Monday, October 10, 2022

Cider Review: Champlain Orchards' Kingston Dry

Now that Cider Week New York is over, it's time to fully embrace Spooky Season. Halloween is a single-day Holiday, but all of fall is perfect for celebrating the bewitching, chilling, and eerie side of life. Cider makes for a perfect beverage to accompany horror movie nights; it goes great with ghost stories; and there’s no better balm for the ignominy of being too lost in a corn maze than settling for a cider treat. Yes, I’m being silly, but cider pairs enjoyably with all sorts of fun Halloween season activities!  

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Champlain Orchards’ Kingston Dry: Bone Dry Unfiltered Hard Cider. Champlain Orchards as the name suggests is based in Shoreham, Vermont. This fruit farm not only makes cider, but grows many kinds of goodness, as this excerpt from the website spells out. 

As one of the oldest continuously operating Orchards in Vermont, we take pride in growing over 140 varieties of apples, as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, medlars, quince, and many berries. We are careful stewards of our land and grow all of our fruit following strict Eco-Apple requirements, while striving to minimize our carbon footprint and sustainably contribute to our community.

I’ve only gotten to review a few Champlain ciders, but all those that appear on the blog are very tasty. If you get the chance to visit the orchards in person, take the opportunity! It’s a beautiful place. 

Here’s the quick list of all of my earlier Champlain Orchard reviews.


Heirloom (it made it to my #5 favorite cider of 2017):

Single-Varietal Honeycrisp Ice Cider Library Edition:

My visit:

Here’s how to find Champlain Orchards online:

Here’s the Kingston Dry’s official description. 

Kingston Dry

Sharp, Smooth, & Full, with notes of Stone Fruit

A tribute  to our  horticulture  crew from Jamaica, who have been shaping our orchards for decades. We loaded this cider with coveted Kingston Black & other heirloom  apples for a distinct  flavor with silky tannins and a smooth finish.

Alcohol by Volume: 6.3%, 0 g Sugar, 120 Cal

Appearance: pale straw, slight haze, gentle color

The color is a wavery gentle straw, it almost shades light yellow green rather than pale-ish yellow. Though the cider is unfiltered, I didn't get a lot of haze in my glass.

Aromas: ripe apples, light funk, green apples, minerality

As soon as I cracked open the can, I got an immediate aroma of ripe apples. Something about the smell reminded me specifically of tart green apples. Otherwise, the cider offered up notes of  minerals and a light funk. I’m very curious about what it will taste like!

Sweetness/Dryness: Dry

Though this cider is dry, that’s not what’s most noticeable about it. 

Flavors and drinking experience: extremely high acid, medium grippy tannins, peach, mild funk

The Kingston Dry starts off racy with off-the-charts high acid. It’s zesty with cuttingly high tartness. I appreciate the cider’s interesting grainy-fruity finish; it’s nice. The Kingston Dry brings medium tannins; they are more grippy and textural than structured. The fruit notes remind me most of ripe apples and peaches. There’s a bit of phenolic funk that reminds me of fusel oils. Its texture is lean with a flex of strong bubbles. 

Overall it's a fun cider and one that goes well with heavy snacks like a cheese place, dips, and crackers. The acidity serves it well in that context. I might recommend trying it with the new TV series adaptation of Interview with a Vampire to pair a sharp with a sharp, or perhaps that's just what's on my mind this season!