Hard Cider Newsletter

This July 4th, Pick Cider

This July 4th, keep going until the fireworks fade with light, crisp cider. A new crop of summer-ready ciders are hitting store shelves across the United States, just in time to add a little patriotic flair to Independence Day festivities. These lighter, refreshing ciders are barbeque-ready – as good with a brat as with bulgogi. The crisp apple tang of these ciders pairs with backyard grill classics without weight of wine or the bitterness of beer.

“Summer ciders can be like a walk in the sunshine,” says cider writer Meredith Collins of Along Came a Cider. “A good summer cider can have flowers on the nose and a dry, cooling feel on the palate. Crisp fruit flavors, along with floral, citrusy, or even hoppy notes, make cider the perfect thing to drink with veggie brats, kabobs, grilled pineapple – practically every summer favorite.”

Cider has been refreshing palates across the United States since the first pilgrim foot fell on land: historical records show there was a cider press on the Mayflower. The founding fathers were cider fanatics – each in their unique way. Thomas Jefferson carefully cultivated cider apple varieties, of course, while John Adams simply downed a tankard every morning.

“Cider is as American as apple pie – it was this country’s original craft beverage,” says Trevor Baker of Noble Cider in Asheville, North Carolina. “And we all know Americans don’t want to be weighed down. Our challenge as cider makers is to refresh and make the most of seasonal ingredients to match the bounty that our customers are grilling up.”

Modern day drinkers looking to establish a more perfect union can find unique, all-American sessionable ciders in every state: Golden State Cider is making a light golden Mighty Dry near the redwoods of Sonoma, Austin Eastciders blends their Blood Orange cider in the heart of Texas. In Massachusetts, Bantam’s Americain pairs perfectly with a modern lobster roll. Up in the woods of the Northwest, Seattle Cider Company’s berry cider can complement the famous Seattle teriyaki.

“Many in the food world assume cider is only a fall drink,” says United States Association of Cider Makers Executive Director Michelle McGrath. “But American drinkers start their ‘cider season’ on Memorial Day and choose cider for trips to the swimming hole all summer long. Young consumers are driving the demand – and cider makers all across the country are having fun with their seasonal releases. It’s summer, we all want to have fun!”

Visit PickCider.com to learn more about cider, recipes and more!


Original 13 Ciderworks Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Original 13 Ciderworks, makers of Sir Charles Craft Hard Cider, launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund upgrades to the kitchen in their restaurant and tasting room, set to open this summer in Kensington, a Northern neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Located at 1526 North American Street in Olde Kensington, Original 13 is converting a former train depot into a 160-barrel winery, which will produce the Sir Charles line of ciders to be distributed to local establishments, as well as specialty ciders sold only in the tasting room under the Original 13 name. The tasting room will include a bar, as well as a restaurant which will offer a wide variety of gluten free foods to complement the naturally gluten-free cider produced by Original 13.

Building a kitchen with the capacity to handle gluten-free food preparation takes a little extra investment. The company is seeking $8,500 for upgrades to current kitchen plans to ensure that the food offerings in the tasting room are held to the same high standard as Original 13’s cider.

The company is offering incentives to those that contribute and “back” the project. More sophisticated rewards include a home cider-making kit and a cider making lesson from the Original 13 cider maker, an invitation to an exclusive Kickstarter contributor party, and/or an invitation to a private dinner hosted by Original 13 in the tasting room.

A kick-off party to launch the Kickstarter campaign was held at Original 13 Ciderworks last Friday, June 16th.  At the time Hard Cider News covered this story, Original 13 had raised just over $1,560 of its goal. Backers have until July 16, 2017 at 12:00pm to make their contributions.

Visit Original 13 Ciderworks online at Original-13.com or Facebook to learn more about the company or contribute to their Kickstarter.


10 Summer Cider Picks

Now that summer is finally here, we’re all looking for light, crisp and refreshing ciders to enjoy in the warmth of the sun, on the beach or in the backyard, and conveniently at the next concert tailgate or after a hike in the mountains. Here are 10 summer cider picks from Hard Cider News that have just been released or should be out soon:

1. Nine Pin Cider Works – Peach Tea. This cider, crafted from a farmhouse blend of New York apples from Kinderhook, New York-based Samascott Orchards, is cold-infused with a custom peach tea blend from Short and Stout Tea Co. of Guilderland, New York. The infusion of these ingredients creates a bright, refreshingly tart, and delicious peach cider that can be found at the Nine Pin tasting room, participating farmers markets, and all retailers, bars and establishments that proudly carry Nine Pin cider.
2. Virtue Cider – Michigan Cherry. Michigan Cherry highlights two of Virtue Cider’s favorite fruits grown in Michigan: crisp apples and tart cherries. [Michigan is the top tart cherry-producing state in the United States.] To make the cider, the Virtue cider makers blended last year’s harvest of Michigan apples from local orchards that is aged in French oak barrels with juice pressed from Michigan cherries to create a cider version of a rose; fruity up front, with a tart finish at 5% ABV. Virtue Cider introduced Michigan Cherry along with Michigan Honey this month both of which will be available on draft as of June 21st and 12-ounce bottle six-packs beginning in August.
3. Seattle Cider Company – Berry. Available in 16-ounce cans, this tart and refreshing deep rose-color cider was created using a delicious blend of Pacific Northwest blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, pulling in all the flavors of the season without the sweetness. A semi-dry cider, Berry is crafted from the fruit juices which are added straight into the cider tanks during fermentation. Softly tart with a flavor of young raspberries at the start and subtly sweet on the finish, this Seattle Cider seasonal is both refreshing and full-flavored at 6.9% ABV and just 1.8 Brix.
4. Rootstock Ciderworks – Belgian. This limited release cider designed to suit all your summer drinking needs is a Ben Davis heavy cider fermented using a traditional Belgian beer yeast. Fresh peach and apple blossom aromas accompany pleasant minerality and apple flavor. Rootstock Belgian is available in Upstate and Western New York area Wegmans food markets and other retail establishments throughout New York State while supplies last in 12-ounce cans and 30L kegs.
5. Gumption Hard Cider – Citrus Freak. A perfect pairing of common eating apples, grapefruit, and cascade hops, this semi-dry cider delivers a bold and unique citrus taste at 5.5% ABV. Available as the second year-round option within the Gumption portfolio for an all-day enjoyable experience, you can find this cider in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles nationwide.
6. Wyndridge Farm Crafty Hard Cider – The Hunt Series Pear. Scott Topel, Wyndridge’s Cider Master worked with a blend of Bartlett and Bosc pears giving the cider a softer acidity, yet full pear flavor. The result is a nice sessionable cider with a pronounced pear character. Topel explained that he was able to coax a little more tartness without obscuring the pear flavors by blending a higher acid blend of Stayman Winesap, York Imperial and Rome dry cider post fermentation.
7. 2 Towns Ciderhouse – 2015 La Mure. This month, 2 Towns Ciderhouse released the 2015 version of La Mure, a 6.9% ABV lambic-style cider inspired by the famous lambic beers of Belgium and embodying the Flemish styles of old. Northwest apples and Oregon-grown Marion blackberries are fermented, then soured with Lactobacillus, and aged in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir barrels for one year. The unique, resulting cider is then removed from these barrels and bottle-conditioned, revealing complex aromatics and a lactic tang that only time can unfold. The final product has a nose of rich berries and subtle hints of barrel character, which is coupled with flavors of blackberry blossom and the lactic tang. A light phenolic character, good astringency, dry finish and fine carbonation round out a beverage both cider and beer drinkers can enjoy alike.

8. Stowe Cider – Gin & Juice. Stowe’s cider makers take Caledonia Spirit’s spent Barr Hill Gin botanicals, a blend including juniper berries, while they are piping hot out of the still and drive them 20 miles down the road back to Stowe Cider for a weeklong cider infusion. Raw honey is then added to balance out the final product which is then packaged in 16-ounce cans and draft for limited distribution in Vermont and select out-of-state accounts.
9. Portland Cider Company – Strawberry. Available for the first time in 22-ounce bottles, Portland Cider’s Strawberry is a delicious blend of their Pearfect Perry, made from 100% fresh pressed pear juice, and infused with hundreds of pounds of over 15 varieties of Northwest strawberries. The cider makers then filter out the pureed berries, leaving a brilliantly, fruity and crisp perry that is delicate and lightly sweet at 5.4% ABV and 1.016 gravity.
10. Cider Creek Hard Cider – One in a Melon. This Belgian style, fruited cider is fermented with a Belgian Saison Ale yeast and finished with watermelon puree for a 6.9% ABV cider that is packaged in 12-ounce cans, 1/6 barrel kegs and 1/2 barrel kegs. The Cider Creek cider has a tropical effervescence, mild tart notes and a fruity, semi-dry finish.


Wyder's Cider Releases New Packaging

Wyder’s Cider is excited to announce the release of their new packaging. The redesign is an artistic upgrade from the original longstanding branding. The new Wyder’s look brings forward the lifestyle of the brand while maintaining the clear communication of the refreshing use of such eclectic cider fruits including prickly pears, pineapples and raspberries.

“We feel this packaging better communicates the brand personality of Wyder’s and our appreciation for exploration,” says Brand Manager Megan Skinner. “We sought to portray the landscape that bears the fruit we innovate with and craft into our cider.”

The rebrand follows the successful launch of Wyder’s new Prickly Pineapple cider back in the summer 2016. An exotic duet of pineapple juice and juice from prickly pear cacti fruit, the newest addition became the fourth fruit forward cider in the portfolio, joining Pear, Raspberry and Tequila-aged Reposado. Prickly Pineapple tickles the tongue with each sip bringing forward a light and sweet taste like a refreshing pina colada at 5% ABV.

Wyder’s is currently available in 40 states and is making efforts to expand into other regions. The launch of their new packaging will be supported by new point of sale, on and off premise samplings, and a digital sweepstakes.

Wyder’s Cider has specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. Using traditional cider fruit varieties enables Wyder’s to create unique, refreshing ciders for when you are ready to unplug. For additional information, please visit Wyders.com.


Reverand Nat's Hard Cider Expands Distribution to New York

After years of occasional deliveries to select retailers and appearances at cider events, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, the Portland, Oregon-based cidery known for making unusual ciders, has expanded sales distribution to New York through S.K.I. Beer.

“New York has such a vibrant craft beer scene dating back to its rich immigrant brewing history in the 1800’s on to the founding of Manhattan Brewing Co. in the mid-1980s and Brooklyn Brewery in the mid-1990s. And New Yorkers strongly embrace the delicious farm-based ciders produced throughout the state. But no one in New York, or for that matter the entire world, is making ciders that combine these two perspectives into one singular drink,” said Nat West, founder of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider.

The company’s core offerings of Revival Hard Apple, Sacrilege Sour Cherry, Hallelujah Hopricot, Deliverance Ginger Tonic and a rotating seasonal (currently their summer seasonal, Viva La Pineapple) are all available in bottles and on draft.

S.K.I. Beer’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Burmil, said, “When I first met Nat and drank his ciders in early 2015, I immediately knew I needed to bring these unusual ciders to New York to complement the traditional local ciders we have already. I’m very excited to promote Reverend Nat’s in the growing New York cider scene.”

The increased distribution comes amid continued growth in Reverend Nat’s home market of Oregon and is facilitated by continuous capital investment in the Portland-based cidery. “I have purchased multiple tanks every year since our founding. We are now up to nearly 1000 barrels of tanks, and excited to keep them full all the time,” said West.

Reverend Nat’s participated in the Pour the Core: Brooklyn event on June 10th and had a great response from attendees going through all but one case of cider ordered for the event! For information about Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, please visit ReverendNatsHardCider.com.


Citizen Cider Launches Companion and All Times

Citizen Cider, founded in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work, has quickly become a leading player in the craft cider arena. Citizen Cider strives to look at the bigger picture and focuses on being involved in every aspect of their supply chain, sourcing all fruit directly from local farmers and pressing the juice to create a true craft cider – never from concentrate.

In response to the ever-changing cider category, Citizen Cider has released a sour cherry cider, Companion. Aligning the core values of using local ingredients to make their craft cider, Citizen Cider has created the new cider with Montgomery and Balaton sour cherries from Wayne County, New York. This limited release cider hit shelves earlier this month with an eye catching and descript label.

The name behind the cider can be defined in the description: apple trees and tart cherry trees make good companions in the orchard. They bloom and harvest at different times throughout the growing season, which is good for the land and good for the farmer. The Citizen Cider team figured the two fruits might make nice companions in a fermented cider as well. It turned out to be true, which is good for Citizen, and good for consumers.

Companion, at 5.5% ABV, will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans and limited draught in states where Citizen Cider is distributed.

Citizen Cider also released a new brand – All Times – of sparkling ciders made from 100% juice with no sugar added and no alcohol. All Times Sparkling Cider replaces the previous non-alcoholic Citizen portfolio line called Citizen Sweet since All Times will be widely distributed and the staff wanted to make sure to avoid any confusion between the two product lines.

All Times was named such by one of the Citizen Cider’s founder’s sons, Finch, who coined the phrase “all times” as his way of describing the absolute best or the greatest term of endearment. If something is Finch’s favorite, like grilled cheese, it is All Times. The Citizen Cider team dubbed their sparkling cider line All Times since it is the ultimate sparkling cider and it’s a sparkling cider to enjoy here, there and “all times.”

The first two styles of All Times Sparkling Cider made by cold-pressed juice from the good people at Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury, Vermont, are available in 12-ounce cans and bottles, and include Apple and Sour Cherry Apple. These styles were selected since they use the same similar ingredients as ciders in the current Citizen Cider portfolio. Those interested in purchasing All Times can find it where other non-alcoholic and ready-to-drink beverages are located, likely in the organic or natural section.

“Supporting growers is the core of everything we do at Citizen Cider. By stepping into the non-alcoholic realm with All Times Sparkling Ciders, we are able to reach even more fans that enjoy the experience of visiting an apple orchard - fresh apple taste, fresh apple flavor,” said Cheray MacFarland, marketing director of Citizen Cider. “Crack open an All Times Sparkling Cider and be reminded of what it’s like to stand in a Vermont orchard. No additives keep this sparkling cider clean and refreshing.”

For additional information and where to find Citizen Cider Companion visit CitizenCider.com or for information on All Times Sparkling Ciders, please visit AllTimesCider.com.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Smoked Pork Sausage with Hard Cider Sauce
From Jack Riebel of Food Republic

Granny’s Navy Grog
From Autumn Giles of Serious Eats

Photo Credit: Christina Holmes

Photo Credit: Autumn Giles