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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Beer Baron - Twin Pines Cider

This post is from Matt, the Beer Baron

Over the years, I’ve dragged the Clockwatching Tart to countless craft beer festivals and bars across two continents – despite the fact that she legitimately doesn’t like beer. Beyond proving I’m a jerk and testing her patience, there are a few good reasons why even non-beer geeks might want to visit such places: 1) where there is craft beer, there is typically good, local food, 2) beer geeks are good people and more likely to argue over how much hops is too much hops than they are actually start a real fight, and 3) you might also discover some awesome cider!

That was the case about five years ago when we first discovered Twin Pines Orchard & Cider House at a little booth at the London Wine & Food Show. Since that happy first meeting, we’ve seen Twin Pines every year at the Wine & Food show, at this year’s Forest City Beer Fest and up at their cider house in Thedford, Ontario.

Recently, Twin Pines has been on our minds because it has started showing up on tap at Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium (which is one of those “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” type of great moments) and Twin Pines recently won an award for their Hammer Bent Red. Specifically, they picked up a “Best in Show" award at the 2014 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, which is a pretty wonderful accomplishment and more than enough reason for us to enjoy a beautiful fall drive back to visit the cider house again.

After a sample of each of their apple ciders as well as a pear cider and an apple / pear blend, we headed upstairs to check out the hardware from their big win:

Suitably impressed, we decided to buy two one-litre swing-top bottles of their award-winning Hammer Bent Red, one Hammer Bent Original and one Perry pear cider – along with the obligatory bag of Honeycrisp apples, because if you go to an orchard and don’t buy honeycrisps, there is something wrong with you.

The Perry pear cider is made from Bartlett and bosc pears and was aromatic and sweet but the star of the show was definitely the Hammer Bent Red, which is made from the Twin Pines’ cider master’s blend of Red Court Cortland, Northern Spy, Ida Red and Golden Russett.

Basically, the Hammer Bent Red takes everything you like about good apples – their crispness, their tartness, their light sweetness – and presents it is an off-dry, refreshing and never cloyingly or artificially sweet package. It’s apples for grown-ups and it is wonderful. (Apart from Milos’ in London, Twin Pines cider is also available at the Black Dog in Bayfield as well as some of Toronto’s best craft beer havens, like Bar Hop.)

So, the next time you get a chance to go to a craft beer festival or bar, even if you don’t like beer, you should go. You’ll meet nice people, see lots of cool beards, taste some good food, and maybe even discover an award-winning cider before anyone else.

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