Three cider makers might sound like too many cooks in the kitchen, but in the case of the new collaboration from Big Hill Ciderworks, Distillery Lane Ciderworks and Albemarle Ciderworks, three is just the right number for a wonderful collaboration. The three companies from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, respectively, each contributed fruit from their orchards and spent a day last fall pressing everything at Distillery Lane.
According to Ben Kishbaugh from Big Hill, the juice was a blend of heritage apples: Winchester, Winecrisp, Yates, Harrison, Vilberie, Harry Master’s Jersey, Roxbury Russet and Liberty apples. Each cider maker then took an equal share of the juice and fermented it at their respective locations in their own styles.
The resulting three versions of Joint adVENTURE are as unique and singular as the folks who made them. Albemarle’s is still and dry and packaged in a 500 ml bottle, Distillery Lane’s cider is dry, sparkling and bottle-conditioned in a 750 ml bottle, and Big Hill’s cider was pitched with its wild yeast strain for a funky heritage cider base, carbonated in 22-ounce bottles.
As you can imagine, these were small batches and quantities are extremely limited. Big Hill only produced 15 cases and just a few sixtels. If you live in Pa., note that bottles are available at Beer Yard in Wayne and kegs have gone out to Pinocchio’s Beer Garden in Media and Prohibition Taproom in Philadelphia (there’s no telling if those kegs are still around, by the way). The ciders from Distillery Lane and Albemarle are only available in their home states.
When it comes to the spirit of the collaboration, Kishbaugh had this to say:
It’s great to take a day to be around like-minded people and swap stories about what we’re all doing. Cider collaborations are a bit different than brewing collaborations because there really is no ‘brew day.’ For us, we were excited about this collaboration because it focuses on both the origin of the fruit that was used and the methods to make each cider. Apples (and cider) are very regionally specific and I think we can grow some of the best fruit right here in Adams County, Pa. Combine that with specialty fruit and years of experience from Distillery Lane and Albemarle, and it’s bound to be a good time!
Love it! We can’t wait to learn about other similar collaborations happening in the cider world. If there’s one you think we should highlight, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Feature photo: Big Hill Ciderworks
- Production photos: Liz Hough