We have partnered with the Certified Pommelier Education program of the American Cider Association to select ciders we have made and to chat about them with on Webinar December 8.
2021 Bridge Block is a field blend from the orchard we lease through the Land Conservancy. We fermented it with native yeast in a barrel. The land we are now farming is the ancestral home of the Chumash people. It resides in the flood plain of San Luis Obispo Creek. The majority of the trees are twenty year old Braeburn, with a scattering of Granny Smith and an as yet unidentified dark red apple with red streaking on the flesh that gets a purple cast when covered with native yeast (It's probably not an Arkansas Black). 2021 was the first year we farmed the orchard, when we didn't know how to turn on the irrigation, so we dry-farmed by default. We never tasted a better Braeburn apple.
2021 Yarlington Mill single varietal cider from Sierra Cider's orchard in Mariposa County. The apple was named for a mill where this apple was found growing in the village of Yarlington in Somerset county, England. Not surprisingly, that mill became a hot spot in the 1880s because the cider made their with this apple was so tasty. (Thanks to Darlene Hayes for this historical info, and read more about this apple in her Cidercraft Magazine article.) This apple has more tannin than the apples growing in our orchard so it is a great comparison.
The Bitter Queens. These English apples decided they wanted to be a Spanish-style cider. Well, I guess we'll allow it. A mild volatile acidity, giving way to big apple flavors, with a soft oak finish. Though not exactly to style, the result is pleasing.
Alcohol by volume: 6.9%
Apples: Porter's Perfection, Kingston Black, Harry Master's, Stokes Red, Dabinett from Washington
Pairings: meaty paella, manchego cheese, basque cheesecake
This barrel-fermented, whole-pomegranate and apple co-ferment has lovely pomegranate and savory aromas complement this complex and medium-bodied cider. While it does have a sharpness and rustic, woody tannins, it also has lingering berry notes in the finish. If you ever get tired of sipping it, we recommend it as a cocktail mixer with gin or mezcal.
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%
Apples: Apples and pomegranates from Lewicki Ranch and Vineyard, CA
This is a full-bodied cider for those cold nights. This is a cider with enough acid to cut through rich dinners and desserts. This is a cider for those fireside chats, whether your fire is inside or outdoors. The fruity notes deepen into caramel apple, with nuances of brandy, baking spice, bay leaf, and sherry.
Apples: Pink Lady, Wickson Crab, Roxbury Russet, Ashmead's Kernal, King David, Cox Orange Pippin, Black Twig, Delicious grown in 2019 in Creston, California on the Lewicki Ranch and Vineyard.
Pairings: marzipan, prime rib roast, baked brie with fig jam, apricot tart, squishy chair by fireplace
This is our first harvest from the orchard we now lease from the Land Conservancy. We got enough rain in 2020-2021 winter to dry-farm these 20 year old trees. They are the tastiest Braeburn we've ever had. We decided to let the native yeast ferment this cider because we wished to express the full character of the orchard. The result is a bright, lemony, medium bodied cider, with light barrel character on the finish.
Alcohol by volume: 7.6%
Apples: 95% Braeburn and 5% Granny Smith from Bridge Block Orchard in San Luis Obispo
Cases in 2021: 38
Pairings: we are still testing these
What is quince? Darn skimpy, is what! It's one of those weirdo fruits that we adore, even though they are not that easy to eat. As most varieties are rather woody, they need to be cooked first, which is why it is most often seen in dishes, desserts, and as condiments. When it is crushed and pressed, it releases the most fragrant and sticky of juices, all raspberry and roses with an almost oily, slick mouthfeel.
These quince are grown on the Lewicki Ranch and Vineyard and were blended with heirloom and culinary apples from the same orchard. The cider is very fruity and bright. It retains those raspberry and rose notes from the quince and finishes dry.
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%
Fruit: 65% quince (varieties: Smyrna, Pineapple, Orange); 35% apples (King David, Cinnamon Spice, Braeburn, Roxbury Russet, Ashmead's Kernel, Nehou, Golden Delicious, Black Twig)
Pairings: Bakewell tart or pudding, Spanish sheeps cheese, roast turkey with quince and pistachio stuffing
22 cases produced in 2020, bottled in 2021
Mawage. Mawage is wut bwings us togever today. This cider is a marriage of cider and orange blossom honey from Bloom in Ventura County. This style is also known as a cyser or cider mead. A clean and dry cider with honey florals, minerality, and balancing acidity. Perfect for sunny spring days.
Alcohol by volume: 6.6%
Apples: Roxybury Russet, King David, Golden Russet, and Cox Orange Pippin from Oregon.
Pairings: dried fruit, burrata, rosemary chicken, shortbread cookies
-16.1% alcohol by volume
-Still (no carbonation)
-Apples: field blend from Bellevue Farm (no longer operating) in San Luis Obispo County and Crimson Gold Crab from Santa Barbara County
-Pairings: blue cheese, salty honey pie, apple crisp
This is our version of an ice cider, a style made famous in Quebec. We pressed local apples, then the juice was frozen. As frozen juice slowly thawed, it released a more concentrated juice rich with flavor, sugar, and acidity. Only 25% of the original juice was used to make this cider. After a slow fermentation, the cider was left to age in neutral French oak for one year. Ours finishes a little drier than others, but still has a natural residual sweetness balanced with high acidity. With big, bold flavors of dried fruit and vanilla, this full-bodied sipper is great as an after dinner treat shared with friends.
Hops and cider is like a beard on a drag queen; an incredibly magical combination. Local apples are dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Enigma, and Galaxy hops just long enough to capture their aroma and flavor of citrus, gooseberry and black pepper. The result is lightly tart and without bitterness.
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%
Apples: Braebrun from Two Broads' orchard in San Luis Obispo, Granny Smith from Fair Hill Farms in Paso Robles
Pairings: chevre, green salad with fried chicken, lemon meringue pie
Crabby McCrabface takes no prisoners and is not here to make you feel comfortable. While the flavor of a crab apple is difficult to enjoy in it's fresh form, it makes some of the most interesting juice for fermentation. Lots of acid, lots of tannin, and a lot of flavor. Dolgo Crab Apples are about an inch in diameter, more oval, deep garnet, and when pressed the juice comes out deep ruby. Transcendant Crab apples are a plump little morsels with yellow skin and pink cheeks that glow on the tree in the twilight. The resulting flavor of this cider is intense. You will feel that tartness climb into your scalp. Full-bodied with light carbonation, flavors reminiscent of pineapple, and earthy funky tannin in the finish.
Alcohol by volume: 8.0%
Carbonation: lightly carbonated
Apples: 79% Dolgo Crab from SLO Creek Farm and 21% Transcendant Crab from Chelsea and Tim's in See Canyon in San Luis Obispo, CA
Cases: 21 produced in 2021
Pairings: Tri-tip with salsa, a pipe or cigar, salted caramel pot-de-creme, blue cheese
Light. Refreshing. Citrusy. Cider doesn't get much more sessionable than this.
Alcohol by volume: 4.9%
Apples, quince, hops: Roxbury Russet, King David, Golden Russet and Cox Orange Pippin from Oregon; Stokes Red, Kingston Black, Dabinett, Porter's Perfection, and Harry Master's from Washington; Smyrna quince from Creston, CA; and Azacca, Nectaron, and Citra hops.
We did it again. We made another ice-style cider. This time we aged it one month in Calvados barrels. For those of you not familiar with Calvados, it is a brandy made from fermented apple cider in the Calvados region of France. Chez Baco boasts passionfruit and pineapples notes, with the characteristic ice cider sweetness and balancing acidity. Spirited oak character imparted from the barrel adds toasty-brandy notes. Special occasion, housewarming, or just a night cap? You can finish the bottle with friends or pour a little for yourself, and store with a cork in the fridge to save the rest for another night.
Alcohol by volume: 13.6%
Carbonation: none (AKA still)
Apples: 17.5% Northern Spy, 17.1% Roxbury Russet, 14.8% King David, 14.2% Mutsu, 11.4% Golden Russet, 10.8% Cortland, 6.8% Cox Orange Pippin, 4% Spitzenburg, 3.4% Gravenstein organically grown in Oregon
Pairings: Vanilla pots de crème, after-dinner cheese plate (brie, blue, aged gouda), a soundtrack of crickets or frogs (pourquoi pas les deux ?)
When we ran our Kickstarter in June 2020, Mr. Baco contributed at the highest level, rewarding him the opportunity to name a cider with us. Mr. Baco was particularing drawn to this style of cider. We went through about 20 permutations before settling on this one. It was a fun journey through Quebec, Ancient Greece, France, and finally ending in Seattle.
This cider is a blend of heirloom and cider apples from Sonoma county, which we fermented in stainless steel and then barrel aged. It presented a beautiful minerality that complimented herbs so well we decided to add some. We were inspired by native sages one day on a hike and after smelling them all we decided to infuse the cider with mint, cardamom, coriander, bay leaf, and juniper berries. Think of it like a cider getting together with a barrel-aged gin. Sca-rumptious.
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%
Apples: Gravenstein heavy blend from Gopher Glen, farm stand blend from Gopher Glen, Gala and Crimson Gold from Santa Barbara County.
Pairings: Green salad, grilled shimp, margherita pizza, and Marlene says "Camembert drizzled with honey"
Come what may, kumquats and cider belong together. Apples from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties were co-fermented with kumquats. Like a love ballad from Moulin Rouge, together they sing with aromas of kumquat peel and orange blossoms, tart apple-citrus flavor, and a dry finish.
Alcohol by volume: 7.1%
Apples: Gala from Santa Barbara County, Braeburn, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith from SLO County