Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bad Seed Hard Cider – Craft Hard Cider Production in the Hudson Valley

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Devin Britton & Albert Wilklow
The Hudson Valley is exploding with cideries, wineries, distilleries and breweries.  In this podcast I visit with Devin Britton and Albert Wilklow, two guys in their early 30's who are turning a hobby into a full time business with Bad Seed Hard Cider.

Albert grew up in the local Hudson Valley apple farming industry.  In fact, I use to go apple picking with my kids at his family orchard in Highland, NY "Wilklow Orchards" and to this day still receive the newsletter his mom sends out.  That is where I got my first introduction to fresh cider donunts!  The best! What many people might not realize is the Hudson Valley is a large apple growing region. (If interested, this whitepaper will give you more on the history of apple farming in the Hudson Valley http://bit.ly/1te5IOl)
Cider Sampling
Cider Sampling
Albert and Devin are childhood friends.  They've been experimenting with hard cider for many years. Devin is the brewer so to speak.  In 2011 they decided to take their hobby into production.

They received their license and began selling in the spring of 2012 at the Fort Greene Greenmarket in Brooklyn.  Now along with the Fort Greene Farmers Market, you can find them at Grand Army Plaza Market on Saturday and Union Square Farmers Market on Wednesday and Saturday.

One year into their venture Manhattan Distributors reached out to them.  That is a huge accomplishment as it is very difficult to get picked up by a distributor.  You can find their ciders throughout New York City distributed through Manhattan Distributors.

Fermentation Tanks
Fermentation Tanks
The base of their cider comes from three apples, Winesap, Ida Red and Empire.  They will then mix in some Northern Spy, Braeburn, Pink Lady as well as some others.

The apples that go into their cider can't be to high in sugar and have to have good tannin content.  If the sugar is to high, when fermented, you will loose all the flavor.
Blending Tank
Blending Tank

There are between 12 and 14 varieties that go into Bad Seed Hard Cider.  All blended when bottled.

For every 75 gallons of Bad Seed Cider, there are 800 pounds of apples in it. Cider takes approximately 5 months from press to bottle to consumer.

Bad Seed Cider produces three signature ciders, their Dry Cider, Belgian Abby Cider and their Bourbon Barrel Reserve Cider.
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 The Dry Cider is dry and nicely balanced.

 The Belgian Abby Cider uses a Belgian beer yeast.  It's a cider for people who like Belgian Sours.  It's tart and tangy with sour tart apple tones.
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Their Bourbon Barrel Cider is aged in Bourbon barrels for 8 weeks.  This cider is not carbonated.  By aging the cider in the barrels it balances out the acidity, gives it a full mouth feel and keeps more of the cider flavor.  They say "It's not your little sister's cider!"

Asked what is driving the cider explosion, they say it's the generation coming forward today.

Their parents generation is brand loyal. Their generation is NOT. Their generation wants to explore and try new things. They don't go to the store to buy the same thing twice. There is no brand loyalty!

People want to try something new and cider is the NEW and people are excited about it.

They will always have their three core ciders and begin to produce seasonal ciders so people can keep trying new.

When Devin and Albert began in 2012 they began with 2,000 gallons of cider. Today they are producing 20,000 gallons.

Asked about their future projection, they want to grow but keep it craft.  When they can't keep the standards that they want, that is where they will cap it.
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Bad Seed Hard Cider is located at 43 Baileys Gap Road, Highland, New York.  The Tap Room is open Saturday from 12-8pm and Sunday 12-7pm. You can find them on the web at http://www.badseedhardcider.com/


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room: Enjoy Fall Before It Gose

Before fall was to take a sharp turn toward wintry temps, it was a great day for enjoying the autumnal charms on the Captain Lawrence patio. With a name that translates to “the beer garden”…well, minus the “beer”…Michelle Desjardin of White Plains is right where she belongs.

It’s Michelle’s birthday, so she’s got a healthy crowd out on the patio, including Amy Burger of Tarrytown and Kathy Miracolo of Plainview, along for the ride. “Since it’s my birthday, I said, this is what we’re going to do,” Michelle says with a smile.

Fall is Michelle’s favorite season for a variety of reasons. “You see the leaves change, it’s got the best races,” says the avid runner.

Kathy contributes to the fall pictorial. “Boots and scarves…pumpkin beer.”

Alas, the Pumpkin Ale is not flowing today, so the ladies make do with the Freshchester Pale Ale. “We’ll probably buy a six-pack of the Pumpkin,” says Michelle, about to get her first birthday present of the day.

The patio is jammed. Gleason’s serves up the brick oven pizzas; the smell of burning wood in the oven adds to the seasonal charm. My Morning Jacket tunes crank from the new outdoor speakers; it is indeed morning jacket weather, whatever the heck that might be, or no jacket at all.

Dylan Mabin and Michael Francisco-Mcguire of Brooklyn are celebrating as well. Both have infants back home, and both hard-working dads got the green light to have the day to themselves. So they put their bikes on Metro-North, trained it to Pleasantville, then biked it down the rail trail to the brewery in Elmsford.

“I called Dylan and said, wanna get out of Dodge?” says Michael.

Dylan’s answer came back a resounding yes. Their bikes leaning against the fence, the men enjoy the Gose Before Bros, brewed by Captain Lawrence’s JustinsSturges and Perrone. Gose is a top-fermented beer originating in Germany and featuring malted wheat. The Justins’ version is flavored with salt and coriander for a light, tart and unique concoction. “It’s real refreshing; salty, a lot of wheat to it,” says Dylan.

“Savory,” adds Michael.

Fall elicits a big batch of sensory images for Michael. “Colors, smells, renewal, friendship,” he says. He and Dylan, free men for the day, raise their cups of Gose to that.

Some prefer the heartier, hoppier beers when the leaves start to fall. Mike Rivisto of Yonkers sips the perennial favorite Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA, a citrusy hop monster sporting a 9% alcohol level. To him, fall represents “Pumpkins. And beer…darker beers.”

Wife Regina quaffs the Limone Lupollo, a specialty wheat beer with brewed with lemon. “It’s just a nice fall day, and we wanted to get outside,” she says.   

Tucked into a picnic table with a grand view of the bocce court, Katherine Levene and Amethyst Chiasson of White Plains too are making the most of the stellar sweater weather. Katherine has the Liquid Gold, while Amethyst, ears still ringing from Judas Priest the night before, sips an India Pale Ale. “I’m going to the city tonight,” she says. “That’s why it’s not the imperial IPA.”

It will be a friend’s birthday party, at a club on the west side, some fancy bottle service. Katherine has different plans for the night. “Maybe sleep,” she says.

The two also have different takes on the season. “I love fall,” says Katherine. “To me it means pumpkin, anything pumpkin. And boots, and sweaters, leggings, Starbucks. Halloween…my favorite holiday.”

Amethyst—the name, translated from Greek, literally means “not intoxicated” (honest—look it up)—describes herself as a summer person. “Warm weather and beer,” she says.

She takes in the lively surroundings at Captain Lawrence—friends celebrating birthdays, old pals catching up over craft beers, roaming dogs, roaming children chased by parents—and reconsiders the proposition of fall. “I actually don’t mind hoodies,” Amethyst says, “and a bunch of beer drinking.”

—Michael Malone (malone5a@yahoo.com)

Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday (4-8 p.m.), Saturday (12-6 p.m.) and Sunday (12-5). The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in India Pale Ale. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Sexy Ancestor

I've received a few Halter Ranch wines for review and have been really impressed.  So I had high expectations for their 2008 Ancestor Estate Reserve wine which is a red Bordeaux blend and it met the expections and was very sexy.

The blend consists of 25% Petit Verdot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 12% Malbec.  Aged in French oak for 18 months of which 50% were new oak.  The wine was bottled two years prior to release.  It's estate grown in Paso Robles, CA.

I have to admit, I received this wine for review as a media sample.  I didn't get to it right away and it did sit and age in my cellar for about 18 months. When I opened it I was quite impressed with what I found.

Aromas of cassis, boysenberry, cedar and hints of vanilla.  Sexy on the palate with lots of black fruit. It makes your eyes dance and puts a smile on your face.

I would share this bottle with a loved one over a nice dinner featuring filet mignon or roasted leg of lamb.

Price point for this wine is approximately $50.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

TasteCamp - Hudson Valley




The view from Millbrook's tasting room

This past weekend was the yearly event TasteCamp which is held in a wine region on the Eastern side of the United States every year.  I was thrilled when it was announced that they had chosen the Hudson Valley and the date was Columbus Day Weekend, the busiest weekend of the year.  

The organizers The New York Cork Report's Lenn Thompson and Drink Local's Michael Michael Wangbickler chose this weekend and at first I thought, the busiest weekend of the year, but then it truly highlighted the best, the Hudson Valley during harvest.

I attended the events on Friday and could only attend Saturday evenings dinner at Tousey. I will go into detail later about each winery and the new things I learned. In the meantime, here are some pictures of the weekend.

The gathering began at Noon in the vineyard at Millbrook Vineyards & Winery


Chardonnay grapes from Long Island at Millbrook

Processing the Chardonnay


Michael & Carlo tasting selections from Millbrook

Tasting Clinton Vineyards sparkling and Seyval



Kristop Brown, winemaker at Robibero Family Vineyards addressing the group

 
Robibero selections for tasting.

Bad Seed Cider at the grand tasting at Robibero

Benmarl selections at the grand tasting at Robibero

Clearview Vineyards at the grand tasting at Robibero

Frank from Clearview pouring Tiffany from Robibero a tasting
Dinner selections at Whitecliff Vineyards
Beautiful table arrangements at Tousey for dinner

The bloggers gather at Tousey

Tousey's Scarlet Tiger label (wait till you hear the story behind this!)

Bottled just for us
Great presentation of lamb for dinner

Remy and Katie having a great time

Evan presenting Carlo a gift of appreciation

Getting carried away and having fun


Many wines were tasted, new friendships formed and old friends visiting!



Monday, October 13, 2014

Football - Wine & Wing Pairings

Yes it's football season and what do you think about besides tailgate parties and beer? Wings!

I have to admit, I am a wing snob.  Going to college in Buffalo, NY made me that way and I like my wings extra hot and extra crispy with lots of blue cheese.  If I can't have them that way, I like them Thai Chili or just about any way they're made.  How do you like yours?

The first thing  I think about pairing wings with is beer. Sometimes the beer just doesn't cut it with me if the wings are too hot, then I reach for the semi-sweet Riesling. The sweetness in the Riesling will cool the heat in my mouth for a bit. (until the next bite)

I found this nice infographic on DrinkUpRoot and thought of passing it along for your wing and wine pairings during football season.

Let me know what wines you pair with your wings?


Uproot
by uproot.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Brotherhood Celebrates Their 175th Anniversary

Tonight there is a big party at Brotherhood Winery. They are celebrating their 175th Anniversary.  I'm celebrating my anniversary too, 26 years so it's fair to say if I want to make it to 27, I had to decline my invitation to attend the big party at Brotherhood and spend it with my husband.

I thought I'd give you a tour of 175 years of Brotherhood Winery in pictures, as we do with most anniversaries. We look back on the pictures. *Clink*Clink*