Day trip: Joe Daddy’s Hard Cider (aka Brookview Station Winery, aka Goolds Orchard)
I90 exit 11, east on Rt. 20 to the red light and a right and I was on 150 and it was a beautiful day.
A few miles later I realized I missed my turn. Just a short while later I spotted a sign for Brookview Station road. Since I was visiting Sue Goold Miller at Brookview Station Winery (BSW) I turned on and soon I came to the winery from a different direction than I normally do.
BSW was founded by Sue and husband Ed Miller in 2006. They are 3rd generation owners of Goolds Orchard, which has provided fruit, cider and other agricultural products to the Capital Region for over 100 years old. BSW is in a separate part of the building, but the tasting area is along the wall across from the entrance. Joe Daddy’s Hard Cider (JDHC) was founded 2014.
A quiet Monday, one customer was leaving a plastic carboy to get cider. I was there about cider too. Goolds presses apples all year. And where there’s fresh cider, hard cider soon follows. Although I suppose you could drink it fresh. I’ll have to try that some time.
I came to BSW to talk about Joe Daddy’s Hard Cider. I walked over to the tasting area and waited.
I had been pleased to be there in September 2006 for BSW’s Grand Opening, TV cameras and press on hand. Since then they’ve won numerous awards for their wines and cider. Starting with one wine, Whistle Stop White, they now offer three white fruit wines, five reds, a Rose, two cordials and three hard cider styles.
Sue came over and soon we were talking about JDHC.
They offer three varieties. First is an English style cider, next a triple hopped and finally cranberry cider.
All were lightly carbonated. According to BJCP Cider Style Guidelines, carbonation may vary from entirely still to a champagne level. No or little carbonation is termed still. A still cider may give a slight tickle on the tongue. A moderate carbonation level is termed petillant. Highly carbonated is termed sparkling. At the higher levels of carbonation, the mousse (head) may be retained for a short time. However, gushing, foaming, and difficult-to-manage heads are faults. JDHC was on the edge of still and petillant.
We sampled and talked about each cider. The blend of apples is important. Owning a 120 acre orchard helps insure that they have a good blend. I like off dry. Sue tells me that for both cider and wine, her customers tend to like the sweeter beverage. Yeast also has a big impact on cider. For the English style they use an English ale yeast, Windsor. We’ve discussed which yeast to use over the years. I tend to use an English cider yeast. Dominick at the Homebrew Emporium uses Nottingham. Sue and Ed have experimented and believe Windsor gives a nice full apple aroma and flavor. Indeed there was a full apple nose. Lightly carbonated, off dry, there was a good balance of tartness from the apples. The Triple Hop Cider had a big hop nose with apple in the back. The taste was an interesting blend of hops and apples, maybe with a hint of melons. Fuggles, mosaic and motueka hops were used. The cranberry cider was a pleasant blend. For me it seemed to need a bit more tartness.
Ed had come over and we all talked business: the vagaries of weather, difficulties of working in the agricultural field, increasing regulation, industry trends and questions about what the madmen in Washington were going to do. Last year was way too dry, while this year is almost too wet.
For a farmer Ed says “Every year is a new adventure.”
He tells me his first wine book was our little purple Winemakers Recipe Handbook. It doesn’t have much but simple one gallon recipes for 100 different country wines. It goes from apricot to zucchini, spring’s dandelion and rhubarb to fall’s apples and pumpkin. Just follow the direction and the wine will be fine. We wandered into the back where the fermentation is done.
They use variable capacity stainless fermenters, 400 liter maybe, and plastic barrels. There is a 6 bottle vine bottler. Ed does most everything. Besides making the wine and cider he oversees daily orchard operations, crops, sales and field employees. Sue does everything else and a few of the things Ed does too. A very busy couple. If you have cider making experience JDHC may be interested in talking to you about helping Ed. Contacts are above.
Visit for a cider or wine tasting, 6 for $6. Or sample with a souvenir glass included for $8.50. You can also do some sampling this Memorial Day weekend. BSW/JDHC will be at The Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival, Saturday May 27, 2017 11:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sunday May 28, 2017 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, Memorial Day Weekend – Columbia County Fairgrounds – Chatham, NY.
This unique interstate festival will feature award-winning wineries, distilleries, cideries and craft breweries from the Hudson Valley and the Massachusetts Berkshire Region all together under one roof! There will be other vendors there, wineries, cideries, distillers, farm and food products. http://www.hudsonberkshirewinefestival.com/vendors.html. We have a limited number of $5 off admission for the event so stop in at the Homebrew Emporium soon.
You too can make hard cider. Goolds will gladly get you 5 or 6 gallons of fresh cider for $5 a gallon. They prefer you bring a food grade only plastic bucket, but will fill PET carboys. NO glass will be accepted due to danger from breakage. We can attest to the danger. Two of our employees hurt themselves over the years, one cutting an artery and nerve to his hand. You can get your equipment at the Homebrew Emporium as well as yeast, pectic enzyme and other supplies.
Did I mention the CIDER DONUTS!? Goolds makes awesome cider donuts. I almost always avoid donuts. But theirs are irresistible and I usually eat two before tearing myself away. I was disappointed that this Monday they weren’t making them. C’est la vie. Maybe next time. But Sue tells me they are also available in the Capital region at Market 32 stores.
I bid farewell to Sue and Ed and walk to my transit. Oops, the front tire is flat. It’s a real pain. The Ford engineers seem to have made it a point to make things difficult. I shift the 20+ bags of US 2 row for Honey Hollow Brewery, my next stop. And with the help of Ed we find the jack, remove the tire and change it. It’s low, so I roll around back to where Ed fires up an air pump, tops off the tire and I’m on my way. It’s a beautiful day.