Hard Cider Newsletter


Cider Has the Peach of Our Hearts

It’s August and peach season is in full force, which means peach cider!  In honor of National Peach Month here are five peach ciders that will satisfy any peach craving:

1. Bold Rock, Peach Cider - Bold Rock’s Peach is crafted from local apples and peaches.  The company works with a local grower to develop a process for pressing and fermenting the peaches onsite.  In order to control a consistent taste profile, the peaches are fermented separately and then blended back to the apple.  Blends of the freshest peaches grown locally are used to craft this peach cider.  The inspiration behind this peach cider was one of Bold Rock’s cider maker’s love for peaches, which helped craft a cider that highlights the freshness of peaches and dryness of apples. Since peach season is ending soon, there are only a few weeks left to grab Peach before the next Bold Rock seasonal cider comes out. Locate and learn more about Bold Rock by visiting, BoldRock.com.  Photo courtesy of Bold Rock Hard Cider.

2. Ciderboys, Peach County - Peach County contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners giving it a fresh taste.  The cider is crafted with 100% natural peach juice, which is then balanced with apples to make sure the sweetness of the original juice perfectly complements the tartness of the final cider blend. Ciderboys describes their Peach County as “crisp and decadent at the same time.” The Ciderboys staff particularly said that they love the smile it puts on people’s faces at tastings. Don’t ask what kind of peaches were used in the making of Peach County, it’s a trade secret!  What sets Ciderboys apart from other cider makers is their fruitful pairings, blending brilliant, traditional apple cider with other fruit juices to make something new and different that stands out.  You may be thinking but why peaches with apples? If you ask Ciderboys why, they’ll tell you that hard ciders can have seasonal aspects, and with Peach County, they strove to make one of the best summer-time ciders out there - it exudes sunshine. This summer inspired cider is only available till August 31 and won’t be back till March, so hurry up and grab some! For more information, please visit Ciderboys.com.  Photo courtesy of Ciderboys Cider.

3. Big Hill Ciderworks, Marmalade - Marmalade is crafted with wild fermented peaches blended with a sour cider.  Big Hill Ciderworks adds hand zested oranges for a bit of bitterness and a touch of honey for sweetness.  “Inspiration came from a combination of traditional marmalade while also trying to develop recipes that utilize all of the different fruits that we grow,” said Big Hill’s co-founder Ben Kishbaugh. “This cider is grown here on our farms, fermented with wild and natural yeast and entirely produced in Adams County [Pennsylvania] with a true focus on terroir.”  Big Hill Ciderworks grows all their own apples, peaches and other fruit varieties depending on the season and year.  Check out all of their ciders at  BigHillCider.com.  Photo courtesy of Big Hill Ciderworks.

4. Nine Pin Cider, Peach Tea - Peach Tea is a collaboration between Nine Pin and Short and Stout Tea Co.   The cider is crafted from a farmhouse blend of New York apples from Samascott Orchards and cold-infused with a custom peach tea blend.  The infusion of these ingredients creates a bright, refreshingly tart, and delicious peach cider.  “We were pumped to bring you Nine Pin Peach Tea cider.  We had a blast working with Short and Stout to make such a special flavor and we think everyone has loved this collaborative creation,” said Alejandro Del Peral, co-founder and cider maker at Nine Pin Cider.  This Peach Tea cider pairs well with sunsets and warm summer nights so enjoy some before the summer ends! For more information please visit NinePinCider.com.  Photo courtesy of Nine Pin Cider.

5. Mercier Orchards, Just Peachy and Jalapeacho. - Both Just Peachy and Jalapeacho are crafted with peaches that are grown on Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia - the peach state.  Ian Flom, Beverage Manager at Mercier Orchards stated, “The fresh peach goes from the tree to the bottle.  Not many cideries can do that.”  Just Peachy is sweet, like you are biting right into a peach.   Jalapeacho has the same qualities as Just Peachy, but contains a nice pepper flavor with light heat to it from the jalapenos added.  Inspiration for these two peach ciders came from the desire to craft ciders that incorporate all fruits that are grown on their orchard.  Visit Mercier-Orchards.com to learn more about the orchard, cidery and all of the ciders in their portfolio.  Photos courtesy of Mercier Orchards.

Compiled by: Kristen Sarcone, Staff Writer

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Lionheart Cider Rebrands to the Minneapolis Cider Company

This summer, hard cider producer, Lionheart Cider, announced that they were rebranding to the Minneapolis Cider Company and opening a production facility and taproom in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“Our goal from very early on has been to open a production facility and taproom in Minneapolis,” says co-founder and head cidermaker Jason Dayton. “Starting the business in college presented unique challenges.  We had to establish a level of credibility before we were able to convince investors and banks to put forward the capital required for the new facility.” The company said its new brand reflects its roots on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus and is inspired by the active and outdoor-oriented lifestyle that many in the city embrace.

The Minneapolis Cider Company will be a licensed winery, a distinct difference from fellow Northeast Cidermaker Sociable Cider Werks, which is licensed as a brewery. As such, the company will produce ciders from 100% juice without the addition of malt or grain. The winery license will also allow the company to be the first taproom in the Twin Cities to sell cider directly to consumers in traditional packages. Instead of a 64-ounce or 32-ounce growler, you will be able to take home their ciders in 12-ounce or 16-ounce cans.  

The company has only announced three ciders so far but has said that more are in development. Semi-Dry, a crisp, clean and refreshing cider, and Rhubarb, a semi-dry cider blended with rhubarb for a tart but balanced cider, will be identical to the ciders available today as Lionheart. Additionally, the company has announced Citrus Hop, which will be a full-production version of an infusion the company often does at beer festivals – a cloudy, dry-hopped and infused cider with fresh citrus fruit. The next opportunity to sample the Citrus Hop will be at the Summer Beer Dabbler in CHS Field, (St. Paul, Minnesota) on August 26th. 

Keep an eye on the company’s social media pages and website at MPLSCiderCompany.com for ongoing updates. Minneapolis Cider Company hopes to be open in the first half of 2018. Ciders will remain under the Lionheart name until licensing is officially changed.

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Angry Orchard Launches an American Cider Collaboration with E.Z. Orchards

East coast meets west coast with new cider, Understood in Motion 02, a collaboration between Angry Orchard Hard Cider from Walden, New York – America’s leading cider maker – and E.Z. Orchards Cidre from Salem, Oregon – one of America’s expert cider apple orchardists. This new cider was born of two American cider makers’ shared commitment to raising awareness of the cider industry, as well as their friendship and appreciation of apples.

Understood in Motion 02 began at the 2016 Seattle Cider Summit where the cider makers connected and decided to create something that merged their cider making techniques and local apples. Collaborations like this, commonly popular among craft brewers, give cider makers the opportunity to combine techniques and apple varieties to develop something completely new, allowing drinkers to experience an innovative and unique cider. As the second release within this collaboration series, Understood in Motion 02 pays homage to traditional cider making, yet uses 100% experimental wild fermentation, with no intervention, techniques taking place at both Angry Orchard and E.Z. Orchard’s cider houses.

The cider was crafted with carefully selected apples from both the east and west coasts: Bittersweet Muscadet de Lense and Marie Menard from Oregon, and heirloom, acid-forward Gold Rush and Northern Spy from New York. Both the Pacific Northwest and New York State have a rich history of apple growing, thanks in large part to the terroir of the region. Each region’s sunlight, temperature and soil impart distinct qualities to the fruit, such as low acidity in the Pacific Northwest and high acidity in Walden (NY), which are the foundation for this cider.

The fermentation took place in four different locations, including in stainless steel tanks at E.Z. Orchards, and three ex-cognac barrels made of oak in Angry Orchard’s Cider House. The very slow, cold fermentation process took up to three months, giving the final product a subtle residual sweetness. Together, the cider makers worked to blend different amounts of fermented cider to achieve a perfectly balanced, finished product. Understood in Motion 02 is an expert blend of both wild fermentations, resulting in a still, dry, balanced cider that showcases a subtle residual sweetness and mellow acidity, an outcome of the soft tannins in the French bittersweet apples. It has an overripe, bittersweet apple flavor with notes of raw honey, oak, and spirit from the time it spent fermenting in the foeders. This cider is like a wine, meant to be shared and/or paired with a great meal, and enjoyed with friends.

“At Angry Orchard, we’re constantly striving to create interesting ciders to enhance and grow America’s cider culture,” said Ryan Burk, head cider maker at Angry Orchard. “E.Z. Orchards cider maker Kevin Zielinski is a long-time friend and mentor. It was a privilege to work with him on a cider that pays homage to traditional cider making, yet uses experimental wild fermentation techniques.”

The team at E.Z. Orchards is first and foremost orchardists, with a deep passion for cider’s main ingredient: the apple, and the orchard grows apples with specific cider blends in mind. Like E.Z. Orchards’ approach to its orchard, the cider makers at Angry Orchard are in pursuit of producing only the highest quality ciders, traveling the world to find unique apple varieties and ingredients to develop inventive and refreshing styles for drinkers to enjoy. Angry Orchard’s most popular style, Crisp Apple, is made with bittersweet and culinary apples from Europe, striking the perfect balance between sweet and dry. In addition to the flagship cider, Angry Orchard makes a variety of cider styles, including specialty ciders available only at the Cider House in Walden (NY) – the cider’s home for research and development.

“Understood in Motion 02 is a product of the nuances between the fruits of the Northwest and Northeast regions,” says Kevin Zielinski, founder and cider maker at E.Z. Orchards. “We enjoyed working closely with our East Coast friends at Angry Orchard, from selecting the apples to blending the fermented cider.”

The collaboration cider will be available for purchase in 750mL bottles in select locations in Portland, Oregon and the Angry Orchard’s Cider House in Walden (NY) for $25.00 per bottle, while quantities last. Visit E.Z. Orchards online at EZOrchards.com/cider and Angry Orchard at AngryOrchard.com. Photos courtesy of Angry Orchard.

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Sly Clyde Cider Set to Be the First of its Kind

Sly Clyde Ciderworks has announced that it will open a new cider production facility and tasting room in Hampton, Virginia.  If all goes as planned, Sly Clyde Ciderworks is set to open by this November.  Sly Clyde Ciderworks will be the region’s first hard cider production facility in the historic Phoebus community of Hampton.  Every cider will be crafted with 100% of its apples from Virginia farmers, which will help support, Virginia’s robust apple industry.  As well as supporting the local apple industry, there are plans to craft specialty ciders that pair well with seafood, honoring their location close to the Chesapeake Bay.

When asked where inspiration for Sly Clyde came from, co- owner Doug Smith said, “It sounds a bit cheesy, but we are a little inspired every time we crack open a bottle or can. We are just amazed at the creativity and flavors finding their way into cider, particularly from the West Coast.” The name Sly Clyde comes from, co-owners (and brothers) Doug and Tim Smith’s grandfather. “He was very funny and had a sly sense of humor - particularly for an undertaker!  Clyde owned a business on the site now to be Sly Clyde Ciderworks, and we wanted to honor his sense of humor and his dedication to serving the community,” Doug added. The Smiths have been doing business on this site for over 100 years. Previously the site hosted a funeral home, florist, and carpentry business. 

As of now there are talks about distribution, but nothing is set in stone, so you’ll have to stop by the tasting room, or as Doug likes to call it the “Sly Clyde Intergalactic Headquarters,” when it is up and running.  The Smith brothers are big into historic preservation, so it’s no surprise they picked a fallen down brick house to renovate into their tasting room, which will open up to a large back patio with plans for yard games and fire pits.

Doug and Tim spent two plus years taking classes, visiting taprooms, talking to orchardists, consumers and bar owners, and tasting different ciders all over the country with the end goal of crafting  world-class ciders and connecting it to the local community.  Doug and Tim are excited to help round out the local craft beverage industry with the addition of cider.  So Virginia (specifically Hampton), get ready to taste something new coming soon!  For more information, please visit SlyClyde.com.. Photos courtesy of Sly Clyde Ciderworks.   

Reported by: Kristen Sarcone, Staff Writer

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Shacksbury's Citrus Spritz Heads to the Market

This month, Shacksbury Cider introduced their newest cider in the Spritz portfolio line, Citrus, at the Newport Folk Festival.  Citrus Spritz is said to be dry and light with a refreshing citrus nose. 

Shacksbury is known for their “Lost Apple Orchard,” which was narrowed down to twelve varieties of apples after testing over 150 unique trees.  Five apple varieties – McIntosh, Empire, Cortland, Red Delicious, and Macoun, were used in the making of Citrus Spritz.  All five apple varieties used in the Citrus Spritz came from local Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, Vermont. This cider is a combination of local apples and a local natural elixir which is a blend of citrus and rose produced by Alice & the Magician in Burlington, Vermont. The cider blend was slow and cool fermented to create this refreshing Spritz.

Sold in 12-ounce cans with an ABV of 3.8%, Citrus Spritz is best served cold paired with tapas, oysters, brunch and a summer afternoon of playing lawn games.  You can also give the original Cider Spritz a try, which will give you notes of apple, floral and grapefruit.

Summer days are quickly coming to an end, so grab some of Shacksbury’s daring and complex Citrus Spritz, get your friends and family together and celebrate the last week before Labor Day.  For more information regarding Citrus Spritz, please visit Shacksbury.com.  Photos courtesy of Shacksbury.

Reported by: Kristen Sarone, Staff Writer

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The Neat, New and Notable...

This summer (2017) will be remembered as the summer of cider with many noteworthy announcements communicated across just a few months, and our sun shining reminder to #PickCider. Unfortunately, as a monthly publication, we don’t get to cover nearly everything so here’s a compilation to keep you in-the-know:

  • Recycle Your Backyard Apples with Portland Cider Co. – Portland Cider Co. is encouraging the community to recycle their fallen and unwanted backyard apples, rather than throw them away, for the second annual PDX Apple Recycling program. Edible quality apples are being accepted through October 31 at the company’s Clackamas Taproom & Cidery located at 8925 SE Jannsen Road, Building F in Portland, Oregon.

The community cider, appropriately named Oregon Wild, will be released in December at Portland Cider Co.’s annual Wassail party. One-hundred percent of the net proceeds of the cider sales will be donated to Oregon Wild, a non-profit conservation organization that works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters. More information is available at PortlandCider.com/drive. Photo courtesy of Portland Cider Co.

  • Seattle Cider Company Partners with New Belgium Brewing to Expand Colorado Footprint – Seattle Cider Company became New Belgium Brewing’s first wholesale partner this month to bring the cider maker’s offerings to Fort Collins, Colorado. Seattle Cider Company’s portfolio of ciders will be distributed by the brewer’s sales force, available in both package and draft. The first ciders to launch in the area will be Dry, Semi-Sweet, Pumpkin Spice, Three Pepper, and Gin Botanical. Additional ciders will become available in the market as they are released throughout the year.  Bryan Simpson, spokesman for New Belgium Brewing stated that this distribution partnership allows New Belgium to maximize space on delivery trucks already in the area, so they can realize greater efficiency in their fleet while helping out a like-minded company. Read more about the partnership at SeattleCiderCompany.com.

  • Blake Farms to Launch Line of Fruit Ales – Blake Farms, makers of Blake’s Hard Cider, announced they have launched a new brand called Blake’s Orchard Ales, which will be a line of all natural fruit ales made with produce grown on the property. The line of ales will fill a void on shelves by providing an all-natural product made with real fruit. Blake’s Orchard Ales will enter the craft beer market with Strawberry Ale and Apple Ale in Michigan this month, quickly followed by Ohio and Illinois. Learn more at BlakesOrchardAles.com. Photo courtesy of Blake’s Orchard Ales.

  • France’s Louis Raison French Cidre to Launch in the US Market – Although some Louis Raison ciders have made their way to American shelves in test markets prior to 2017, the French cider maker’s ciders have officially hit taps in Washington and Oregon this month. Consumers can find two of its crisp, refreshing and naturally gluten-free ciders – Organic Dry and Rouge Delice – on draft initially with 11.2-ounce bottles coming in early 2018. Louis Raison is enjoyed throughout France and recognized as the country’s top-selling cider. Visit LouisRaison.com for additional information.

  • Argus Cidery Debuts Apple Bomb – The brothers behind Austin’s first hard cider company have launched a new can and draft offering to its line-up, the Apple Bomb. A 6.2% ABV offering, Apple Bomb is unfiltered, unpasteurized and free of any back sweetening or added sugars, in true Argus style. Apple bomb is a demi-sec, or slightly sweet, full-bodied cider that delivers a blast of fruit and finishes with a big tannic, fruity pucker. Find out where to get Apple Bomb at ArgusCidery.com. Photo courtesy of Knox Photographics.

  • Whitewood Cider Co. CSC Now Accepting Subscriptions – Whitewood Cider, based in Washington, is now accepting subscribers for another year of its Community Supported Cider Club (CSC). Like a CSA or a wine club, individuals can purchase a subscription for $127.50 plus tax and receive a variety of benefits from cider to merchandise to future purchase discounts. Unfortunately, shipping options are not available so this ‘deal’ is truly limited to those within distance of the Olympia, Washington area. Check out WhitewoodCider.com/CSC for additional information.

  • Colorado Cider Releases Mixed Bin – Mixed Bin, the new can 12-pack, released by Colorado Cider Company is now available across Colorado state. The variety pack features three cans each of Dry, Glider, Grasshop-ah and Cherry; and will be available year-round. This fall, Mixed Bin packs will also become available in Oklahoma and Arizona. Read more about Mixed Bin at ColoradoCider.com.

  • Two Nine Pin Releases for Summer Enjoyment – New York cider maker, Nine Pine Cider Works, announced the release of Strawberry Limited Reserve – a 22-ounce bottled cider which has apples from Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook (NY) and nearly a half-ton of fresh strawberries from Fantasy Fruit Farm in Afton (NY). The cider is bright and bubbly with juicy strawberry notes, and available at the Nine Pin tasting room, local farmers markets and select retailers carrying Nine Pin products.

Nine Pin also collaborated with Brewery Ommegang to release Bourbon Barrel Aged Lion’s Share. This cider is made from a farmhouse blend of apples fermented with Ommegang’s proprietary house Belgian yeast. It is then aged in bourbon barrels resulting in an off dry Belgian-style cider with smooth vanilla notes that has a 6.5% ABV. The cider is available in 375 mL bottles and exclusively sold at Nine Pin and Brewery Ommegang. For more information, please visit NinePinCider.com. Photo courtesy of Joe Klockowski/Nine Pin.

  • Locus Cidery Expands to Texas – Washington-based Locust Cider, announced that it will open a cidery and taproom in Fort Worth, Texas. The additional facility will be moving into a renovated 1940’s building and is expected to open in 2018. Co-founders, Patrick and Jason Spears are Fort Worth natives so this expansion connects the past with the present. The Fort Worth cidery will get its apples from Washington but its ciders will also include locally-sourced ingredients from Texas like honey, cherries, vanilla beans, etc.  Follow LocustCider.com for updates!

Compiled by: Kristyn Dolan, Editor

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Eat This…

Drink That…

Slow Cooked Hard Cider Beans
From Bashful Bao

Farm Kissed
From 1911 Established

Photo Credit: Anna Katten

Photo Credit: 1911 Established