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.

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.”

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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

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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

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.