Another Vermont cider got us revving the engine late at night. It goes by the name of Shacksbury Craft Cider, specifically their semi-dry offering.  Classic cars are make for classic cans.  What first drew us into seeking this product was the clean & attractive can design they have. They display the classic two color blueprint like a vintage car would be drawn up. Under the hood, their cider is made from handpicked apples sourced from Sunrise Orchard in Vermont and Dragon Orchard in the United Kingdom, blending the classic culture with the cider mecca state in the US. They use a combination of dessert and bittersweet varieties to make their traditional ciders.  They also make note of their  slow fermentation process where they allow their ciders to age for six months to get a full development of flavor.  You know a classic car doesn’t become a classic without time to age in.

Even though this was our first time tasting any Shacksbury ciders, we heard promising things about what they offer in terms of depth of flavor.  On the pour, the cider is almost clear with a paintbrush stroke of amber color and an almost-still carbonation.  The smell, on the nose, was very yeasty and oaky from the fermentation and choice of apples used.  When you first taste, you get a tart flavor on the tongue and a yeasty apple finish.  It is sweet enough but has a lot of the typical dry characteristics such as the low carbonation.  The cider is quite traditional, but the interesting combination of apples and the aging process leaves some tannins drying out the tongue with a satisfying lingering of oaky notes.  We tried swirling the cider around the mouth to generate more of the carbonation on the tongue and noticed that the cider sweetens drastically.  To describe this cider, we can bring it into the vintage car analogy once more. While there is much to appreciate about the traditional body of the car, when you pop the hood and see all of the work put it, you get a sense of the complexity and skill in balancing this product. A traditional cider with a souped up engine, exploring it’s power the longer you drive, er, taste. That’s why Shacksbury’s Semi-Dry gets 4 out of 5 apples.

If you visit Shacksbury’s website, you will see that they are trying to be as true to the apple as they can while blending the right varieties of apple, US or not, for comprehensive flavor.  They also have an interesting lost apples program which is a search for classic cider trees, not lost to history, that make for great cider apples of the past (vintage, isn’t it).  They then use these apples to harvest and press. These varieties make special Lost and Found Cider which they produce occasionally.  To learn more about it visit their website here: