Long time followers and readers will know by now that I’ve developed quite a taste for hard cider. There’s lot’s to love about cider. It’s an historically important libation in America. I appreciate how it makes inedible or excess fruits, culls, bitter crabbies and otherwise non-grocery ready apples into something remarkable. I suppose that’s the “fix-it” nature ingrained in my soul. I love a good a restoration project. Whether it’s bodies, apples or houses.
This past Saturday, Diane and I had very fall-themed day as we headed north across the Golden Gate bridge to meet up with friends in Sonoma County for apple picking. Gabriel Farms was on their last day of the “you-pick” season. There were plenty of lovely Fuji to fill our bags. The weather was near perfection. Our friends treated us to lunch at a local Mediterranean cafe. It was truly wonderful.
And as we made our way along Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, I was quickly reminded of something I already knew. There are cideries here! Horse & Plow is a winery and cider stop I had become aware just a month earlier at the first annual Napa Cider Fest. Their tasting room and indoor/outdoor venue is a picture perfect Northern California experience.
Oh, and their hard ciders? Stunning!
I had sampled their wonderful version of a Farmhouse Cider at the event, but was pleased to be offered three additional tastings during our visit. The Heirloom, a semi-dry easy-drinking cider with enough complexity to make you want to sip instead of swig. It’s a really good place to start if you’ve only tried mass-produced, overly sweet ciders, but want something more interesting. The Hops & Honey, a nice dry-hopped cider with just a tad more honey on the finish than I prefer in this style.
Lastly, one of my all time favorites, the Oz Farm.
Sourced from the “left-overs” and some of the most ‘sharp’ (low sugar, high acid, high tannin) cider apples from a local grower, the Oz Farm is a limited release and after one sip I immediately had them set a bottle aside for me. It is tart, crisp, and dry. It’s extremely complex, and had me smitten with every sip. Truly remarkable. Sadly there are only about 30 cases of this beauty and it will not be widely available.
But the point of this post isn’t necessarily about finding these exact brews. It’s really about trying new things. Before I went Gluten-free and realized how much it improved my health, I was just getting into craft beer. Learning why some beer is unique, interesting and pleasing. Versus the stuff that is lightly colored water and gives you headaches and a bloated GI tract.
Then some friends treated me to a J.K.’s Scrumpy cider and I realized my new GF life didn’t have to be void of interesting brews. You see, a lot of people wrongly assume healthier eating lifestyles are necessarily restrictive. But I’ve always found the opposite to be true. I’ve found more variety and more amazing things I would have never tried because of the way I eat and drink.
So whether it’s cider or something else, get out there and try new things. You never know when one will turn into a passion.
Yours in Health,
Last modified: October 10, 2017