It was Tourism Day at the Legislature and among the businesses exhibiting in the Capitol halls were two small West Virginia wineries. The owners of Stone Road Vineyard and Chestnut Ridge Winery say tourism continues to have a very positive impact on their business, even accounting for a majority of the sales at their wineries. Continue reading West Virginia wineries attend Tourism Day at Legislature
Listen closely. There’s a new sound across the hills and hollows coming from Mountain State bars and restaurants. It’s the sound of Swilled Dog Hard Cider pouring from the draft taps. Continue reading Swilled Dog ciders are now pouring
Recently, I caught up with Will Lewis and Josh Bennett hawking their wares at the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair. The two proprietors of Hawk Knob Cidery in Lewisburg, WV, had some good news to report.
“It’s really nice,” Will said of the craft fair. “There’s a lot of good people here — a lot of rich Appalachian culture and people continuing those traditions that we all know and love.”
One thing fair attendees certainly loved was their cider. Folks queued up at their booth all day on that Saturday. Sales were brisk.
MSACF was the guys’ second festival this year. They also made an appearance at Brew Skies in August and were very well received at the craft beer festival.
“There’s a lot of people who had gluten intolerance who were really excited to see us at Brew Skies,” Will said. “We met lots of people from DC and Northern Virginia who really loved our cider and were begging for it (to be sold) up there.”
Hawk Knob doubling production
Business is good, cider production is up, and a couple of upcoming new releases have me salivating.
“This fall we’re doubling our production ,” Will said. “Last year, we pressed about 3,500 gallons. This year we’re shooting for 7,000 gallons.”
Hawk Knob ciders are slowing gaining wider distribution around southern West Virginia. With 7,000 more gallons coming up next year (that’s enough to fill 53,000 half-liter bottles), many more retail accounts should be able to climb aboard the West Virginia cider bandwagon.
New releases coming this fall
Something to look forward to this fall is the release of two new Hawk Knob products. A Tart Cherry Cider is coming next month. It’s a bourbon-barrel-aged cider, following in line from the success of their elderberry-infused cider.
“We’ll also be releasing a Dry-Hopped Cider, which is a tank-aged cider,” Will said.
They take their standard tank-aged Appalachian Classic cider, then dry-hop it for a period a time. It picks up some pleasant hop flavors but not much bitterness. The base Classic has a blend of a dozen apple varieties, all grown in southeastern WV.
They guys report that their Bourbon Barrel Aged Appalachian Classic Cider is back after having been out of stock for a while. They say it has that green fruit flavor that’s loved so much in their tank-aged Appalachian Classic but with “a subtle earthy kick of wood and smoke” picked up from the barrel.
I enjoyed the current version of Hawk Knob Elderberry Infused Cider better than last year’s version. This one has much more fruit up front and is not overpowered with wood or bourbon flavor. It has good balance and depth of flavor. Hopefully, their upcoming Tart Cherry Cider will have similar taste characteristics. I can’t wait to give it a try.
Visit Hawk Knob Cidery
The Hawk Knob Cidery tasting room has regular hours this fall, from 4:00 – 7:00 P.M. on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s on the WV Barrel Trail and is a nice place to spend some time with friends.
The opening weekend of Ohio Brew Week in Athens made a strong showing with brewery tours, a homebrew competition, and lots of Ohio beer sampling. The rest of the week promises many more fun activities before ending with the Last Call event on Saturday, July 23. Continue reading Ohio Brew Week starts strong, more to come
The West Virginia state tourism agency has been on a mission over most of the past year to help boost the visibility of the state’s wine and spirits producers. The latest piece of that promotion strategy debuted recently. Continue reading Wine & Spirits Guide released
Mountain Dragon meads are certainly getting their share of media attention these days. This demonstrates the growing consumer interest in meads and related beverages. The Fairmont, WV, based operation produces dry, old-European-style meads, sometimes with a modern twist. Continue reading Mountain Dragon meads get media attention