Cider Chat

Interviewing cidermakers importers, orchardists, foodies, farmers and cider enthusiasts around the world. Let’s delve into the semantics of cider…or is it hard cider, cidre, sidra or fermented apple juice? The truth is out there in Ciderville and we are going to find it. We toast in celebration of cider; As a libation, a gift from the gods, a taste of terroir, and a hard pressed good time. Ready to quench your thirst? Grab a glass and join this chat! See you in Ciderville!
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Now displaying: December, 2015
Dec 30, 2015

Wooden barrels are so 2014. What is old is new again as Castle Hill Cider has brought to the states an ancient fermenting vessel that was used for over 7000 years. Qvevri or Kvevri as it is called on this Virginia estate is best known to winemakers in the Georgia Republic. [caption id="attachment_308" align="alignnone" width="178"]Kvevri upon arrival from Georgia Republic Kvevri upon arrival from Georgia Republic[/caption] Where is the Georgia Republic? It is in Europe and lies to the south of Russia and to the north of Turkey.The Georgia Republic has a sprawling cave monastery from the 12th century called Vardzia and a wine growing region of Kakheti. Find out more about Georgia's Qvevri traditional winemaking. In this episode I chat with Cellar Master Geoff Robinson of Castle Hill Cider. Stuart Madany is the Cidermaker at Castle Hill Cider. [caption id="attachment_310" align="alignnone" width="300"]Geoff n Stuart l to r - Geoff Robinson and Stuart Madany[/caption] Castle Hill Cider imported 9 kvevris, with only one breaking in transit. Kvevri range in size from 250 gallons to 60 and 75 gallons and are buried in the ground with only the opening accessible via a small chimney. [caption id="attachment_314" align="alignnone" width="178"]Placing the Kvevri Placing the Kvevri[/caption] Castle Hill Cider 6065 Turkey Sag Road Keswick, Virginia USA 22947 phone: 434-296-0047 email: website: Twitter: @castlehillcider [caption id="attachment_309" align="alignnone" width="178"]Ready, Set, Kvevri! Ready - Set -Kvevri![/caption] Via the Castle Hill Cider website you can order the Levity Cider that was made in the kvevri. [caption id="attachment_311" align="alignnone" width="178"]Levity Cider with shellfish Levity Cider with shellfish[/caption] Find out more about the Albemarle Pippin Apple via Thomas Jefferson Monticello Link to Cider Guide and head to Virginia and follow the Cider Trail? The Cider Swag Contest is open till January 16, 2016. Find the official rules on this page Cider Swag Contest

Dec 23, 2015
Utrecht cider importer Margot Sanderse brings in ciders from the UK and Wales via her mobile bar and online shop Het Ciderhuis. She is an entrepreneur who is touting cider to the Dutch and slowly helping transform their palate. [caption id="attachment_45" align="alignnone" width="300"]Margot Sanderse | Het Ciderhuis Margot Sanderse | Het Ciderhuis[/caption] Utrecht is between 30-40 minutes from Amsterdam, and is a bustling arts city. Bars that serve cider mentioned by Margot Cafe de Zaak

Cafe de Rat

The Hague aka Den Haag

Den Haag is best known for its International Court of Justice, and because of the presence of so many international embassies, it is a hot spot for food and drinks.

Margot recommended in The Hague the following 2 bars serving cider.


Cafe de Paas

Find Het Ciderhuis via Facebook

on Twitter @HetCiderhuis

Find out more about Beer Cider

[caption id="attachment_46" align="alignnone" width="300"]Leonard Koningswik cidermaker of Beer Cider Leonard Koningswik cidermaker of Beer Cider[/caption]   CIDER Act passed December 18, 2015

Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction (CIDER) Act (H.R. 600) was introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer democratic and Chris Collins. a republican from New York state's 27th congressional district and democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York who sponsored the CIDER Act (S. 1459).

Which goes to show you that Cider unites both major parties in the US. Woot woot! And we all know that a good chat is time well spent.

Do know that this is a Tax legislation thing - that business minded people work towards to help reduce the tax burden.

Prior to this Act cider that was carbonated by the cidermaker or  naturally (as in bottle conditioned) could be taxed at the champagne rate of 3.30 or 3/40/gallon if the carbonation level was too high.

Yikes! Imagine being a small batch cidermaker and finding the most delicious cider that you have ever made is now going to be so expensive that only us nerd cider drinkers will buy it.

so the CIDER Act has increased the carbonation level for hard cider! woot woot

And it now includes pears in the definition of "hard cider"

I am not sure what the pears think about that - I think - apple trees and pear tree could give a hoot about our human taxations.  

And now cider is has boosted it's alcohol by volume (ABV) to surpass 7%. It now has the range of at least 1% and 8.5%. Lets just hope the big chemical companies don't get involved and start making apple tree hybrids on steroids that boost sugar content.

In all it was a boom for cider in the US.

Personally, I like both still and sparkling cider. It is all good. And quite exciting.

It is now up to the cidermakers to run with this new Act and continue to grow as an industry overall And for cider consumers to let the cidermakers know what you want. I am sure as the new year and years to come we will be re-visiting his topic. In all it is a new playing field and quite exciting.

Tip of the tree to the US Association of Cider Makers.

Enter the Cider Chat Swag Contest
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  2. Take a screenshot of your review.
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More info via Cider Swag Contest page

Hanging out in the eastern part of Amsterdam?

Stop in at Club de Keet Say hi the big hare that is this dive bars namesake: Keet

Dec 16, 2015

Angry Orchard is the #1 cider brand in the US and there is a very good reason why it holds this coveted place. Undoubtedly, being a subsidiary of Boston Beer Company means connections to Jim Koch’s brewery empire a.k.a. Samuel Adams Boston Lager. But to think that Angry Orchard is merely tapping into the US cider mania would be short sighted.

 Boston Beer Co. has been researching cider since the early 2000s with the help of Alan Tringham, a retired cidermaker from the European brand known as Bulmers. I had the opportunity to meet Grant Wood from Boston Beer Co. who was working with Tringham at the time to “create the perfect cider for the American public”. They both stopped by my cidermaking workshop at CiderDays back in 2004. Hoo wee! Imagine presenting cidermaking to the likes of the now late Alan Tringham.

 Anyhoo…the first cider brand for Boston Beer Co. was known as Hard Core. That brand was shelved, and a few moments later we were seeing Angry Orchard commercials during the Super Bowl! Bingo! The new brand was taking hold with its flagship cider Crisp Apple.

Take note cidermaker wannabees….to think that a brand such as Angry Orchard would sit on it laurels with what many would consider an introductory cider made to entice a public that is still wrangling with cider is not time well spent.

 Angry Orchard led by newly minted Head Cidermaker Ryan Burk and Assistant Cidermaker Anna Hasan is and will continue to move mountains in Ciderville! Listen to this episode and hear Ryan’s story and what we can all expect from Angry Orchard. He and Anna have already started pushing the envelope with the likes of Stone Dry (5.5%) a new cider now available in six packs.

 You have to visit the Walden location to taste select drafts that may or may not make it into the mass market.


What to expect at the Tasting Room?

A very large, yet inviting room with windows that overlook the orchard.

If the weather is right, there is outdoor seating and a gas lit fire pit.

Each visitor of drinking age, receives one token that can be used for (3) complimentary samples in the tasting room. Cider styles available include the flagship cider, Crisp Apple (5%) and several other core offerings, as well as ciders exclusive to the tasting room. Such as the house cider – Farm Cider – an unfiltered cider made with apples from the orchard’s 2014 harvest.

Listen to what Angry Orchard is looking for the future.

  • Cidermaking trends
  • Cider Act
  • How are they playing with the Cider House Series?
  • What will they do with their Ice Cider this coming winter?
  • How does terroir factor into the Angry Orchard cider house and what is their soil profile?
  • Classic misconceptions about Angry Orchard.


Links to cidermakers mentioned in this podcast

Farnum Hill – Steve Wood

Aaron Burr Perry

Reverend Nate

New York Cider Association

Ria’s book Recommendation on the Golden Gate Park’s Boss Gardener 



Here’s how you enter the Cider Chat Swag Contest

  1. Post a 5 star review for Cider Chat oniTunes or Stitcher
  2. Take a screenshot of your review.
  3. Tweet the screenshot of your review to me@ciderchat or post it the Cider Chat Facebook wall or email me if you are not on social media to

Official Rules

  1. You must be located in the Continental United Statesto enter the Cider Chat Swag Contest.
  2. This contest begins on December 16, 2015 and ends January 16,2016 at 11:55 pm EST.
  3. Cider Chat is hosting this contest thanks to the generosity of Angry Orchard.
  4. Prizes include (2) Angry Orchard Glasses, (2) Angry Orchard Paddle Openers, and (2) Angry Orchard Opener/Keychains
  5. Winners will have to supply their name, address and sign a release.
  6. Cider Chat will be selecting the 5 top reviews.
    1. 1 best of best reviews will receive 2 Angry Orchard Glasses
    2. The 2 second best reviews will each receive an Angry Orchard paddle opener.
    3. The 2 third best reviews will receive an Angry Orchard key chain opener.No purchase necessary, merely send an email and Leave in the Subject line Cider Chat Swag Contest. Your name will be placed in an envelope where we will randomly select non reviewers who enter this contest.

The list of winners for these prizes will be on this page by January 31, 2016

Dec 9, 2015
I had the pleasure of interviewing four guys from Quebec who are passionate about cidermaking. Quebec is a french speaking province so were quite kind in helping each other and helping me understand what they are making at Les Vergers de la Colline. I know you will enjoy this Cider Chat! Cidermaking Team Les Vergers de la Colline Les Vergers de la Colline opened in 2003. The team is headed by Marc -Antoine Lasnier, whose family owns this Quebec cidery. Marc's family has been growing apples since 1926. They made cider during the Canada's prohibition and it should be noted that in 1920 beer, wine, beer and all alcohol was legal. Only cider was prohibited. Not until the early 1970's did cider become legal. You can listen to the story behind the prohibition of cider as Marc tells it. Les Vergers de la Colline produces ciders that range all the way up to 11%. Below is a photo of the ice cider that we drank during this chat and discussed. Cuivre' Ice Cider really helped the current quality ciders coming out of Quebec. During the chat, the cidermakers say that they maed this cider when the temperature was 220 Celsius.  -20 Celsius = -4 Fahrenheit Cidre Bouche   [caption id="attachment_228" align="alignnone" width="300"]Marc -Antoine Lasner Marc -Antoine Lasner[/caption] [caption id="attachment_230" align="alignnone" width="300"]Benoit Gosselin Piette Benoit Gosselin Piette[/caption] [caption id="attachment_229" align="alignnone" width="300"]Hugo Papineau Hugo Papineau[/caption] [caption id="attachment_239" align="alignnone" width="300"]Jonathan Fontaine Jonathan Fontaine[/caption] Links to Les Vergers de la Colline on Cider Chat Les Vergers de la Colline website Follow this cidery on Facebook   Contact Lauren Shepard at the Shelton Brothers to get this Quebec cideries cider in your store.  
Dec 2, 2015
David and son Robert have spearheaded an organically certified cidery right in the heart of the wine country in California. David Cortdz, Sonoma Cider Founder, CEO and Cidermaster Sonoma Cider is located in Healdsburg California, a bit east and north of San Francisco in the a region well known to wine connoisseurs. David was a commercial winemaker for 20 years and the first commercial cidermaker in California back in 1992.  He and Robert opened Sonoma Cider in 2013. Says David, "We are making cider for the Millennials." But don't read to deeply into that statement because Sonoma Cider is a delicious cider for all generations and new cider drinkers will be impressed by their range of offerings. In this chat David discusses: And Sonoma Cider's love of good comedy...I asked David for a good cider joke and am still waiting....If you have one, please send it to What are Sonoma Cider's flagship cider's?
  • The Hatchet - crisp and tart
  • The Pitchfork - perry
  • The Anvil - Bourbon profile
David describes Sonoma's Anvil Cider (which I brought to the Netherlands to share back in Episode 002 ) and how they got the flavor of bourbon without adding bourbon directly. Click on the link above to find out about their Reserve and Limited run ciders. Find Sonoma Cider on Facebook @SonomaCider on Twitter Upcoming episode: Les Vergers de La Colline, Quebec. Make sure to subscribe to Cider Chat now via iTunes. Follow me (Ria) @ciderchat Here are just a few of the fun cider folks I follow on Twitter. @RebelSeedCider cidery in Delaware @RealCiderReview This little ditty below is from Hugh @RealCiderReview based in Australia.. When I tweeted to him what is the story behind the "squealer" or what you might know as a growler in the US. He tweeted" "A big boar hog growls, a piglet squeals. Some who gets drunk easily is also known as a squealer." @DrinkingCider - great resource on craft libations @newscotlandcidr Nova Scotia cidery Now - Grab a glass and Join the chat and Listen to David's chat on (Episode 007) and think sunny California and crisp cider.