From Branch to Can
There’s a difference between cider-grown and table-grown apples. Some of the best cider apples taste awful if you try to eat them. Plus they’re seldom flawless looking, and they almost never crunch. Also, they’re very scarce here in the U.S., so not many American ciders can be called "Cider-Grown."
Apple-crazy cider-makers like us want the ripest possible fruit – filled with fermentable sugar plus the exotic aromas and flavors of each variety. Some types reach their best after they’ve dropped to the grass.
In cider lingo, there are four categories of cider fruit: “bittersweets” high in tannins and sugar; "bittersharps" high in tannin & acid; “sharps” high in acid; and “sweets” high in sugar. Unlike grape wines, most of the best-made ciders contain juice from many apple varieties.
When cider-grown apples come in to the press, they bring their own character plus something of the soils and weather of the orchard where they grew, and something of the growing season that particular year. Flavors and aromas formed by particular orchards end up in the ciders we make.
We carefully mix different varieties of apples before pressing, so that their mingled juices will ferment cleanly.
We prefer slow, cool fermentation to bring out the delicate flavors of our precious apples. Once fermented, these early cider batches are moved (“racked”) off the lees of yeast lying at the bottom of each tank. Then for some months – it can vary batch to batch – these new fermentations mature till we think they're good enough to blend.
Finally, it’s time to blend for finished cider – a long, intense process. We taste through all our different fermentation batches and figure out how to combine them for maximum aroma, flavor, complexity, character – in short, pleasure. Ciders made this way often come out in 750ml bottles, which can seem heavy and even intimidating. So for our first Cider Grown collaboration we’ve tried to offer both convenience and variety for a reasonable price.