NOVEMBER 11-20, 2016

CIDER BLOG

Zynodoa Cider Dinner with Foggy Ridge Cider
 

November 12, 2014 by: Courtney Mailey

Four course dinner featuring Staunton favorite’s always superb cuisine. Each course will be paired with Foggy Ridge Cider.   If you need more convincing here is the menu…

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Old Hill Cider Brunch at the Joshua Wilton House
 

November 2, 2014 by: Courtney Mailey

 

If you needed a little more inspiration to join us for a cider week brunch, here you go…

JOSHUA WILTON CIDER WEEK MENU

Shenandoah Seasonings – Hard Cider Dinner
 

October 17, 2014 by: Courtney Mailey

Another cider temptation – check your calendar for November 21st and make your reservation.  November 21, 2014 Cider Dinner

Apfelwein Dinner at Metzger Bar & Butchery
 

October 8, 2014 by: Courtney Mailey

Just to whet your appetite for this featured Cider Week Event.  Check out this menu, do not miss this….

CIDERDINNER

Cider House Rules
 

September 22, 2014 by: Courtney Mailey

The media gurus at Padilla/CRT designed this nifty graphic to showcase craft cider. Take a look, and learn about cider styles, food pairings and the top cider bars around the country. We’re especially pleased to see our cider friends from Husk Restaurant, FullSteam Brewery, MeridianPint  and QueensKickshaw showcased. They all serve #VACider!

 

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Cider Week VA 2013 Highlight: Comfort Cider Dinner
 

December 3, 2013 by: Courtney Mailey

By Nicole Lang, events manager and cheese monger at Secco Wine Bar and blogger at Food Punk | December 2, 2013

 

As I type this I am sipping Virginia cider and snacking on Virginia cheese. It’s December first, and I guess I just can’t let go of cider week, but why should I? Autumn has given way to the Winter holidays and it’s a wonderful time to not only celebrate with local cider but to relish in all the bounty of our great state. Chef Travis Milton, of Comfort restaurant in Richmond, who wears his love for the state of Virginia and his Appalachian heritage on his sleeve, honored both in a collaboration with Foggy Ridge Cider in what was for me, the highlight of the VA Cider Week’s festivities.
foggy Ridge cider dinner menu

“I was happy to be able to feature a lot of heirloom apples, some of which are used in the ciders made by Foggy Ridge. Most of the food came either from local growers or folks in the South Western part of the state.” Chef Travis Milton

The eventing started with a cocktail from Comfort barman Derek Salerno. A play on the fabled Sazerac, a rye-based cocktail, Salerno subbed in Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold, a dessert cider, as the sugar element. It was spiced up with some house-made apple bitters, a hit of Peychaud’s, and finished with lemon peel and a mist of absinthe.

Our appetites well stimulated, it was time for the first course: venison tartare with quail egg, Winesap apples, smoked salt, sorrel, and bourbon mustard. The winesaps were easily recognizable in that opening dish, their deep crimson skins outlining the luscious tartare. This was paired with a second cocktail by Salerno, The Seelbach, featuring Foggy Ridge’s First Fruit as a stand in for the classic’s usual champagne. It was a favorite and much to my delight (and yours, trust me) he shared the recipe and you can find it below.

A salad of duck confit and Hewes crab apple was next, accented with cherries and bacon in a sorghum and green peanut vinaigrette, it was the perfect combination of rich, sweet and tart and a nod to Virginia peanuts.
Smoked trout, with pickled Albemarle Pippin apples, preserved lemon, and sorghum berry crackers was made even more excellent paired with Foggy Ridge’s Sweet Stayman. A rule of thumb when pairing, cider loves smoke…BBQ pork, I’m looking at you!

Speaking of pork, it wouldn’t be a proper dinner at Comfort without at least a cameo by the South’s most beloved animal. We dug into Cheerwine-vinegar glazed pork, Candy Roaster squash with Gold Rush apple puree, bacon braised Brussels sprout greens, and apple mustard jus. A symphony of Fall flavor, this last course caused quite the buzz as some diners were unsure of just what a Candy Roaster squash was. Fortunately, Chef Milton and Diane Flynt modeled a handsome specimen for the crowd:

candy roaster

Just when I was positive nothing else could possibly fit into my happy belly, dessert was served. Not one, but TWO variations on Appalachian staples, vinegar pie and apple stack cake re-imagined as ice cream!  It was a glorious, if ample, end to the feast. A few last sips of Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold to close the evening and I was off into the night, already looking forward to what next year’s events will bring.

Seelbach
adapted by Derek Salerno

1 oz Laird’s 7 1/2 year apple brandy

.5 oz Grapefruit cordial (or sub Cointreau)

4 dashes house cherry-spice bitters

2 dashes Angostura bitters

3oz Foggy Ridge First Fruit cider

Flamed grapefruit peel, garnish

Stir first four ingredients briefly over ice, strain into a chilled highball glass, top with cider and garnish.

 

Nicole Lang manages events and mongers cheese at Secco Wine Bar. You can also find her on her blog, Food Punk, and on twitter : @Nicole Lang

Celebrating Virginia Cider Week – A Hard Cider Primer
 

November 14, 2013 by: Courtney Mailey

Hard cider was once the daily drink in early colonial America and was especially popular with presidents like John Adams, George Washington and noted oenophile Thomas Jefferson.  The Industrial Revolution and changing tastes influenced by a growing immigrant population that prefered beer led to a decline in fermented cider production and consumption in America.  Prohibition dealt a final blow to many orchards — and cider consumption — throughout Virginia and the other colonies.

After a long respite, cider is making a comeback here in the U.S.  This cider renaissance includes Virginia as artisan hard ciders are showing up in restaurants, in bottles shops and at tastings more and more.

A testament to the growing popularity of artisan ciders in Virginia, locally produced cider now has its own week — called Cider Week Virginia.  Beginning on November 15, Cider Week Virginia is intended to raise awareness and recognize cider’s growing popularity in the Commonwealth.

VACiderWeek

Though the audience for artisan Virginia ciders is growing, many residents may be unaware of the cider revival throughout the Commonwealth. Below are a few basic facts about apples and Virginia’s growing artisan hard cider industry.

Ten Facts Virginians May Not Know About Virginia Hard Cider

  • Thomas Jefferson, third U.S. president and Virginia’s second governor, cultivated eighteen varieties of apples in his orchard at Monticello (planted between 1769 and 1814) however, concentrated on two cultivars for cider production — Hewes’ Crabapple and Taliaferro.
  • Though Hewe’s Crabapples are widely considered Jefferson’s favorite apples for hard cider, he wrote of the Taliaferro apple; “the best cyder apple existing . . . nearer to the silky Champagne than any other.”  Unfortunately, the Taliaferro has disappeared from cultivation.
  • Virginia is home to eight cideries.  A complete list of Virginia cideries can be found on the Cider Week Virginia page.
  • Hard apple cider is the fastest growing segment in the alcohol business, with over 60% growth in 2012.
  • Cider is fermented like wine, not brewed like beer.
  • One of the biggest differences between hard cider and wine  —  or, apples and grapes — is that apples must be ground before pressing. The entire apple is ground to a pulp called pomace and the juice is then fermented.
  • There are over 30 different apple varieties grown specifically for cider production throughout Virginia.
  • Artisan ciders are typically made from blending different apples.  Many of the best apples for cider production are not ideal for eating.  The primary types of apples are:  Sharps (grown for high acid), Sweets (grown for high sugars), Bittersharps (grown for high tannins and acid), and Bittersweets (high tannins and high sugars).
  • According to several cidermakers, one of the most common cider misconceptions amongst consumers is that hard cider is made in just ‘one’ style.  Hard cider is produced in many different styles and levels of quality — from the commercial 6-pack grocery store brands that are chaptalized and diluted with water, to bottle fermented cider, to bone dry cider, to fruity cider and sweet, dessert-style cider.
  • Based on current law, Virginia hard apple cider can be up to 10% alcohol by volume, without chapitalizing (adding sugar to the juice).  Any fermented apple juice above 10% alcohol must be labeled ‘apple wine.’  A cider can not have more than 7% alcohol when chapitalized.

To celebrate the beginning of Cider Week, Virginia cidermakers will be sharing information about the past, present and future of Virginia cider tonight on Virginia Wine Chat (Thursday, November 14).   To join the virtual conversation, open a bottle of your favorite Virginia artisan cider and log on to Twitter tonight and follow the #VAWineChat hashtag.  The ‘chat will begin at 7:30pm.

VACiderChat

Virginia Ciders For Tonight’s Cider Chat

 Be sure to check out the Cider Week Virginia events page.

Cider Gone Wild | Timberville’s Old Hill Cider Revives an Authentic American Tradition
 

November 13, 2013 by: Courtney Mailey

By Shannon and Sarah Showalter, Cidermakers and Owners at Old Hill Cider

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In the early days of this nation, hard cider was commonly enjoyed by many Americans, with as many as 1 in 9 of America’s farms using cider presses to produce the flavorsome beverage. That custom may have changed in the early 20th century with Prohibition, but a growing number of American apple-growers are reviving the tradition of cider-making.

Our family has been growing apples on our Old Hill for more than 40 years. Although our family purchased the orchard in 1965, the orchard began in the early 1930s, and many people would simply say, “I’m going to the Old Hill to buy some apples.” From these stories we heard, the name for our hard cidery was cultivated. These apples and the terroir of our Old Hill are very important because they offer something very special: their own wild yeast.

Modern advancements in equipment and cultivated yeasts for example, can make cidermaking appear more like a wine process rather than an experience lived by our forefathers. However, our goal at Old Hill Cider is to craft ciders in innovative ways that early American cidermakers would be proud to serve and enjoy. One way that we achieve this goal is with Cidermaker’s Barrel. With this cider, we are able to embrace a method of producing cider with a wild yeast fermentation. This complex cider is crafted from the naturally occurring yeast that has been developed from decades of cider making and maintaining orchards on Old Hill. With this process, we use the yeast already present on the skins of the apples. While this process does make the end-result slightly unpredictable, our final product with Cidermaker’s Barrel is a clean exciting, well-made, complex cider, completely unique and indigenous to Virginia. Using carefully selected apples of heirloom variety, this artisan hard cider produces a sweet lemon, lime, vanilla and caramel nose, sweet apple fruit palate and a smoky dry finish.

Our goal is to continue to revive an American Tradition while producing artisan hard ciders that are delicious, natural, familiar and flavorful.  We hope to continue to educate and encourage people to sit up and take notice of the burgeoning American revival of hard cider. Learn more about Old Hill and Virginia’s other hard cideries at the numerous events planned throughout Cider Week!

The Accidental Bartender meets Pippin Gold
 

November 11, 2013 by: Courtney Mailey

By Micah LeMon, Bartender in Charlottesville and blogger at The Accidental Bartender | November 11, 2013

I get really anxious when someone hands me a sample of something and says, “What do you think?”.  My anxiety comes from two things.  One, like any normal person, I like the things I like.  Did you hand me a sweet pickle?  If so, I will find it difficult if not impossible to like.  I just don’t like sweet pickles.  If you ask me what I think, I will have a hard time concealing my lack of enthusiasm for the item you gave me—that is not to say I won’t be grateful, I just won’t be able to conceal being nonplussed.  Secondly, I have the unfortunate tendency of being neurotically true to my palate, and allowing it to speak.  Dear sir, I taste band aids in the Scotch you gave me; Dear Madame, your Riesling smells deeply of burned vacuum cleaner belt; and Sir your red wine is reminiscent of cardboard, bell peppers, and the Virginia Garlic Festival.

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All that to say, I was characteristically anxious when Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge asked me to review her Pippin Gold Apple Port.  Diane easily makes an impression on folks as a most positive, likeable, and caring person.  What if I didn’t like the port?!  As Charlottesville townies and Monticello AVA tipplers know, ports, while not altogether unenjoyable, are frequently not the highlight of most wineries’ tasting flights.   I took the bottle out of the fridge, opened it, and took a sip.  The first sensation was a wave of apple sweetness, followed by a hint of the hallmark funky, Roquefort flavors of fermented cider, all rounded out with a bit of tannin in the finish.  In short, it is a balanced composition of all the things that Foggy Ridge advocates:  apple fruit, real hard cider flavor, and natural tannins that come from vintage cider apple varieties.  It was delicious.

How do you mix something that is already balanced and well thought-out?  In attempt to keep the port flavor from getting buried in a long drink, I opted to make a short, Old Man-style cocktail, reminiscent of the New Orleans Sazerac that really echoed the aforementioned flavors of apple, funky cider, and bitter.  Check it out:

 

 1 ½ oz Laird’s Old Apple Brandy

 ¾ oz Pippin Gold Apple Port

 2 dashes Angostura bitters (or something better if you have it)

3 large sage leaves

rinse of Absinthe or Herbsaint

lemon twist

In a shaker, add the 3 sage leaves.  Gently muddle.  Add ice, brandy, port, and bitters.  Stir with a barspoon (or give it a slight jiggle) for just a of couple seconds.  Pour a scant ¼ oz of Absithe or Herbsaint in a rocks glass.  Swirl the liquid around to coat the inside of the glass and pour out the excess liquid.  Strain the contents of the shaker into the rinsed glass.  Rim the glass with the lemon peel, and twist the peel over the drink.  Throw a sage leaf in there if you’re feeling decadent.  Enjoy.

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Again, the ingredients in this drink really echo and augment the flavors of the cider port.   Make yourself one and see what you think.  And please, don’t be afraid to follow your palate.

micah

Thoughts on Virginia’s First Urban Cidery
 

November 4, 2013 by: Courtney Mailey

By Courtney Mailey, cidermaker at Blue Bee Cider  | November 4, 2013

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In many ways, being an urban cidery is not all that different from a rural one. In the fall, our press room smells of apples and our cold room smells of cider. We buzz around the tasting room keeping customers’ glasses filled and laugh our way through long days of turning apples into raw juice. Our vistas are a little different than the rest of the Virginia cider family. We have a great view of the city skyline, rather than mountains. But you still have to follow a winding path to find us in our urban wilderness along the James River rapids. And you can still see birds of prey circling the skies, ospreys, bald eagles and the occasional kestrel, hunting for fish.

Though we are some distance from the orchards in the mountains, our urban context in Old Manchester allows us to be close to our customers and to be part of a growing craft beverage revolution in the Richmond, Va. market that includes not just cider, but also beer, wine and spirits. (And coffee roasters too!) Local chefs, watermen, butchers, bakers, and chocolate makers are our partners in spreading the joy of good flavor and good food.

By November, most of our apples have already been harvested, have been placed in cold storage just down the street from us and now wait their turn to meet the grinder.  All the while, we are putting the finishing touches on some new cider releases for the fall. But we won’t be too busy to join the other seven Virginia cideries for the first annual Richmond Cider Celebration at the 17th Street Market downtown. Our cider family will be there. You should bring yours too!

Tickets to the Richmond Cider Celebration can be purchased in advance online or at the door