Review of North Fork Traditional from Montana CiderWorks, from Darby Montana. I’ve previously tried their Darby Pub Cider (see my tasting notes here). Surprisingly enough, they are far from the only cidery in Montana (Cyder Market lists four, although Montana CiderWorks appears the oldest, being founded in 2000).
Cider: North Fork Traditional
Cidery: Montana CiderWorks
Cidery Location: Darby MT
How Supplied: 500ml bottle (also 750ml)
Style: American craft English-style semi-sweet cider made from Montana apples
Availability: Year round in CO, MT, and WA
Cider Description: Semi-Dry English Style Cider. Golden, gently bubbly, with true cider flavor. Expressive bittersweet apple character with wood, grass & smoke notes; this semi-dry cider balances faintest sweetness against sharpness, astringency, and tart fruit…Our North Fork traditional cider received a Gold Medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition. The blend includes hard-to-find traditional cider apples & crab apples alongside Bitterroot Valley apples. North Fork offers a clean, aromatic finish that enhances the flavor of savory foods. Pairs wonderfully with spicy (ethnic) foods, game bird dishes, and hor d’oeuvres with strong cheeses.
Cidery Description: Montana CiderWorks is a bonded winery located in Darby, Montana. We offer exceptional English-style ciders crafted from Bitterroot Valley apples and other local fruits. We support sustainable agriculture and the preservation of open spaces in our beautiful valley. We increase the value and usefulness of Montana’s orchards so that they may support and delight future generations.
Here is a nice article from CiderCraft on Montana Ciderworks. The owner and cidermaker is Lee McAlpine, who I met at Cider Summit Seattle last year.
Where Bought: Schilling Cider House
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing. I tried their Darby Pub Cider at Cider Summit Seattle last year, and had been wanting to try something else from their lineup. The description of this cider sounded like something I’d enjoy.
First Impression: Light amber orange. Low carbonation with some foam upon pouring. Smells luscious, of rich ripe apples, apple skin, honey, brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla.
Tasting Notes: On the sweeter side of semi-dry. Low carbonation. The texture is a bit mousse-like. Moderate acidity. Moderate tartness. Low to moderate tannins. A hint of bitterness. No sourness or funk. Moderate to full flavored. Medium bodied. Notes of rich bittersweet apples, apple skin, honey, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, charred oak, and earthiness. Moderate length finish. Moderate to high apple flavor. Moderate sessionability.
My Opinion: Yum! The flavor started with acidity & tartness, then finished with drying tannins. This definitely tastes like English cider, but the slight sweetness and mousse-like texture reminds me a bit of French cider too. This is a rather approachable English style cider too–it isn’t too dry and stays clean (no funk), although it has tannins.
Most Similar to: Other English and English-style ciders, such as Liberty Ciderworks English Style, Aspall Dry, Sheppy’s Somerset Draught, Hogan’s Medium Cider, Worley’s Premium Vintage, and Montana Ciderworks Darby Pub.
Closing Notes: I’m a big fan of English ciders, and this didn’t disappoint. However, I think I slightly prefer their Darby Pub cider. I look forward to trying their other ciders; I’ve also seen Small Batch McIntosh and Newtown Pippin ciders from them in my area.
Have you tried any ciders from Montana CiderWorks? What did you think?