Hard Cider Newsletter

Lost Giants Cider Company Opens in Washington State

Lost Giants Cider Company announced the opening of their production facility and taproom in Bellingham, Washington, last month. Lost Giants, the newest addition to the Pacific Northwest craft cider industry, is located at 1200 Meador Ave., Bellingham, WA 98229.

Named by the owners—all avid outdoor enthusiasts—for the stately trees that once graced the forests surrounding Bellingham, the Lost Giants production facility and 21-and-over taproom will feature handcrafted modern and traditional ciders, with guest taps of local and regional craft beers.

Chris Noskoff, Abraham Ebert and Brad Wilske founded lost Giants as a labor of love—of friendship, entrepreneurship, and a desire to contribute to Bellingham’s close-knit craft community. The three discovered a shared passion for all things fermented while working in the local craft brewing industry. Ebert’s extensive background in fermentation science, brewing and production is now being leveraged to produce ciders that showcase the abundant agriculture of Washington State.

“We started our business because we wanted to be on the forefront of an exploding industry,” said Chris Noskoff. “Compared to the craft beer industry, craft cider is still a relatively new concept in the U.S. and in Bellingham, where there are plenty of breweries, but just a few cideries.”

The Lost Giants partners are focused on promoting a positive, fun and collaborative environment for employees and customers, while creating a quality product for their community of highly educated and enthusiastic craft beverage enthusiasts. Their extensive experience in production and operations management, technology and quality control—as well as an on-site laboratory—will ensure proper sanitation, product stability and quality in each batch.

The taproom was designed to meet customers’ needs as they relax and enjoy their cider, with multiple device-charging stations, on-site parking, and soon—an outdoor seating area. The interior features the work of local artists and photographers. Summer plans include the release of their Dry and Semi-sweet ciders in 12-ounce cans to the local market. Consumers can also look out for special releases like fruited ciders (think elderberry, blackberry, strawberry) such as a raspberry-ginger infused semi-sweet cider made with fresh-picked raspberries from Boxx Berry Farm in Ferndale, Washington, currently available in the taproom.

“We are excited to be a part of the craft cider scene in Bellingham,” said Noskoff. “We hope to bring the fun and innovative culture that we loved in the craft beer world to the local cider industry.”

To learn more about Lost Giants and their current releases, check out their company Facebook page. Photos provided by Lost Giants Cider Company.


Colorado Cider & Beer Circus Returns – Enter to Win Tickets!

Ladies and gentlemen prepare to be amazed!  Mark your calendars, the Colorado Cider & Beer Circus will return to Copper Mountain, Colorado for the fourth year on August 24-25, 2018.  This cider-centric festival will offer a large selection of craft cider, including many of Colorado’s growing number of craft cideries, beer, and eye-catching entertainment. 

“We can’t think of a more fun way to enjoy awesome craft beer and cider, than by watching aerial artists fly above your heads and a headliner band jamming on stage in front of a pile of snow,” said Festival Director Stephanie Carson.

At this year’s circus, you will find The Salida Circus performing, offering aerial arts and other circus-style entertainment.  The headlining musical act has yet to be announced but ticket purchasers should check the website for updates. The festival is family-friendly, with plenty of kid activities available in the Center Village of Copper Mountain.

The festival is located at Copper Mountain Resort located in Copper Mountain, Colorado.  Come Friday, August 24th at 5:00pm or 6:00pm for the Big Top Cheese Pairing, which will offer professional cheese and craft cider pairing instructions located at the Burning Stone Center Village Five.  Return Saturday, August 25th for the main event!  With more than 20 plus cideries and breweries, live music, kid-friendly activities and circus entertainment it’s sure to be fun for the whole family! Participating cideries include: Wild Cider, Big B’s, Colorado Cider Company, Stem Ciders, Snow Capped Cider, Eden, West County Cider, C Square Ciders, Troy Cider, Ace, Portland Cider Company, Anthem, Common Cider, Pacific Coast, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, Wyder’s, Oliver’s, Zeffer, and St. Vrain Cider (subject to changes).

Hard Cider News has teamed up with the Colorado Cider & Beer Circus to giveaway two tickets to the cider and cheese pairing on Friday, August 24th AND two tickets to the festival on Saturday, August 25th – a $150 value!  Please click here to enter!  Deadline to enter the contest is Friday, August 10, 2018 (one entry per email address). 

For more information or to buy tickets, please visit CiderCircus.com. Photos provided by Superfly Productions.


Local Cider Makers Band Together to Launch Sonoma County Cider Week

In the spirit of community and camaraderie, a group of Sonoma County (California) based cider makers has banded together to kick off the first Sonoma County Cider Week. The 10-day cider-centric celebration will be held in locations through Sonoma County from August 3 to 12, 2018, and will showcase the extraordinary quality and diversity of ciders that are made in erstwhile wine country. Special events will include tap takeovers, orchard tours, collaboration cider releases, cider and food pairings, and joint retail displays throughout Sonoma County. Sonoma County Cider Week will culminate in a grand tasting at the Craft Cider Tent at the Gravenstein Apple Fair, held August 11 and 12 at Ragle Ranch Regional Park in Sebastopol (California).

All of the participating cider makers for the inaugural Sonoma County Cider Week are based in Sonoma County and include Ace Cider, Agrestic Cider, Ethic Cider, Golden State Cider, Horse & Plow, Leaky Barrel Cider, 101 Cider–Redwood Chapter, Specific Gravity/Nana Mae’s Cider, Tilted Shed Ciderworks, and Troy Cider. All use Sonoma County–grown apples to some extent in their ciders, and will be showcasing these Sonoma County ciders, along with their other offerings, during Sonoma County Cider Week.

“While our region is internationally known for its fine wines and craft beers, Sonoma County is historic apple country and home to a diverse range of cider makers producing an equally broad portfolio of ciders,” said Ellen Cavalli, co-owner of Tilted Shed Ciderworks. “In the aftermath of the fires in 2017, I thought it would be great if we came together to cultivate a stronger cider fellowship. All of the participating producers use Sonoma County–grown apples to some extent, and our ciders offer something for everyone—from crisp, refreshing, innovative libations that go perfectly with active California lifestyles to terroir-driven, orchard-based bottlings that stand their own against wine. Together, we are committed to strengthening Sonoma County’s cider and apple community and putting Sonoma County on the map as a world-class cider destination.”

A portion of sales during Sonoma County Cider Week will be donated to the North Bay Just & Resilient Future Fund to support continued fire recovery.  For more information about Sonoma County Cider Week and to view the calendar of events, visit SonomaCountyCiderWeek.com.  Photos provided by Sonoma County Cider Week.


Braxton Brewing Company Launches Kickback Hard Cider

After years of product testing and development, Braxton Brewing Company of Covington, Kentucky, launched Kickback Hard Cider.  The first two offerings, Hard Apple Cider and Rosé Cider, are now available across the Braxton Brewing Company’s distribution network. 

The brewery’s co-founder and brewmaster, Richard Dubé, spent years developing the perfect cider; and had been piloting Kickback Cider over the past few years as the company worked to gather customer feedback on desired sweetness. “I am so excited about this project!” exclaimed Dubé. “We had the idea since starting the brewery, but we were just not ready, nor satisfied with our recipe. Now over the past few years, we’ve nailed it. A real cider with tones of fresh cut apples, slightly sweet, finishing mildly tart. A beautiful medley of culinary and bittersweet apples. Refreshing – a great alternative to beer.”

To celebrate Kickback Hard Cider’s release, Braxton Brewing Company is creating an Orchard Experience from July 27-29th in their taproom with unique food creations, live music, and even a create your own caramel apple bar.  The can release party will celebrate all things cider, hard work, and dedication.  Check out Braxton Brewing Company’s Facebook page for a schedule of music and activities throughout the weekend.

For more information on Braxton Brewing Company and Kickback Hard Cider, please visit BraxtonBrewing.com. Images provided by Braxton Brewing Company.


New Ridge Cider Packaging In The Market

Ridge Cider, one of Michigan’s fastest-growing hard cider producers, unveiled in June that it would be adding the ‘Pure Michigan’ logo to its new packaging, signifying that the company’s hard cider is made with at least 75 percent ingredients grown in Michigan. Ridge uses whole apples grown locally on the Fruit Ridge, West Michigan’s legendary apple country, as the base and main ingredient for its hard ciders.

“Using local products is not only important to us, but also a huge part of our brand, as we’re named after the Ridge and use the shape of the state of Michigan in our logo,” said Matt DeLong, founder of Ridge Cider. “Adding the Pure Michigan logo to our packaging is not only a way to further communicate our commitment to local to our customers, but also a way to cement that commitment for the future.”

The logo now appears on Ridge’s three canned ciders: Raspberry, Berries and Porch Sittin’, which contain other Michigan ingredients including blueberries from Jawor Brothers in Ravenna, strawberries from Lutz Farms in Manistee and raspberries grown in Sparta.

The Ridge area is considered a “fruit agricultural mecca” because of its unique features that make it one of the prime fruit-growing regions in the world, including deposits of fertile clay loam soils with excellent moisture holding qualities, elevation of greater than 800 feet and proximity to Lake Michigan. The Ridge is about 8 miles wide by 20 miles long, covering 158 square miles and accounts for 65 percent of all Michigan apple production, or 7.15 percent of national production. Michigan is the third largest apple-producing state with 28 million bushels annually, or 11 percent of US apple production.

Launched in 2015, Ridge Cider produces more than 30 dry, artisanal ciders in the European tradition, made from 100 percent fresh Michigan apples, personally selected by DeLong. Ridge employs traditional farmhouse production methods that include native and secondary fermentation and use of wild yeasts, native to the region.  

Ridge Cider cans with the Pure Michigan logo are on shelves now. Look out for them and make sure to post your consumption with #PureMichigan. You can learn more about Ridge Cider by visiting RidgeCider.com. Photos courtesy of Ridge Cider.


Freshly Picked Fruit Ciders For Your Summer Enjoyment

We’re in the peak of summer and there’s nothing like some refreshing fruit on a warm day, so why not drink your fruit?  Fruit-infused ciders have been flooding the seasonal release market before summer even began, so we made a list of some must try fruit ciders.  Catch these before the fall seasonal ciders roll in, which we all know will happen before the fall weather even arrives.

Colorado Cider CompanyAprècot
5% ABV

This refreshing fruited cider was inspired by the wild apricot trees that grow along the side of roads and in valleys near Colorado Cider Company’s Hotchkiss orchard.  The sweetness of the fresh pressed apples is balanced with the tartness of the juicy apricots and is a perfect cider to take along with you on all your outdoor adventures.  Use #AprècotEverything to share your cider adventures with the world. This cider was launched in the spring and will be on shelves through the end of the month so get it while you can!

Swilled Dog Hard CiderRosé
6.9% ABV

Swilled Dog’s seasonal release, Rosé, is uniquely made with a blend of semi-sweet apples and is co-fermented with merlot grapes, while using the grape skins and a hint of hibiscus for the signature pink color.  Unlike many of the other rosé ciders on the market, this rosé features a lower sugar content and actual merlot grape juice to allow the natural flavors to provide an authentic, crisp finish.  Grab your girlfriends because this rosé is calling your names!

CiderboysLa Vida Sangria
5.0% ABV

La Vida Sangria is Ciderboys’ most recent fruitful pairing, a delicious mix of apple cider with citrus and sangria flavors, inspired by the popular traditional sangria in Spain and Portugal, which is a wine punch made by mixing wine with citrus fruits and spices.  La Vida Sangria is the marriage of the clean, crisp taste of the Washington state apples used in their cider with the subtle tartness of red wine and the citrus flavors of fresh lemons and oranges.  One sip and you’ll actually hear the mariachi band.

2 Towns CiderhouseEasy Peasy
5.0% ABV

Easy Peasy is the newest limited release from 2 Towns Ciderhouse.  Easy Peasy is an easy-drinking, thirst-quenching cider crafted with Meyer lemons and Northwest raspberries.  The Meyer lemons and raspberries create a tartness that balances well with the sweetness of the apples.  You can find Easy Peasy through the end of August.  Plenty of time to kick back in the summer weather and enjoy ‘easy’ drinking.

Stormalong Cider - Light of the Sun
6.5% ABV

Light of the Sun is a Citra and Mosaic dry-hopped cider crafted with blood orange and ruby red grapefruit zest.  Light of the Sun will be replacing Dry Hop cider in Stormalong’s core lineup.  This cider was crafted to highlight the refreshing citrus notes that Citra and Mosaic hops offer.  The blood orange and ruby red grapefruit takes the cider up a notch.  Light of the Sun was purposely kept on the dry side to avoid masking these unique flavors.

Stormalong Cider - Red Skies at Night
5.8% ABV

Red Skies at Night is the first cider in Stormalong’s rotating series.  The rotating series will offer more experimental ciders.  Red Skies at Night is Stormalong Ciders’ first dip into the flavored cider market.  This cider is crafted with passion fruit and hibiscus - using whole ingredients and avoiding concentrates. Passion fruit was added to bring out tropical notes to meld with rich acidity from the hibiscus.  The hibiscus flower adds a nice round tartness with a powerful red color. The combination works well together to create a cider that isn’t overly sweet, just juicy and flavorful.

Common Cider Company - Americana Apple
6.5% ABV

Americana Apple is Common Cider’s latest summer seasonal that teases the palate with a hint of lemon and fragrant rose water.  This cider is very refreshing and light, perfect for a warm summer afternoon.  It has a hint of zest with a little floral finish.  Americana Apple is ideal for relaxing in the summer heat.

Common Cider Company - Pomme Rosé
8.5% ABV

Pomme Rosé was crafted in collaboration with Cochon555, a nationwide festival of events that raise awareness about heritage breed pork and socially-responsible farming.  Pomme Rosé is an inspired blend of Grenache and raspberry essence.  The cider is perfectly paired with lighter foods like pork, but can easily be enjoyed on its own.  Common Cider will donate a percentage of their sales of Pomme Rosé to Piggy Bank, a charity that gifts heritage breed pigs to family farmers in need of support.

Photos courtesy of each respective cider company.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Hard Apple Cider Pulled Chicken
From Make the Best of Everything

The Proceed Gingerly
From Chad Van Selus of Hank’s

Photo Credit: Kristen Greaze of Make the Best of Everything

Photo Credit: Austin Eastciders