The first four products from the artisanal Hawk Knob Cidery and Meadery are on now sale in the Lewisburg, West Virginia area. The ciders encompass a range of traditional Appalachian flavors not found in the nationally marketed cider brands.
Saturday, December 19, will see the big coming out party for Hawk Knob ciders. An official release party will be held at the Irish Pub in downtown Lewisburg at 7:00 P.M. Cider sampling, bottle sales, food, and music will go on throughout the evening.
The cidery tasting room will open Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30. Hawk Knob is offering a 10% discount on bottle purchases. For full-case sales at the cidery, a 20% discount will be offered. The tasting room is located just outside Lewisburg at 2245 Blue Sulphur Pike in the former Watts Roost Winery building.
Hawk Knob product run down and tasting notes
The base ciders are solely made from apple juice pressed at the cidery. No sugar or sweeteners are added. All apples for the Hawk Knob ciders described below were sourced from Morgan Orchard in Sinks Grove, WV. The ciders are all natural and contain no added sulfites or chemical preservatives. All have been hot-water-bath pasteurized for shelf stabilization. Unlike the common national cider brands, Hawk Knob ciders are not back-sweetened. They are all fermented dry, making them better for pairing with a wider variety of food.
Appalachian Classic Hard Cider
Produced from a mixture of heritage and modern apple varieties, this cider is cool-fermented in stainless steel with champagne and red wine yeasts. It is fermented dry leaving almost no residual sugar, yet retaining a pleasant, light apple character in both aroma and taste. Lightly effervescent. It’s easy drinking style belies its 8% ABV. Priced $8.00 for a 500 ml bottle at the cidery tasting room. (Appalachian Classic also provides the base cider for two other products: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Appalachian Classic and Elderberry Infused Hard Cider. )
Bourbon Barrel Aged Appalachian Classic
Starting with regular Appalachian Classic, the cider was then aged for 10 months in fresh Old Scout Bourbon barrels sourced locally from Smooth Ambler Spirits. The aging gives the cider a more pronounced fruitiness with dark cherry fruit up-front and vanilla and buttery oak hints. The bourbon flavor, while definitely there, does not overpower. Lightly effervescent. 11% ABV. Priced $10.00 for a 500 ml bottle at the cidery tasting room.
Elderberry Infused Hard Cider
To produce this beautifully red-tinted cider, dried elderberries are added to the Bourbon Barrel Aged Appalachian Classic and steeped for a couple of days. The steeping adds a nice tart fruit overtone to the flavors from bourbon-barrel aging. It is the cidery’s most complex taste profile. This one requires several sips and focused contemplation to truly appreciate all that’s going on in it. Will Lewis likes to call it “a wonder of crisp, fruity perfection.” Lightly effervescent. 11% ABV. Priced $10.00 for a 500 ml bottle at the cidery tasting room.
Wild Fermented Traditional Hard Cider
It’s a truly wild-fermented cider—no yeast is added. All fermentation of this product is handled by the naturally occurring yeasts living on the apple skins. Wild yeasts add a more complex flavor profile to the base cider. No stainless here, the cider is barrel fermented to completely dry and aged for a period of months in the bourbon barrels. You get a sharper, stronger underlying flavor, but still with the bourbon-barrel added components. Almost still, with only a slight touch of carbonation. 11% ABV. Priced $10.00 for a 500 ml bottle at the cidery tasting room.
Watch for the upcoming in-depth Brilliant Stream article on Hawk Knob Cidery and the people behind it.