Coming soon to the Hudson Valley is Cider Week Hudson Valley, November 14-23, 2014.
And in case you didn't know it, Cider is Back!
Recently, at Harvest Spirits Distilling in Valatie, NY, Kelley Slagle, helped to organize a private tasting for the trade of Hudson Valley cider producers. On hand was a who's who of the Hudson Valley's liquid apple world. Growers, owners, cider makers, media, and retailers chatted and tasted, and exchanged information. Some of my favorites were there.
Bad Seed is always one of my favorite. Beers guys who are pushing the envelope on cider, making Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider, Belgian Witte Cider, and many, many others. They are the cutting edge of cider.
Sundog Solar is possibly one of the most politically correct beverages in the Hudson Valley, made by employees of Sundog Solar, a green energy company. That, and this semi-sweet, sparkling cider is pretty damn good. And easy to drink!
Brookview Station Winery, which is located at Goold's Orchards in Castleton, was also on hand, as were owner Sue Goold and manager Karen Gardy. BSW's Joe Daddy's Hard Cider has been a huge hit for the small farm winery at the centenary family farm.
Orchard Hill is a small, new cidery, and is making a name for itself with incredibly dry, exceptional sparkling ciders, and pommes. Complex and layered, they are instantly becoming popular with foodies.
Awestruck cider are absolutely terrific! Three fantastic styles, from this young husband and wife team are shockingly good and extremely affordable. Aromatic and exotic, these were one of the great new discoveries at the tasting.
Dan Wilson is on of the grand old men of cidermaking on the east coast. He is one of the smartest, most knowledgeable cider men out there. And as Bad Seed and Awestruck are pushing the cutting edge, Dan is holding down some of the classic, forgotten styles, like an incredible Kingston Black still cider, and several other ancient styles that are jarring in their complexity and great quality. And he's been doing it a long time. Amazing!
Kelley joins hosts Ashley Hartka and Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits, who are the makers of the famous Cornelius Applejack. Derek and Ashley hosted the event.
Another of the foodies darlings, Aaron Burr ciders, made incredibly popular by NYC foodies are made using foraged apples. Fantastic flavors explode from these small, antique-styled bottles. Complex, well-balanced, high quality apple nectars. Truly fantastic!
Warwick Valley Winery is one of the largest producers of cider on the east coast. But the great thing about Warwick Valley is their incredible quality. They make very session friendly ciders, that are fresh and easy to drink, which is why theirs are some of the best selling ciders in the industry, let alone the valley. Their ciders are in more than a dozen states. Gold Rush cider is a special bottling just in time for Cider Week. A very special bottle!!!
The Standard Cider Company is the producer of the True series of ciders. District Manager Lori Beers seems to be everywhere promoting these great ciders. The one that was really amazing at this showing was the Rebel Reserve, an amazing barrel fermented cider. It's a limited production wine, but it is spectacular.
Naked Flock has been an absolute hit since it was introduced 2 years ago. It's success continues to sky rocket. The ciders are crisp and clean, and as hot as they get in the metropolitan market. And there's good reason - flavorful and fun. Good, clean, refreshing ciders. Great stuff!
Elizabeth Ryan, the owner of Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider, is a renowned fruit grower and cider maker. She studied cider making in Somerset and Hereford in England, and she has a degree in Pomology from Cornell University. She made her first barrel of cider there as a student in 1980. She bought Breezy Hill Orchard in Dutchess County in 1984 and has since expanded to operate two more orchards, one of which is Stone Ridge Orchard in Ulster County. She is one of the most involved people in the cider movement.
The Scrumpy, the cloudy cider in the large jug, was among my favorites in the whole tasting. Tasted like sweet, farm cider, but with a little kick. It has a tag that says, "Drink me now". You gotta love it. Maeve's was a semi-sweet sparkling hard cider with lovely flavor. Another favorite was the bottle conditioned, dry cider. Very, very nice.
Nine Pin Cider was also there. There were the first Farm Cidery license granted by the state, and they are located in Albany. They make very good ciders. Their green label cider is a popular, semi-sweet cider that is bright and refreshing. Their Belgian Styled cider is very good, and super food friendly. And I love their ginger cider, which is the perfect accompaniment for such cuisines as Chinese, Thai, Indian, and other spicy dishes. Excellent.
Great ciders for Cider Week....very cool!