Stone Fort Reserve
A blend of our orchard’s no-spray, non-fertilized apples, and various wild and feral apples foraged from the surrounding woods. A good measure of wild russets impart a bitter-sharp smack. Stone Fort is about twenty-five percent forage.
Profile: tart and lip-smacking, grapefruit, lemongrass, big apple nose with faint pipe smoke, finishes long. Served best on the colder side (low 40s).
Simply, this cider is pressed from wild apples we have foraged while wandering the northern Catskill Mountains with a burlap sack. It’s how we started, and to this day it’s still our favorite method of crafting cider. There’s just something about exploring the woods on a quest to discover the perfect, secret cider apple. If we’re really impressed with a particular tree, we might even come back for a scion so we can graft it to root stock back at the orchard. But that’s a story for another day.
Due to Mother Earth calling most of the shots on this one, the flavor profile, alcohol content, and batch-size vary from year to year. You could say it’s more of a vintage than a recipe, which is why we date this particular bottle.
Another variable in crafting Wild Forage that defies predictability is the fact that we allow the apple’s naturally occurring wild yeast to take hold, as opposed to inoculating with a controlled and measured dose of cultured yeast. There are countless varieties of wild yeast, and there’s no telling which will dominate any given year. Distinct earthy flavors and aromas slowly develop over a long, cold fermentation period, lasting well into the following spring and sometimes early summer.
We may make fifteen cases — we may make ninety. It all depends on what the mountains provide. The only guarantee is that it’ll be limited. Then again, as many great artists have said, “art is limitation.”
Profile: musky, nutty and spicy, with some wet straw on the back end. Finishes dry, corked and bottle conditioned.
Oak Barrel Aged
This may sound novel, but it’s anything but. A few years back, we noticed something: nearly all cider throughout history was fermented in oak barrels. Since our forefathers didn’t have stainless steel tanks, or HDPE plastic vessels, oak barrels were just as much a part of cider as apples and alcohol. We believe that in order to truly experience what our forefathers were drinking back in the day — when patriots like the Adams Brothers got cidered up and head-butted the nearest Lobster-Back — there needs to be some toasted American White Oak involved.
Profile: smoky, oaky, and fruity, with a rich nose and a dark amber hue. This is a still cider that can be chilled or enjoyed at table-wine temps.
Our handcrafted cider meets locally grown, organic, NY State Hops, and is back-blended with a touch of our farm’s raw honey — the very honey collected in the pollination of the apple trees from which we press our cider. Pretty much, it’s cider’s entire life cycle in your glass. The hops not only provide a cannabis aroma and a piney top-note, but they help to stabilize the cider, allowing us to crash fermentation a little bit early, leaving some of the honey unfermented.
Profile: just a hint of sweet, but more importantly, a hint of distinct flavors you can only find in raw honey; plus — mint, conifer, weed.