Saturday, June 23, 2012

Farmhouse Select Original '91 from Woodchuck (VT)

Woodchuck Hard Cider is at it again. They've expanded their line of craft cider. Last November saw the debut of the Farmhouse Select Hard Cider Series. Farmhouse Select is a small batch artisanal line, featured in a 750ml corked bottle.

The first of the Farmhouse Select Series is called Original ’91. It is crafted exclusively with Vermont apples. The Vermont Hard Cider Company, LLC – makers of Woodchuck Hard Cider – reached an agreement with Shoreham based Champlain Orchards to custom press a weekly shipment of sweet cider from locally grown apples.

"This agreement with Champlain Orchards, an orchard that also calls Addison County home, reinforces the strong commitment we have to our home state,” said Bret Williams, President and CEO of the Vermont Hard Cider Company. “We source only the highest quality ingredients for our cider, and Vermont apples are some of the best in the world.”

For local fruit growers the relationship brings additional business and helps to fully utilize their crop, which can often be damaged by severe weather.

“When frozen rain or hail hits and cuts the apple, the price we can get for a bushel devalues from $28 to $4,” said Bill Suhr, owner of Champlain Orchards. “With a commitment like this from Vermont Hard Cider, our full apple crop will be utilized.”

Original ’91 is a throwback to our early days in cider making from their Proctorsville, Vermont garage. The year was 1991.

“We have grown considerably since those early days,” said Williams. “But we strive to remain as locally rooted as we can.”

“We can grow apples in Vermont and the hard cider is being made in Vermont. It’s just good business,” said Suhr. “Vermont Hard Cider Company is paying a premium, but the trickle-down effect on the local economy is the pay off. It’s walking the walk and not just talking the talk.”

A new bottling line has been dedicated exclusively to the Farmhouse Select Series. At 6.9% alcohol by volume (ABV), Original ’91 has a suggested retail price of $10.99 per bottle, with year-round availability in major markets across the United States, including Vermont.

I found this one in my local beer store, in Hudson, NY. This was in fact an artisanal styled cider. Not as fizzy as regular Woodchuck, and an absolutely distinct flavor all it's own. Had it will a burrito and a salad of local greens. Very, very nice!