Drink aficionados can be a fickle bunch, often resulting in cliques for beer enthusiasts, wine connoisseurs and spirit experts. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be difficult, but Bold Rock Cider is used to bending norms to introduce folks to the wonders of hard cider. Earlier this year, the cidery released its new rosé hard cider. To get some insight on the latest and greatest beverage of Bold Rock, we talked to head cider maker Ian Niblock about the spring seasonal.
On Tap: How long had you workshopped a rosé cider? Why did you decide to develop this drink?
Ian Niblock: We’ve had our eye on a rosé-style cider for quite some time now. Like how our IPA (India Pressed Apple) is a gateway cider for beer drinkers, we wanted a style that would entice wine drinkers to give us a chance. We hear all the time from beer drinkers that they had no idea cider could taste that good, but they never would have tried it if not for the connectivity to beer. We saw that same opportunity in rosé cider, and we think many wine drinkers are going to be surprised by the great taste of Bold Rock Rosé.
OT: What are some similarities between your rosé hard cider and rosé wine?
IN: What anyone will notice first is the color. Bold Rock Rosé has a deep, rich pink hue immediately recognizable as rosé. Bold Rock Rosé is the driest cider we have ever released in a six-pack, with just enough sweetness to accentuate the strawberry [and] raspberry notes reminiscent of a Gewürztraminer rosé.
OT: Do you think cider drinkers might hesitate to try the cider because of its name?
IN: There has certainly been a need to educate the consumer on what rosé cider is, but rosé is such a popular wine style that there is plenty of awareness out there already. Our version is just a little bit of a twist that only uses apples, but still has a taste profile very similar to that of a rosé wine.
OT: What were your thoughts upon first tasting the cider? Did you guys nail it right away or did it take a while to get the recipe down?
IN: Bold Rock Rosé went through all sorts of trials and iterations, but when you hit the right recipe, you know. We had a moment when we were tasting some trial recipes and we all honed in on one in particular and said, “That’s the one!” It was pretty rewarding.
OT: What has the response been like so far? Do you guys plan to keep it as part of your seasonal rotation?
IN: The response has honestly been tremendous. The sheer amount of excitement surrounding the announcement followed by the subsequent success of Bold Rock Rosé in the marketplace has exceeded all expectations. We feel blessed to have such loyal customers who look forward to our seasonal releases, but the rosé has been embraced by longtime Bold Rockers and new entrants to the cider category alike.
OT: What’s next on the horizon for Bold Rock? Are there any strange or unusual drinks that you’re excited about?
IN: I can’t give away too much, but the rest of the year will not disappoint. As far as “strange and unusual” goes, we recently renovated our original cider barn into the Barrel Barn, which serves as both a small batch crafting facility and intimate tap room. The Barrel Barn will be our test bed of cider innovation, exploring the depths of cider, from yeast experiments to barrel aging and beyond. Guests can look forward to plenty of limited-run cider styles – some in kegs, some in cork and caged bottles. However, you’ll have to make the trek to our Nellysford Cidery to experience those styles as they will only be available at the Barrel Barn for now.
For more information on Bold Rock and where to pick it up locally, visit www.boldrock.com.