This sustainable labor of love is straight from the foothills of the Catskill Mountains and is after our own heart. Wayside Cider is crafted with the utmost attention to detail and care. Since 2014, the dynamic duo Alex Wilson and Irene Hussey have been the masterminds behind this upstate cidery. From hand picking their wide variety of apples to bottling their own ciders, these two understand every step of crafting fruity suds that are unlike anything you can buy at your local grocery. They say that good things come to those who wait, and with Wayside, this rings true.
Although they may have a more involved (and time-consuming) process, especially when using wild apples (which are far less juicy than their cultivated counterparts), they believe the complex flavors derived from this process are well worth the wait. Alex and Irene pick and graft wild and abandoned apple trees with intentions of preserving the past, while still creating a modern and distinctive cider. We had the chance to taste these unique Delaware County ciders to see what this labor of love is all about.
We are familiar with big name ciders advertising themselves as “dry”, however, they never seem to fulfill their lofty promise. We were cautiously optimistic when we poured Dry Town, a non-carbonated cider, to see what one team member could only describe as the color of the Warner Brother’s logo (seriously, so spot on). The smell of crisp white wine, tart apples, and wet stone overcame our senses, and we were excited to dive in. The crab apple immediately came through, and brought back lovely memories for one of our upstate NY natives, of throwing fallen crab apples at her friends for fun (because what else is there to do in a town with more apple trees than people?). With notes of tannins and a rounded body, this cider was indeed dry, with a deliciously crisp taste – the promise had been fulfilled!
After tasting Dry Town, we knew Wayside wasn’t messing around. We were excited to follow up with their ‘flagship’ cider, Catskill. This cider is made with wild apples, which are then mellowed through an aging process in oak bourbon barrels from a local micro-distillery. At first sight, this cider was a hazy sunshine with tiny bubbles and a light cloud-like film. Although not as potent as Dry town, we smelled slightly sour fresh apple, and just the faintest hint of toasted vanilla from the bourbon barrels. One of our team members took a taste, and described it as “sparkly!” (Insert heart eyes emoji). There was a faintness of a smooth vanilla in the taste as well, and a bit of a spicy/not too sweet flavor with prickly carbonation. Overall, these ciders really altered our perception of what a cider can be – unique, complex, and incredibly tasty.