Bold Rock Hard Cider Company
There is certainly no shortage of hard cider companies gaining popularity throughout the United States. However, there is a shortage of true 100% hard cider companies. What I mean by 100% hard cider refers to a finished product that is dissolute of any extra additives or ingredients and contains nothing but the natural sugars and components derived solely from the fruit. Now, that’s not meant to be a knock against the vast majority of hard cider makers out there, but after having tried the hard cider produced by Bold Rock Hard Cider, true 100% hard cider is a markedly different product.
Bold Rock Cider Company has been making some serious waves on the East Coast since they opened their hard cider company last year. In that short time, they have managed to work their way into nearly 300 stores and are available fresh from the tap in nearly 100 more locations. To say that this is an impressive rate of success would be a gross understatement and much of that success stems directly from the mind of one of the world’s foremost hard cider makers, Brian Shanks. Brian had been an apple orchardist in New Zealand during the 1980’s and after creating a successful hard cider company there, he blipped onto the radar one of the largest cider making companies in the world located in Great Britain. As their Head of Innovation and team leader, Brian was instrumental in improving and streamlining their cider making operation. Then, as an international cider consultant, Brian helped companies in America, Europe, China and Australia. Now, he has settled down in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where he is surrounded by some of the largest apple producing orchards in the country.
Now if you’re not sure if you’ve ever had true 100% hard cider, there’s an easy way to find out. Next time you visit your local megastore, spin the bottle around to the back where the nutritional facts are typically printed; if there’s nothing there, then you have true hard cider. It’s a little known fact that hard cider companies that use only the fruit in their finished product do not have to record the nutritional facts on their labels. You see, in order to be considered a hard cider, the only requirement is that the product contains at least 60% of whatever given fruit. Although allowed to call themselves hard ciders, brews that use only 60% natural product are technically considered specialty drinks and are taxed as such.
I guarantee the first thing you’ll notice from your first sip of Bold Rock is its incredible fresh apple taste. From crushed fruit to final product, the cider spends only 7-10 days maturing into its final form and a blindingly fast 18 days from tree branch to store shelf. This produces an amazing fruit forward profile that can be easily mellowed, muddied, or lost altogether if allowed to ferment any longer. Using state of the art fermentation equipment that wouldn’t look out of place in a NASA testing center, Brian is able to control every facet of his hard cider down to the specific number of bubbles each bottle should contain. His entire operation is monitored by a tech company in France that makes sure each step in the process is functioning perfectly. Needless to say, it was quite a surprise to see this much technical innovation tucked away inside an unassuming farm barn in the backwoods of Virginia.
Thanks to these unique innovations and Brian’s ability to streamline, Bold Rock has hit the ground running in a way that few other operations are able. Recently picked up for distribution by Anheuser-Busch, Bold Rock Hard Cider is continuing its incredible ascent towards the top ranks of the hard cider world. Currently, Bold Rock has two products readily available in many stores: Virginia Apple Hard Cider (made from 100% Gala apples), and Virginia Draft (a composite of several apple varieties). Both weigh in a sessionable 4.7 ABV, are gluten free, and are available in 6 packs, cases and kegs. In addition to their regular lines, they also have two premium ciders ( Vat #1 and Virginia Dry) that each weigh in a solid 6.9% ABV and are available 750ml bottles.
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