This is a transcript of a recent podcast from The Diner of Cville, a blog by Jenée Libby about food and drink in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. As Jenée mentions in the podcast, Virginia has a strong apple growing tradition and the Shenandoah Valley will likely play a major role in the renaissance of American cider making.
This is Jenée Libby, head cook and waitress at the thedinerofcville.com, a food blog which chronicles food news, recipes, and all my food experiences in and around the Charlottesville area. This week’s blue plate special: apple cider. And I’m talking about “hard” apple cider.
Now, I’d say probably 8 or 10 months ago I was lamenting the lack of apple cider in Charlottesville or the Shenandoah Valley because my husband and I enjoy French apple cider quite a bit. So I am very, very pleased to announce that we now have four cideries either open and running or soon to be open and running.
I think everybody knows Albemarle Ciderworks, they opened back in 2009. Their tasting room is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 5. They are in North Garden, right down 29. Really great cider, really really high quality stuff. Probably the closest thing to a “hard” nice dry French cider that I’ve had in the area so far. If you can’t make it down 29, you can pick it up at Beer Run and Market Street Wineshop and many area restaurants including the C&O Restaurant.
Potter’s Craft Cider is a brand new cidery. They are still in production [sic], but you can find their cider at Blue Mountain on draft and in growlers; at Whole Foods the same way, on draft and in growlers; and at The Local on draft. Jennifer Marley and her boyfriend–whose name I don’t recall (I’m so sorry)–but Jennifer is really super sweet, their cider is wonderful. So I definitely recommend that you check them out.
My husband and I took a trip down 151 a couple weeks ago and I was very ecstatic to see a sign for Bold Rock Cidery. Their website is boldrock.com. They are in Nellysford, they’ve just broken ground and they should be open by the end of the year. The exciting thing about Bold Rock is that John Washburn, the owner, is in partnership with Brian Shanks. He’s from New Zealand, and he’s a foremost expert on hard cider. So I’m anticipating some great things to be coming out of Bold Rock, a great addition to the Nelson 151 project. If you haven’t been down 151 recently, I recommend that you go for all the wineries and breweries and now cideries that seems to be sprouting up every mile.
My last cidery is called Castle Hill Cider in Keswick, which is on the Castle Hill estate. This is an amazing cidery, guys. It’s in an old cattle auction barn, believe it or not. Two-story tasting room, it’s also got an event space that you can rent out. They’re open daily from 11 to 5:30 except on Mondays. Now the really cool thing about Castle Hill Cider is that while they do their fermenting in steel tanks, they also ferment in something calling kvevri. Now these are terracotta pots lined with beeswax which they bury in the ground. Kvevri originate from the Republic of Georgia, and it’s actually the ancient way that wine was first produced. So the fellas out at Castle Hill are now producing cider in kvevri. And I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve heard really great things; I’m headed out there soon, probably when the weather gets nice, I’ve heard some really good things about the kvevri.
So there’s a lot of cider in the area, guys, which makes me happy because Virginia is known for its apples after all. So check it out! And have a great week.