by Malia Paasch
It may surprise you to know, but Virginia is the sixth largest apple producing state in the country, producing at least 15 different varieties. So it is not surprising that we are seeing new and exciting cideries popping up every day.
When The Birch installed five new taps specifically for cider in 2015, I had no idea the amount of complexity behind cider production and apple varieties. One of the first things I learned by bringing in cider from more local producers was that the apples you see in the grocery store aren’t necessarily the apples used to make cider.
Just like with grapes for wine production, certain apples are best used in certain applications. Many of the apples used to create apple cider are not apples that you’d want to eat on their own. Most of them are quite sour or bitter.
The second thing I learned is that most ciders are a blend of juice from different varieties. Blending helps balance the sweetness and acidity while also offering the final product complexity.
If a cider is made from a single varietal, the maker most often will highlight that on the label. Single varietal ciders are often made to showcase an apple variety that has unique characteristics. This is a wonderful time of year to explore the world of cider, with Virginia’s Cider Week celebration running from Nov. 9 – 18, visit ciderweekva.com to find an event near you.