On Tour: Finger Lakes Cider House
In Interlaken, just off Route 89, the Cider House calls Good Life Farms its home. All of the Cider House’s produce comes from the home farm or neighboring farms, giving the alternative day out a local feel.
In the homely, well-lit tasting room, the friendly staff are in high spirits on a particularly sunny fall day. A large tour group controls the bar packed with taps full of cider from all over the area. The menu is dominated by Kite & String, the Cider House’s home brand, but other farms in the area make an appearance and offer different apple based selections.
Silene Deciucies, our cider expert for the day, starts it off with a dry one. The Cider House’s Hickok Still cider has a unique, wine-like texture. It’s spicy nose is balanced with a bitter apple finish that combine for an odd, but deliciously refreshing cider.
Onto the Funkhouse apple based cider, this sweet-smelling, fizzy number feels more like champagne on the front end than cider. However, as the fizz dissipates, a clean, bold apple flavor lingers.
Rabblerouser is the first cider where the apple isn’t grown on site. Grown just south of the Good Life farm, Black Diamond Cider provides the apples for a more traditional cider. While the color is still closer to white wine, the Rabblerouser combines a subtle carbonation with a complex fruity nose. A clear apple finish provides a little sweetness to an otherwise very dry cider.
Another cider brewed away from the farm, Autumn’s Gold from Eve’s Cidery is for fans of the very dry. The subtle fall nose of peach cobbler and spices is complimented by an apple front end. The smooth finish warms the soul. Perfect as the weather turns.
Back to the house brand of cider, Kite & String’s Baldwin has a very sweet grapefruit smell. It’s sparkling, champagne-like fizz finishes with some spice. In between, a very robust apple flavor comes from the cryoconcentrated (a fancy word for frozen) apple juice that makes this complex cider one to remember.
Northern Spy moves into sweeter territory with a tropical mango nose. It’s creamy texture gives a pleasant mouthfeel while the subtle apple flavor in the front gives way to more tropical, pineapple notes in the back. A fruitier finish is more palatable in a cider, and the Northern Spy delivers in refreshing fashion.
The house Rosé returns to the wine-like textures; it’s pink hue distinguishes it from the rest. Mixed with some rosé wine and riesling juice, this cider picks up a berry taste – strawberry in particular. Given that the Finger Lakes is wine country, the Cider House caters to the wine lovers as well.
It’s all about the sweetness now. Cyser is a mead cider, combining a honeydew nose with a thick, honey-esque texture to provide a warming fall feeling. A sweet, full finish captures the essence of late fall as the leaves begin to hit the ground.
The final cider on the list, Honeoye, goes one step further on the sweetness scale. While still maintaining that rich apple balance through a tangy finish, the sweet honey nose means this cider is best left for dessert. Still delectably complex, this is not one to be avoided. It’s still a very well-made drink.
Finger Lakes Cider House offers apple based liqueurs as well. The Pommeau has a strong brandy nose to warn off the thick texture. Meant to be mixed, the apple body complements dark rum-based cocktails with that last bit of fruit flavor.
After Silene was finished pouring, soaking up fall sunshine on the patio and overlooking the farm was a perfect way to see out the afternoon. Enjoying some of Good Life Farms’ charcuterie and cheese boards helped round off an unexpected journey through the many faces of cider, some that we didn’t know existed.
For more great cider houses: http://www.livablecny.com/ciders-guide-cny-cideries/