- "Understood in Motion" is the first of many cooperative cider projects to come.
I wouldn't consider myself a cider drinker. Sure I've had a pint here, a bottle there, but I'm certainly no enthusiast. And to be fair, that's partially due to the prominence of American cider just recently waxing after nearly a century of waning. Angry Orchard has helped put cider back on bar menus and on store shelves, becoming one of the country's most well-known brands in the field, but smaller producers like Eden Specialty Ciders in Vermont have also been popping up to fill in the gaps that decades of nearly forgotten fruit. While it might be easy to pit anyone making anything alcoholic with apples as competitors, that would be a mischaracterization of how this burgeoning community of growers, makers and consumers is banding together to highlight and elevate America’s lost cider legacy.
I was invited to join Angry Orchard’s head cider maker Ryan Burk and Eden Specialty Cider’s CEO and founder Eleanor Leger as they blended, tasted, fine-tuned and ultimately unveiled what would become their first (of likely many) collaborations, Understood in Motion.
1. Cider should be compared to wine, not beer.
That goes for palate and process. Firstly, cider is made from fruit, which is subject to the idiosyncrasies of weather, sugar content, acidity, and cross-cultivation akin to the grapes used in winemaking. Once juice is pressed, it’s fermented, aged, sometimes carbonated, and sometimes blended with other batches to achieve the optimum product. Once again, sounding a lot like wine, right? There’s nothing that more clearly showcases that difference than Eden’s focus on locally sourced iced ciders, which like ice wine are incredibly sweet and cordial-like, and Angry Orchard’s drier specialty editions which read more like a chardonnay.