Angry Orchard Brewery is located on 60 acres of land and is where they brew cider. This brewery is located in Walden, NY in the beautiful Hudson Valley. Lucky for me, this facility is almost in my backyard. The Hudson Valley is known for their apples and their vast fields for growing. This creates a huge variety for visitors, and according to (Crispell 2017), “hard cider in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region runs the gamut from pleasantly fruit-forward to tongue curling bone dry, or those with a bit of interesting funk.” This shows the vast amount of consumers that will be attracted to this region. Most importantly this establishment was chosen for this location because of the ideal weather year round, and the understanding that, like wine grapes, apples for cider will take on the tasting notes of the surrounding areas, soils, climates and more. Something really cool about this facility is that you can self guide yourself throughout the place and enjoy the interactive signs that are very informative and do a great job of selling the brand. As you walk through where they create the cider, there are people everywhere willing to answer questions and get involved. For anyone who does not know what cider is, it is a fermented drink made typically from apples, more commonly referred to as “hard cider”. This drink is beyond a normal apple juice, “cider is usually defined as having an alcohol content of 2 – 8.5 % or higher”(Vitalis, 2010) and this is what the workers at Angry Orchard strive for everyday. Cider is similar to a wine varietal because it is typically made from one dominant apple.
Just like the vinification behind growing grapes for wine, apples have a similar process. During our tour throughout angry orchard we were informed that there are several different types of apples grown throughout the fields and that some are left to be picked a little later because they develop a more complex aroma and higher sugars. Also similar to grapes, apples are picked, sorted, washed and checked to ensure they are up to standard. After these apples are picked and washed they are then mashed down and pressed to extract all of their juices. The extracted juices are stored in old oak wine barrels. One difference between cider making and wine making is that the cider may have several different ways to ferment which could include wild fermentation, “it is the naturally existing yeast in the air, on vegetation or blowing around in the air” (Chorniak, 2005) which basically is only the use of yeast that is present on the apples. This will give the apples a taste that is specific to the area. This is extremely important in the cider making process. Before bottling the cider, the workers ensure the best filtration process. This area was chosen among several different candidates and was picked to be the best possible growing area for these apples to ensure the best taste qualities within the beverage. This is crucial to the place and the quality of the product and ensuring a constant product that consumers will enjoy and return for more.
After we finished touring the cider facility we were ended by a complimentary tasting. The facility gives you a free three samples and allows you to walk around their beautiful tasting room with your samples. As you walk through they have an indoor area with picnic tables that you can sit at, or you can choose to take your drinks outside and enjoy them around their fire pit and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I personally enjoy the cider a lot and love being able to relax and unwind in this calming location. Most of the ciders are sweet and have a similar taste to apple juice but others are dry with more sour apple flavors. The color varies between the different types where some are more cloudy, others are more clear with golden colors. Besides the taste and the look, these ciders give off an aroma of fresh sweet smells. Regardless of the cider that you decide to try, the atmosphere that Angry Orchard has created and the idea of learning about what they do along with enjoying yourself is a great way to have a new experience.
Overall Angry Orchard is located in a beautiful area with so much to offer. The workers are consistent with their product and have a huge similarity that a wine maker would have with the viticulture of their business. The Hudson Valley is a perfect place year round to have chosen to place this business. With all that this area has to offer and the informational, yet fun and exciting experience you get from Angry Orchard, makes the summer and fall seasons extra special in the Hudson Valley.
Crispell, W. (2017). Apples to Apples. Retrieved from: http://hvciderguide.com/apples-to-apples/
Chorniak, J. (2005, October). Wild Yeast: The Pros and Cons of Spontaneous Fermentation. Retrieved from: https://winemakermag.com/758-wild-yeast-the-pros-and-cons-of-spontaneous-fermentation
Vitalis, D. (2010, December 8). Wild Fermented Hard Cider. Retrieved from: http://www.danielvitalis.com/blog/2010/12/wild-fermented-hard-cider