Have you noticed similarities between Tom Oliver’s wild yeast- fermented ciders and traditional lambics? You aren’t the only one. During a visit to Oliver’s farm in 2011, Greg Hall – former brewmaster at Goose Island, and current cidermaker at Virtue Cider in Chicago – proposed a collaborative cider made in the traditional way, but with a lambic yeast thrown in for further complexity. The result is the Gold Rush: a 6.5% sparkling, medium dry cider with a deep, burnished color made from 100% bittersweet and sharp vintage cider apples from traditional Herefordshire farms. The juice was slow fermented by wild yeasts in old oak barrels through a cold winter and underwent malolactic fermentation in the warm spring. Oliver then added fruit sugar and lambic yeasts for a second alcoholic fermentation, adding a touch more alcohol and complexity. It was finished in oak, for maturity, before final blending and bottling. The first transatlantic cider that is everything a bittersweet cider should be.
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