Calling all you ugly and inedible apples out there! Yeah, you might have some lumps and russeting, you lack crunch and aren’t seen on the grocery store shelves, and you’re a little picky about where, when and how well you grow, but know you have a home in cider. And these three New England-based cidermakers want you — and the cider-loving world — to know it. Released in October, the Cider-Grown New England four-pack is a collaboration between three cideries that love these grocery-disregarded, cider-specific apples, and seek to find them accommodations within their ciders.
In the green-jacketed can, Eden Specialty Ciders fermented seven bittersharp, bittersweet and heirloom apples (Kingston Black, Ashton Bitter, Ellis Bitter, Roxbury Russet, Joyce, Lawfam and Melba) for an aromatically ripe and round cider. Think buttery biscuit cookies and golden raisins with slight funk and a dry finish. In the orange can, Farnum Hill sports its Poverty Lane Orchards apples (like Dabinett, Ellis Bitter, Golden Russet, Wickson and Esopus Spitzenberg) for a cider that is fully fruited in apple and texture, sliced into guppable portions of acidity and grip. A bold blue coat lines Stormalong Cider‘s can, while the insides (comprised of Kingston Black, Dabinett, Ashton Bitter, Northern Spy and more) show apricot, green apple, caramel and beeswax, finishing quickly yet crisply.
And the actual co-op cider — outfitted in power red — is a combination of fermentations from all three makers and makes perfect sense. It is as much of an amalgamation of the three ciders as it is of the three cideries’ efforts. Deep, rich and lush aromatics of baked ripe apple, fleshy orange stone fruit and citrus marmalade bounce off mineral, acid and shapely tannin for a bittersweet conclusion to the foursome.