Hard Cider Newsletter


Devoto Orchards Cider Releases 2013 “Save The Gravenstein” Cider

Devoto Orchard Cider from Sebastopol (CA) is proud to announce the release of their 2013 “Save The Gravenstein” hard cider, handcrafted from organic apples grown on the Devoto family farm in Sonoma County. “Save The Gravenstein” is a standout amongst craft ciders – a semi-dry, locally grown and produced, food-friendly cider with an elegant modern visual brand appeal.

“Devoto Orchards Cider is amazingly crisp, with a lovely fresh Gravenstein tartness, complemented by a great dry finish. Definitely worth grabbing one, or two…” stated Shawn Riley, Beer Buyer for Oliver’s Markets in Sonoma County.

Founders Jolie Devoto-Wade and Hunter Wade are second generation apple farmers, who were inspired to start a hard cider company after laying down roots at the Devoto family farm. They began with 6,500 apple trees in 1976 and have grown nearly 100 varieties of heirloom and cider apples including the centuries-old Gravenstein [that has limited availability in Sonoma County due to the replacement of orchards with vineyards].  Today, they tend to 50+ heirloom apple varieties on 26 acres. Devoto Orchards is a small family farm and cidery, but the largest cidery in California that uses exclusively California-grown certified organic apples.

“Save The Gravenstein” is made of 95% Gravenstein and a 5% blend of Akane, Burgundy, Hubbardston Nonesuch, Pink Blush and Pink Pearl apples. In August, when the Gravenstein apples are at the peak of their ripeness, the apples are picked, pressed and poured. The result is a 6.9% ABV cider that pairs well with seafood, pork and sharp cheeses.

“Our ‘Save The Gravenstein’ cider is a gorgeous expression of our land, our apples, and our story. Craft cider will help us continue farming apples for generations to come,” states Jolie Devoto-Wade, Director of Sales and Marketing.

If you would like to get your hands on a bottle, you can find 750mL bottles retailed at $12.99 throughout the Sonoma, Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties. Visit DevotoCider.com for additional information on “Save The Gravenstein” and other Devoto ciders. All photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink courtesy of Devoto Orchards Cider.


Blake’s Opens The Ciderhouse and Winery, Releasing New Line of Hard Cider

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill announced the opening of The Ciderhouse and Winery, serving a brand new line of hard cider made from Blake’s apples. The Ciderhouse officially opened in October to serve through the holiday season.

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill has been family owned and operated since 1946, providing local products including apples, berries, and pumpkins amongst other things. In the fall season, the farm also provides family fun and entertainment including hayrides, corn field mazes and more. This fall season is the first that Blake’s served its new line of original hard cider.

“We’re excited to provide a new, high quality product made with Blake’s award-winning apple cider recipe,” said Andrew Blake, Co-Manager of The Ciderhouse and third generation family member. “We put the same care and quality into our hard cider as our trusted line of produce.”

The hard cider will feature four varieties all made with Blake’s apples: Original, Gentlemen’s Dry, Semi-Sweet, and Autumn Apple. Average ABV for the ciders will be approximately 6.4%. All varieties are gluten-free. The Ciderhouse and Winery will serve the hard cider along with seven varieties of fruit wines, ciderkin (non-alcoholic sparkling cider) and snacks.

“We’re excited to innovate and grow our farm,” said Co-Owner Paul Blake, second generation family owner. “We know we need to innovate to stay ahead of the industry, and we’re excited to expand right here in Armada (MI).”

The Ciderhouse is located at Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill in Armada (MI). The new ciderhouse is made out of all natural woods, repurposed metals, and presents a rustic family-friendly tasting room. The Ciderhouse will be open through December during the afternoons and evenings, with future plans for remaining open all year.

Blake’s hard cider is only available at The Ciderhouse currently. However, the orchard and cider mill has hopes to distribute early next year. To learn more about Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, and specifically The Ciderhouse and Winery, please visit BlakeFarms.com or BlakesHardCider.com. Photos provided by Blake’s Farm.


Ciderboys Awarded Four Gold Medals by Chicago’s Beverage Testing Institute

America’s best-tasting hard ciders are produced by Ciderboys Cider Co., according to Chicago’s Beverage Testing Institute (BTI).

The BTI’s expert judges taste-tested hard ciders from North America and Europe during October and bestowed four gold medals – the most for any cider maker – on Ciderboys’ Peach County, Raspberry Smash, Magic Apple and Cranberry Road hard ciders, which blend unexpected fresh fruit flavors with the crisp taste of apple. Ciderboys First Press Traditional Hard Cider earned a silver award.

The BTI’s hard-cider judging, part of the institute’s ongoing World Beer Championships quality rankings, was the very first beverage competition Ciderboys Cider Co. has entered. The results are available online at www.tastings.com and will be published in All About Beer magazine in early 2014.

“A gold medal in the World Beer Championships represents exceptional taste and quality, and the BTI judges found what they were looking for when they sampled Ciderboys hard ciders,” said Joe Martino, Ciderboys Cider Co. Operating Partner. “Hard cider fans know quality when they taste it, too, and at Ciderboys Cider Co. we’re working overtime to keep up with demand.”

The World Beer Championships, founded in 1994, is an ongoing competition open to commercially produced beers and hard ciders from around the world. Using proprietary blind tasting methodology developed by the Beverage Testing Institute, expert judges award rankings based on a 100-point rating scale. Scores of 96 to 100 denote a “superlative” platinum award, while 90 to 95 points are “exceptional” gold award winners. Products earning 85 to 89 points are deemed “highly recommended” silver winners. The BTI’s top 15 hard ciders for 2013 are in the chart below:


Grizzly Ciderworks Makes Debut In Woodinville

Grizzly Ciderworks proudly announced the release of its first selection of craft hard ciders brewed and kegged from the company’s headquarters in Woodinville, Washington. Since its inception, Grizzly has set its sights on bridging the gap between beer and cider.

With an abudance of sweet ciders on the market, Grizzly set out to expand cider’s reach by introducing beer drinkers to the world of dry cider. Grizzly wants to be known for its specialty dry-hopped ciders (DHCs’), which contain apples from Washington State along with hops and other ingredients sourced from the Northwest. The resulting beverages are aimed at beer drinkers who are looking for a new twist on old tastes, cider drinkers who are looking for a full-bodied step-up in the market, along with drinkers who are sensitive to gluten.

Grizzly Ciderworks is committed to craft. Their ingredients are sourced locally; their cider is made and kegged locally; and their consumers are also your neighbors, from Everett to Enumclaw (WA). Grizzly’s three founders, including the company’s cidermaker, Corey Haugen, all hail from the Pacific Northwest. “We’re really proud to be a part of the craft cider movement,” said Haugen. “With so many great ciders on the market today, we’re hoping to gain traction with cider and beer drinkers who want to try something a bit different. People who’ve never tried cider don’t quite know what to expect. We go ahead and tell them to set their preconceived notions aside. So far, our feedback has been overwhelming and folks are really excited for Grizzly to hit the taps. We think we’ll make a lot of conversations to the brand.”

Endowed with the nation’s largest supply of apples and hops, Washington State is an epicenter of the nation’s growing cider movement. “The world is rediscovering cider, and the Pacific Northwest has established itself as one of America’s leading cider regions. The explosion in the number of cider drinkers and the places where it can be enjoyed are a sure sign cider culture has found a home. We are excited to welcome Grizzly Ciderworks as the newest member of our Northwest cidermaking family,” said David White, President of the Northwest Cider Association and Co-Owner of Whitewood Cider Company of Olympia, Washington.

Grizzly’s path to craft took an interesting turn earlier this year when it crossed paths with Vessel Wines, a Northwest producer of kegged wines which shares the same commitment to local sourcing and production. A unique partnership was born, with the two sharing resources to target new markets. Thanks to Vessel’s state-of-the-art kegging equipment, Grizzly is already on tap in bars and restaurants across the Seattle metro area, and they have plans to hit retail markets early next year.

Grizzly and Vessel’s shared facilities are located in Woodinville. They include a tank room and mezzanine taproom, both of which are frequently filled with interesting people, music, and other live events. Grizzly is poured nightly in the taproom from Thursday through Saturday.

The company is set to release four varieties in its Founder’s Series before year-end:

  • The Ridge – its original dry and crisp cider

  • The Bruin – a dark and dry hopped cider

  • Hopclaw – a triple-hopped cider beaming with citrus and aroma hops

  • RazzBear – a dry-hopped cider based on a Northwest raspberry puree

The Ridge and Bruin are already available but Hopclaw and RazzBear are to be released.

For more information about Grizzly Ciderworks or their ciders, please visit GrizzlyCider.com.


Bull Run Craft Hard Apple Cider Unveils First Ever Cranberry Perry

Now, in their third year of production and first full release of hard ciders to the public, Bull Run Cider has made a name within the community of Northwest cider enthusiasts and is pleased to be expanding their reach into new restaurant and retail channels with the recent release of all new half barrels and sixth barrels of their popular Bramble Berry Cider, Powerhouse Dry Cider and all new Cranberry Perry.

As a limited release seasonal perry, Bull Run is pleased to introduce the Cranberry Perry to its line of premium products. In partnership with Mt. Hood Organic Farms, this semi-sweet perry is made from organic pears and finished with a touch of cranberry. The mellow sweetness of the 5.5% ABV perry is perfectly offset by the tartness of the cranberry to create this well-balanced, delicious beverage.

“We saw all of the other cidermakers trending toward the pumpkin spice blends and decided we needed to offer something diferent for our seasonal blend,” said Co-Owner Pete Mulligan. “After several blending sessions, we tasted what is now our Creekside Cranberry Perry and I knew we had a winner on our hands.”

The Cranberry Perry, along with Bull Run’s signature Bramble Berry and Powerhouse ciders can be found at local retailers and restaurants in the Oregon market including Whole Foods, Zupan’s, New Seasons, Bushwackers, Belmont Station and Made In Oregon along with other high quality retailers throughout the state. Creekside Cranberry Perry is sold in 500mL bottles for a recommended $6.00 per bottle.

Bull Run will also be expanding their distribution to include California and Washington and are expected to begin rolling out product in these new markets within the fourth quarter. Furthermore, Bull Run’s co-owners are actively seeking new distribution channels to expand the company’s reach to the Mid-West, East and South.

For more information, visit BullRunCider.com.


Hard Cider In Your Thanksgiving Dinner

This Thanksgiving, “think outside of the box” as you select the recipes you will make for your meal. Perhaps that means substituting water for cider… Perhaps it means drinking (more) cider versus wine or beer… However you may interpret the phrase – “think outside of the box” – your challenge this holiday is to include hard cider in your cornucopia and on your Thanksgiving table.

To help you gather ideas, below are six recipes utilizing hard cider:

Hard Cider Fruit Soup
From: Woodchuck Cider

Crispin Cider Brined Turkey
From: Crispin Cider

Hard Cider Gravy
From: Alison Roman on Bon Appetit

(Photo Credit: Powers Distributing)
(Photo Credit: Katie Meehan)
(Photo Credit: Christopher Testani)

Apple Spinach Salad & Crispy Almonds

Hard Cider Mac And Cheese
From: Life As A Strawberry

Hard Cider Apple Pie
From: Bake It With Booze

(Photo Credit: Sharon Campbell)
(Photo Credit: Jessie Johnson)
(Photo Credit: Jacqueline Arnold)

As you find recipes including hard cider and make them, please consider sharing them with Hard Cider News. “Post/Message” your recipe(s) along with a photo of the dish to our Facebook page, Hard Cider News. We’ll feature some of our favorites in future e-newsletters!


Eat This…

Drink That…

Spiked Cranberry Sauce
From The View From Great Island

Pumpkin Cider Beertails
From HelloJaxon

Photo Credit: Susan Moran of The View From Great Island

Photo Credit: Amanda Dupree of HelloJaxon