sonoma county cider

Sonoma County Cider Week & Gravenstein Apple Fair

Today on Brew Ha Ha, brewing legend Don Barkley is sitting in for Mark Carpenter and Herlinda Heras is also in, to celebrate Sonoma County Cider Week. Our guests are Ellen Cavalli from cider maker Tilted Shed and Derek Trowbridge from Trowbridge Cider Old World Winery.

Derek Trowbridge was a winemaker first, then he learned to make cider and fell in love with it. His family has been growing apples near Sebastopol for a long time. They do barrel aged cider, as they do in some places in Spain and France. Herlinda notes that cider is more like wine than beer, in the production process. There are yeast lees at the bottom of the bottle of cider just like in certain bers.

Don Barkley created Red Tail Ale and Eye of the Hawk, and he also founded the Mendocino Brewing Co. He has opened Hopland Tap, a wonderful venue. He brought a growler of Red Tail Ale today. It has a distinctive flavor. Hopland is the place to get some.

Ellen Cavalli says this month marks the eighth anniversary of Tilted Shed Cider. The Gravenstein Apple Fair is this weekend, kicking off the second annual Sonoma County Cider Week. There will be 18 producers total.

They made a special cider to commemorate the fair, that you can only taste there. They also have a lot of events, with cider makers, including orchard tours, cidering tours, tap takeovers, cider dinners, etc. You can get tickets at Oliver’s or at the gate.

When Tilted Shed launched its cider in 2011, they were one of two producers and now there are over twenty.

Ellen describes a special cider, they only made 30 cases, of 2018 pressing of organic dry farmed Gravensteins, with a few other varieties for balance. The alcohol is about 8%, which is like most ciders. It is dry but still tastes like apples. There are also stone fruit flavors.

Derek Trowbridge tells about his cider. It is a method called “col fondo” which comes from the Italian language, where it means “with sediment” since “col” means “with the” and “fondo” literally means the bottom, as the bottom of a bottle where the yeast settles. There is a fine layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

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