About this time two years back, Massachusetts’ Carlson Orchards launched its namesake hard cider line. The orchard was (and is still) best known for its nonalcoholic farm stand cider it has been making for the last 40 years — and leading the local market. After consulting the team at nearby Stormalong Cider, the family behind Carlson Orchards took the leap, jumping into hard cider with 16-ounce pounders. First was the Oak Hill Blend — an unfiltered blend of Empire, Macoun, Golden Delicious and McIntosh apples. This blend was used for the base for the orchard’s second release, the Shandy Stand.
The fresh-pressed juice is laced with fresh lemon juice, filtered water, cane sugar and lemon oil, creating a from-scratch lemonade shandy rendition of cider. The lemon is pure, bright and in the spotlight on the nose, while herbal aromatics round out the citrus. The palate is just as juicy in lemon, but apple comes through midway and in the finish in weight and texture. Though apple is certainly secondary, this is a refreshing and balanced libation that reminds you spring is a mere 16 days away.