The Woodshed Series is an experimental, small-batch project within the only-marginally-less-experimental, not-much-larger-batch project of Tin Hat Cider. The effort pairs unusual cultivated varieties with wild apples that cider maker Teddy Weber forages from the countryside of Vermont’s Mad River Valley.
Fifty percent of this blend is made from an apple Weber calls “Perry’s Pickle,” a tannic, juicy gem gleaned from a wild seedling tree at Mountain Valley Farm in Waitsfield; he named the apple after a feisty rooster who used to keep him company there. The remainder of the blend is Wolf River and Kerr crabapples. The fruit was fermented in two glass carboys, then bottle-conditioned. Batch 17B — viz., the second batch of 2017 — is bone dry.
The robe is amber gold and activated with tiniest pearly skeins. The fragrance is floral and feral, mingling apple blossom, apple skin, autumn leaves, and birch wood. The creamy, mouth-filling mousse carries complex flavors of savory golden fruits, and although it’s crackling with acidity and bracing tannins, it wears its flesh well. It is expansive, woodsy, savory, and detailed. Outstanding alone, it also pairs beautifully with aged cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses and mixed charcuterie. There was never a better beverage for hearty grilled cheese.
Tin Hat Ciders are all superlative, so in the likely event you cannot score a bottle from this tiny Woodshed series, try the Farmhouse, Fipenny Bit, or Ole Pome.
Tin Hat The Woodshed Series Batch 17B Cider
8.2% abv | about $15 (500 ml.)
6 cases made; available for sale only at events and tastings