This weekend I traveled to North Adams, Massachusetts to see dear college friends, Kraftwerk, and Mass MoCA. All were amazing. It was a remarkably excellent time. The Berkshires are beautiful, and I loved seeing these wonderful friends. Kraftwerk put on a heck of a show, plus we saw a black bear!
And though this is not an art blog at all, I have to say that I loved MASS MoCA. It’s a museum with a sense of scale unlike any other. It's worth a longer trip, just to experience this amazing place. My favorite art experience had to be encountering Marc Swason’s “A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco.” I recommend checking it out: https://massmoca.org/event/marc-swanson-a-memorial-to-ice-at-the-dead-deer-disco/
And I had the pleasure of visiting the Berkshire Cider Project as well.
Here’s what the folks say about themselves online:
Berkshire Cider Project was founded by wife and husband team, Kat Hand and Matt Brogan. Our cidermaking is inspired by the art, agriculture and community that makes our region so special.
We opened July 2020 located at the beautiful Greylock WORKS facility on State Road – a former textile mill turned event venue, co-working space and food incubator.
Kat manages our business while maintaining a consulting role in corporate sustainability. Matt is our head cidermaker after a career as an architectural consultant for performing arts centers and theatres.
I recommend visiting the project’s website (and if you can the tasting room): https://www.berkshire-cider.com/
My tall companion and I tried these several; here were my favorite four!
I loved the Bittersweet This cider’s nose was subtly twiggy, with notes of wet forest leaves, vanilla, and lemon. It tasted delicious! I found The Bitterwsweet petillant, nearly still, dry and very tannic. It did have enough acid to balance out the tannins, but it's unambiguously tannin-forward. Something about the cider came across as warm—not in a boozy way but rather in a full-bodied, round way.
This cider is barrel aged for 10 months in neutral oak barrels, and it's a wild ferment! The cider’s aromas were all caramel, cinnamon, and stone. It tasted high acid with heavy minerality plus barrel, with some nice toastiness of breadcrumb and pollen. This cider also brings lots of tannins to the table—mostly from the barrel—they are pleasant and not overpowering. The Windy Hill is a dry cider but still wafts a pleasant caramel illusion of sweetness due to barrel notes.
Hancock Shaker Village 2020:
This cider smelled stronger and more vibrant than some. I loved the notes of cooked fruit with just a little funk. This cider brings the acid! It’s twisty and gnarled like a thin branch of a tree buffeted by wind. I found it massively interesting and rewarding. My companion suggests sipping this one slowly. Again, there’s no sweetness, not too much cottony tannins, but the bitter notes linger. It’s funky in a smoky, baconlike, British profile way. Definitely a winner.
This is the first of their cidres I tried because it was an interesting option at a local restaurant The cider immediately comes with farm, funk, mildly reductive lemon scents. Secondarily, I can notice white flowers, green grapes and black pepper on the nose. The wild and farmy notes blow off quickly in a wide-mouth glass. The Dry tastes unsurprisingly tannic and dry.This cider blasts with high acidity that comes across with a citrus flavor. I found the body pleasantly light with some little cottony mouth drying tannins. The flavors slowly blooms to remind me of pears just before a clean finish with a sweet aftertaste. The most surprising flavor was a flash of sunflower seeds. Some funk is present but very controlled.
This is a strong lineup! Berkshire Cider Project has lots of other fun ciders many of which are more sour and funky than the ones I highlighted. I recommend investigating if you have the chance. I brought a few more ciders home that I wasn’t able to sample in the tasting room, so I’m looking forward to sharing those reviews in the coming months.