I can actually say I’m pretty set on cider for now, mainly because I started a cider trade with Meredith from Along Came A Cider. Meredith has it pretty damn good. Living in New York, she has access to Farnum Hill, Steampunk, Naked Flock and much more. So I made sure to find some great cider from my neck of the woods. However, it did require some traveling but this was exactly what I needed, an excuse to visit a couple of cider houses and meet the cider makers first hand.
My goal, take the family, a 6-year-old, 4-year-old twins and wife, all girls, find something for the family to do in the area, meet the cider masters, tour the cider houses and bring home lots of cider.
Maryland was the destination, Distillery Lane, Millstone and Great Shoals are all within a 1.5 to 2.5 hour drive.
We managed to hit two cideries that afternoon. Millstone and Distillery Lane. I will write a separate review for each one. The first cider I have chosen is The Jefferson from Distillery Lane Ciderworks.
Distillery Lane resides in Jefferson, Maryland and hosts 95 acres of land. 10 of which are dedicated to traditional European and American heirloom apples, ideal for fresh and hard cider. Here are a few of the apples Distillery Lane grows. Kingston Black, Roxburry Russet, Stokes Red. Newtown Pippins, Liberty, Goldrush and Freedom.
The land has quite a history, a camp for Union soldiers during The civil war, the farmhouse was used as a Quarter masters house, a dairy farm and now an orchard.
I sent a Facebook message the day before my arrival and Rob Miller, the proprietor agreed to take a break from bottling and meet me at the farm. When I met him, he had been working in the orchard and caught me nosing around. Any longer and I may have helped myself to the bottle shop. I have places to see and cider to drink you know.
I must confess I have developed a habit visiting cider houses. The people behind the cider are so damn interesting and passionate that we get so caught up talking and tasting cider, I forget to take notes. But I am fine with that. I can always ask them the questions I forgot. The important thing for me is the whole experience. And that is exactly what Rob and I had. We talked about everything cider, his recent trip to the Basque country in Spain, how he planted cider apples when the only people producing hard cider were home brewers and some upcoming projects, which I won’t leak out quite yet.
Rob is quite proud of his ciders which he should be. The quality and complexity of his ciders reflect the diversity of his apples and the art of blending.
Now for the Review
Distillery Lane – The Jefferson
The Jefferson hits 7.5% ABV and is a still cider
The cider poured light yellow and crystal clear. No carbonation of course. I am really becoming a fan of still cider.
If you made a fruit basket with your usual apples, pears and grapes and topped it off with tropical fruit, you would replicate the aroma of this cider. Talk about inviting. But not one character dominated the other.
The first thing that is evident is the mouthfeel. The full-bodied, semi dry and I mean full-bodied cider coats the tongue and sits their waiting. It has an oily texture and just feels amazing. The Jefferson is in no hurry to leave, which gives you time to really assess the flavor. Like the nose, fruit takes center stage, primarily light apple, pear and white grapes without the acidity. The tannins are subdued and therefore creates an easy drinking experience. This must be their flagship. For an off dry cider, The Jefferson has just enough residual sweetness to satisfy the dry heads.
My final impression
Another bottle please. This is a cider to entice the wine drinkers and surprise the beer lovers. There is a simple reason Distillery Lane produces great cider. it’s the apples. No fluff, just unadulterated great cider,
The Jefferson can be found at local select restaurants and at their bottle shop. For more information on all of their ciders, Visit Distillery Lane Online