pepper, nettles and of course hops. If you love American IPAs this is a cider for you.

Note: Harvest Moon Cidery, Critz Farms “plans to establish a new orchard dedicated specifically to growing cider apples. A mix of European cider apple trees and other dessert apple trees will be planted in the spring of 2014.”

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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Cider Calendar: Save The Dates: Cider Summits Seattle & Portland 2013.

Cider Calendar: Save The Date: Cider Summits  2013

SBS Imports / Cider Summit 2013.

The dates are set for the Portland, Oregon & Seattle, Washington 2013 Cider Summits:

Portland – Friday & Saturday, June 21st & 22nd.

Seattle – Friday & Saturday, September 6th & 7th

The Friday sessions will be 3 PM-8 PM and Saturday will be 12 Noon-6 PM .

Watch for updates at: www.cidersummit.com.

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Inside Cider: Fast Facts for Wholesalers, Retailers, and Aficionados from Farnum Hill Cider

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A few terms as defined by Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards in the booklet Inside Cider: Fast Facts for Wholesalers, Retailers, and Aficionados from Farnum Hill CIder © copyright Poverty Lane Orchards 2011. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Some USEFUL TERMS Up Front…

CIDER: An alcoholic beverage fermented from apples, as wine is an alcoholic beverage fermented from grapes. The cider-making & wine-making crafts have much in common. Prohibition devastated both in the U.S. but only cider lost its true name. In the U.S. ‘cider’ has only begun to reclaim its worldwide meaning.

APPLE JUICE: 1) a complex, perishable fluid pressed from raw apples. Once termed ‘sweet cider, it was re-dubbed in the U.S. during Prohibition. 2) a stabilized, clarified juice product sold year-round, usually made by diluting apple juice concentrate.

APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE: a stable syrup reduced from raw juice. Heat & fans evaporate 90% of the water; filters remove suspended fruit solids. Concentrates used for cider may be generic (from any varieties available) select (made from specified apple varieties) or bitter-sweet (made from tannic cider apples).

HARD CIDER: 1) Our 20th-Century redub of ‘cider’, a word we grafted onto ‘apple juice’, previously called ‘sweet cider.’ Of course, ‘hard’ has long meant ‘alcoholic’.  2) HARD CIDER is also a Federal tax status that lets high-volume ciders under 7% abv. pay beer-tax rates. Above 7% abv, ciders pay wine excise tax.*

*Ed. Note: See CIDER Act press release post for information on proposed changes to current tax regulations.

 

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Cider Review: Cider52: West County Cider Redfield

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Cider: WEST COUNTRY CIDER REDFIELD

Maker: West County Cider

Origin: Colrain, Massachusetts website: www.westcountycider.com

ABV: 5.9 % Bottle: 750 ml. clear bottle, champagne cork

Style Notes: Small batch varietal hard cider, made with Redfield apples and Golden Delicious apples.

Fruit: Apple

Makers Fruit Notes: Bottle Notes: The Redfield is a rare, red-fleshed American apple, both tart and tannic. It makes a cider of vibrant color and fruit. Mid-dry. 2011 harvest 350 cases. From fresh pressed apples, contains sulfites. 75% Redfield, Apex Orchards, Shelburne, Mass. 25% Golden Delicious, Wheelview Orchard, Shelburne, MA.

About the Apple: From Vintage Virginia Apples “REDFIELD is a highly unusual cross between Wolf River and Niedzwetzskayana Red Crab. The fruit is medium to large, waxy-pink to red. The deep-red flesh is slightly dry, making it a superb baking apple that also produces an exceptional jelly, blood red cider, or vinegar. It is high in pectin, but is not for fresh eating, and has a short storage life. Extremely hardy tree is disease and pest free. Heavy annual bearer. Highly ornamental with bronze leaves and red blossoms. Ripens in October. Zones 3-4. Developed at the New York Station, 1938″.

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Clear bright lively shine. Pale rose – light copper in (clear) bottle and glass. Light mousse ring, slight legs/tears. Aroma of red fruit, berries, hints of licorice, confectionary, culinary apple, sugar, honey, fresh apple fruit, red apple skins, hint of balsa wood, grass, anise. Winey and full of tannins.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: This cider drinks well on it’s own but we wouldn’t hesitate to serve it alongside Lamb, Duck, or any citrus or berry based desserts.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Aged cheeses with a hint of sweetness and intensity will compliment the fruit and anise notes of the cider. Try Midnight Moon (aged goats milk Gouda) or Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (by Jasper Hill).

Overall Impressions: Oh so pretty in the glass, if there were beauty contests for cider Redfield would be a top contender! It’s not lacking in personality either- pleasing acidity, crisp, slightly tannic, yet juicy. Semi dry with a very fleeting sweetness and a tad bit of salinity. Drinks like a wine- the Pinot of cider.

Note: Here is a cider that uses 25% Golden Delicious apples to great effect.

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5Ws of Cider: Jolie Devoto Wade & Apple Sauced Cider 2012 “Save the Gravenstein” Original

5Ws of Cider: Jolie Devoto Wade & Apple Sauced Cider 2012 “Save the Gravenstein” Original 

Hunter Wade of Apple Sauced Cider in Sebastopol, California answers our 5Ws of Cider pairing questions:
APPLE SAUCED LOGO
  • WHO: Jolie Devoto Wade, the farmer’s daughter and cidermaker.
  • WHAT: 2012 “Save the Gravenstein” Original. Crisp, tangy, acidic. Goes down exceptionally smooth. The secret: we grow all of our apples that we use, and we grow for flavor, not for quantity. The dry-farmed certified organic Gravensteins that “sweat” for a few days possess a wonderful aroma that comes through in the taste of the cider. Also, we’re tasting Sonoma County’s heritage apple in a glass. Jolie loves pairing the cider with our weekly catch of fish tacos, always made with a zesty slaw, fresh halibut or salmon, and a mean avocado salsa. Also great with meats and sharp cheeses.
  • WHERE: Anywhere with food.
  • WHEN: Since this cider is super food friendly, think lunch or dinner. But also, pop a bottle on the top of a hike, even if it’s in the morning. There have been too many times when we really could’ve used a nice refreshing drink of cider, and we had no bottle in hand. Next time.
  •  WHY: Jolie likes this pairing because it is a satisfying protein-rich meal, that wouldn’t be the same without the cider. She always says, “the cider fills in the cracks,” rather than “the cider opens up the stomach.” Our zesty tacos pair well with the clean crispness and smooth finish of the cider. Honestly the most food-friendly cider we’ve ever drunk.
To find out more:
IMG_0195AppleSauced
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5Ws of Cider: The Cider: Apple Sauced Cider 2012 “Save the Gravenstein” Original and Devoto Orchards

5Ws of Cider: Jolie Devoto Wade & Apple Sauced Cider

2012 “Save the Gravenstein” Original 

APPLE SAUCED LOGO

Apple Sauced Cider 2012 “Save the Gravenstein” Original

CIDER MAKERS NOTES: 100% Gravenstein, Single Varietal Cider. Made from 100% Gravenstein apples, an heirloom apple variety that our county was once famous for but is now disappearing as the orchards are being pulled out and replaced with wine grapes. So we are calling it “SAVE THE GRAVENSTEIN” as part of our mission is to increase awareness for the variety. 22oz bottles, 6% ALC/VOL, 672 cases produced.

To find out more:
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The 5Ws. Cider Pairing: Cider Makers Recommend Their Favorite Cider & Accompaniment.

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The 5Ws of Cider Pairing.

The 5Ws is a new feature launching today, where we ask cider makers to share their favorite cider & pairing.

We’ll give you the brand, the cider, the maker behind the cider, and their pairing suggestion.

Essentially the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of cider pairing from some of Americas most interesting craft cider makers.

We think makers who take the time to craft a well made cider, probably have some pretty interesting pairing suggestions.

First up: Jolie DeVoto Wade and Apple Sauced Cider.

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Cider Review: Cider52: Slyboro Cider House Old Sin

POM00000712Cider: SLYBORO OLD SIN

Maker: Slyboro Cider House at Hicks Orchard

Origin: Granville, New York  website: www.slyboro.com

ABV: 8% Bottle: 750 ml

Style Notes: Dry, sparkling cider, forced carbonation. Splash of Slyboro Ice Harvest Cider added.

Makers Fruit Notes: Macintosh and Russet apples.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Deep clear shining amber. Strong aromas of baked apple and caramel, enriched by splash of Slyboro Harvest Ice Cider.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Berkswell raw sheep milk cheese*.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Pair with a rich double or triple creme such as Pierre Robert for a creme brûlée effect. Bolder, slightly complex companions such as Harbison, Batch 35, Ossau Iraty, and Roquefort should produce delicious results as well.

Overall Impressions: A well crafted American cider that needs a re-tasting away from all the lovely Asturian acidity and funk.

*This cider was part of a January of 2013 Murray’s Cheese tasting class. Rowan Imports was on hand to discuss this cider and cider making practices. This Cider House Rules: Paring Cider and Cheese is being offered again in April.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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Cider Review: Cider52: Slyboro Cider House Hidden Star

POM00000307Cider: SLYBORO CIDER HOUSE HIDDEN STAR

Maker: Slyboro Cider House at Hicks Orchard

Origin: Granville, New York

website: www.slyboro.com

ABV: 8% Bottle: 750 ml, cork

Style Notes: Semi-dry, sparkling cider, forced carbonation.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Fruit Notes: Blend of Northern Spy and Liberty apples grown at Hicks Orchard in the Adirondack foothills.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Bright, pale golden. Aroma of baking apples, buttery, warm caramel, hints of toffee and spice. Sweetness balanced by fresh crisp acidity.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Montgomery’s Cheddar from Somerset, England.* Somerset Cheddar is a Slow Food Forgotten Foods Ark of Taste heritage cheese. This raw cows milk cheese is wrapped in linen and rubbed with lard before cellaring, and ripens from the inside out creating a delicious rind.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: The subtle qualities of this cider will nicely support the sweet butterscotch notes in Aged Goudas (Old Amsterdam, Robusto, 3 or 5 year vintages) plus the carbonation and acidity will cut through the dense flavor giving this sometimes overpowering cheese more play time with your palate.

Overall Impressions: All around pleasing cider. Worth another try when palates are not overwhelmed with Asturian “amargo”.

*This cider was part of a January of 2013 Murray’s Cheese tasting class. Rowan Imports was on hand to discuss this cider and cider making practices. This Cider House Rules: Paring Cider and Cheese is being offered again in April.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

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Cider Review: Harvest Moon Cidery Four Screw Hard Cider with Maple Syrup: Cider52

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Cider: HARVEST MOON CIDERY FOUR SCREW HARD CIDER with Maple Syrup

Maker: Harvest Moon Cidery  Origin: Critz Farms, Cazenovia, New York

website: harvestmooncidery.com

ABV: 6.25%   Bottle: 22 oz bottle, crown cap

Style Notes: Dessert apples, champagne yeasts, maple syrup added.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Fruit Notes: “Our hard cider is crafted from a special blend of sweet and tart dessert apples pressed on our 1890′s rack and cloth Four Screw Press.”

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Bright, clear, light gold. Big bubbles. Winey, culinary apple, hint of lime zest. Maple provides a light candied sugar flavor. Sweet, tart, balanced, with a slight warming finish.

Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments:

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Harvest Moon Cidery Four Screw with Belgian ginger cookies and gingerbread caramels. Tasty. Four Screw’s subtle nutty notes suggest it would pair well with roasted and caramelized foods, bitter greens, roast fruit.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Any cheese with a nutty, caramel profile, some crunch, and a bit of age would pair well with Four Screw.

Overall Impressions:  This cider was a surprise, “with maple syrup” suggested a sugar bomb and darker color. The maple gave the cider just a hint of candied sweetness that balanced the tartness and acidity. Thanks Maple Syrup!

Note: According to their website Harvest Moon Cidery, Critz Farms “plans to establish a new orchard dedicated specifically to growing cider apples. A mix of European cider apple trees and other dessert apple trees will be planted in the spring of 2014”.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

 

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Cider CSA – Community Supported Cider

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

  • CSA allows members direct access to high quality agricultural products grown and crafted locally.
  • CSA members buy a “share” of regional producers goods.
  • Members get regular share allotments, usually via pick up or at drop-off location near by.
  • CSA members generally pay for the seasons produce upfront. This advance payment helps your local producer plan and prepare for the season, and as a member you directly support your local producer.
Read more about the concept and practice at Just Food.

Some US cider makers are adopting the CSA model, creating a new Community Supported Cider, an apt turn of phrase coined by Whitewood Cider, (though they opted to go with the more recognizable term – CSA).

A few Cider CSAs:

In the Northwest, Whitewood Cider of Olympia, Washington has a 2012-2013 Whitewood CSA Subscription. Check their site to see if shares are still available and to see what ciders are on offer.

Charlton Orchards Farm & Winery in Charlton, Massachusetts, offers several CSA options, including a Farm Winery CSA which includes ciders.

Redbyrd Orchard Cider in Burdett, New York is offering a Spring Cider Share for 2013. Check their site to see if shares are still available. Options include bottle shares and keg shares.

Check with your local cider maker to see if they are offering a Cider CSA option this year. Support Community Cider.

If you know of other Cider CSAs please leave a comment.

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Cider Review: Original Sin Newtown Pippin Cider: Cider52

POM00000793(NewtownPippin-detail)

Cider: ORIGINAL SIN NEWTOWN PIPPIN CIDER

Maker: Original Sin Hard Cider  Origin: New York* website: origsin.com

ABV:  6.7%  Bottle:  750 ml, crown cap

Style Notes: Sparkling single varietal heirloom apple cider made with champagne yeast.

Fruit: Apple. Newtown Pippin.

Makers Fruit Notes: “The Prince of Apples. First discovered as a seedling in Queens, New York in 1730, the Newtown Pippin earned a reputation as one of the finest apples of its day and was cherished by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who cultivated it in their personal estates. Commonly used in hard cider production, this storied apple was sold to the United Kingdom in large quantities, helping to establishing the United States fruit export industry.”

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Pale yellow straw. Fresh apple aroma. Fast sweet start, with hints of caramel, balanced by juicy tart acidity, “green apple in a glass”.

Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments: Fried foods, spicy  foods, think Thai, Indian, Chinese, spring rolls, pork dumplings. Good “small plate” and appetizer-pairing cider.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Newtown Pippin with Dirty Bird takeout fried chicken, garlic kale, and cornbread. Perfect lunch pairing. The cider was even more enjoyable with food.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Try pairing Newtown Pippin with Alpine-style or mountain cheeses, such as Appenzeller or other washed rind cheese. Would be great with a grilled cheese sandwich, or fancy slice.

Overall Impressions: Easily drinkable Original Sin Newtown Pippin cider is a single varietal apple cider that is enhanced by pairing. Fresh, crisp, juicy, tart, and clean. Tastes just like we imagine a Newtown Pippin in a glass would. Raise a glass and celebrate New York’s Newtown Pippin. Hurray for the return of an important heirloom apple as a New York made cider!

*Note: Listed as a New York company. This bottle of Original Sin Newtown Pippin was bottled in Milton Freewater, Oregon.

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