Last week we visited the Sierra Nevada craft beer brewery. This week it was the Bold Rock hard cider cidery also in Mills River, North Carolina. Although this is a much smaller operation than the Sierra Nevada brewery it is also a good benefit for the community. There’s an abundance of Apple orchards in the area and many of them were struggling financially until the cider companies, particularly the hard cider companies, came to the area.
There are at least 10 cideries in the Asheville area. Each one is a little different. The one we visited, and I think one of the largest, is the Bold Rock hard cider company.
It has a very casual, comfortable taproom area. They also have a nice outdoor seating and activity area. It was a little cold and rainy the day we went so we waited inside for our tour time.
We played corn hole while we waited and I noticed that there were several families enjoying their time visiting, drinking and playing in the taproom area as well.
The tour took us into a large room that contained their bottling and labeling operation as well as their brewing operation. They have large stainless containers for mashing the apples, others for filtering, and others for fermentation. This particular cidery uses champagne yeast which gives the cider more of a wine taste.
They explained that other cideries in this area use a different type of yeast which keeps, what they referred to as, the “farmhouse flavor”.
I liked the sample that we got there and ended up buying a variety 6 pack. My son prefers the farmhouse flavor.
As I mentioned earlier, they benefit the community by buying their apples. They also give back by supplying the area farmers, at no charge, unused parts of the apples for feed or compost.
The tour guide said the apples they need to buy depends on what recipe they are making at the time. He said they can call the orchard and order a truckload of the same type of apple or if they want they can get a mixed load, such as 1/3 Macintosh, 1/3 Granny Smith and 1/3 Gala. They have built a good relationship with the area apple growers.
Because of the weather and the size of the operation, I didn’t get pictures worth keeping. It’s a nice building but not as large or as ornate as the Sierra Nevada operation. Still, it’s worth a visit if you’re in the Asheville/ Mills River, North Carolina area. You can visit them online at http://www.boldrock.com