Cider 101

Unbeknownst to Americans born in the 20th century, cider is a world-class low-alcohol drink which expresses the character of the land.  It also allows for stylistic variation from farmer to farmer.  Some cider-makers strive toward refinement and complexity, cultivating for flavor nuances (i.e. tannin and sharpness), while others produce a rough and earthy drink popular in taverns.  Think of them as culinary folk artists.

As if regional and personality factors weren’t enough, ponder how individual apple varieties also offer immense diversity when sampling ciders.  A counting of over 14,000 apple varieties was, at one-time, surveyed within the U.S., but (get ready for this…) within each individual fruit are seeds, which if left to grow, create entirely new types of apples genetically unique.  Just imagine what that means to cider:  there might be thousands of single-variety ciders to be had, but when blending those varieties together -oh, my! – the possibilities are exponential.

In short, cider was to America what wine is to France.  Farms, communities, meals and food itself revolved around the drink’s presence.  (And if you did not just raise an eyebrow, re-read that last sentence.)   But with the coming of the 20th century, this country took a decided turn away from locally produced agriculture, to which cider was the epitome.  As the cider mills shut down or switched over to sweet cider America lost thousands of cultivated cider-apple varieties.  Prohibition is often blamed, but it was actually just a small factor contributing toward cider’s century-long demise.  Post-Prohibition regulation, long-distance food transportation, the use of synthetics on the farm and in packaged food, the economy of scale, and cultural homogenization all continue to hamper cider’s come-back.

Starting from a different point in history, we have named our product after Aaron Burr, a founding father from the New York area.  During his time a remarkable thing occurred:  Not far from New York City, perfect climate and soil conditions (perfect for cider-apples) met-up with the new nation’s philosophic determination for self-sufficiency, and the result was the creation of the best cider and cider-culture the world has known.  We want to recreate that drink and we want to help restore that culture.  Cider is rightfully the local table wine.

© 2012 Andy Brennan/ Aaron Burr Cidery, LLC/ The Cidery

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