A Bonus Session of Beer Sessions Radio™: Cider Sessions! The Past, Present and Future of Cider

I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream. I know the delicate art and mystery of so cracking hickory nuts and walnuts on a flatiron with a hammer that the kernels will be delivered whole, and I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting, and juggle an evening away before you know what went with the time.”

Mark Twain, The Autobiography of Mark Twain
CiderweekShowJust as the craft beer industry continues to grow exponentially, so are we at Beer Sessions Radio™! This week marks the first of our “bonus sessions” of the podcast, as host Jimmy Carbone is taking the show on the road with a portable recorder that enables the team to meet in various locales and events. On this Friday’s episode (listen here), Jimmy catches up with a few more cider luminaries from last month’s Cider Week NYC. Guests include Henry Chevallier Guild of Aspall, Eric West of Cider Guide, Anthony Bellevue-Flores of Rowan Imports, and Alex Forbes of Artisanal Imports. The panel has a candid, in-depth discussion on cider making styles, cider fruit availability, and what makes a cider drunk different than other drunks. Plus hear about the future of cider making in America!

What You Missed On Beer Sessions Radio™: Gun Hill Brewing, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and The Rainbow Project

RainbowProjectThis week on Beer Sessions Radio™, host Jimmy Carbone welcomes a diverse group of brewers from near (Dave Lopez—owner—and Chris Sheehan—brewmaster—of Gun Hill Brewing Co. in the Bronx) and far (Richard Burhouse of Magic Rock and Colin Strong of Buxton Brewery both from the U.K.). Adding color (pun intended, and read on) is Evil Twin Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and B.R. Rolya of Shelton Brothers Imports. Among other topics, the brewers are discussion the Rainbow Project, a collaboration event that takes place each year involving British and European brewers who take their inspiration from the colors of the rainbow (ROY G BIV, for those who remember the mnemonic).

B.R. describes the very technical process of how the brewers are matched with each other and their color: Ryan Witter-Merithew of Siren Craft Brew in the U.K. literally draws names from hats and then picks a color at random. The only bar in the U.S. that will have all seven beers on at the same time is Good Beer Seal bar Tørst. The match-ups are as follows:

Magic Rock + Evil Twin (Denmark) – Red
Beavertown + Naparbier (Spain) – Orange
Buxton + Omnipollo (Sweden) – Yellow
Hawkshead + Lervig (Norway) – Green
Partizan + Mikeller (Denmark) – Blue
Wild Beer Co + Toccalmatto (Italy) – Indigo
Siren + De Molen (The Netherlands) – Violet

As B.R. notes, some of the beers are directly related to color (Richard talks about how he and Jeppe chose to make a Flanders Red Ale, for example), whereas others are more obscure. The results, however the brewers came to their beers, are delicious!

Plus Dave and Chris are discussing their recent gold medal victory at the Great American Beer Festival (Chris is a repeat winner, having previous won both gold and bronze medals with Chelsea Brewing), and how much harder it is to get beers into the world’s largest beer competition.

The brewers discuss the challenges of barrel aging beers and how the U.K. market is changing in terms of a new wave of craft breweries coming online. So, pour yourself a pint, and listen in to this week’s episode here.

What You Missed on Beer Sessions Radio™: How To Start A Brewery With Tony Magee of Lagunitas

Lagunitas2It’s another “founding father” moment this week on Beer Sessions Radio™, as host Jimmy Carbone welcomes Lagunitas Brewing Company founder and CEO, Tony Magee, who is on the show promoting his new book, So You Want to Start a Brewery: The Lagunitas Story. His “unintentionally” inspiring story covers the rise of craft beer in California in the 1990s, including how Lagunitas became synonymous with the India Pale Ale.

Also in the studio is one of our favorite co-hosts, Jimmy Ludwig of Happy Hour Guys, who discusses the “intestinal fortitude” needed to launch a brewery. Joe Carroll of Spuyten Duyvil, Fette Sau and St. Anselm chimes in on how Lagunitas helped shape the craft beer scene in NYC. Plus, we’ve got frequent guest Tony Forder of Ale Street News and Mark Sljukic (also of Lagunitas).

Learn about the origins of Lagunitas, which happened almost by accident when a local CA bar got mad at Sierra Nevada’s distributor and decided to swap out their tap with Lagunitas. Tony Magee learned from that experience that if you can “create” a style of beer, then you can influence the consumer who—back in the day, at any rate—would associate a style with a brand (hence, Sierra Nevada “invented” the pale ale; Lagunitas the IPA).

And the panel weighs in on the “full circle” of craft beer now being made in Europe, which is bringing Double IPAs among other beers to a new market. As Lagunitas’ founder notes, “The entire global beer industry is gradually being handed over to another generation of brewers.”

Hear all about it and the beers on this week’s episode.

What You Missed on Beer Sessions Radio™: Cider Week with Steve Wood, Chris Lehault, Cider Greats

Ciderfeast00And that’s a wrap! As the fourth annual Cider Week NYC draws to a close, we’re still looking for great “fancy” ciders, as Beer Sessions Radio™ host Jimmy Carbone prefers to call the ciders that were featured during the annual 10-day festival (and if you’re still seeking ciders, check out the GBS bars in this Time Out NY list). For the past two weeks, Beer Sessions Radio™ could have been renamed “Cider Sessions Radio,” as a bevy of cider experts descended on Roberta’s in Bushwick to talk about the all-mighty apple.

From what to call cider (fine cider? artisanal cider? craft cider?) to how to start a cider apple orchard (Farnum Hill‘s Steve Wood’s advice? “Don’t!” I guess his orchard isn’t called “Poverty Lane” for nothing!),

First up, on episode 236 (listen here), we are talking with an incredible panel of guests about the Kingston Black varietal during a bunker crop year (you cannot always make cider from this finicky apple!). In the studio tasting a bevy of different ciders all made from the Kingston Black varietal are Steve Wood of Farnum Hill Cider; Rowan Jacobsen, author of Apples of Uncommon Character; Dan Wilson of Slyboro Cider House; Gay Howard of United States of Cider; Kay Michaels, cheesemonger at Eataly (listen for the moment when Steve becomes her instant fan!); and Sabine Hrechdakian and Sascha Anderson of Glynwood, founders of Cider Week NYC.  Go beyond the glass and learn about all that goes into producing one of the hottest beverages around these days!

Then, on episode 237 (listen here), Jimmy welcomed two great writers into the studio, frequent guest Josh Bernstein shares interviewing duties as one of the nation’s most accomplished cider writers, Chris Lehault, discusses the massive growth expected in the world of cider making (“We’ve projected that cider making will be 1000 times the size it is now…”) to up-and-coming cider regions (e.g. the area west of Colorado’s mountains). Josh discusses his upcoming tour of the Nassau Brewery lagering caves (this time with cheese and cider!). Also in the studio is Virtue Cider‘s Michael McAvena, who talks about Virtue’s three-year effort in cider making and how forming a cidery is much more challenging than f0rming a brewery (the cider maker at Virtue is Greg Hall, formerly of Goose Island).

And right in between the two episodes, Beer Sessions Radio™ helped co-produce a new event called Ciderfeast that featured more than a dozen cider makers pouring close to three dozen different ciders. It was a great day down at the Seaport, and if you missed it (or didn’t), you can see more photos from Ciderfeast and all our Cider Week NYC fun on our Facebook page.

Taste of Asturias Spitting Cask Challenge to be Part of Saturday’s Ciderfeast!

SidraSpittingCaskWe’ve already got an incredible line-up for Saturday’s Ciderfeast at the Seaport. Now we’re adding in some fun!

Next Saturday, October 25th, we will be celebrating the Fourth Annual Cider Week at Ciderfeast, where among the many outstanding regional ciders we are offering will be a special selection of Asturias Sidra from Spain! In the USA, the myth of Johnny Appleseed planting trees represents our traditional cider, but the culture of Asturias has so much more, such as specialty cider bars, “spitting” cider casks, and high pouring cider challenges.

During both Ciderfeast sessions (from 11:30AM-2:00PM and 3:30-6:00PM), we’ll be bringing our own Spanish fest-within-the-festival, with a “best of Asturias” food and drink tent that will include a giant barrel of Castanon Sidra being poured from a spitting cask!All ticket holders will be able to take part in our “high pour challenge” (while supplies last!): Attendees will pair off under the guidance of Rowan Imports Anthony Belliveau-Flores to “high pour” from the cask. A panel of judges will rank who has better accuracy and style, with the winner moving on (rather like a March Madness bracket). So come out and catch the cider with your tasting cup!

Ciderfeast takes place at the South Street Seaport along Fulton Street (at Front Street) with the following key features:

  • A “sophisticated cider event” with special guest cider luminaries, a commemorative souvenir tasting glass, and 2.5 hours of UNLIMITED samples from 30+ ciders
  • The best of east and west cideries, including Farnum Hill, Eden, Yankee Folly Cider, Titled Shed Ciderworks, Aaron Burr, Sovereign, Critz Farms (Harvest Moon), Foggy Ridge, Red Byrd, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Orchard Hill and Wandering Aengus, West County Cider, Nine Pin Ciderworks, Doc’s Draft Hard Cider, Aspall, Original Sin, Wolffër Estate, Rekorderlig Cider, and more than 10 brands from Rowan Imports
  • Craft Beer will be provided by Rocky Point Artisan Brewers and Secret Engine
  • Live music performances from Mark EttingerGeorge Kliby Jr. and Road DogsDana Lacroix, and International Orange
  • A selection of regional food prepared by New York chefs (available for additional purchase), including Asturias for Foodies, plus grill stations and BBQ pits manned by Fleisher’s Meats and Jimmy’s No. 43

All offerings are subject to change. All sales final. Ciderfeast is a rain or shine event (as of today, the weather looks great: no rain, mid-60s… perfect for cider!). Be sure to get your unlimited cider pour tickets here.

We hope to see you next Saturday at Ciderfeast!

Ciderfeast brings more than 30 ciders from two dozen hard cider makers to Seaport on October 25th

CIDERFEAST_SEAPORT_TMWelcome to Cider Week! Okay, we’re getting a bit ahead of things, as Cider Week NYC is still more than a week away (it runs from 10/24-11/2). However, we’re lining up a stellar group of hard cider makers for a tasting event without equal (where else can you sample 30+ of the world’s best ciders in one location for only $45?). In June, we presented Ciderwick™ and “The Real Cider Manifesto” in celebration of small, artisanal cider makers who are using cider apples to create amazing ciders that are rarely available at one venue. Ciderfeast will bring the best of all these ciders together for one amazing tasting with features including:

  • A “sophisticated drinking event” with the world’s best cider makers pouring their own ciders for 2.5 hours of unlimited pours
  • The best cideries from the northeast, including Farnum Hill, Aaron Burr, Slyboro, Eden Ice Ciders, Critz Farms (Harvest Moon), West County, Red Byrd, Eve’s, Clifton Dry, Nine Pin, Steampunk, Soveriegn, and Wolffër Estate, among others
  • The “shooting” Asturias cask of Rowan Imports, along with the best of European ciders from Ireland, Spain, England, Germany and France
  • A selection of NY State craft beer TBA
  • Live music performances from Mark Ettinger, George Kliby Jr. and Road Dogs, Dana Lacroix, and International Orange
  • A selection of regional food (available for additional purchase) prepared by Asturias for Foodies, Jimmy’s No. 43, Fleisher’s Meats, and others TBA

Taking place at the historic Seaport in downtown Manhattan (enter at Fulton and Front Streets), Ciderfeast will take place during two separate sessions (11:30AM-2:00PM or 3:30-6:00PM), with many of the cider makers pouring their own ciders! Tickets are on sale now.