Grab a pint of local hard ciders, brews

| 31 Jan 2014 | 11:36

Thirsty? Locals can quench their thirst at the Big Brew Beer Festival coming to Westchester, N.Y. on Feb. 8 and Morristown, N.J. on Feb. 15.

More than 200 craft beer tastings will be offered from all over the world including local brews from the black dirt region.

Warwick Valley Winery and Applewood Winery both seated in Warwick are participating in this year's brew fest.

"We try to do as many (festivals) as we can," said Jeremy Kidde, co-owner of the Warwick Valley Winery. "It is one of the best ways to get the word out. Not only does it tell people about the brand but they can taste it."

The Applewood Winery recently started participating in the festivals.

"We do a lot of festivals around," Dylan Hull of Applewood Winery said. "It's a good way to introduce the product since it's a relatively new product."

Although called the "Big Brew Beer Festival," hard ciders are also welcomed at the show. And that is what both Hull and Kidde will be showcasing.

Naked Flock
The Applewood Winery began making hard cider 15 years ago, which was only sold at their tasting room. It was about a year ago when the winery branched out to start selling to distributors in New Jersey, New York City and around the Hudson Valley.

The winery's brew is called, "Naked Flock" and the label sports a drawing of a goose "naked" or feather-free.

The name of the hard cider came from a legend the winery heard from the Warwick Historical Society.

"As legend has it, in the 1800s a pastor in Warwick who was friends with author Herman Melville came back from Orient with seeds. And when he planted them geese came and ate all the flowers. The seeds were poppy seeds so the geese got stoned and passed out. The village thought the geese were dead and plucked all their feathers. But the geese woke up and ran around town "naked." The church wanted to put down the geese but the pastor said 'No' and saved them."

Hull boasts that Naked Flock contains no additives, is not from concentrate, is all natural and is brewed from Hudson Valley apples.

Doc's Draft
Traveling all over the country, Kidde and co-owner and master distiller Jason Grizzanti participate in different brew festivals, to help spread the word on their product.

It seems to be working too. The winery has been around since 1994 and their cider has always been part of their product base. In 2002, they branched outside to sell to retail facilities in 22 other states including locally in liquor stores and restaurants in the Hudson Valley.

At the show, Kidde said he mainly pours samples and talks about their brand — answering questions about how its made, what type of yeast is including and more.

"The shows are really geared toward the craft enthusiast," said Kidde.

Warwick Valley Winery has about 20 acres to grow apples which are used in Doc's Draft along with some purchased apples from other orchards in New York state exclusively.

"There are a lot of ciders out there now, a lot more people coming into the market doing similar kinds of cider," said Kidde. "The main difference from us and them is we are using local fruit. Historically some people will make their brews with concentrate to get the cheapest price. But we use only fresh apples for the fermentation process to get more of a intricate flavor as a result. You really taste the fresh pressed juice versus juice form concentrate."