Cider Review – Desiato Double Barrel Hard Apple Cider

Cary and Rich Smithson holding a bottle of Double Barrel Hard Apple Cider.

Cary and Rich Smithson holding a bottle of Double Barrel Hard Apple Cider.

Timing is a funny thing.  A while back I discovered Cyder Market, an online resource  for all things cider.  The feature that got my attention was their list of cideries by state. “Lightbulb!”  I thought this would be a perfect way to plan one-day road trips.  Living in Delaware, we rub  shoulders with Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  I told my wife we would visit the cideries and find other things for the family to do along the way.

Just shortly after we decided to make a go of it, I was contacted by Cary Smithson from Desiato Hard Cider And Distilled  Spirits.  Ha!  They were on my PA list.  Well I might as well make my first cider trip to Pipersville and sample some ciders.  As I mentioned before, the family wanted to find something cool to see along the way so I noticed New Hope, PA was just a half hour from Mama D’s, where we were to meet Cary and her husband Rich.  This is not the first time we visited New Hope, a picturesque quaint town along the Delaware River.  For you history buffs, New Hope is just a short ride from Washington Crossing where General George Washington and men of the Continental Army and militia crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 and marched to Trenton, New Jersey.

I will save the details of our New Hope visit for another post.  Hint, Triumph Brewery…

After our short stay in New Hope, and a bag of awesome pastries, we followed the Delaware Canal to Pipersville.  We met our soon to be friends (yes, I’m easy) at Mama D’s Italian Restaurant and Winery.  Rich and Cary were waiting at the bar when we arrived.  We were immediately seated in the dinning room.  My wife and kids sat on one end of the table while they indulged on desserts and Rich, Cary and I sat at the other end talking cider.

You may actually have heard about Mama D’s. The Italian restaurant was featured on the show Restaurant Impossible where Chef Robert Irvine helps revive a struggling restaurant.  The show proved to be a success because Mama D’s was elegant and affable.

The story of Desiato is a testament to chance and opportunity.  Rich was a frequent customer of Mama D’s and as a homebrewer he thought his brews would be a good fit for the restaurant and store.  After consideration, Luigi, the owner of Desiato Winery and Mama D’s realized this wouldn’t be possible but instead asked Rich if he would make cider.  Pennsylvania laws allow wineries to ferment any fruit.  Desiato Hard Cider was born!

As far as I know, the industry has no specifics on what would constitute a nano cidery.  At just under 1000 gallons of cider a year, Desiato would certainly fall into that category.  Rich has been producing his dry ciders for four years so far and can be found at Trias in Philly and Iron Abbey in Horsham, PA.  Desiato Hard Cider has also appeared on tap at London Grill, Hop Angel, and the Grey Lodge.

Rich and Cary are quite proud and great company. We talked cider, craft beer and decided the next time we end up in Philly we would meet at Grey Lodge.  As for Rich, I found him to be quite amusing, but I think he was holding back that day. Curious to see what happens over more cider and craft beer.

Here is what I have concluded from two bottles of Desiato Double Barrel Cider.

Double Barrel clocks in at 7% abv and is bottle conditioned. Rich uses fresh juice from local culinary apples such as Delicious, Galas, Fuji and Granny Smith. The juice is fermented in Lairds Applejack barrels and champagne yeast is added.

The dry cider pours a cloudy lemonade tint with tight and leisurely effervescence.

Culinary apple sweetness fill the nose but does not become an apple bomb.  I am expecting a dry interesting cider.

First sip starts off with fresh apples, then carries mild acidity.  Immediately, I detect a very light acetic bite but not quite what you find from basque ciders.  I find this to provide character.  The fruit still forms the backbone of the flavor profile. The tannins are definitely there but not too intense. Colder temps subdue the tannins a bit.  They are probably coming from the Laird Applejack barrels.  Double Barrel finishes quick and bone dry. The unfiltered cider provides some texture to the already medium mouthfeel.

All in all Double Barrel has character and attitude. If I had to sum it up I would call it part farmhouse and part champagne.

If you make it to Eastern Pennslyvania, be sure to stop at Mama D’s for some fine cuisine and artesinal cider.  Bottles can be purchased at the restaurant as well.


6 comments on “Cider Review – Desiato Double Barrel Hard Apple Cider

  1. I have found Desiato to be one of the most quaffable of ciders, with a brilliant, clean finish. I was not a fan of ciders ujntil I sampled it one summer day at the aforementioned Grey Lodge Pub.

  2. Great review. I really love bottle conditioned cider…It adds so much to the character of the cider. I’d be really interested in seeing what Desiato could do with some bittersweets & bittersharps…I bet it would be very good based on how you explained their current process.

    Cheers – Alex

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