Hard Cider Newsletter

Portland Cider Company Introduces Their Cider in Cans

The Portland Cider Company recently introduced two of their ciders in 12-ounce cans, Apple and Hop’Rageous. Each cider comes in convenient 4-packs and can be found where their bottles are sold.

Their newest cider, Apple, is a medium-dry classic bursting with juicy crisp apple taste and a tart finish. Hop’Rageous is the same great cider you have enjoyed on tap and in bottles, a balanced dry cider, infused with the fragrant Citra variety of hops and bitter orange peel.

“Now that we offer our cider in cans it will make taking our cider on your next adventure that much easier,” says Jeff Parrish, the Portland Cider Company’s owner and Chief Ciderist.

The Portland Cider Company currently offers four mainstay ciders in 22oz bottles as well: Kinda Dry, Sorta Sweet, Hop’Rageous, and Pearfect Perry. New and seasonal varieties are released quarterly at their taproom in Oregon City, or at their Portland Cider House, a 28 tap location on SE Hawthorne. Many establishments throughout Oregon, Washington, and California proudly offer Portland Cider by tap, bottles, or cans.

Portland Cider Company was started in October of 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing cider, handcrafted in the English tradition, to the Northwest. For additional information, visit PortlandCider.com. Photos courtesy of Portland Cider Company.


Black Cider?

After years of toying with the idea, Flying Monk Brewery has done it! They have created what they believe to be the world’s first black cider. This is not simply dark fruit flavoring; this is truly a pitch black hard cider slightly resembling Guinness. The deep black color is actually achieved by adding cuttlefish ink to the cider which successfully creates the look Flying Monk Brewery was going for. Flying Monk calls their new creation ‘Skorpion’ and describes it as a full-bodied, medium sweet cider. The cider has strong fruit overtones and many summer-like aromas on the nose. Weighing in at 6% ABV, it’s got a “bite” to it while still being light enough to be sessionable. The cider took about nine months to perfect and went through many stages; Flying Monk even reached out to a local cider maker in Somerset, United Kingdom, in order to truly perfect this one of a kind cider.

The brewery ran a variety of tastings with the cider and came across an interesting development, while people were half confused and half curious about this new black cider, the vast majority could not tell which cider was the black cider versus the other ciders in the lineup once they were blindfolded. The best thing they found with the sampling is that people started coming back for more of the black cider – that’s when they knew they were on to something!

Flying Monk Brewery is located in the town of Malmemsbury in Wiltshire, United Kingdom. They have a passion for brewing the freshest craft beer and cider, they even mill their own barley right at the brewery for maximum freshness and flavor in the beer. Many of their beers and ciders are very well know and have earned many awards. Flying Monk has two staple beers, Elmers and Habit, both bitter beers with one being a pale and the other an amber, sweeter, full-flavored beer. They also have two consistent ciders, Saxon Gold, a medium sweet cider, matured in oak casks, with a deep golden color which gives it its name and, of course, the Skorpion black cider. The brewery is well worth the trip to those visiting or in the United Kingdom. They provide tours of their busy microbrewery along with a tasting room for patrons to sample all of their selections before purchasing some to take home with them. Beer and cider varieties are available for purchase in barrels, bottles, and a unique bag in box system similar to how certain wines are packaged. Right now the brewery’s offerings are only available in the United Kingdom but the company is diligently looking into exporting so those in the United States and elsewhere may be seeing Flying Monk brews in the near future.

Learn more about Skorpion and all of Flying Monk’s ciders and beers at TheFlyingMonkBrewery.co.uk. Photos courtesy of Flying Monk Brewery.

Contributed by: Eric dos Reis, Staff Writer of Hard Cider News


Enjoy Star Wars with Ace Premium Hard Cider's "SPACE Bloody Orange"

Just in time for the latest installment in the Star War’s saga, ACE Premium Craft Cider’s newest flavor, “SPACE,” made with blood orange and tart, is a refreshing apple cider.

Founded more than two decades ago, ACE is the largest and oldest craft cider maker on the West Coast. The brand is leading an explosion in popularity of hard apple cider with inspired flavors like SPACE, which pairs real blood orange juice with fresh pressed apple cider to create an entirely new flavor sensation.

“In the 70s my wife, Angela, appeared as an extra in the iconic cantina scene in the original Star Wars movie, and I created this new flavor in her honor, and because we both love the Star Wars franchise,” said Jeffrey House, ACE’s founder and an early visionary in the hard cider market. “Blood orange and tart apple is an other-worldly flavor combination, so it’s a perfect tie-in to the new film.”

Made with hard apple cider and a puree of fresh blood orange to create a vivid orange color, House recommends SPACE as an alternative to the traditional mimosa. SPACE is available in supermarkets, natural food grocers, and beverage retailers in markets across the United States. The product is unfiltered and gluten free and is available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles. The suggested retail price for the bottles is $5.99 and $6.99.

Also in time for Star Wars but more so for the upcoming holiday season, ACE announced the release of their second vintage of the signature “BlackJack 21” hard apple cider – a limited release, small batch of champagne like cider that was barrel-aged and made entirely from Sonoma County Gravenstein apples.

Local Gravenstein apples were pressed, fermented to 9% ABV, and then aged in oak chardonnay barrels repurposed from local wineries. The result is designated “imperial” cider or “apple wine,” meaning that it has a higher alcohol content than most hard ciders, which generally weigh in at about 5%. BlackJack 21 is rare among hard apple ciders. It is the only barrel-aged cider on the market made entirely from Sonoma County grown Gravenstein apples.

“We’re so proud to make this cider from pure Sonoma County Gravensteins,” said House. “Not only does this tart, crisp and tangy variety make a superior hard cider, but we’re helping fuel a resurgence in a noble apple variety. Last year, we launched BlackJack21 to celebrate our 21 years of cider making. Each vintage, of course, will be slightly different and I’m especially pleased by the deep golden color and sweet aroma of this year’s bottling.”

BlackJack 21 is available in limited quantities wherever ACE Cider can be found in major markets across the United States. The product if available in 750mL bottles with a suggested retail price of $15.99. It is also available on tap at select locations in Sonoma County. Photos courtesy of ACE Cider Company. Visit AceCider.com for more information.


Cider for Everyone, Everywhere

Cider is booming with new ciders being released into the market that are just waiting to be discovered and of course, enjoyed while new companies are also starting-up! Below is just a small selection of new to the market ciders, start-ups and company updates that have come across the Hard Cider News desk:

Meriwether Cider Co. 
Based out of Boise, Idaho, this is a family owned, family run cider company by the Leadbetters. You may not be familiar with Meriwether Cider since the cidery has recently been rebranded from its original name the Leadbetter Cider Company. Right now, they are still a small cidery selling only 22oz. bottles but as with the industry, they have the potential for great growth. The Leadbetters are aiming to take over the Crooked Fence Brewing Company's previous taproom in order to expand and make more cider efficiently, an estimated 5,000 gallons. From production, to sampling, to bottling, the Leadbetters, including their two kids, are a part of every process of the cider making process. It’s tough to beat a cider that has that much care and attention put into it. The Meriwether Cider Co. produces a surprisingly vast assortment of ciders considering their current size. They have the Cranberry Crosscut, Blackberry Boom, Strong Arm Semi Sweet, Foothills Semi Dry, Ginger Root, Hop Shot Hopped Cider, and Holy Oaks Oaked Cider.  All 22oz bottles cost around $10 and each cider averages around 7% ABV. However, Meriwether Cider is currently only available in Idaho but only time will tell how this cidery will continue its growth. For more information and to check-out their rebranding, please visit MeriwetherCider.com. Photo courtesy of Meriwether Cider.

Niagara College’s Cider 101
Niagara College has a teaching winery in Ontario, Canada, that has been trying out cider making for a while and has officially released “Cider 101” a 5.5% cider from the college’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. Cider 101 was made in 2014 and has been fermenting until recently when it was canned this fall. According to the Niagara College’s winemaker-teacher, Gavin Robertson, “[Cider 101] is quite dry, especially compared to a lot of the large-scale commercial ciders on the market and even relative to most craft ciders that are currently available in Ontario, but also has a creamy mouthfeel derived from seven months of yeast lees contact, which works really well with the bubbles from the carbonation. The aromatics are fresh and fruity, with undertones of cinnamon, clove, vanilla and a bit of roasted hazelnut character.” Cider 101 is only sold at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus’s Wine Visitor and Education Centre for $3.50 a can. Photo courtesy of Niagara College Canada.

Honey Moon Mead & Cidery
Located in Bellingham, Washington Honey Moon specializes in not only in mead but cider as well! The company, which opened its doors in 2005, prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients and no additional sugar, to create each one of its English style ciders. At the tasting room, located at 1053 North State Street Alley, guests have their selection of a vast variety of ciders including, Original CiderHead, Blueberry CiderHead, Raspberry CiderHead, Rhubarb CiderHead, Semi-Sweet CiderHead, and Cranberry CiderHead, along with their many meads and cysers. The company describes their ciders as predominately bone dry and true to their dry English style while not being overly acidic. Each cider uses fresh fruit juice from local BelleWood Acres based on which cider the company is trying to make.  Whatever they are doing, it’s working, as there is a cider here for everyone with ciders ranging from 4% ABV to 8% ABV! Check out the new Honey Moon Mead & Cidery website that was created this past August at HoneymoonMeads.com. Photo courtesy of Honey Moon Mead & Cidery.

Angry Orchard
The popular cider maker recently released Stone Dry, the driest cider in the Angry Orchard core collection. It’s an American interpretation of the traditional English dry cider style offering bright apple aroma, juicy flavor, and a clean dry finish, showcasing an intricate balance between the sweetness and acidity of culinary apples and the tannins of traditional cider making apples. The traditional apples chosen by the cider makers are European bittersweet varieties like Dabinett, Binet Rouge and Harry Masters Jersey, which contribute to the cider’s high tannic character and dry finish. The result is a refreshing, slightly puckering cider with drying finish, most often felt on the middle of your tongue and the front part of your mouth. Stone Dry is a 5.5% ABV cider. Visit AngryOrchard.com for additional information. Photo courtesy of Angry Orchard.

Beak & Skiff / 1911
After just a year using their current production and bottling plant in Lafayette, New York, Beak & Skiff Apple Farms which produces 1911 ciders, is already going to double its size after high demand in 2014. According to Danielle Fleckenstein speaking for the family-owned company to Syracuse.com, "The expansion will include an upgraded bottling line, new production tanks and storage space that will amount to about $2 million and create several new jobs." 1911 Hard Cider has four ciders in its portfolio including Original, Raspberry, Blueberry and Founder’s Reserve which is a hopped cider. For additional information on 1911, please visit: 1911Spirits.com.

Accomplice Brewing and Cider Works
Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Accomplice will be the first cidery in southern Florida. The company specializes in handcrafted ciders and gluten free beers, a specialty that head brewer Matt Stetson developed after finding out his girlfriend had celiac disease. Today, the company is still working on their cidery, having it almost all completed. Despite the cidery being a work in progress, the tasting room opened to the public this month, featuring a German-style golden cider and a strawberry cider. The 5,000 square foot cidery is located at 1023 N. Florida Mango Road West Palm Beach, Florida. Gluten free beer selections should be ready by Spring 2016 while in the meantime specialty ciders will be showing up in the tasting room as they are completed. In the works are a coffee cider, pineapple habanero cider, and more. Check out Accomplice Brewery and Cider Works at AccompliceBrewery.com. Photo courtesy of Accomplice Brewery.

Cidergeist Hard Ciders
Rhinegeist Brewery announced a new brand and product offering with the launch of Cidergeist Hard Ciders in October. Cidergeist ciders allows the company to play in a lighter and drier zone than beer is able to achieve, introducing a flavor profile more akin to white wine and refreshing in a uniquely fruity way. Fermented with juice from the Pacific Northwest, Cidergeist Hard Ciders sparkle to deliver a blend of acidity and apple-ness with bountiful aromatics that strike the right balance of refreshingly dry with just a shy suggestion of sweetness. The two ciders currently offered include Semi-Dry (6.2% ABV) and Dry Hopped (6.2% ABV). Cidergeist will be available in both cans and on draft throughout existing Rhinegeist markets. Visit Rhinegeist.com for additional information. Photo courtesy of Rhinegiest Brewery.


Bold Rock Hard Cider Begins Production in Western North Carolina

Bold Rock Hard Cider announced that production has started at its new cidery in Mills River, North Carolina. This month, a hard-working team of skilled cider makers started crushing and crafting fresh local apples to make Bold Rock’s award-winning hard cider. This marks a significant move in the expansion of the regional craft cidery that has steadily increased East Coast distribution and is now offered from Pennsylvania through South Carolina, including Tennessee.

Like Bold Rock’s flagship cidery in the Blue Ridge mountains of Central Virginia, the operation on School House Road in Mills River, is crafting cider from local apples picked at nearby orchards. In North Carolina apples are sourced from Hendersonville-based Apple Wedge Packers, a fifth-generation family-owned business that has been operating for over 150 years.

By producing an array of cider styles the cidery has won over 60 awards in its three short years in existence. Bold Rock’s popular Apple and Draft styles have recently been joined by the newer styles Pear and India Pressed Apple of which was just recently released.

India Pressed Apple (IPA), the hopped cider, made with locally picked Blue Ridge Apples, is now available in six-packs wherever Bold Rock is sold. IPA blends the tartness of fresh-pressed apples with the slightly sweet notes of passion fruit, grapefruit, and citrus. Dry-hopped with a blend of five hops including Cascade, Centennial and Citra, the new hard cider has a floral aroma with a fruity smell of elderflower that pairs refreshingly with a crisp apple finish.

For additional information about the Bold Rock Mills River production facility or the new IPA cider, please visit: BoldRock.com. Photo courtesy of Bold Rock Hard Cider.


Woodchuck Hard Cider Releases Hot Cha Cha Cha as Winter Seasonals Return

Woodchuck Hard Cider announced the release of their newest Out on a Limb cider, Hot Cha Cha Cha. Out on a Limb is Woodchuck’s rotating six-pack that features some of Woodchuck’s most creative cider varieties. Hot Cha Cha Cha is the sixth cider of this series and will be available while supplies last.

Hot Cha Cha Cha adds a spicy flare to the original Vermont-based hard cider, infusing bird’s eye chili peppers. The peppers complement a base crafted with bittersweet cider apples, bringing forward a sweet taste up front with a spicy bite at the finish. The semi-sweet style has a bright golden hue and will bring some extra heat to the changing seasons. Hot Cha Cha Cha has an ABV of 5.5% and the suggested six-pack retail price of $10.99.

“It was fun to add some spice to the newest Out on a Limb,” said Cider Maker John Matson. “The idea stemmed from working with cider during our local Middlebury Chili Festival.” Matson with fellow Cider Maker Ben E. Calvi creates new ciders to release in the series every 90 days.

The new hot pepper cider hits shelves as both Seasonal Winter Chill and Private Reserve Barrel Select come back into market. Both of the oak-aged variety, Winter Chill (SRP $9.99) is aged in premium French and traditional American oak, and Barrel Select (SRP $10.99) is aged for six months in genuine white oak Kentucky bourbon barrels. Both winter varieties are available from November through February nationwide.

Hot Cha Cha Cha will be available in limited quantities nationwide through January. For more information, please visit Woodchuck.com.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Hard Cider Brined Turkey
From Sassy Southern Yankee

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From The View From Great Island

Photo Credit: Jessica of Sassy Southern Yankee

Photo Credit: Sue from The View From Great Island