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.