Richmond Cider Celebration
Kicking off Virginia Cider Week, The Richmond Cider Celebration had over 800 Richmond residents sipping ciders from all eight of Virginia's cider makers. The afternoon event presented cider in an approachable way and allowed folks to get their first—or fifteenth—taste of cider in a laid-back setting.
Albemarle Ciderworks GoldRush
Albemarle Ciderworks has been championing single-varietal ciders since their first over four years ago. Their latest is GoldRush, a tart cider big on lemon and grapefruit flavors fermented entirely from GoldRush apples, a relatively new variety crossbred from the ubiquitous Golden Delicious. Bone dry, and 10% alcohol, this is one dangerously delicious cider.
Blue Bee Cider Mill Race Bramble
Most Virginia cidermakers are purists when it comes to their ciders. But Richmond's Blue Bee Cider breaks free from the "just apples" model with their latest release, Mill Race Bramble. Summer Rambo—a French apple brought to America during Colonial times—provides the base cider. After fermentation, the cider is seeped with berries for a rich, ruby color along with bright cherry and cranberry flavors.
Foggy Ridge Serious Cider
Foggy Ridge was the first cider-revivalist in Virginia and their experience shows in their Serious Cider. A refined, structured cider full of long, rolling tannins, Serious Cider remains a standout year after year.
Hill and Holler's Cider Week Celebration
The second annual Virginia Cider Week featured a repeat of our favorite event from last year; the Hill and Holler cidermakers dinner. Featuring five cidermakers and passed plates from chef Amalia Scatena, Hill and Holler once again brought a who's who of Charlottesville's food scene under one roof for a night of cider sampling, small bites, and a celebration of Virginia's locavore culture.
Castle Hill Gravity
It takes a deft hand to make a still cider and Gravity is proof that the team at Keswick's Castle Hill Cider take their craft seriously. Full, with a bright acidity, this off-dry cider gets it body from Grimes Golden apples and this year's bottling is the best we've tried yet. Worth seeking out and a highlight of the week.
Winchester Ciderworks Malice
Winchester Ciderworks is the newest cidermaker on the Virginia scene and is bringing their own take on cider to the table. Inspired by ciders of eastern England, Malice packs big apple flavors with a farmhouse complexity into their kegs and pint cans. A welcome, unique take on Virginia cider and one to watch in the new year.
Old Hill Yesteryear
Old Hill Cider has been producing cider for just over a year now but these are the first bottles we have seen outside of the Shenandoah Valley. Old Hill produce ciders big on the apple flavors; Yesteryear is their take on classic, heirloom fruit. This full bodied cider is more "apple-y" than most and a wonderful gateway cider for those just beginning to explore the scene.
Potter's Craft Cider Farmhouse Dry
Potter's Craft Cider Farmhouse Dry remains one of our favorite draft ciders from Virginia or otherwise. The current vintage has even more complex flavor and aroma, with brighter citrus notes and more body. We're more than a little jealous that Virginians have such a dry, complex cider available on draft (and in the bottle.)
Our Visit to Castle Hill Cider
A visit to Keswick's Castle Hill Cider should be on any cider fan's bucket list. The ciders are world class and the grounds (which double as an event venue) are ideal for long, fall afternoons with a few bottles of cider. We stopped by for a tasting and found ourselves lingering in front of the tasting room fireplace.