Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Lost Boy Cider - Virginia's First Urban Cidery

This weekend we leveraged a Four Mile Run fishing trip into a visit to Alexandria's Lost Boy Cider. Tristan Wright recently opened Virginia's first urban cidery using apples sourced from Glaize Orchard - a four-generation grower located outside Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley. This is the epicenter for Northern Virginia apple growing with Frederick County hosting its own Apple Trail. Wright also hired David Briun, a respected cider and winemaker, who leverages his experience from the Eden Ice Cider Company and Bellwether Cider & Wine to produce a wide portfolio of ciders - a dozen to be precise.

Many of these ciders are co-fermented with various fruit, peppers, botanicals, spices, and hops. But our focus was on the dry side of the house specifically the Comeback Kid, Gold Digger, Barrel Aged, and Andre the Giant - Petillant Naturel Cider.

The Comeback Kid is made from a blend of table apples -- Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Stayman, and Fuji -- a blend that remains the same throughout the year. Biun states that they work with David (Glaize Orchard) "to customize our picking schedule, storage, and pressing strategy so we can have a consistent blend throughout the year".   The cider itself is solid - dry, more tart than you would expect from these apples, a creamy texture, and finishing with refreshing acids.  For the Barrel Aged, Biun ages the Comeback Kid for 4 months in used bourbon barrels creating a softer cider where the bourbon shows itself on the tail. Unfortunately, the fresh acidity and tartness dissipate during this process.

The Gold Digger is a blend of Golden Delicious and Rhode Island Greening -- and American heirloom apple variety dating back to the 17th century and most often used for apple pie. But at Lost Boy, this non-pollinating apple has found a suitable mate to produce a dry, mildly tart cider with a full apple core. I think my favorite of the foursome.

Finally, the Andre the Giant is a Pét-Nat (Petillant Naturel) Cider, a sparkling cider, where the cider is bottled before completing its primary fermentation. Carbonation occurs in the bottle as carbon dioxide is produced naturally when the yeast consumes the remaining sugars.  This is a vibrant offering, light, and flavorful.

Lost Boy's tasting room is spacious with room for kids, dogs,  and yoga mats. A food truck was parked outside and a pizza party inside testified that visitors can byof.  And make sure you inspect the tasting bar itself, a physical specimen repurposed from a fallen maple tree.

As for future offerings, a Cyser is on deck and Biun says they are "starting to branch out for some more limited release ciders focusing on trying to capture the essence of different orchards. We have started conversations with Diane Flynt at Foggy Ridge Cider as well as Claire Whelan at Longview Orchard to source orchard/field blends for some projects next harvest". Sounds enticing

And as always theCompass Craft Beverage Finder will guide you to all your cider needs. Cheers.

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