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Posts Tagged ‘Cider Makers (Artisan & Traditional)’

The following information passed along to me about the Fifth Annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition. This is the only North American competition with an emphasis on cider and perry only. Even the beer, mead and distillation entries are required to be derived from apple or pear. Nice!

 


 

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association is pleased to announce its call for entries for the Fifth Annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.  This Pro-Am competition has divisions for both commercial and noncommercial producers and is open to ciders, perries, meads, beers, and commercial distillates, provided they are made with apples or pears.  There are nineteen categories of entry.  For traditionalists this competition includes a category for Standard Cider & Perry (with five subcategories). The Standard category has requirements that the entry be produced from a minimum of 85% juice, not include both sugar and water (or sugar syrup and water) in the list of ingredients, and not have added flavor.  The Association reserves the unrestricted right to submit commercial entries in this category to testing to verify conformity to requirements.

Judging for the competition will take place at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday, December 12 , 2009.   Entries must be received at the drop-off/ship-to location between Monday, November 23, 2009 and Tuesday, December 8, 2009.

Most entry categories included in this competition conform to BJCP style guideline categories:

Beer

20. Fruit Beer. Restricted to beers made with either apples or pears only.
23. Specialty Beer. Restricted to beers made with either apples or pears only, but may include other  ingredients.

Mead

25A. Cyser (Apple Melomel). Apple Juice and honey-no other ingredients.
25C. Other Fruit Melomel. (Pear) Pear Juice or blend with pear juice and no
other ingredients.
26C. Open Category Mead (must contain apple or pear)

Standard Cider & Perry

27A. Common Cider
27B. English Cider
27C. French Cider
27D. Common Perry
27E. Traditional Perry

Specialty Cider & Perry

28A. New England Cider

28B. Fruit Cider
28C. Applewine
28D. Other Specialty Cider/Perry

Some additional categories in this competition are not recognized by the BJCP:

2006-1 Macro Cider or Perry (see full details of how this is defined in the entry packet)

2006-2 Intensified Cider or Perry

A.    Prefermentation (Ice Cider) (Open to commercial and noncommercial
divisions)

B.      Postfermentation (Pommeau) (Open to commerical division only)

2006-3 Distilled (Open to commercial division only)
A. Eau de vie
B. Brandy (Oak Aged)

In accordance with this competition’s custom, and in keeping with the Association’s mission to promote and educate, there will also be a training seminar for judges the evening before the judging.  This is free to competition staff, including judges and stewards. Any remaining space available will be offered first come first reserved for a nominal fee of $15.00 to anyone else wishing to participate and benefit from this opportunity.  The number of extra spots has been increased slightly this year but it is best to notify Rex Halfpenny as soon as possible if you’re interested.  The seminar will take place in the Pearl Room on the second floor of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday, December 11 from 7PM until 9PM Eastern Time.

If you would like to participate in the judging, you must contact competition organizer Rex Halfpenny (mibeerguyd@aol.com) and provide the following information.

– -Name and contact information

– -Commercial producer affiliation if any

– -Judging experience; novice, experienced, advanced, BJCP rank (if
applicable).  (It is customary to pair less experienced judges with more experienced judges).

– -Style categories that you are best qualified to judge

– -Style categories entered (this is used to ensure that judges will not evaluate their own products)

Each entry must include an entry form attached to the bottle with a rubber band and the appropriate entry free. Noncommerical entries are $10 for the first entry, $7 for the second, and $5 for each subsequent entry.  Commercial entries are $50 per entry ($35 for members of the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association).  To encourage international participation the entry fee will be waived again this year for entries produced and shipped from outside North America.  Entrants are still responsible for paying their own shipping and duty costs.

Each entry must include a minimum of 24 ounces (or 750ml, i.e. two 12- ounce bottles). It is suggested that at least two containers are entered (regardless of size). This gives the judges the opportunity to sample your entry from a fresh bottle should it be elevated to the second round Best of Show (BOS) judging. The second bottle may also be used by first round judges should they perceive a problem with the contents of the first bottle.

To aid in maintaining fairness of blind judging commercial entries will be poured out of sight of judges and identified by a randomly assigned identification number. Noncommercial entries will be poured at judging tables and must be sent in bottles free of permanent labels or markings.

For the full entry packet please email the Association’s competition chair Rex Halfpenny (mibeerguyd@aol.com) ,  lead registrar Jeff Carlson (carlsonj@gvsu.edu), or find it online at http://www.michiganbeerguide.com.

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I’ll be micro blogging my own small 2 day cider adventure up to Westcott Bay Orchards on beautiful San Juan Island over on Twitter and the Facebook group. Check the links below to follow. Questions and comments welcome.

http://twitter.com/oldtimeydave

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Time-Cider/122868715822?ref=nf

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nociderandiceJust a quick post and a link to pub etiquette via the Guardian.co.uk.

“Cider drinking happens in big cities but with ice. Asking for ice with your cider in a cider-making area will be met with suspicion bordering on violence. Alcopops are the closest things to anti-freeze you can order in a pub and have much the same function.”

Pub etiquette is something more Americans should embrace. They only briefly touch on cider but the sentiment is one we all should take to heart too. DO NOT ICE YOUR CRAFT CIDERS. Remember you are drinking someone’s pride and joy, their art and craft. Would you start dropping ice cubes into your wine glasses in Napa? No. Respect it please no matter what country or region you are in. I liken adding ice to your cider to adding salt, pepper, soy sauce, etcetera in a really great restaurant. Just don’t.

We have a newer “cider” manufacturer here in North America mimikcing, and riding the coat tails of Magner’s cider on ice campaign. I won’t give them the satisfaction of posting their name in this blog. However f you see anything like this and you appreciate craft make a jusdgement call please avoid these “six pack” products they are giving our good ciders a bad name.

On the home front. Life has been pretty busy with my own cider blending, bottling. I’ve also been trying desperately to prevent the dreaded film yeast in this warming weather with my inadequate equipment and storage.

I’ve got a couple great ciders to taste and review in the near future. A “Summer Cider” from a top of the list favorite of mine, Farnum Hill Ciders in New Hampshire. I also received a great cider from Sutliff Cider in Iowa of all places. Iowa is a new State for my cider map. 10 or so down 40 or so to go.

Stay tuned…

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Well it is that time of year again. The harvest season where you’ll find all of us involved in apples (or trying to be) running like mad. Picking, milling, pressing, sanitizing, storing, testing, adding nutrients, racking, worrying. I don’t have my own trees or an orchard yet but I’ve been beyond busy “hustling” and collecting early season apples and pressing them since about a month or more ago, and I don’t see any signs of it letting up. I’m actually starting to panic about my cider storage situation. I’ll probably end up a little shy of the legal home-brewing limit for the year. Good thing I haven’t done any cider making since pressing last year. I have the room I think, but what I don’t have is ample proper storage. But I’m working on it and welcome any and all inexpensive or reasonably priced solutions or suggestions. At least I’ll be able to justify having a full size oak barrel or two.

Red Barn Ciders award winning cider Burro Loco

Red Barn Cider's award winning cider "Burro Loco"

More Cider Press… The Red Barn Edition.
The Seattle Times has really been doing a great job covering the traditional and craft cider revolution happening here in the NW. They might just be trying to “predict” the next craft beverage dos to them for understanding what it is all about. I do my best with Google News Alerts to keep on top of cider news Worldwide but somehow I missed a great article featuring Drew Zimmerman at Red Barn Cider up in Mount Vernon.

Check out the Seattle Time’s newest cider article “Northwest artisans are crafting a renaissance in handmade hard ciders” here.

Drew was a mainstay at Cider School last June. He is an all around really great guy, a very knowledgeable cider maker not to mention lots of fun to talk apples and cider with. It was an honor and a privilege to have him participate in WSU’s Cider School. Red Barn’s Cider has become one of my favorites over the past couple years and it keeps getting better. Thanks again to both Drew and the kind folks Red Barn!

Irvines Vintage Blend Cider - Vashon Winery - Vashon Island, Washington

Irvines Vintage Blend Cider - Vashon Winery - Vashon Island, Washington

Vashon Cider Fest.
I’ve anxiously been awaiting Vashon Cider Fest coming up this weekend at home here in Washington State. Heather and I take off from tomorrow at around 8 AM to catch a ferry at around 9 AM to attend the whole event.

They’ve got a great line up of cider related activities planned.

  • Juice pressing and apple identification with the Vashon Fruit Club from 10 AM to 3 PM.
  • A cider making seminar with Dr. Bob Norton, Ron Irvine (Vashon Winery and Irivine’s Vintage Cider) and Drew Zimmerman (Tulip Valley Winery and Red Barn Cider) from 1 to 2 PM.
  • Cider tasting showing 8 different cideries and up to 15 ciders from 3 to 6 PM.
  • All followed up by a 4 course cider dinner at Vashon’s The Hardware Store Restaurant that will match ciders to each course at 6:30 PM sponsored by Vashon Island Rotary and the NW Cider Society.

Heather and I just recently signed up and paid dues with the NW Cider Society and this will be our first NW Cider Society event. Needless to say we are both pretty excited about the whole day’s events, and Heather is especially excited about the dinner.

Anyway I’m hoping for some great note and picture taking so I can blog the event when I get home… Stay Tuned.

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Blossomwood Cidery - Farmhouse Sem-Sweet

Blossomwood Cidery - Farmhouse Sem-Sweet Label Art

This cider came to attention and my doorstep through what I can only call divine intervention. I think… Let’s just call it a wonder of the internet. Whatever the case I’m very glad it it did. I sat down on a nice Summer evening with my girlfriend Heather and her brother Dave and had what I would consider real cider tasting. Tasting, focusing, concentrating, translating and recording the data with the sole purpose of writing this. I only hope we did it the justice it deserves.

In the bottle and then subsequently in the glass Blossomwood’s Semi-Sweet Farmhouse Cider had an absolute crystal clear brilliance and light straw-like golden colored luminance. As clear as you could hope for with a clear pale gold with a sort of warm peachy rosé hue. Nice to look at. I know you can’t judge a cider by it’s clarity but as I looked at this cider it was hard not to get excited about what was to come.

The Aroma. As I recorded it we thought the cider had a clean sweet oakiness character with sweet aromas of brown sugar, caramel, apple pie, apple crisp. natural, clean, slightly baked and fresh baked.

Blossomwood Cidery - Semi-Sweet Farmhouse Cider

Blossomwood Cidery - Semi-Sweet Farmhouse Cider

I generally prefer dry cider but Blossomwood’s Semi-Sweet Farmhouse really skewed my impression of what a “sweeter” cider could offer. Far from the “tastes like fresh apple juice” cider  or “hard cider” cliche I found it to be intensely refreshing and not overly sweet. Crisp fresh baked tangy apple flavors and well rounded grilled pineapple sweet acidity. Gracefully almost unnoticeably it finishes gently, nice and dry leaving just enough of an oaky tannin sort of impression behind. A little earthy even. Golden, baked, crisp, clean, refreshing, sort of earthy… Sounds like Colorado to me.

I don’t know of much cider activity out Colorado way but they can rest assured Blossomwood seems like a traditional cider maker that does it right. Given chance and availability this cider could be a hit with just about anyone, from the hardcore discriminate cider traditionalist to the cider new-comer you are longing to ween off the Woodchuck. Approachable levels of complexity, oakiness and character, this semi-sweet can surely hold his own against some of the best North American ciders I’ve tasted. Given the chance I’d pick it up again in a second and drink it nearly as fast. If I had any criticism I might say it really didn’t push the envelope, then again I do find myself wondering if semi-sweet ciders should.

If you live in or near Western Colorado look for it…

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Gravity Beer Market ~ Olympia WA

Gravity Beer Market ~ Olympia WA

It’s been too long and I am way over due on the blog posts.
Cider School was great, everything I expected and more but I learned and experienced so much that I’m finding it difficult to decide exactly what to write about. That post will come soon.

In the meantime if any of you folks out there in and around Olympia are curious about ciders I will be helping Gravity Beer Market will be holding an informal cider tasting at their “Last Friday Tasting” which is this Friday.

Here are the details:
When: Friday, July 25th
Where: Gravity Beer Market
Time: 5-7pm
Cost: $5 per person with proper ID
Ciders: Strongbow (England), Aspall Dry (England), Sam Smith Organic (England), Wandering Aengus Semi Dry Organic (Oregon), Westcott Bay (Washington), Spire Pear (Washington)

Gravity co-owner Roma has chosen a wide variety of different ciders from the Northwest and England. We have a few craft ciders as well as a few production ciders. This would be a opportunity and introduction for folks wanting to learn a little bit about what the cider market has to offer these days.
Come with questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.

PS: In the next day or so I’ll posting tasting notes and reviews of a really impressive Cider and Perry from Blossomwood Cidery which is located in Cedaredge, Colorado.

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Samuel Smith's NEW Cider
For me the release of Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider comes completely out of left field. I’ve long enjoyed Sammy Smith beers and ales. Their Oatmeal Stout is one of my favorites, the Imperial Stout is tops, the Winter Warmer a Holiday favorite for sure and the Organic Lager and Ale always hits the spot. Let’s face it for a larger independent brewer they represent consistent quality, and you can buy it absolutely everywhere and drink it most any time.

Sammy Smith’s new cider holds true to standards set by it’s hopped and malted forefathers. They call it an “Organic” cider and the label boasts the tag line “Produced from Organically grown apples.”. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a cider produced from organically grown apples turned to concentrate. I haven’t found any information that states whether or not it is or isn’t. So who knows… The back label carries a USDA Organic logo up top. By Organic standards it looks legit.

I’d call Sammy’s new cider a real solid medium sweet cider. It possesses nicely fermented apple flavors and was a lot bigger on taste and quality than I had expected. The sweetness is pleasantly backed up and balanced with a wee bit of tartness and acidity which I find absolutely necessary in a drinkable cider.

To sum it all up Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider isn’t as dry as I would like (not much is), nor as complex as I’d like (ditto) and I’d love to see a bit of tannin zip and zing to it (amen). It is however a really great “Daily Driver” and for what it is, what it costs and who it is competing against it is a terrific addition to the growing number of quality ciders on the market. If you like the Strongbows, Blackthornes, and Magners out there or if you are even just starting to look into enjoying ciders you are sure to enjoy Samuel Smith’s new organic cider and I whole heartedly recommend it. This could be your “gateway” to real ciders.

Enjoy and if anybody out there is able to find it and give it a try, I’d love it if you would drop on back by and tell me what you think.

Got suggestions or even review requests? I’d be happy to oblige and/or add them to my list of “to-do’s”. In the not to distant future I hope to review 2 of my absolute Northwest favorites… Westcott Bay Ciders from San Juan Island Washington and Wandering Aengus from Oregon. Not to mention a couple bourbon recommendation.

Thanks for reading.

Update: Ran across a new post about Sammy Smith’s new cider here http://blogs.timesunion.com/dowdondrinks/?p=504

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