Big news, friends! Virginia’s annual Cider Week started last Friday and runs through Sunday, November 23rd. Across the Commonwealth there are tastings, festivals, dinners, and other cool events featuring our many talented hard cider makers. In honor of this, we’re going to take a break from barley this week and focus on apples!
Last night we tasted two ciders by Foggy Ridge, the only cidery in Southwest Virginia. Foggy Ridge is located in Dugspur, about an hour southwest of Blacksburg, and was established in 2005 by Diane and Chuck Flynt.
We started with Foggy Ridge’s First Fruit. The First Fruit drinks almost like champagne; it is dry and crisp, and has a more subtle apple flavor. The smell is sour and acidic, and as the cider warmed it became increasingly tart. The bottle says that it’s made with Hewe’s Crab, Graniwinkle, and Harrison apples, but we felt like we tasted Granny Smith (clearly our apple palates are not very refined…). We paired the First Fruit with smoked Gouda and aged cheddar, and both combinations were delicious. The dryness of the cider cut the sharpness of the cheeses nicely.
Next we tried the Sweet Stayman. The Stayman is much less carbonated, and after the First Fruit it almost seemed flat. The apple flavors are more present, and as the name would suggest, this cider is a bit sweeter. It definitely isn’t commercial cider sugary, but has a slight sweetness that balances the tartness of the apples. The Foggy Ridge website suggests drinking the Stayman on its own or with spicy food, so we tasted it with crackers and hot pepper jelly. Sweeter ciders are an excellent palate quencher when eating spicy foods.
While the Sweet Stayman tasted more like what you’d expect of hard cider, we all preferred the First Fruit. The tart, Granny Smith apple flavor makes this cider memorable, and the crispness and carbonation make it festive! We’re planning to have a bottle with Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂
Stay tuned for more Cider Week adventures! Tonight we’re off to Lucky in Roanoke to try their cider cocktail, the Colonel Pippin.