Tag Archives: Hard Cider

SNAPSHOT: 50 STATES OF CIDER: VIRGINIA

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50 STATES OF CIDER: Ciderland USA: VIRGINIA

Includes Makers of Cider, Perry, Fruit Wines, Meads, and Ice Ciders.

Last updated November 24, 2013.

Have an addition, correction or found a broken link?  Leave a comment or send us an email.

VIRGINIA CIDER MAKERS (8):

Cider Makers of Virginia:

A

Albemarle Ciderworks North Garden, VA

B

Blue Bee Cider  Richmond, VA

Bold Rock Cider Nellysford, VA

C

Castle Hill Cider  Free Union, VA

F

Foggy Ridge Cider Dugspur, VA

O

Old Hill Cider  Timberville, VA

P

Potter’s Craft Cider Free Union, VA

W

Winchester Ciderworks Winchester, VA

EVENTS:

Cider Week Virginia  November 15 – 24, 2013

Link: ciderweekva.com

Please visit the individual cider makers websites to see what events they have scheduled throughout the year.

RESOURCES:

Websites:

Vintage Virginia Apples

Urban Homestead

Virginia Tech Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station Virginia Tech – click this LINK to explore various cider and apple related materials including downloadable pdfs.

Virginia Cooperative Extension 

Books: 

Apples of North America: 192 Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks by Tom Burford, Timber Press 2013.

Old Southern Apples. A Comprehensive History and Description of Varieties for Collectors, Growers, and Fruit Enthusiasts by Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr., Chelsea Green 2011.

VIRGINIA APPLE & CIDER FACTS:

Virginia apple country includes the mountainous region of the northern Shenandoah Valley through the Roanoke Valley, the rich countryside of Albemarle and Rappahannock counties and the southwest counties of Patrick and Carroll. The majority of apples trees are grown in the Shenandoah Valley. 1

Virginia is the number 6 state in commercial apple production. 2

Famed Virginia apples included the Ablemarle Pippin (also known as the Yellow Newton or Newtown Pippin) and the Virginia or Hewe’s Crab. 3,4

Sources:

1 Virginia Apple Growers www.virginiaapples.org

2 U.S. Apple Association www.usapple.org

3 Apples of North America: 192 Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks by Tom Burford, Timber Press 2013.

4 Old Southern Apples. A Comprehensive History and Description of Varieties for Collectors, Growers, and Fruit Enthusiasts by Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr., Chelsea Green 2011.

Visit CiderGuide.com to view current US Cider Map and to see if Virginia has any new cider makers.

Please leave a comment if you have VIRGINIA cider resources to add.

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The State of Cider: Massachusetts Prepares to Celebrate CiderDays.

 

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19th Annual Franklin County CiderDays will be held this weekend, November 2-3, 2013.

CiderDays is one of the premier events of the North American Cider Season.

From the website:

“CiderDays is a community event celebrating all things apples in Franklin County, Massachusetts. 2013 marks the 19th year of this event and there will be two days (November 2nd and 3rd) of orchard tours, cidermaking and tastings, workshops and much more. This is for all who love apples, fresh or hard cider, apple cuisine, apple orchards or just being in New England in the fall.”

Franklin County CiderDays November 2 – 3, 2013

Two days celebrating and enjoying The Apple.

A few of the 2013 Event Highlights that caught our eye:

• Second Annual Cider Days Harvest Party 2013 Friday, Nov 1st – A kickoff event to benefit  CiderDays & includes the début of West County Ciders releases for 2013.

The Cider Salon — “the world’s largest hard cider tasting with more than 60 individual  cider brands from across North America”. 

CiderDay Locavore Harvest Supper 

Spanish Cider Tasting and Discussion with James Asbel of Ciders of Spain

North vs. South Heritage Apple Smackdown, Part Deux, a tasting and discussion with   Tom Burford and John Bunker.

Michael Phillips talks about Apple Varieties for the Organic Orchard

• Finding a Great Cider Apple in Your Backyard with John Bunker and Claude Jolicoeur

Apples for Juice and Cider with Claude Jolicoeur and Alan Suprenant

Organic Orcharding Practices: A Primer with Jennifer Williams and Steve Gougeon

• So You Want to Be a Commercial Cidermaker with Steve Gougeon and Andy Brennan

• Cidermaking 101 Workshop with Bob Delisle and Charlie Olchowski

Visit Franklin County CiderDays website for ALL the details and a complete list of events.

Link: www.ciderdays.org

Note: A bit about CiderDays from the website:

“CiderDay began in 1994 when Terry and Judith Maloney organized a small event to celebrate their harvest. Now called CiderDays and sponsored by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, it is a two-day event which celebrates its 19th year in 2013. The event is always held on the first weekend of November, when even the late-bearing cider apples have been picked.”

 

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Cider Review: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: Cider52

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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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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

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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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Cider Review: Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural: Cider52

Carrio servicios_1242951376_450

Cider: Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural

Maker: Sidra Menéndez

Origin: Asturias, Spain

website: www.sidramenendez.es

ABV: 6%  Bottle: 700 ml, with cork

Makers Style Notes: Product certified by the Council of the “PDO Sidra de Asturias”. Hand picked apples. Fermented using indigenous yeasts. Fermentation in chestnut wood barrels. Tasting Notes: Straw yellow, clean and fruity scent reminiscent of the origin of the fruit.

Fruit: Apple.

Makers Fruit Notes: Selection of some of the 22 varieties permitted by the Regulatory Council, including Raxao, Regona, Perico, Carrio, seeking a balance between those that are acidic, bitter and sweet.

Our Tasting Notes: May 10, 2013.

In The Glass: Cloudy, unfiltered, straw. Tiny bubbles visible only on the surface.

Aroma & Taste: Flavors: From 0 Low – 9 High:  Val d’Ornón Sidra scores: Sour Butter 7-8, Leather/Tanned Hides 6, Hay 5, Latent Acidity 4, Fresh/Raw Dessert Apple 3.

5 Tastes Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High: Val d’Ornón Sidra scores: Salty 5-6,  Bitter 4.5, Sour 3, Sweet 2, Umami 1.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Classic match with fiery chorizo and garlicy bitter greens, followed by sweet creamy blue & salty pressed rind cheeses, charred toasts and raw Granny Smith apple slices. Val d’Ornón Sidra is right at home with this simple, rustic country fare.

Overall Impressions: Funk forward with blossoming apple flavors. Old World style with balanced astringency and acid. Another cider that got us thinking about the similarities and differences between Spain’s Asturian sidras and the UK’s 3 Counties ciders, pondering the presence, quality, and unique expression of acidity in these two traditional regional cider styles.

To explore further: Why traditional Asturian sidras do not explore or develop the ‘sweet’ aspect of the pome fruit, instead embracing acidity without the tannic/bitter balance found in traditional UK ciders. Is this solely a result of the properties of Asturian cider apples? Or something else? Perhaps a Spanish chef, cidermaker, or Asturian/Basque food culture historian can provide insight.

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es  Apples shown: Carrio (top) Perico (below)

Sidra Menéndez Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural video:

Perico servicios_1242951270_450

 

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Cider Review: ANTHEM CIDER: Cider52

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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

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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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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

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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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Cider Review: Crispin THE SAINT: Cider52

Cider: Crispin THE SAINT Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Maker: Crispin Cider Company

Origin: Minneapolis, MN & Colfax, CA

website: www.crispincider.com

ABV: 6.9 % Bottle: 22 fl oz. 650 ml.

Maker’s Style Notes: Super Premium cider. Naturally fermented with Belgian Trappist yeasts. Organic maple syrup added. An homage to American craft beer makers pioneer spirit. Designed to be enjoyed over ice.

Fruit: Apple. 

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

Our Tasting Notes: Crispin THE SAINT

In The Glass: Golden, creamy, milky, opaque. Lots of tiny very active effervescent bubbles.

Aroma: Very strong confectionary aromas on the nose, with a slight maple sugar note.

Taste: Culinary apples, spun sugars, honey syrup, with hints of maple in the finish.

Overall Impressions: This cider has one dominant consistent note: sweetness. Smooth, sweet, uncomplicated.

Note: Drank this cider up and chilled, not over ice as maker recommends. Next time we will try over ice and see how that affects the cider drinking experience.

And: Beer yeasts used in cider making. We’ll discuss that topic in an upcoming post.

Pairing Notes-The Tasting Lab: Drank solo.

For more about Crispin Cider Company, read this informative interview from Heavy Table with Crispin Cider Company founder and CEO Joe Herron, written by Joe Norton, 2009.

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

Further Reading:

www.randomhouse-1

For an interesting read on apples and the human quest for sweetness: see Botany Of Desire: A Plants-Eye View of the WorldMichael Pollan’s fascinating look at how plants have directed our desires.

“Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?”

 

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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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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 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 Ireland: Real Irish Craft Cider Makers

Cider Ireland

“Cider Ireland is a group of artisan Irish cider producers, making cider from Irish grown apples. It’s all about the apple.

Cider Ireland is a trade association for makers of what we consider to be Real Irish Craft Cider. We have a collective and sincere interest in the quality and integrity of the final product.”

A Brief History of Apples and Cidermaking in Ireland by Mark Jenkinson, September 2012

“Apples in Ireland Apples are an integral part of Irish culture and history and are first recorded from pips found at an archaeological excavation in Co. Meath and carbon dated to over 5000 years ago.

Cidermaking in Ireland For various historical reasons it is thought that cidermaking in Ireland stretches back at least 2000 years if not much further.”

Read the full article A Brief History of Apples and Cidermaking in Ireland at Cider Ireland

Irish cider makers and members of Cider Ireland:

carsons-crisp1

Armagh Cider Company

Ballinteggart House, Drumnasoo Road, Portadown, Co. Armagh

Twitter: @armaghcider


Craigie’s Cider

Ballyhook Farm, Grange Con, Co. Wicklow

Twitter: @CraigiesCider

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Highbank Proper Cider

Highbank Orchards, Highbank Organic Farm, Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny

Twitter: @highbankorchard

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Longueville House Cider 

Mallow, Co. Cork.

Twitter: @Longuevillecork

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Llewelyns

Quickpenny Road, Lusk, Co Dublin

Twitter: @DavidsOrchard

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Mac’s Armagh Cider

Sean McAtee, Forest Road, Forkhill, Co. Armagh

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Mac Ivors Cider Co.

Ardress East, Portadown, Co. Armagh

Twitter: @MacIvorsCider

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Stonewell Cider

The Turrets, Nohoval, Belgooly, Kinsale, Co. Cork.

Twitter: @StonewellCider

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Tempted? Irish Craft Cider

2 Agars Road, Lisburn, Co. Down

Twitter: @TemptedCider

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The Apple Farm

Moorstown, Cahir, Co. Tipperary

Twitter: @theapplefarmer

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Toby’s Handcrafted Armagh Cider

Twitter: @TobysCider

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Images and maker information from Cider Ireland – visit the website for more maker information.

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Meet Ciders Best Friend, Cheese. Hello, Cheese!

Hello Cheese !

Cider and Cheese are a perfect pair. And now our Cheesemonger’s Notes and all cheese related content will be curated by United States of Cider’s co-founder, Consider The Rind.

The Petite Reine will be waxing cheesey here, and you can follow Consider the Rind – Adventures in Cheese at considertherind.com and on twitter @ConsiderTheRind.

rinds

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Cider Mapping the United States & Canada: The North American Cider Map Project

Mapping North American cider activity: The North American Cider Map Project.

Created by David White, virtual orchard keep at the Oldtimecider.com website, current President of NWCA, The Northwest Cider Association, and co-owner of Whitewood Cider Co.”Handcrafted in Olympia, Washington” fame.

The North American Cider Map Project is an ongoing effort and is updated regularly. The map markers are currently divided into (4) categories:

Red Markers: Cider Producers. Green Markers: Stores that sells cider. Yellow Markers: Establishments or bars that serve traditional craft cider. Blue Markers: Cider Education Resources

The North American Cider Map Project also includes an alphabetical listing of cider makers and resources flagged on the map.

Last updated: January 24, 2013

To make additions to the map contact Oldtimecider.com

NACMap

 

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Cider52: World Cider: Sarasola Sagardoa, Isastegi Sagardo, Maley Cidre du St Bernard Cidro

Cider52: A Cider A Week. The plan: 52 weeks, 52 cider tastings, pairings, reviews, and postings.

We are focusing on American craft cider, but will continue to explore world ciders as well. Next up for February/March 2013 :

From Spain and  The Basque Country:

Sarasola Sagardoa, Astigarraga, Basque Country, Spain

Isastegi Sagardo, Basque Country, Spain

And from Italy:

Maley Cidre du St Bernard Cidro from the Valle d’Aosta region. Apples used in this cider are from Italian AND French orchards.

Tasting notes and pairings to follow.

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Cider Review: Españar Sidra de Asturias 2011: Cider52

servicios_1242950537_450Cider: ESPAÑAR SIDRA DE ASTURIAS  2011

Maker: Llagar El Gobernador  Origin: Viadi (orchards), Asturias, Spain

website: www.sidraelgobernador.com

Importer: Rowan Imports  website: rowanimports.com

ABV: 6 %   Bottle: 750 ml, cork

Style Notes: Asturian cider, naturally occurring indigenous yeasts used in fermentation.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Fruit Notes: A blend of three hand picked DOP/PDO (Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas-protected designation of origin) certified heirloom cider apples varietals: Raxao, Regona, and Durona de Tresali (pictured). Apples are allowed to fall and mature on the orchard floor before processing.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Bright, clear, golden, green. Tart green apple, grass, wet straw, citrus, winey, yeasty, slightly tannic.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Jasper Hill Farm’s Winnimere, a raw cows milk washed rind cheese from Vermont.*

Note: An earlier tasting successfully paired Españar Sidra de Asturias with spicy marcona almonds, and Asturian cheeses: Queso de Valdeón, Afuega´l Pitu, and Ahumado de Pria, a smoked mixed milk cheese, and walnut date cake. Read more about Asturian Cheeses at Quesos de Asturias.

Overall Impressions: A clean, crisp, Asturian cider that drinks like a light, white wine.

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

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es

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

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On The Shelf: What We’re Reading: for Presidents’ Day: Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, by Andrea Wulf

“For the Founding Fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions: a conjoined interest as deeply ingrained in their characters as the battle for liberty and a belief in the greatness of their new nation.”

Read an excerpt here.

We discovered the book via  William Yosses, author, activist and White House Executive Pastry Chef, who mentioned Founding Gardeners, in his talk at TEDxManhattan:Changing the Way We Eat, which you can view along with all the inspiring TEDxManhattan speakers, here. William “Bill” Yosses speaks during Session 2: EDUCATE at about 1:45 timestamp.


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Cider52: Northwest Cider: Tieton Cider Works, and more American Cider Reviews.

It’s week 8 of 2013 The Year of Cider, and our plan – Cider52: A Cider A Week, is on schedule. 8 cider reviews posted, and more on the way.

Considering today is Washington’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day, and knowing some of our Founding Gardeners, were avid cider makers and cider drinkers:

We vow this Presidents’ Day to Drink More American Craft Cider.

First up, ciders from Tieton Cider Works in the Yakima Valley of Washington state.

From the Tieton website: “The orchard is perched above the confluence of the Tieton and Naches rivers at an elevation of 2000 feet, considered high for a growing region in Washington State, giving us the advantage of growing our fruit at slightly cooler temperatures. The long sunny days, cool nights and fertile soils craft exceptionally great tasting apples, pears, cherries and apricots”

Read more about Tieton and Harmony Orchards cider apples. Harmony Orchards is profiled in Rowan Jacobsen’s book, American Terroir.

Tieton Cider Works produce 10 ciders, and we will be tasting and reviewing nine, (Precipice Perry Pear Cider is currently not available).

American Cider Drinkers Take Note: Tieton Cider Works now ships to 40 US States.

And they have a great tag line: Re:think the Apple – Drink Cider

Tasting notes to follow.

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Cider Review: Valverán 20 Manzanas Frost Cider: Cider52

servicios_1242950632_450Cider:  VALVERÁN 20 MANZANAS FROST CIDER

Maker:  Valverán Origin: Sariego, Asturias, Spain  website: www.llagaresvalveran.com

Importer:  Rowan Imports  website: rowanimports.com

ABV: 10 %  Bottle: 375 ml, cork

Style Notes: Inspired by Quebec, Canada’s Ice Ciders, this is Spain’s first Frost Cider.

Fruit: Apples. Regona, Raxao, and Durona de Tresali, from Valverán’s orchard, el Rebollar.

Makers Fruit Notes: Each bottle ofValverán’s frost cider, 20 Manzanas, is made from the concentrated must of 20 apples.  The apples are picked at the peak of maturity and macerated, after-which the effects of a natural frost are reproduced.  The resulting must is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 12 months in French oak casks.”

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Deep golden amber, full, smooth, sweet smokey burnt caramel and baked apple. Notes of wood, sherry, toffee, and raisin, with hints Asturian apple acidity and “amargo”.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Valdeón, a Spanish mixed  goat and cow milk blue cheese. Valdeón has a bold, spicy, white pepper minerality and made for an extremely delicious pairing.*

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Blue cheese and 20 Manazas is classic pairing.

Overall Impressions: A sipping cider, as an apéritif or for dessert. A cold season treat. Mixology options: when exploring Port and Sherry cocktails, 20 Manzanas would be an interesting Asturian twist.

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

Note: Valveran’s Massaveu family have been making wine for more than 40 years, and began producing cider in 2010, producing unique ciders by combining methods of cider and wine production.

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es

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

 

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“The moralizing tendency and salubrious nature of fermented liquors – beer, ale, porter, and cider – recommend them to a serious consideration and particularly in our country.”

 attributed* to Alexander Hamilton, 1827

*secondary source of quote: Liquor laws of the United States, their spirit and effect (1885) references “The Digest of Manufactures” Hamilton as originator, unverified.

Alexander Hamilton on Taxes and Cider,1827

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Ale to the Chief. White House Beer – Why Not White House Cider in 2013?

They’re brewing beer in the White House.

The list of White House brews so far: White House Honey Brown Ale, White House Honey Porter, and White House Honey Blonde. Two recipes were released to the public as a result of a We The People petition.

Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, and Sous Chef Tafari Campbell, are making special brews with White House honey made by White House bees.

“Like many home brewers who add secret ingredients to make their beer unique, all of our brews have honey that we tapped from the first ever bee-hive on the South Lawn. The honey gives the beer a rich aroma and a nice finish but it doesn’t sweeten it.”

According to the video the President paid for the supplies out of his own pocket and the chefs are working on the brews on their own time.

Read the full article Ale to the Chief: White House Beer  and get the recipes and instructions so you can brew your own White House Beer.

Watch the video for the full story, (and a peek into the White House beer cellar).

We suggest for 2013 the chefs explore making a White House Hard Cider. Petition, anyone ?

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Cider Review: CASTAÑÓN Sidra Natural 2011: Cider52

mundo_de_la_manzanaCider: CASTAÑÓN SIDRA NATURAL 2011

Maker: Castañón Sidra Natural  Origin: Asturias, Spain  website: www.sidracastanon.com

Importer: Rowan Imports website: rowanimports.com

ABV: 6%  Bottle:  750 ml, cork

Style Notes: Traditional Asturian sidra, fermented with native yeasts.

Fruit: Apples

Makers Fruit Notes: Blend of Regona apples and 21 other PDO certified native varietals.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Pale straw, hints of green, unfiltered, unpasteurized, visible sediments. Bracing acidity “amargo”, tart fresh apple fruit, dry, tannic, effervescent.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Salva Cremasco, an Italian cows milk cheese*. Try pairing with melted cheeses and fruit jams, or rustic garlicy onion jams, hearty salads, kale, bitter greens, cured meats, sausages, aged cheeses. When in doubt pair with Spanish tapas.

Cheesemonger’s Notes:  The zingy acidity of this cider will nicely match that of a goats milk cheese such as Montenebro or Humboldt Fog. For those who prefer things on the stinkier side try this with Hudson Red or Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk.

Overall Impressions: (We) could drink this with anything. Sweet or savory. Fresh, tart, full of “amargo”, about 80 calories a bottle, and just this side of vinegar, it’s clear why Asturianos favor this drink throughout the day. Traditional Sidra de Asturias may not be what you were expecting from a cider, but it is certainly worth trying.

Note: June, 2012 marks Castañón’s first export shipment to New York.

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

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es

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

 

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Cider Review: EM Emilio Martinez Signature Cider 2011: Cider52

servicios_1242950584_450Cider: EM EMILIO MARTINEZ SIGNATURE CIDER  2011

Maker: El Gobernador  Origin: Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain

website: www.sidraelgobernador.com

Importer: Rowan Imports  website: rowanimports.com

ABV: 8%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes: Asturian sparkling cider, champagne method.

Fruit: Apples

Makers Fruit Notes: A blend of three hand picked PDO  (Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas-protected designation of origin) certified heirloom cider apple varietals: Raxao (pictured), Regona, and Blanquina.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Pale straw, sparkling, dry, yeasty, winey, crisp green fruit, with “amargo”- a pleasant tart astringency.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Saint Maure, a French Loire Valley goat cheese*

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Goat milk cheeses are an excellent choice. Try pairing with a tangy Boucheron, Vermont Butter and Cheese’s mixed goat and cows milk Cremont, a Catalonian Nevat, or an ash coated Mont Enebro, from Avila in Castilla y Leon. Don’t feel like goats milk cheese ? Try a young, supple, caramelly Gouda.

Overall Impressions: A sparkling cider traditionally served in Spain for holidays and celebrations. Try this instead of a cava, prosecco, or other sparkling wine. A festive drink with tapas, or mix it with blood orange juice for Spanish influenced take on a mimosa.

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

If you want to read a bit about apples used in Asturian cider visit this link http://www.sidradeasturias.es/variedades.php

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es

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

 

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Cider Review: Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie 2011: Cider52

EteinneDupont8407003885_4465493947_bCider: ETIENNE DUPONT CIDRE BOUCHE´ BRUT DE NORMANDIE 2011

Maker: Domaine Dupont

Origin: Normandy, France  website: www.calvados-dupont.com

Importer: B. United International, Inc.  website: www.bunitedint.com

ABV: 5.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes: Unfiltered, unpasteurized Normandy style cider.

Fruit: Apples

Makers Fruit Notes: “Domaine Dupont uses no less than 13 different varieties of cider apple, all perfectly adapted to the Pays d’Auge terroir. Terroir consists of nutrient poor clay and marl soil, perfect for giving small fruit. The aromatic intensity is thereby increased and the ratio of skin to pulp helps to favour the extraction of tannins.”

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Glowing soft slightly opaque amber. Yeasty, hints of leather, orange citrus, spice, vanilla, and apple custard. Frothy effervescent cream soda, Orangina quality. Smells of the orchard and barnyard.

Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments: Traditional buckwheat savory crêpe, a galette (David Lebovitz has a recipe here), perhaps with ham and Gruyère, maybe something a bit mushroomy and earthy. Try with a fruit and cheese, or classic tart tatin.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Paired with braise of turkey sausage, savoy cabbage and roasted root vegetables, and whole grain cranberry and citrus applesauce bread. Tartness of cranberry and the caramelized roasted roots paired well with the sweet, tart, frothy cider.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: On the softer side, the richness and truffle essence of Fromage de Meaux will balance the fruit and effervescence of the cider. Nutty aged cheeses such as Comte, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, or Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with its butterscotch undertones, will all be excellent mates as well.

Note: Domaine Dupont labels each bottling with vintage year.

Overall Impressions: Rustic, earthy, effervescent, slightly sweet, hints of leather, and lovely in the glass.

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

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Breakfast Cider, or A Cider A Day with Breezy Hill Orchard’s Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider

Breakfast Cider. An American tradition in need of a revival.

As part of our A Cider A Day Policy and Cider365 Initiative we suggest cider for breakfast.

A morning mug of cider pairs well with most brunch foods. Bacon, sausage, ham – couldn’t be better. Eggs in all their forms – delightful. Oatmeal and cider – a solid start to the day. Almost any breakfast food is more enjoyable with a mug of hearty cider. For a particularly tasty start to your morning try a nice mug of Breezy Hill Orchard’s Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider. It’s fresh, lively, unfiltered, and full of apple cider goodness. It even carries a tag reminding you it’s alive – and to care for it accordingly.

Of course, cider for breakfast is a tradition best revived on days when attending work, driving a vehicle, or the operation of heavy machinery is not part of the plan.

But as a start to a leisurely day – nothing’s better than Breakfast Cider.

 

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

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

 

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 Calendar: 2013 Seattle Wine and Food Experience – February 24th, 2013

2013 Seattle Wine and Food Experience

“The Seattle Wine and Food Experience is the premier showcase for wine and food in the Northwest. Experience a world tour of wine, beer, spirits and all things culinary.”

This year five cider making brands will be pouring samples.

Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall,  300 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109

Date: February 24th, 2013

Time: 12 pm – 5 pm

General admission tickets: $55.00

Visit the website for more information.

Drinks: Ciders scheduled:
2 Towns Ciderhouse 
The Incider 
Pearadise 
The Bad Apple 
Cherry Poppin’ Cider 
Blue Mountain Cider Company  
Dry Creek
Winesap
Eden Ridge
Cherry 
Fish Brewing Company  
Spire Mountain Ciders Dark & Dry Apple Cider 
Tieton Cider Works 
Tieton Wind
Apricot
Wild Washington
Tieton Frost 
Woodchuck Hard Cider  
Amber
Granny Smith 
 
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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 Calendar: 2013 Vermont Ice Wine Festival – February 23rd, 2013

2013 Vermont Ice Wine Festival

Celebrate the world-class Ice Wines and Ice Ciders of Vermont.

Where: Jay, Vermont

When: February 23rd, 2013

Advanced admission $30 includes wine tasting tickets good for all participating wineries, cheese and specialty food samples, and souvenir wine glass. $35 at the door.

Visit the website for more information.

Ice Ciders and Ice Wines attending:
Boyden Valley Winery
Champlain Orchards
East Shore Vineyard
Eden Ice Cider
Hall Home Place
Lincoln Peak Vineyards
Newhall Farm
Shelburne Vineyard
Snow Farm Vineyards
Windfall Orchard
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North American Cider, Perry & Ice Wine Associations & Organizations

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

A Listing of North American Cider, Perry & Ice Wine Associations & Organizations.

Last updated January 24, 2013.

Visit the websites for detailed information about members, membership, products, and events.

Cidre du Québec / Les Cidriculteurs artisans du Québec  CAQ “The goal of the Association of Independent Cider Producers of Québec (CAQ) is to defend the interests of cider producers and the Québec cider-producing sector. Visit our cider mills. The workers will be happy to let you in on the secret of how they bottle all that flavour.”                    
Province/Region: Québec, Canada                                                                                
Members: 47 makers listed

Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association GLCPA “The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association (GLCPA) is a nonprofit organization formed to showcase and promote fermented apple and pear beverages and to help educate consumers and producers about them. Our members include both commercial and non-commercial producers, as well as affiliate members located outside the region. Come join us at one of our events and discover some of the finest North American ciders and perries!”
State/Region: Great Lakes Region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ontario.
Members/Listings: Currently include 59 commercial cider makers listed in the GLCPA Directory

Hudson Valley Cider Alliance  “We are working to establish hard cider and apple spirits as signature products of this historic apple region. We are apple growers, cider makers, and distillers who believe that these products will fulfill the potential of the Hudson Valley as a cider region.”
State/Region: New York, Hudson Valley Region                                                                
Members: Currently includes: apple growers, cider makers, and distillers
 
Northwest Cider Association NWCA  “The Northwest Cider Association is a trade organization formed by cider producers throughout the Pacific Northwest in order to promote awareness of regional artisanal ciders among the public. The organization has sponsored classes and events, and created new cider-themed events, including an annual cider maker’s dinner, the Northwest Cider Festival, and Northwest Cider Week, a shared promotion of cider-themed menus, pairings and tasting events at numerous restaurants and retailers.
States/Region: Northwest: Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Canada                                        
Members: Currently includes 20 commercial cider makers
 
Ontario Craft Cider Association OCCA “We are in the midst of cider revolution and in 2012, Ontario`s cider producers formed the Ontario Craft Cider Association (OCCA) to ensure that local cider producers exceed consumers cider expectations and to educate the public about the incredible tastes, versatility and complexities of cider.  Membership is open to all Cider and Perry producers in Ontario and associate memberships are open to all.” 
Province/Region: Ontario, Canada                                                                                
Members: currently 13 makers listed
 
Rocky Mountain Cider Association  RMCA “The Rocky Mountain Cider Association (RMCA) is an organization of commercial producers of (hard) cider and perry in the Rocky Mountain region: Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Our goals are to promote the understanding and appreciation of quality cider in our region, to help producers and suppliers find one another and work together for common goals, and coördinate events to develop the craft cider industry in our region.”
State/Region: Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico
Members: Commercial cider makers list pending
 
Vermont Ice Cider Association  “Ice Cider is a delicious and sophisticated sweet wine made from apples using natural cold weather to concentrate the flavors and the sugars of the fruit before fermentation. Originally developed in Southern Quebec, it has a remarkable complexity and balance that is usually associated with fine dessert wines.  Ice Cider is becoming recognized as a premier North American specialty.”                                                        
State/Region: Vermont                                                                                  
Members: Currently includes 6 commercial ice cider makers
 
Descriptive information quoted is from the specific organization’s websites.

Please leave a comment if you have North American cider association resources to add.

 
 
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Cider Conference 2013 & First Cider Summit Chicago 2013

Chicago to host Cider Conference 2013 AND first Chicago Cider Summit.

Cider Conference 2013

“Cider Conference 2013 offers a mix of education and networking opportunities for commercial cider producers”
Where: Chicago, Illinois
When: February 7 & 8, 2013
See the full schedule here, list of sponsors here, and register here.
Registration open until January 30th.

AND

Cider Summit Chicago 2013

When: Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 11am‐7pm
Where: Lakeview Terrace Room at Navy Pier.
 
“Cider Summit Expands to Chicago. Region’s Largest Cider Tasting Comes to Navy Pier. SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective are pleased to announce the expansion of their successful Cider Summit festival to Chicago, IL. The inaugural Chicago event will take place on Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 11am‐7pm in the Lakeview Terrace Room at Navy Pier. The event will benefit The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, WBEZ Public Radio, and Heartland Alliance.”
 
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, ticket details here.

Scheduled producers listed below:

See full list here to see complete list of ciders to be poured.

Aeppeltreow Winery – WI 
Angry Orchard Hard Cider – OH 
Aspall Cyders – England
Black Star Farms – MI
B. United International pouring: Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut – France, and Sarasola Basque Cider 
California Cider Company – CA
Cider House of Wisconsin  – WI 
Citizen Cider – VT 
Colorado Cider Company – CO 
Crispin/Fox Barrel Cider – CA 
Doc’s Draft – NY 
Eden Ice Cider Company – VT 
E.Z. Orchards Cidre – OR 
Farnum Hill Ciders – NH 
Julian Hard Cider – CA 
Orchard Gate – MI also pouring: Thistly Cross Cider – Scotland
Original Sin Cider – OR  
Prima Cider – IL 
Samuel Smith – England 
Shelton Brothers pouring:L’Hermitiere – France, Oliver’s – England, and Zeffer – New Zealand
Tieton Cider Works – WA 
Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery & Distillery – MI 
Vander Mill – MI 
Virtue Cider – MI 
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks – OR 
Woodchuck Hard Cider – VT
 
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Cider52: Shinn Estate Vinyards, Españar Sidra de Asturias, Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché, Angry Orchard, Valverán 20 Manzanas

LOC apple image

Cider52: A Cider A Week. The plan: 52 weeks, 52 cider tastings, pairings and postings.

More January 2013 ciders:

Shinn Estate Vineyards Wickham’s Pear Cider 2011

Españar Sidra De Asturias

Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie 2011

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, draft in a growler

Valverán 20 Manzanas Frost Cider

Tasting notes and pairings to follow.

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Cider & Smoke

The New York Times, After Crispy Pigs Ears, 10 Trends for 2013 cites Smoked Everything as a major food trend in 2013 because “smoke’s not just for meat anymore.” From smoked ice cream, to smoked Cherry Coke in Manhattan cocktails, smoke is everywhere.

Two of Seattle Magazine Favorite Dining Trends of 2012 are Smoke as a Flavor, and Cooking Over a Wood Fire.

A few US cider makers are exploring the world of smoke.

A post from 2011 notes Oregon’s Bushwhacker Cider released an extremely small batch of alderwood smoked apples-turned-cider, which sold out in less than an hour.

California’s Tilted Shed Ciderworks just released January Barbecue Smoked Cider. Their tasting notes: “This dry, aromatic cider is tart and bright, with a mellow smoky finish. Imagine drinking an extra brut champagne near a bonfire.”

Are other US cider makers crafting with smoke ?

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