Woodchuck Cider of Middlebury, VT just released their newest collection, aptly named the 802 Collection, featuring 100% Vermont apples in traditional-style ciders paying homage to their home state of Vermont and Woodchuck’s orchard partners. Vermont has been Woodchuck Cidery’s home from day one when they started out in a two-car garage in 1991. Since then, Woodchuck has grown and expanded into the hard cider powerhouse it is today, with an industrial-sized cider house on an expansive property just off Route 7 in Middlebury, VT, while always sticking to its roots. It is because of their ties with the Green Mountain State that Woodchuck decided to start this collection in the first place.

One of Woodchuck’s biggest partners and apple suppliers is Barney Hodges of Sunrise Orchards. It is because of this partnership that Woodchuck is able to provide top-notch ciders featuring fresh, local ingredients, and that Hodges is able to keep his farm up and running with such a high success rate due to the value provided by the cider industry to lowest fragment of apples he grows.

This Collection carries the motto “Fermentation for Freedom and Unity,” not only to pay tribute to Vermont, but also to celebrate the uniqueness of their fans and bring cider drinkers together. At the time, these ciders are mostly be available in Vermont with some limited availability in Maine and New Hampshire as well.

Ski Vermont

The 802 Collection has been named the Official Hard Cider of Ski Vermont, the Vermont Ski Areas Association. Ski Vermont is a private not-for-profit trade association developed to “address issues including environmental integrity, economic and social contributions to the state’s welfare, and competitive positioning of the state as a destination for winter tourism,” according to their official website, https://skivermont.com/. Woodchuck’s collaboration with Ski Vermont will help the state’s ski industry to grow and prosper. .

Lil’ Dry Review

The first variety in this collection is Lil’ Dry, a semi-dry cider made only from the juice of 100% Vermont apples and yeast. This cider features no added ingredients or artificial sweeteners, just straight-up Vermont pressed apples, the most traditional way to make a cider. Lil’ Dry is available in 16 oz cans sold in 4-packs, as well as on draft.

Upon opening the can, Lil’ Dry smells like green apples with a dash of cinnamon, a naturally occurring scent due to the fact that there were no added ingredients aside from the apples and yeast. It pours lightly carbonated and golden yellow and you might even notice a hint of honey on the nose if you waft the aroma from the glass.

This cider is semi-dry, as mentioned previously, and has a bit of a wheat-y or malty after taste from the glass. When enjoyed from the can, I picked up more on the tart and tannic apple flavors with a hint of lemon and honey, again, completely natural flavors provided by the apples. Lil’ Dry has delicious tart and sour notes and even leaves a bit of a prickle on the roof of the mouth. There is a bit of a natural sweetness provided by the apples, likely due to either the use of some sweeter table apples or stopping fermentation before the yeast consumed all of the natural sugars.