Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Cider Company’

A New Tasting Room in Colorado

There is a new tasting room that just opened up in Colorado!! It’s called Two Brothers Vineyards Tasting Room and is located in Black Forest. For those of you not familiar with Black Forest or remember the devastating fire that ravaged the area, it is located between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. The exact address is 6755 Shoup Road 80908. Hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Other times, please call ahead at 719-495-7340.

Owners of Black Forest Meadery, Adam and Shawna Shapiro, have created this tasting room enabling you to sample meads, ciders, and wines all at the same location. What a great idea! I have been encouraging people to sample meads and ciders from Colorado as they are NOT the sweet, fermented beverages you find sold commercially in liquor stores. Black Forest Meadery has available 4 of their meads…..Forest Mead, Mead in the Woods, Melody in the Woods, and Wildfire, which vary from semi-sweet to dry.

Colorado Cider Company, whose production facility and tasting room are located at 2650 W. 2nd Avenue in Denver and Ten Bears Winery, located in LaPorte just northwest of Ft. Collins, round out your experience at the tasting room. They are offering 5 flights for $6, which includes your choice of 2 meads, 2 wines, and 1 cider. You can also purchase any of these beverages by the glass or bottle. For my Facebook and website friends, the tasting room is offering a special “buy one, get one free” offer. Just tell them Paula or Exploring Colorado Wineries sent you to receive the discount.

The tasting room has patio seating where you can watch the sun set over the mountains while enjoying your beverage. You can also bring in your own food or order food from a nearby restaurant. I encourage you to stop by Two Brothers Vineyards Tasting Room soon!! As their theme says….”Buzz by for a taste in the trees.”

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Winery Visit – Colorado Cider Company (part 2)

As winemakers say, “you can’t make a great wine without starting with great grapes.” The same philosophy holds true for ciders…it’s all about the apples! While we think about making cider from grocery store apples, these dessert or eating apples are not the variety that makes good cider. What actually determines an appropriate cider apple is the amount of tannin, acid, and sugar associated with the apple variety. Here are the 4 major types and a quickie overview of their characteristics:
Sweets – low in tannin, low in acid and high in sugar
Bitter Sweets – high in tannin
Sharpes – high in acid
Bitter Sharpes – mix of tannin and acid

Years ago, dessert apples were primarily limited to a certain geographic region or area, but sophisticated transportation methods and longer shelf life offered wider availability to people. Cider apples were not ever shipped widely and were mostly connected to geographic regions. Then with Prohibition, the cider apples disappeared mainly because of their unpalatable eating flavor. Now though, with the expanding cider industry we are back to seeing a more localized growing and production operation for cider apples.

As I mentioned in Part One, Colorado Cider Company gets the majority of its apples from Colorado, but depending on the harvest may also need to source from Washington, Oregon, Utah and/or Idaho. As with grapes, the two largest areas for apple orchards in Colorado are the Grand Valley and the West Elks area (Hotchkiss, Paonia, and Cedaredge). An interesting fact I learned from Brad is that it takes about ~11 pounds of apples to make 1 gallon of juice, and with Colorado Cider producing the equivalent of 30,000 cases….that is a lot of apples!

In my book, Exploring Colorado Wineries, I discuss how a grape becomes a wine, so here is a brief overview of how Colorado Cider Company turns an apple into cider.
#1. Like grapes, apples are picked or harvested in the fall. BTW – almost all cider is a blend of apples.
#2. The apples are then crushed and pressed, like grapes.
#3. The apples are now in juice form, without the skins.
#4. Fermentation takes place, usually in stainless steel tanks, with yeast being added. The most common yeast used is a white wine yeast that acts as a “workhorse” but imparts no flavor. The juice is fermented completely dry.
#5. The juice goes through a racking and fining process that removes most of the sediments and yeasts.
#6. The juice is then filtered.
#7. A little sugar (usually apple juice) is added back in. This determines whether the cider will be dry, off-dry or sweet.
#8. The cider is bottled and capped with a crown cap (like a beer bottle).
#9. The bottled cider is pasteurized in a water bath, which varies depending on the time in the bath versus the temperature of the water.
#10. The company labels are placed on the bottle.

#11 is the best part….drinking the cider! Ciders are processed to be consumed immediately but have ~1 year shelf life. This is a lower shelf life due to less alcohol, than like wine.

Hopefully I have spiked your interest about ciders and you will venture out to explore and enjoy Colorado Cider Company and other cideries around our state!!

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Winery Visit – Colorado Cider Company (part 1)

A little history lesson….Who would ever connect cider with Julius Caesar?? Written history tells us that when the Romans invaded Britain they discovered the locals drinking cider and found the beverage to be quite enjoyable. The first apple seeds from Europe were brought over and planted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 1600s. Then, as cities expanded, cider (and beer) was considered safer to drink than water. But then Prohibition came along and consumption of any alcoholic beverage was greatly decreased. It’s actually only been in the past few decades that cider has seen a renewed emergence in the USA, although the UK and many parts of Europe never experienced a decline in consumption.

For us in Colorado, we should be glad that owners Brad and Kathe of Colorado Cider Company decided to begin their operation in the metro Denver area! Back in 1988 Brad worked for Wynkoop Brewery (and we all know the history there) and also worked with Coppersmith Brewery of Ft. Collins producing beer and cider. Brad and Kathe actually lived in Buenos Aires for a few years, opening up a brewery there. When they moved back to the USA, it was cider that called them, not beer…we should be glad of that fact, too! Colorado Cider produces delicious ciders that are refreshing and enjoyable, not like the typical, overly sweet national brands you get in liquor stores.

Many people believe cider to be a sweet, apple-juicy beverage, but Colorado Cider disproves that point with their numerous cider options. They produce 9 varieties and a few seasonals. Their “Glider Cider” line offers 3 choices of off-dry, dry, and cherry and comes in a 4-pack. My personal favorite is their “Grasshop-Ah” with notes of citrus and flavors of light hops that also comes in a 4-pack. The other ciders include PomeMel, Ol’Stumpy, Pearsnickety (made with CO Bartlett pears), Uvana (a 50/50 blend of CO wine grapes and apples) and Newtown Pippin (made from American Heirloom apples). A new product to be released soon is a bourbon barrel-aged cider, like an apple port, called Pommeau….I can’t wait to try that one!!

The cidery’s majority of apples, fruit, and wine grapes comes from Colorado. In fact, all the fruit is pressed in Palisade and then a tanker truck delivers about 5500 gallons of juice to their production facility and tasting room in Denver. In addition to sourcing fruit from other orchards, Brad and Kathe are looking forward to the 2016 harvest when they will produce ciders using apples from their own 3000-tree orchard located in Hotchkiss.

Stay tuned for PART TWO of my blog about cider when I discuss apple varieties and production…but in the meantime, visit Colorado Cider Company’s tasting room so you can discover for yourself the tasty selection of ciders available. Explore and Enjoy!

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