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New Brews: Hard Ciders


AGE APPLE BRANDY in oak barrels for five to nine years, recombine it with fresh juice and then put it back into the barrels for another year and what happens? You get Ten66, a new apple brandy aperitif from Orchard Hill Cider Mill, at Soons Orchard in New Hampton, that’s what. Cidermaker Karl duHoffman says expect to taste baked apples with notes of caramel and butterscotch. It “isn’t an effervescent drink,” he notes, “but it’s a whopping 20 percent alcohol.” Ten66 will be served in select bars and restaurants in the Hudson Valley and New York City and at the orchard’s tasting room.

In October, Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, in Pine Island, will add Gold Rush to its line of Doc’s Draft ciders. Made with a champagne yeast, the cider is dry but “sweet on the nose.” It will be available only in New York State, including select bar/restaurants in t he Hudson Valley as well as in artisan wine shops and liquor stores.

At Aaron Burr Cidery in Wurtsboro, cidermaker/owner Andy Brennan used apples from a Maine coastal island to make a limited batch of 40 gallons of 2013 Isle Au Haut Cider, a very sharp and dry cider with a hint of tart strawberry. A more mellow 2013 Homestead Perry gets its earth, buttery quality from wild pears harvested in nearby Mamakating. New in October is the 2012/2013 Crab Cider, a blend of two years’ batches of crab apple cider. Just in time for the holidays will be 2013 Hemlock Cider, aged over spruce and hemlock needles and made with fermented maple syrup. Aaron Burr ciders are available at Hudson Valley Wine Market in Gardiner, and the Artisan Wine Shop in Beacon.

A real winter warmer from Applewood Winery, in Warwick, will be Naked Flock’s new cider, made with chipotle and chocolate (and maybe some orange peel or coriander), according to Applewood owner and winemaker Jonathan Hull, who assures the chipotle won’t be overpowering. Expected out by the end of November, the brew will be available from local distributors in bottles as well as in kegs.

A hard cider so new it doesn’t yet have a name is due soon from Kettleborough Cider House, at Dressel Farms in New Paltz. The 125-gallon limited release, made from first-harvested apples from 20 varieties of cider-specific European and American apple trees, will be bottled without added sugars. A new “bottle-conditioned” strawberry cider, also due this fall, gets its name from secondary fermentation in the bottle; it’s sweetened with 100 percent hand-squeezed strawberry juice from the farm’s own strawberries. The two ciders will only be available in the Kettleborough tasting room during the fall months.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!