This weekend I got the opportunity to tag along with Remarkable Liquids as they brought some of our area’s industry folk to tour New York’s first licensed farm cidery, Nine Pin Cider.
I’ve been anticipating the opening of Nine Pin for a while now, especially given cidermaker Alejandro del Peral’s background at Citizen Cider. I first had Citizen’s off-dry cider at our Hill Farmstead tasting over last summer and it was an epiphany: not all cider has to be a sickly sweet, sugary mess that drinks more like a wine cooler or malt beverage than actual hard cider. Ever since, I try to pick up one or two of their releases every time I make a trip up to Vermont, like their Cidre Bourgeois I picked up last week. And while there are some orchards making hard cider in Upstate NY, most of what I have tried has tasted at best like an experiment, at worst like flawed homebrew. As most of you know, I’m a beer guy, but when I heard the possibility of some quality cider being made in the area, I got excited.
While I was there on Saturday, there were a variety of ciders being offered for tastings in 10 ounce glasses and for growler fills (although I did not see any growlers available for sale, so you may need to bring your own if you want to take anything but the available bombers home). The Signature Blend drank very similarly to Unified Press, not too sweet, but not so dry it was no longer thirst quenching. This cider longs to be in a can and drank on a beach or park during the summertime. The Nine Pin Blueberry has whole blueberries fermenting along with the cider, so while some may expect some sweetness, those sugars are fermented out and give only a hint of the added fruit in the flavor and a change of hue. The La Casa was made from the del Peral’s family’s own apples, and was much more on the drier side of things. The last one I tried was tapped right before my exit, a spicy cider made exclusively with Jonagold apples (a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious) and a healthy addition of ginger, which might be the perfect hair of the dog elixir to aid after a long night of libations.
It was nice to meet the del Peral family and check out their cidery, and it’s even better to see that they are making a quality, craft beverage in the Capital District. Alejandro has some great ideas for some upcoming limited release batches (hop heads can look forward to a dry-hopped cider in the future). If you haven’t made a visit yet, give them a shout and set up an appointment for a tour of the facility. I wish Nine Pin the best of luck, and can’t wait see what they come out with next!