- March 14, 2018
- December 20, 2017
Artifact Cider Project
Wines to Make the Season Merry and Bright
Cocktail of the Week: Josephine Baker
Distinctive, finessed, accessible: Those are the three words Soham Bhatt uses to describe the ciders he and co-founder Jake Mazar sought to make when they launched Artifact Cider Project in 2014.
“We wanted to make great ciders that boldly proclaim their sense of place, while also supporting local orchards,” he explained.
Artifact Cider Project, a passion pursuit between two childhood friends, released its first product in June 2014 from apples collected in the previous year’s harvest. The Springfield-based company, now into its fourth harvest, has released a variety of ciders over the years, from the traditional to the totally unorthodox. Artifact’s release style is unique; the cidery doesn’t have a flagship offered throughout the year. Instead, they produce a handful of seasonal ciders based on what fruit is mature at the time. In Bhatt’s words: “We try to listen to the apples.”
That fruit is primarily sourced from northwestern Massachusetts at Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain. Other apples are pulled from throughout the region, spanning southern Vermont, southern New Hampshire, and eastern New York. All of the fruit is pressed at Pine Hill until supply runs out.
Highly specific local apple blends and a deliberate focus on aromatics and seasonality are just a couple of the factors that distinguish Artifact’s libations. The team also pays close attention to balancing sweetness, acidity, tannins, texture, and character. It surely helps that Bhatt has a science background and brews with the meticulousness of a chemist, while Mazar previously worked as a farmer at Amherst-based Brookfield Farms.
As for the ciders, the unapologetically tart Wild Thing, which is made with 100 percent McIntosh apples, is wild fermented—which means that fermentation happens through natural yeast on apple skins. Meanwhile, the New England-style Feels Like Home is fermented on rum-soaked oak, which gives it a warmth that’s welcomed during its wintertime release. With a base of pure blackcurrants, the wild-fermented May We Have Your Attention, Please is particularly unique. Sophisticated and not too sweet, it’s based on the classic French Kir cocktail that was popular during the ‘40s. The ultra-complex Perception Shift fuses European and American cider-making traditions, resulting in a flavor profile encompassing sour, sweet, bitter, and so much more. Each year, Artifact also collaborates with Framingham-based Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing to produce a hopped cider that’s released in spring or summer.
While Artifact doesn’t have a taproom (yet), you can enjoy their pours on draft at an array of Boston-area bars and restaurants, including Deep Ellum, Lone Star Taco Bar, Lord Hobo, Row 34, Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar, The Hawthorne, Yvonne’s, The Tip Tap Room, and Townsman. Additionally, 16-ounce cans are sold at Hopsters Alley, Social Wines, Craft Beer Cellar, Boston Wine Exchange, Wine Gallery, American Provisions, and City Feed and Supply, among others.