Toasting Your Neighbor; thanks!
It’s a beautiful, sunny day here at Poverty Lane Orchards, and the cider room is preparing to move our next batch of Farmhouse cider into tanks to fizz. We’ve got our every-other week Growler Day tomorrow, plus events at the Durham Marketplace near UNH and with our Vermont distributor, G Housen, at Higher Ground in South Burlington.
We’ve been working with G Housen for a few years now, and it is always an adventure to sell a New Hampshire-made cider to our friends and neighbors in Vermont. Sometimes I feel like Vermont and New Hampshire are siblings; close in age, resembling each other, but rivals too. So it was great to see some NH love from Corin Hirsh in Seven Days last week:
Poor New Hampshire. As Vermont steals much of the glory with its maple syrup, cheese and craft beer, the Granite State languishes in second-fiddledom, at least as far as food and drink are concerned. Sugarbushes, microbreweries, smokehouses, vineyards, farms and orchards blanket the state, but “Made in New Hampshire” on a label doesn’t confer the same shelf cachet as that magical “V” word.
Yet our eastern neighbor is turning out fine and often imaginative libations. Wineries such as Walpole Mountain View Winery and Zorvino Vineyards are elevating the reputation of New Hampshire vino, often by experimenting with more grapes than their western neighbors do. The names Smuttynose Brewing Company and White Birch Brewing are familiar to beer lovers, and, when it comes to spirits, New Hampshire now offers its own limoncello (Fabrizia) and vodka and gin distilled from apples (at Flag Hill Distillery in Lee).
A trio of newish releases offer a snapshot of the subdued creativity of the state’s brewers and fermenters.
Poverty Lane Orchards lies about a mile from the Vermont border in Lebanon, and its sparkling and still hard ciders — bottled under the name Farnum Hill Ciders — have become the benchmark against which other local artisanal ciders are measured.
The crew here sometimes ends up with a batch that doesn’t fit the flavor profiles of its established labels, and locals show up to fill growlers with whatever flows that day. Last summer, Farnum Hill began bottling these “funkier” ciders under the Dooryard Cider label. Batch Number 1137, which I picked up recently, costs about $8 for a 750-ml bottle and has a deep golden color. Its apricot-like nose belies a scrumptious, tart austerity of orange peel and soaked tea leaves, with mouth-filling acids. At 7.5 percent alcohol, it’s afternoon sippable, and its intense dryness lends it pairing versatility.
So look for our Dooryard #1137 in bottles around Vermont. And cheers to you too, neighbor.