The hard apple is coming to the Big Apple! Today kicks off NYC Cider Week and as I may have mentioned once or twice, hard apple cider is one of our favorite fall drinks. While there are plenty of great occasions to raise a glass of cider, it’s not every day you can learn about your favorite grown-up apple juice from the ciderist or enjoy an expertly paired autumn cider dinner.
Once the preferred above all other beverages in America, cider all but disappeared after Prohibition. Thankfully, it’s back in a serious way. Though most cider today is non-alcoholic, all cider will eventually be turn to booze if allowed to ferment. Seriously, if the cloudy brown stuff you buy quarts of at the farmers market wasn’t pasteurized, you’d get a pretty sweet buzz along with your juice after a few weeks. But you might not know that New York is the second-biggest apple-producer in the country and home to many veteran cideries.
You might be familiar with sweet, mass-produced American cider, but you won’t find any of that during this glorious week. Although often poured alongside beer at bars, cider is really more similar to wine. Just like wine, real hard cider is a delicate beverage with remarkable complexities varying from still, tart Spanish-style Sidras to dry champagne-like sparklers. These and many more styles will be poured during this showcase of the world’s best. A full list of events can be found on the festival's website, but here are the five events I'm particularly juiced to attend.
The week's signature event takes place on Thursday, October 30th at Astor Center, where you can sample a variety of hard cider, Calvados and applejack. This is the most diverse and extensive lineup in one place during the week and is really a must-go if you’re a fan of apple booze. Plus there will be “apple-tizers." Just try to turn those down. Make sure you grab a sample of delicious Autumn Gold by Eve’s Cider and the elusive Aaron Burr’s Homestead “Neversink Highlands.” Check out the full draft list on their website.
- Community Apple Press Day
On Sunday, October 26th, head over to Prospect Heights homebrew experts Bitter & Esters to see a full demonstration of cider pressing by ciderists from Brooklyn’s own Proper Cider. If you bring your own apples, you can actually run them through the press to make juice for fermenting yourself. Proper Apples and Aaron Burr Cidery will also have their own cider apples to sample as well as ciders from these two remarkable local cideries.
- Cidermakers Dinner
On Tuesday, October 28th, head out to Kensington, Brooklyn restaurant The Farm on Adderley for a rare opportunity to enjoy dinner with cidermakers. The dinner will feature pairings from Aaron Burr and Eve’s Cidery as well as Vermont’s Eden Ice Cider. The five courses will be paired with rare ciders from these three cideries, followed by a talk on apples and cidermaking by expert and author Rowan Jacobson.
- Harvest Moon Cidery Tap Takeover
Sure, plenty of bars carry cider on draft for the non-beer crowd but try 10 from a single cidery! While New York may have a rich cider culture, we still don’t have a dedicated cider bar like Bushwacker in Portland, OR or Capital Cider in Seattle, WA, so it’s pretty much unheard of in NYC to have this many varieties on draft. Cheers to the Harvest Moon crew, who will be on hand to answer your questions and receive your praise. A glass of Savor Rippington, a champagne-style cider with champagne yeast and maple syrup, should do the trick.
- Rowan Imports Guided Cider Tasting
You bet the farm that any drinking event at Jimmy’s No. 43 is going to be good and this one should be really special. A veteran and champion of beer and cider in NY, Jimmy Carbone will host Rowan Imports at his bar on Friday, October 31st. The event falls on Halloween, but should be all treat and no tricks with a run through of delicious ciders from Spain, France, Germany, Ireland and the United States.
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