Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Visiting Original Stump Blower Ciderworks: Mini-Review Roundup

After Sunday brunch, On a tip from the fine folks at The Owlhouse in Rochester (http://www.owlhouserochester.com) I drove out to the Original Stump Blower Ciderworks Taproom to check out their cider. The weather was glorious, a perfect backdrop to a surprise cider adventure.

To introduce Original Stump Blower Ciderworks, I'll paraprase sister and brother pair of Elise Barnard and Eric Smith own and run Original Stump Blower Ciderworks and its taproom in Lakeville, New York outside of Rochester.The name refers to the illicit cider making and drinking done by their father and his uncle. It was both a code phrase for going drinking and proud claim that the cider was powerful enough to blow up the stumps in which it was hidden. 

They create a lot of cider with fruit additions, barrel aging, or other variations, but it all starts with a base cider made from only NY apples. As often as they can, OSB works with local companies to either source ingredients like Fee Brother Bitters or reuse spent materials like their used chamomile flowers go to a local soap maker for her work.

In just a month, OSB Ciderworks will be celebrating its first anniversary!

You can find out tons more about OSB Ciderworks on their website: https://www.osbciderworks.com 

I was welcomed by Elise who was soon joined by her husband and her brother Eric. They were kind enough to show me what they are pouring and a few projects in production. They were completely welcoming and knowledgeable. Here's a quick run through of everything I tried. I can't share full reviews of all of this, but I'll try to include some commentary for each.

Little Lakes Semi-Sweet  6.9% ABV I'm not too sweet and not too dry. My apple flavor is refreshing and great to enjoy by the lake in the summer or cozied up under a blanket by the fire in the winter. I love to make friends with everyone.
This was a nice safe starter cider. Its right between semi-dry and semi-sweet, slightly high acid, low tannins, with a clean fermentation. I imagine this would be a great seller for bars and restaurants. 
Honey...CHAM YOU DIG IT 6.2% ABV WE CAN DIG IT! I’m all Local baby! Conesus honey and NY chamomile are blended with my NY apple cider base. I'm smooth and flavorful with a chamomile finish. I am good at the bar after a long day or in a bubble bath listing to smooth r&b, share me with lovers and friends... im here to calm your soul!
This was my hands down favorite of the day. I'd call this a semi-sweet but just so herbaceous and different. I love the addition of chamomile in terms of an ingredient that can play well with apple flavor-wise and not dominate the conversation.
Mama Said Hop You Out!  6.9% ABV I’M GONNA HOP YOU OUT! Centennial and Nugget Hops, that are grown in Dansville, NY give me my hoppy aroma and flavor. Don’t pass me up because you don’t like IPA, I'm not bitter, give hops a chance! That first taste its like hearing your favorite 90’s song on the radio!

This is a dry hopped cider, so hops primarily add aroma. That's what the description means when it says that the cider isn't bitter. Its super fresh though and plenty of clean grassy hoppy notes.

You Love it When I call you Hop Papa I don't have an official description or ABV for this one.

This is a wet hopped cider, which almost certainly means that the cider itself has been boiled at some point in the fermentation process. The Hops include Citra and I think Chinook hops. This one tasted darker, dryer, and a touch bitter. A winner for me.

Matcha Man Apple Savage 7.2% ABV I am Matcha Tea Infused hard cider. I'm strong like Randy coming in at 7.2%. My flavor is a bit tart with an earthy dry finish. Tho i don't pair best with Slim Jim's i go awesome with just about everything else.
I'm not the biggest Match fan in the world, so I'm glad this one was a bit more subtle with the additive and offered plenty of apple vibrance in addition to the mild astringence of green tea.
Hold The Crust Apple Pie  6.5% ABV I’m made up of Grandma Fran’s famousapple pie filling. For every gallon of cider we make one pie... hold the crust. I'm spiced with three kinds of cinnamon as well as nutmeg, mace, and clove. I enjoy long walks through crunchy foliage and bar stool conversations. Save dessert and drink your pie!
This is a sweet spiced cider that I can imagine sells tremendously well, not just in the fall but year round. Look for a small run special edition coming up closer to the 4th of July!
Ginger Citrus 6.9% ABV I am a tangy cider with a bitter finish. I am made lovingly by creating an oleo saccharum with lemons and oranges, adding fresh ginger juice and then fermented in barrel that contained Fee Brothers Orange Bitters in them for a year. People who enjoy bitter cocktails (negroni, manhattan, old fasion etc.) tend to flock to me.
This one was excellent. Had good sense allowed me to take home a third small growler, I would have chosen this one. I love bitter and citrus notes, and this cider has them in excellent balance.
The Original 11% ABV I'm the one that started it all! A combination of apples and concord grapes go in to making me a strong and exciting cider. I am fermented until I reach 11% ABV and then I get to chill out in the barrel house in Black Button Whiskey barrels. I'm strong. bold and fun. I am great in cocktails and some people enjoy making french onion soup with me.

Scotch Bonnet Bomber

I don't have an official description for this one, but I do know that in addition to the cider this has a puree of three different pepper varieties added: Scotch Bonnet, Fresno, and Serrano.

Like some other ciders with chilis added, this one has a sharp aroma but a much more balanced flavor. It does have more heat and staying power than I'm used to, even in a chili infused cider, likely because it isn't blended with fruit in addition just peppers and cider. A winner for fans of spice, so I took some home for a dear friend of mine from Texas. 

When it came time for me to make my purchases, I got a small growler of the You Love it When I call you Hop Papa, Honey...CHAM YOU DIG IT, and a smaller container of the Scotch Bonnet Bomber. All lovely ciders. I'll be curious to see where this cider is this time next year.