• October 24, 2017

Carr's Ciderhouse

Lane Turner

Hadley-based Carr’s Ciderhouse is on a mission to prove that the concept of terroir—the importance of soil, climate, and topography in shaping taste—is not just limited to the world of wine. By eschewing commercial yeast in favor of wild yeast that lives naturally on apple skins for fermentation, Carr’s ciders naturally adopt characteristics unique to their region.

Husband-and-wife team and former organic market gardeners Jonathan Carr and Nicole Blum spent six years tending to an orchard of 2,500 baby apple trees after planting them between 2007 and 2012. The duo avoids spraying apples with pesticides and forgoes sulfates and concentrates, focusing instead on old-school production methods. They also blend a unique selection of apples in their refurbished century-old Mount Gilead cider press, wild fermenting the fruits at low temperatures for at least five months. The result? Ciders with a rich, complex flavor profile.

These aren’t your typical saccharine sippers. The Wild Apple Blend Still Cider has just enough tannic bitterness to balance out the fruit’s sugar. Made in Spanish sidra style, the unfiltered Farmhouse Sparkling Cider boasts an earthy flavor that lends it to perfect pairing with tapas or spicy dishes. The Golden Russet Blend Sparkling Cider, meanwhile, is impossibly crisp and effervescent—and an ideal accompaniment to salty charcuterie. A more unusual offering, the ever-popular Black Sparkling Cider, is infused with blackcurrant for a tart twist. Swap out the Gingered Hard Cider for ginger beer in any cocktail, or simply pour it over ice for a refreshing sipper with a slight kick. Seeking a digestif? The Apple Pommeau, a dessert cider fortified with brandy and aged in oak barrels, is undoubtedly decadent.

As for non-cider offerings, the 100-percent fruit Apple Cider Syrup lends a surprisingly bold zing poured over everything from pancakes and waffles to Greek yogurt with granola and roasted vegetables. The Apple Cider Vinegar, on the other hand, is a surefire winner in homemade salad dressings. By blending the two aforementioned products with ginger, Carr’s produces its unusual Switchel Syrup, which makes for a subtly sour glaze on poultry.

Carr’s Ciderhouse products are sold at an array of local farmers markets—including Natick and Somerville’s Union Square (on alternate Saturdays)—plus specialty stores, including Social Wines, American Provisions, Formaggio Kitchen, Salt and Olive, Savenor’s Market, Central Bottle Wine & Provisions, and The Urban Grape.

 

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