The cider boom is here! The beverage that used to often be considered as only popular in Great Britain has definitely hit the mainstream. It seems just about everyone is producing hard ciders these days, from large companies that normally produce beer, such as Boston Beer (Sam Adams) and Budweiser, to international entities such as Stella Artois and Moa (New Zealand) to a myriad of start up companies around the states. While ciders are generally considered as a solely apple or apple based beverage, variations abound. There are pear ciders (parries), cherry ciders, kiwi ciders, “ciders” made with malted barley (Redd’s Apple Ale) and even recently pineapple and pumpkin ciders. Ciders can be carbonated or still; sweet, dry or in between. Alcohol content ranges from around 5% up to about 7% ABV. The market for ciders is growing, and so is the number of producers and styles of cider available.
With all of the options available, you might be interested to know that there are some very high quality ciders being made right here on Colorado’s western slope. Long known for its peaches and cherries, and becoming more known for wine, the western slope is a prime growing habitat for many types of fruit, including apples. The high altitude, pure water, warm days and cool nights make for a fantastic fruit growing environment. We are proud to carry ciders from two different producers here on the western slope!
Big B’s juices and hard ciders is located in Hotchkiss, Colorado, in the north fork of the Gunnison river valley. Big B’s produces some very popular juices, and their hard ciders are fantastic as well. The farm is certified organic, and uses many types of apples in their products. The varieties used are Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Rome, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Jonagold, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Winesap. It is a family run farm, run by the Schwartz’s, and has been in operation for over 40 years. All ciders must be pasteurized in some way by law. Big B’s has chosen UV filtering, where the cider is passed through a UV light which kills any harmful pathogens without heating the juice at all, thus preserving the natural flavors of the cider. The cider is cold pressed on site using only apples from the farm, no apple concentrates or imported apples are used in their products.
We currently carry:
Big B’s Orchard Original Dry Cider. 6.9% ABV
Big B’s Harvest Apple Semi-Sweet Cider. 6.2% ABV
Big B’s Cherry Daze Semi-Sweet Cider infused with tart Montmorency cherries. 6.2% ABV
Each comes in a 22oz. bottle and sells for $8.99.
Snow Capped Cider is produced by Williams Cellars in Cedaredge, Colorado. It is located on Surface Creek Valley on the southern slopes of the Grand Mesa, the largest mesa in the world. Here again, the high elevation (6130 feet above sea level) and combination of warm days and cool nights creates a perfect growing environment for apples. Williams Cellars is known for producing wine, and their ciders are pretty new to us. As with Big B’s, they are also a family run orchard that hand presses their apples on site, and does not use any concentrated juices or imported apples. We currently carry:
Snow Capped Honeycrisp Hard Cider. 6.9% ABV.
Snow Capped 6130’ Blend. 6.9% ABV.
Snow Capped Caramel Apple Cider. 6.9% ABV.
Each comes in a 4pk of 12oz bottles and costs $10.99.
We also have Snow Capped Sippin’ Cider, a still cider that is aged in whiskey barrels. It comes in a 22oz bottle and sells for $7.49.
So if you’re in the mood for something different, why not try a hard cider from apples grown locally here on the western slope?
West Vail Liquor