Hard Cider Newsletter

Angry Orchard Launches Cider Made Exclusively with New York Apples

Angry Orchard announced the release of its latest year-round specialty hard cider, Walden Hollow. This is the first cider from Angry Orchard to be made exclusively with apple varieties from New York State, including varieties from last year’s harvest at the Angry Orchard in New York’s Hudson Valley, and heirloom apples from other local orchards.

Last fall, Angry Orchard opened the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House on a 100-year-old apple orchard in Walden, NY – the namesake for this new cider. The Innovation Cider House serves as a center for research and development where the cider makers are putting their own twist on traditional ciders and driving innovation, experimenting with new ingredients, processes and techniques.

“We’re extremely proud of Walden Hollow as it’s our first cider made with apples from our own backyard,” said Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard’s head cider maker. “The mild tannins and dryness of the cider capture the diversity, complexity and depth of character from the blend of New York State apples. It’s cider like Walden Hollow that inspires us to continue to drive innovation and re-imagine what American cider can be.”

Walden Hollow is fermented over many months, resulting in full flavor and intense apple aroma due to the high acidity and mild tannins from New York State heirloom apples. These heirloom varieties include Golden Russet, Newtown Pippin and Northern Spy, all of which have deep ties to the Empire State, including their use in cider dating back hundreds of years.

Golden Russets, most commonly used for dessert, cooking and cider, were first discovered in the 1700s, most likely in New York. This apple is known for its balanced qualities with ideal levels of acid – a source of tartness in cider – as well as sugar, tannin and aroma. This apple brings mild tannins and big apple skin aroma to Walden Hollow.

The Newtown Pippin apple variety first appeared in the mid-1700s in Newtown, New York (an area in the New York City borough of Queens now known as Elmhurst). It is most popular in the rich apple growing regions of Virginia, but is known to grow well in New York State, as it’s heavily influenced by terroir. This clean, crisp apple brings lots of fermentable sugars to Walden Hollow, allowing the cider makers to reach 8% ABV in this blend.

Lastly, the Northern Spy apple is used for anything from pie making to brandy. There’s speculation that Northern Spy apples originated in Connecticut but began proliferating in New York State as early as 1800. This variety is very crisp and tender, bringing body to Walden Hollow.

The cider makers at Angry Orchard also used wild fermentation techniques to evoke earthy farmhouse qualities from the cider without the funky, sour qualities that can sometimes be associated with this style and process. Overall, the acidity of Walden Hollow cuts through fats in aged farmhouse cheeses, and works well served alongside grilled salmon with fresh vegetables. It also pairs nicely with cured meats or charcuterie, which complement the cider’s earthy, farmhouse notes.

Walden Hollow will be released annually in the spring, and made using a blend of New York apple varieties selected by Angry Orchard’s cider makers based on the previous year’s harvest. Walden Hollow is the fourth style to join the Angry Orchard Cider House Collection of small batch craft ciders, and is now available nationwide. This style is available in 750 mL bottles for a suggested retail price of $14.99-$17.99 (price varies by market).

To find where Angry Orchard hard cider is available near you, visit the “cider finder” at AngryOrchard.com/find-angry-orchard/. Photo courtesy of Angry Orchard, a Boston Beer Company.


Southern Hospitality: A Visit at Red Clay Ciderworks

The queen city has many attractions including an impressive number of breweries and distilleries but one thing this southern city was missing was a destination for hard cider enthusiasts. In July of 2015 this all changed as Red Clay Ciderworks opened its doors and taps to hard cider lovers to become the first cidery in Charlotte, North Carolina. Red Clay Ciderworks is a fun hangout in the Southside Park section of Charlotte with a large inviting tasting room and a long bar featuring 12 taps including house ciders, guest ciders, and local beers. Behind the bar are large glass windows giving inquisitive cider drinkers a view of the whole cider making process, making them feel like they are a part of what they are drinking. The whole atmosphere is very relaxed and comfortable which makes it a great place to gather with friends or just enjoy a Saturday afternoon.

The idea to open a cidery came to Jay and Deanna Bradish who were very active home brewers for many years. One day they decided to play around with apples and tried their hand at making a hard cider. They processed five bushels of apples by hand and fermented them. Upon drinking the homemade hard cider that they just made, they realized that they were on to something great! After a few more years of tweaking and perfecting their recipes, Jay and Deanna decided to start a legitimate cider company and opened up Red Clay Ciderworks. Red Clay’s goal was to make pure delicious hard cider using as many local fruits as they were able. This goal still stands today as the company makes their cider in a traditional style from North Carolina apples. As of right now, the company has five styles available for purchase:

  • Queen City Common – This semi dry cider is a clear pale yellow color which has light apple notes in the nose and fresh tart apple notes on the palette. It is obvious that this is a slightly stronger cider but it does not have a very big “bite” to it and does not overpower the wonderful crisp apple flavors. This medium carbonated cider comes in at 6.9% ABV and finishes clean and refreshing.

  • Hopping Good Thyme – This dry hopped cider with thyme and lavender pours a clear pale straw color and has big notes of lavender in the nose with a slight underlying apple note coming through. This cider is semi dry with floral notes of lavender and thyme blending with the slightly sweet apple notes on the palette. The lavender mostly comes through at the beginning with the thyme notes coming in on the backend. This cider finishes clean and at 6.9% ABV, with little alcohol “bite” to it. 

  • South End Sweet – Pouring a clear straw color, this cider has bright apple notes coming into the nose. This cider is significantly sweeter then the Queen City Common and has a slightly lower alcohol content, coming in at 6.5% ABV. While this is a sweeter cider than the common, it is not overpoweringly or artificially sweet lending to a nice easy to drink beverage with no taste of alcohol. 

  • Nor’ Easter – This cranberry infused cider is light on the nose with only a slight sweetness coming through from the cranberries used. The cranberries impart a beautiful deep red color on the cider. On the palette, the cranberry and apple combination blends together well with the cranberries giving a tart note to the cider while the apple introduces the sweetness that balances it out. The tartness from the cranberry leaves a slightly drying note in the mouth on the finish. All together the flavors play off of each other very well for a delicious sessionable cider. This cider has a 6.6% ABV.

  • Cherry Bobbin’ Trolls – This cider pours a brilliant reddish hue with notes of sweet cherry on the nose and slight apple notes mixing in. The cider is a semi-dry cider with a perfect blend of sweetness to tartness. North Carolina apples start this delicious cider off as notes of tart Michigan cherries begin to shine through to create this easily drinkable cider. This cider comes in at 6.9% ABV.

For more information about Red Cay Ciderworks, visit RedClayHardCider.com. Red Clay Ciderworks is only available in North Carolina at this time; you can visit their website for locations on where to purchase their cans or find their cider on draft. Red Clay Ciderworks is celebrating their one year anniversary on July 23rd at their cidery from 12pm – 11pm with special releases, live music and food. If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area or up for a road trip, purchase tickets for the anniversary party by clicking here. Photos courtesy of Eric dos Reis.

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


SunRype Unveils New Special Edition Hard Cider

Sun-Rype Products Ltd. (“SunRype”) is launching a Special Edition Hard Cider to commemorate its 70th anniversary. Made with 100% British Columbia (BC) apples pressed in Kelowna, Canada, SunRype Brand Okanagan Apple Cider contains 7% ABV and is fermented in small batches to create the signature apple taste that is crisp and dry.

The retro design is an adaptation of the original SunRype logo, circa 1946. The 650ml amber bottle features a photograph of early century apple pickers in the orchards of the Okanagan Valley to celebrate the rich history of fruit growing in the region.

“SunRype has been making great things from BC apples since 1946,” says Dave McAnerney, President and CEO of SunRype Products Ltd. “What many people don’t know is that back in the 1950’s we launched Canada’s first hard cider. The product, called BC Sparkling Cider, was processed and bottled by the Caribou Brewing Company in Penticton, BC. Back then there wasn’t anything like it on the market. Today, of course, the cider category has exploded, so we’re excited to celebrate SunRype’s 70th birthday with the launch of a special edition cider made with BC apples and the taste and quality that SunRype is renowned for,” says McAnerney.

SunRype still operates in the heart of BC’s Okanagan Valley, where the company first launched its flagship 100% pure, not from concentrate blue label apple juice. Today, SunRype is an iconic Canadian brand, but has continued to innovate to stay relevant to today’s consumers with the launch of many new food and beverage products.

SunRype Brand Okanagan Apple Cider is available in 650ml bomber-style bottles at select private liquor stores in BC. For additional information on SunRype’s new cider, please visit SunRype.com. Photo courtesy of Sun-Rype Products Ltd.


New Cider Offerings from Pennings Farm Cidery

With so many apples filling their trees and not enough people to ever be able to pick them all, what does an orchard do? This Warwick, NY orchard decided to use those apples to make delicious hard cider and it has been working out well for them. Pennings Farm released their brand new Pennings Farm Cidery hard cider in June and they decided to hit the ground running - instead of just coming out with a few ciders, they started off with 10!

Pennings started about 30 years ago as a farm stand and has since grown into a large business with a restaurant, beer garden, ice cream parlor, and more. Opening a cidery was just another example of the innovation that led Pennings to continue growing while also incorporating the local community. The cidery also has a tasting room for visitors to sit and enjoy all of their delicious ciders. The ciders currently available are:

  • Original – This 6% ABV cider was been created using a blend of ten different apples and has been sweetened using locally sourced maple syrup from the Catskill Mountains of New York

  • Bone Dry – Crafted using only four types of apples, mostly Jonagolds, specifically picked for their tartness, then fermented dry with no added sweeteners. This cider comes in at 6.1% ABV

  • Off Dry – This cider is a blend of six apples including Crispin, Golden Delicious, Empire, Ida Red, Red Delicious, and Macoun, which are fermented dry with a weiss yeast and back sweetened with a touch of maple syrup for a 5.9% ABV cider

  • Maple – This 6.3% ABV cider uses six varieties of apples (Braeburn, Red Delicious, Ida Red, Crispin, Fuji, and Empire) and three different yeast strains along with locally sourced maple syrup from the Hudson Valley of New York on the backend to create a clean maple flavor

  • Brown Sugar – This cider has a blend of Braeburn, Red Delicious, Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Red apples that are fermented with a wine yeast and back sweetened with brown sugar for a dry cider that is 6.4% ABV

  • Raspberry – The apple blend and yeast strain used in fermentation for the raspberry cider is exactly the same as the brown sugar but instead of adding the brown sugar, fresh New York raspberries are used in the secondary to back sweeten the cider for a refreshing cider variety with a 6.1% ABV

  • Currant – This 6.1% ABV cider is comprised of four different apples blended and fermented with ale yeast. The mix is then back sweetened with a fresh New York black currant extract

  • Dry Hopped – This cider blends three different apples (Jonagold, Crispin and Braeburn) together then dry hops the cider with Pennings Farm’s own Cascade and Mt. Hood hops to create a delicious cider with earthy aromas and a 6.5% ABV

  • Honey Hopped – Made up of six different types of apples (Braeburn, Red Delicious, Crispin, Fuji, Ida Red and Empire) and three different yeast strains, this 6.3% ABV cider is then dry hopped with Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, Centennial and Willamette hops and back sweetened with honey

  • Ginger Beat –This cider uses the same apple varieties and yeast strains as the Honey Hopped but rather then dry hopping the cider, Pennings Cidery blends the cider with homemade ginger beet juice for a 6.3% ABV cider

To learn more about Pennings Farm and Pennings Farm Cidery, visit PenningsCidery.com. Photos courtesy of Pennings Farm Cidery.

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


Hawaii Cider Company With Hopes to Launch in December

Hawaii Cider Co. has just launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on WeFunder.com for local island residents to own a stake in Hawaii’s first locally grown, and locally produced hard cider company.

Hawaii Cider Co. is crafting hard ciders from the abundant tropical fruit varieties on Hawaii Island thanks to brew master Sebastian Bach, who has won a total of 36 awards for his decade of innovative brewing.  The cider company supports farmers growing responsibly-grown tropical fruits and aims to share its progress and success with their island community. What better way to give back to the community than to include them in Hawaii’s first “kick-starter for investing” campaign to date.

The recent authorization of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act – signed into law May 16, 2016 – allows and encourages small businesses and entrepreneurs to raise capital from their trusted community rather than seeking tethered and unfamiliar angel investments. When asked about the new legislation, president and co-founder of WeFunder, Nick Tommarello says, “Everyone should have the right to invest in what they truly care about, and the people who care should have a say where the capital gets distributed.”

Since the new JOBS Act regulations were implemented, many small businesses across the United States are adopting this model of fundraising. “We decided to utilize the WeFunder platform for a number of reasons,” says Brett Jacobson, CEO and Founder of Hawaii Cider Co. “Perhaps the main reason though, is to incorporate the community into our business.” Jacobson, also the founding CEO of local beverage company, Hawaiian Ola, has had a long-standing passion for supporting Hawaii’s agriculture and economy by empowering farmers to grow responsible crops. “…Rather than isolating community stakeholders, we want to work with shoppers by making them shareholders of everything we do.”

To learn more about how to invest a minimum of $100, visit Hawaii Cider’s WeFunder profile at WeFunder.com/HawaiiCider.

Hawaii Cider Co. aims to raise $1M for start-up capital through WeFunder to pay for the first year’s operations and the build out of a cidery and processing facility. The Hawaii Cider team has already secured a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse close to downtown in Kailua-Kona. First ciders are scheduled to come off the line in December 2016. Visit HawaiiCiderCo.com for additional information. Photos courtesy of Hawaii Cider Co.


10 Fuzzy Ciders for July

July is peach season in most states around the nation so why not pick your peaches and enjoy your peach pie with a scoop of peach ice cream along with a peach cider! All those peaches might be a bit much but take a bite (or sip) out of these 10 fuzzy and juicy peach ciders, flavorful and refreshing enough to enjoy alongside any summertime meal:

1. Vander Mill, Ginger Peach: Our editor, Kristyn Dolan, had the chance to stop into the Vander Mill location in Grand Rapids, MI over the Fourth of July weekend for a flight of ciders which included the Ginger Peach on tap. This cider is very clean and crisp from start to finish. The ginger is prominent in the nose and the initial upfront taste you have in the mouth but the peach balances the flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. For those on the go, Ginger Peach is part of the Vander Mill core series of ciders so you can easily find it in cans throughout Michigan.


2. Sautee Hard Cider Company, JC Bull Dog Peach: A semi-sweet hard cider made 100% from peaches with a clear, straw yellow pour and 5% ABV. This cider has notes of sweet peach on the nose, which translates over into the palette while adding fresh notes of apricot as well. As the sweetness of the peach wears off, a slightly tart note comes through on the backend rounding off this cider and leaving a clean delicious finish. Sautee Hard Cider is based out of Cleveland, Georgia. Visit JCBulldogHC.com for additional information.

3. Windy Hill Orchard, Gala Peach: This brilliant, golden cider starts off with fresh sweet peach notes on the nose. The peach comes through very prominently in this semi-sweet cider with only hints of apple tasted throughout. This is a standout among fruit ciders as the peach flavor is fresh and authentic. This cider is refreshing and sessionable at 6% ABV. Windy Hill Orchard won a silver medal for Gala Peach in this year’s Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP). Windy Hill Orchard is located in York, South Carolina. For more information on Windy Hill Orchard Cider visit WindyHillOrchard.com or give them a visit when they open for the fall season on August 20th in York, South Carolina.
4. Meckley’s Cidery, 3rd Coast: A bronze medal winner in this year’s GLINTCAP, this 6.99% ABV cider is bursting with tree-ripe peach taste that leaves you satisfied with every sip! Many compare this cider to a peach bellini because of its just right bite and peachy delicious taste. Find 3rd Coast in cans throughout Michigan or visit Meckley’s Cidery in Cement City, MI daily from 9am-6pm.
5. Jack’s Hard Cider, Peach: This cider pours a clear, pale yellow almost champagne-like, and comes in at 5% ABV. The cider has a slight peach and apple aroma from the Adams County fruit used. This light bodied semi-sweet cider has notes of apple with a slight fresh peach taste. The apple comes through brightly and the cider finishes on a tart note. Jack’s Hard Cider is based out of Biglerville, Pennsylvania just several miles west of historic Gettysburg out of the Hauser Estate Winery. To find out more about Jack’s Hard Cider, visit JacksHardCider.com.
6. Ciderboys, Peach County: This nine time award winning cider is available March 1 – August 31.  It has a 5% ABV, golden color, medium carbonation and the perfect blend of thirst quenching apple and ripe fuzzy peach. Many have compared this cider to peach pie because of its peach flavor and bright taste overall. To find Ciderboys and specifically Peach County near you, visit Ciderboys.com.
7. Oliver Winery’s Beanblossom Hard Cider, Peach: This 8% ABV sweeter cider, available in 500 mL bottles or 250 mL cans, utilizes the peach just perfectly to enhance the cider’s flavor but keep the tart apple notes balanced. It is a very smooth and sessionable cider that is made from gently-pressed Midwestern apples and natural flavor. You can find Beanblossom hard cider at the Oliver Winery tasting room in Bloomington, Indiana, online at OliverWinery.com and in select locations.
8. McIntyre’s Hard Cider, Peach: This 5% ABV cider, crafted in the European style, is brand new and it is delicious! McIntyre’s Peach hard cider pours a clear, sparkling blond color and has strong juicy peach notes in the nose with hints of fresh apple. Light peach notes blend with tart apple to play off of each other and end with a finish that is clean and crisp with 3% residual sugar. McIntyre Hard Cider is a part of St. James Winery based out of St. James, Missouri. For more information on McIntyre Hard Cider visit McIntyreCider.com.
9. Bishop’s Orchards, Honey Peach Melba: To create this award winning, semi-dry 12% ABV apple wine, Bishop’s takes its original apple wine and adds sweet, local Connecticut honey plus peach nectar to make a complex apple wine with peach and raspberry bouquets unlike any other. Honey Peach Melba is a standout aperitif of sorts and great alongside fish, chicken and pork dishes. It has 3% residual sugar and is available in 750 mL bottles. Visit BishopsOrchards.com to find this cider and others near you.
10. Black Fin Cider, Pacific Peach: A 5.9% ABV cider from Oregon that is clean, bubbly and bursting with peach flavor. The cider is vibrant and delivers just the right amount of fruit sweetness. Visually, Pacific Peach is a honey golden color. It has the aroma of ripe apples, peach and other stone fruits. However, compared to other fruit ciders this peach cider is more tart than sweet, semi dry, light bodied and slightly astringent with somewhat higher acidity than would be expected in a fruit cider. The peach comes through just as nicely in the taste as it did in the aroma. For further information, visit BlackFinCider.com.

Contributed By: Eric dos Reis, Staff Writer, and Kristyn Dolan, Editor, of Hard Cider News


Eat This…

Drink That…

Cider Glazed Chicken with Fennel + Apple Panzanella Salad
From Foodie Girl Chicago

Angry on the Beach
From Angry Orchard

Photo Credit: Kathryn Rudey

Photo Credit: Angry Orchard