Cider Maker’s Notebook: Belgian White Cider

John_Belgian_bigWoodchuck Hard Cider Private Reserve Belgian White is one of my personal favorites in our family of cider.  My love of thirst quenching summer wit and wheat craft beer, inspired me to experiment in bringing the style to hard cider.  I explored these styles as well as a few others including hefeweizen.  It gave me the opportunity to work with various yeast strains and draw from my experience as a beer brewer. I’m excited to share how we made the cider!

As we developed the Belgian White, one of the primary concerns was keeping the cider gluten free.  We set out to create a marriage of flavors between our apple base fermented using a Belgian brewers yeast (a departure from most of our styles which feature champagne yeast), dehydrated orange peel dices, and freshly ground coriander.  After several test batches and proposals for our internal taste panel, we finally had a winning white hard cider!

When tasting the Belgian White I first pick up the Seville orange peel along with slight pepper notes from the classic Belgian beer yeast strain on the nose.  It is quickly backed up by spicy notes of the coriander, and a hint of apple hidden in the background.  The taste brings a slight bitterness from the orange peel that fades nicely into a coriander finish, all playing perfectly with the sweetness of the apples on the pallet. The cider’s golden hue is reminiscent of some of my favorite Belgian white beers.

What do you experience?

This particular cider is from our very limited Private Reserve line, and will change in complexity over time. If you’re patient enough to store a few bottles of this Belgian White cider in your craft beer cellar, try for yourself and share your thoughts.

I hope you find this incredibly drinkable hard cider as refreshing on a hot summer day as I do!

Cheers,
John Matson.