What do you get when you combine the crisp taste of Virginia apples with the cider-making prowess of a New Zealand master?
|Kid in a candy shop grin!|
On an impromptu drive through Nelson County earlier this month, I stumbled across the mecca of my hard cider taste buds. Situated on fifty beautiful acres in the heart of the Rockfish River Valley, Bold Rock cidery was established in 2012 with a lofty goal: to reestablish hard cider as the #1 alcoholic beverage in the United States. To accomplish this goal, owner John Washburn reached out to the master of the industry, Brian Shanks, a New Zealand cider innovator who has contributed to the success of such cideries as Woodchuck and Strongbow, and from this partnership, Bold Rock was born.
Although I've been purchasing Bold Rock's Virginia Apple cider in the grocery store for several years, I had not made the pilgrimage to their tasting room previously, nor had I planned to do so that day. Serendipitous good fortune guided my route on a drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and resulted in this delicious detour. Imagine a kid in a candy shop, only old enough to enjoy adult beverages. That was my reaction.
Bold Rock recently debuted a $4 million, beautifully-appointed "tasting barn" to feature their seven ciders. On our visit, two were offered for free tasting -- the Virginia Apple and the Vat No. 1. -- and flights of four ciders were available for $5. The Virginia Apple is everything a hard cider should be: full of crisp flavor with a smooth finish. The Vat No. 1 is a premium cider and tasted almost more like a champagne than a cider, but the apple taste was unmistakable. All the apples used in Bold Rock's ciders are harvested from local orchards for their Virginia ciders, and the water is also sourced locally. They've recently expanded their ciders into the North Carolina market with the debut of a Carolina Apple and a Carolina Draft.
Even in winter, the views of the farm and the Rockfish river from the tasting barn were breathtaking, especially when surveyed over the rim of a mulled cider. That's right, Bold Rock also throws together a hot cider concoction on certain days, and with a glass of that in hand, you'll be feeling warm and fuzzy in no time!
With a line-up of award-winning ciders for your taste buds and a beautiful barn and farm for your eyes, Bold Rock should be the next destination for your road trip. Or a great detour.
Have you visited Bold Rock or tried their ciders?