Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Shacksbury Whistlepig Lo-Ball: A Delicious Barrel Aged Highball Cider

Located in Vermont's Champlain ValleyShacksbury Cider is an artisan cidery that was founded in 2013 by David Dolginow and Colin Davis. They produce a variety of different ciders, some limited edition, and others are part of their Lost Apple Project. Tis intriguing program is intended to seek out the type of apples that were planted for cider over one hundred years ago. 

Back in 2016, I met David Dolginow at a local spirits convention, and got to sample a number of their ciders. One of those ciders was their Shacksbury WhistlePig Barrel-Aged Cider, a cider that was aged in used barrels from WhistlePig Rye for about 6 months. David stated that cider is very delicate so you must be very careful with barrel aging and they engaged in three years of experimentation before finding something which they felt good enough for their cider. This is their first batch and they considered it to be a dessert cider. 

I found it to be more full-bodied and smooth, with a complex melange of flavors, including caramel, honey, vanilla, mild spices and some fruity notes, mostly apple but with some citrus and pear as well. It had only a small touch of sweetness and mild effervescence. It was a fascinating cider which I felt would pair well with cheese. 

Jump forward five years. On my recent trip to southern Vermont, I made a brief stop at the Meditrina Wine & Cheese shop (of which I'll write about more later() in Chester, and found the Shacksbury Whistlepig Lo-Ball, which is about $5 a can, and sold at retail in four-packs. This was different from the prior barrel-aged cider I'd sampled, so I was intrigued and bought a four-pack to check it out. 

The Shacksbury 
Whistlepig Lo-Ball is a limited edition, a "barrel aged highball cider," at 4.8% ABV, which was aged in WhistlePig's Vermont white oak barrels that were used to age their FarmStock whiskey. This cider is very different from their prior Whistlepig collaboration, especially as it wasn't produced to be a dessert cider. And now, the cidery had five more years of experience with barrel aging cider.   

The Lo-Ball is crisp and dry, quite refreshing, and possesses a rich apple flavor complemented with spicy notes and a subtle hint of whiskey. It was well balanced, with a pleasing finish, and I was extremely glad that I bought it. With its low alcohol content, you can easily have a few cans in a fine summer day, or a crisp autumn afternoon. It is certainly delicious on its own, but could also pair well with a variety of foods. 

Last night, I drank the Lo-Ball with Smoked Beef Chorizo, from Vermont Waygu (which I also obtained on my recent trip), and they worked well together. The Lo-Ball is supposed to be available in a few stores in Massachusetts, or you could just drive up to Vermont and get some. 

No comments: